If you are fond of books, the first place you will want to visit in Istanbul is the Used-book Bazaar (Sahaflar Çarşısı). Used-book Bazaar is a sanctuary amidst the noisy confusion of the Grand Bazaar. It will provide you with tranquility and has been the meeting place for bookworms for centuries, as today’s second-hand book trade is actually based on practices from the Ottoman Era.
When did Bibliopole Start in Turkey?
History of bibliopole in Turkey dates back to the 15th century of Ottoman. The bibliopoles were established in order to obtain the books that were needed by the students of madrasa in a more economical way, and continued to operate in the Grand Bazaar until the 1894 Istanbul earthquake. A bibliopole is defined as a place where precious books are sold, and it has certainly reflected that definition, as it has been used as the place where all kinds of used books have been sold throughout time. In fact, nowadays, it has become the preferred location for young people to visit in search of exam books.
The first bibliopole in our country started its activities in 1460 with the end of the construction of the Grand Bazaar and continued as part of the Guild of Bibliopoles in Ottoman times. Different ranks in the Guild of Bibliopoles were determined and bibliopole occupations were performed over the apprenticeship, semi-skilled, and craftsmanship periods. Bibliopoles moved between the Sedefçiler Gate of the Grand Bazaar to the Beyazıt Mosque when the 1894 earthquake occurred. This region is still home to many bibliopoles.
Fire at Used-book Bazaar
The first bookstore of Used-book Bazaar, which started its activities in the Ottoman period, is known as Basralı Abdullah Yetimi Efendi. As Evliya Celebi states it in the famous book “Seyahatnâme”, there were more than 50 different bibliopole shops in the bazaar during that period. When the Republican period was reached, the activities in the Beyazıt Mosque continued too. However, in the 1950s, a great fire broke out, and the Bazaar was completely destroyed. The bazaar’s shops and thousands of manuscripts found in the bookstores burnt. After the fire, the Metropolitan Municipality has changed the wooden structure of the bazaar and constructed the contemporary Used-book Bazaar. As of today, 23 shops in the Used-book bazaar continue to operate.
The Famous Bibliopoles in Turkey
The Bibliopoles, which are generally visited by book enthusiasts today, have been turned into second-hand shops where many different kinds of books are sold. However, the only place where original works can be found, especially for the collectors and bookworms, is the Used-book bazaar. There are different categories such as first edition books, series books, printed books, and books requested by collectors. The Bibliopoles of today are not just book stores where books are sold, but the places where book auctions are held and tea meetings with book enthusiasts are conducted on the weekends. There are famous bibliopoles not only in Istanbul, but also in different parts of Anatolia.
The Dilmen Bookstore, which has become the haunt of many important poets and writers, has been in operation since 1964. You can find books written in foreign languages at Dilmen Kitabevi, as well as many important manuscripts. It is located in Beyazıt.
Enderun Bookstore is located in the Vezneciler district of Istanbul and has been operating since 1969. A meeting with tea is held on the last Saturday of each month in the bibliopole, which has nearly 60 thousand books. You can find Ottoman Turkish history and spot many famous faces. talking.
With more than 50 thousand books, Simurg attracts attention for its artwork and books in foreign languages. Mostly, the books on art history, music, geography and literature are found. It is located in Beyoğlu, Istanbul.
Pera Aslıhan, located in Istanbul’s Galatasaray district, has been operating since 1966. There are many Turkish books, especially those written in Greek, Hebrew, Armenian and Arabic letters. For collectors, many works, including autographed books, are available, along with prized souvenirs.
Sahaf Dil Tarih
Sahaf Dil Tarih is located in Kadıköy, Istanbul, and is run by writer Sami Önal. Among the treasures found in the shop are more than 30 thousand books, old postcards, magazine collections, and manuscripts.
Bibliopole Turquoise, one of the bibliopoles in Istanbul’s Galatasaray district, offers over 40 thousand books to its enthusiasts, including antique books, which are very popular with the customers.
As we mentioned above, although there are more bibliopoles in Istanbul, we also encounter them in different parts of Anatolia. The Art Bookstore in Ankara’s Kızılay Square is one of them. It is an indispensable place, especially for magazine collectors. It has been serving for a long time and offers more than 40 thousands different types of books. In addition, a book auction is held once a year.