Byzantine Book Bazaar, Istanbul | Meghan Nuttall Sayres

Byzantine Book Bazaar, Istanbul

According to Turkey’s tourism website:

“Sahaflar Çarşısı, the Second-hand Book Bazaar, nestles in an ancient, courtyard between the Beyazıt Mosque and Fesciler entrance to the Covered Bazaar. One of İstanbul’s oldest markets, the Bazaar is built on the same site as the Chartoprateia, which used to be the book and paper market of Byzantium. However, it was only at the end of the 18th century that booksellers began to migrate across from the Covered Bazaar and set up shop in the courtyard. Printing and publishing legislation introduced soon after enabled the trade to expand in a major way and take over the entire market, which from then on became known as the Sahaflar Çarşısı. Well into this century the market remained a focal point for the sale and distribution of books within the Ottoman Empire, as well as a gathering spot for İstanbul’s intellectual and literary circles.”

It was here that I first met Onur Goker, who sells miniatures and runs restoration workshop with his wife Funda. Onur sketched the image of a whirling dervish, which is featured in my novel Night Letter. Look for photos of Onur and his wife under the Night Letter or artists pages of this website and blog.