Bedestan (Covered Market)

Located in Larissa Castle. It is registered under the Royal Decree of January 13, 1938 and registered in the Official Gazette of January 20, 1938, Number: 18/A. According to its charitable foundation registration and archive registrations, it was built by Turhanoğlu Gazi Ömer Bey in 1484 and between the years 1506 and 1507 (Halaçoğlu, 1974, p.92; Kiel, 1990, p.143).

Bedestans emerged with the founding of Ottoman Empire and can be viewed as examples of its commercial development. The merchants of the Ottoman period were divided into two groups; the traveling merchants and the settled merchants. The Bedestans were located in places where permanent merchants were located. The Bedestan also functioned as tax offices where product prices were arranged and exchanges and even taxes were collected. Officially commisioned people who determined the prices and collected the taxes were found in such places. This system allowed for the control of product pricing and black market practices.

The Bedestan formed the core of the markets and bazaars. They were places like today’s shopping malls where almost every type of product could be found. Some of the Bedestans were the centre of certain commercial sections such as silversmiths, silk dealers, carpet stores, spice sellers, herbalists and book shops. Some products such as fruits, vegetables, cereals and salt and other necessary products such firewood and coal were traded at these markets. Besides these businesses there were various manufacturing trades that met other needs, such as the tanning-pits, dyehouses, oil stores, cookery, pottery, needle makers and feed production.

Evliya Çelebi had this to say concerning the Bedestan at Larissa:

"There is a Bedestan in the middle of the city, within the market and the bazaar. It looks like a castle with a stone cupola and four iron gates, as if it is the shelter of the city. There are rich merchants in it and they sell valuable materials and products" (VIII, 1966, p.42).  

The Larissa Bedestan (20.20 mt. x 30.15 mt.) was built on an east-west plan in a rectangular shape. Originally it had six domed sections but the roof has collapsed. It has four gates that close off the 1.5 mt. thick walls. Its internal measurements are 17 mt. x 27 mt. (Kiel, 1990, p.144). The structure was made of cut stone and brick. It can be seen that the upper parts of the walls have been repaired using rubble. These restoration studies were estimated during our examination (Palyoungas II, 2007, p.764- 777).

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