“Arasta” is a bazaar where handcraft products are sold. The Arasta Bazaar is located directly behind the Blue Mosque, on the north side of Torun Street. There are more than seventy stores in the bazaar. It is also known as the “Sipahi Çarşisi” in Turkish because the needs of the Sipahi (the name of an Ottoman cavalry corps) were sold here during the Ottoman period.
The Arasta Bazaar was re-built on Byzantine ruins and is located on a narrow street with many lovely gift shops selling carpets, kilims, travel souvenirs, İznik tiles, scarves, etc on both sides of the street. The mosaics found in the environs of the Arasta Bazaar during excavation works in 1930s proved that the territory once had belonged to a Byzantine Palace complex.
After a fire in 1912, the bazaar lay in ruins for a long time. Later, it was occupied by slum residents. The slums were laterremoved and shops were restored. The Bazaar was put into service by the General Directorate of Turkish Foundations in the 1980s.
Translated by Mr. Irfan KOKSAL