The founding of the Book Bazaar goes back to the 15th century and was intended for the benefit of theological university students. In the 16th century, Istanbul was widely praised for its vast selection of books.
The book market is one of the oldest markets in the city. Once located in the Grand Bazaar, it has been moved to its current location on the site of Chartoprateia, the book and paper market at Byzantium times. At the time, there were a total of 50 shops full of literature and about 300 employees in this bazaar. Only a few meters southwest of the Grand Bazaar lies the so-called “market of book antiquarians” and leads through narrow streets to the Beyazit Mosque. A small square housing a monument of Ibrahim Müteferrika, a Hungarian scholar (1674-1745), is said to commemorate Istanbul’s first Ottoman printing house, which he opened in 1726.
That was very sensational at that time, because until then only manuscripts were sold. The first printed book was published three years later.
Turkish and international literature, used and new, illustrated books as well as calligraphies and religious works are offered here. Miniature books and specialist literature are also available. Those who take their time here can make many interesting and joyful discoveries.
Antoine Galland, for example, who was a writer and interpreter of the French consulate in the 17th century, gave the King of France a miniature writing, which he had acquired from here. Today this book is on display in the Bibliotheque Nationale of Paris.