The Grand bazaar of Istanbul opens its doors for visitors after the longest lockdown in its history
For more than 5 centuries, the Grand Bazaar which was ordered to be built by Sultan Mehmed II remained open to visitors as one of the largest historical commercial complexes in the world and the oldest popular market in Istanbul, but for the first time in history after it was a place of hundreds of millions of tourists since 550 years ago, it closed its doors before its visitors in an exceptional conditions, due to a pandemic that was stronger than the entire world, froze many sectors, canceled many demonstrations, and forced mankind altogether to stay at home for 3 months
Which was relatively enough to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus, which Turkey controlled, by registering a record decrease in the number of infected patients, compared to a large increase in the number of recovery cases and the lowest percentage of deaths compared to the numbers of infections, as confirmed by many international reports and WHO statistics.
This decrease in infected cases automatically led to a gradual return to normal life after a long shutdown of various public facilities. Which has started with opening the commercial malls, then restaurants and cafes, all the way to tourist places and public spaces.
And the date of ending the lockdown in June was considered a decisive and expected date for many Turks, as life returned to normal by 90% while respecting the precautionary measures, and it was also the date for reopening the Grand bazaar after the longest closing in its history.
The Grand bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey, received more than 112,000 visitors in early June, the first three days of its official opening after a two-month closure due to the Corona pandemic and the subsequent closure decisions that have followed since March 24, 2020.
According to the statements made by Fatih Kurtulmus, the chairman of the covered market, the historical complex underwent the largest sterilization in its history, which lasted two and a half months, to disinfect it from all viruses, including the deadly Coronavirus.
The way the market worked has changed, as gatekeepers are required to inform all visitors about the rules for preventing Coronavirus spread while roaming inside the market, and orders have been issued not to allow anyone who does not wear a mask to enter the Grand bazaar with a mandatory measure of the temperature of the visitors and not allowing those who record high temperature to enter the market, and guide them to the nearest hospital for examination and treatment in the event that they are infected with Covid-19.
Also, from now on, audio ads will be constantly played inside the market corridors in order to remind visitors to observe the rules of social distance.
The process of returning to normal life and normal activities at the Grand bazaar and the Egyptian market was not an ordinary way, as the opening ceremonies of the two archeological markets and the two most important centers of ancient tourism in Istanbul were recited by reciting verses from the holy Quran and repeating prayers by the attendees led by each of the Governor of Istanbul, Ali Yerli kaya and his deputy, Holya Kaya. And the mayor of Fatih district m. Ergun Turan, Mufti of Istanbul State, Professor Mehmet Emin Masali, in addition to the director of culture and tourism, the chairman of the market’s board of directors, shop owners and the famous activist via social media, like Nusret aka Salt bae.
Governor Ali Yerli Kaya emphasized during the opening ceremony that activity in the first stage will be limited to 11 out of 22 gates within the framework of the gradual transition to normal life, taking into account the observance of the rules of social distancing, hygiene, and wearing masks by both visitors and traders.
On the occasion of the reopening of the Grand Bazaar, the state of Istanbul raised the amount of money allocated for the restoration and maintenance of the internal part of the covered market to 27.5 million liras, including 2.5 million submitted by the Fatih municipality, which will ensure the follow-up of the restoration process in all its aspects with the completion of all preparations to proceed directly to the maintenance project.