Unconventional Carols

By Şule Bilgin | December 22, 2011

“The Closing Ceremony Concert of the Grand Bazaar’s 550th Anniversary Year”
Tuluyhan Uğurlu
25 December, 2011, 15:30
Grand Bazaar, İstanbul

Pedro- “... In the entire city, the most spectacular building is the Bezistan...a covered bazaar... with holes on its dome and with stone and lime walls which protect against fires... All the jewelers are gathered in this place; delicate works of silk, gold, silver and jewelry.... Mata- Do the shopkeepers have their houses there, as well? Pedro- If it was so, they would have to build a whole city inside the bazaar; all the tradesmen have a shop of their own there and that’s all. .. the whole business of Ottoman imperial trade is debated here. No matter what hour of the day, it is harder to pass through those streets than to break through an army, to be able to pass, you have to walk edgeways; even in the severest weather, you wouldn’t get cold there.

That is how the chronicles of a Spanish captive in Ottoman Istanbul described the Grand Bazaar in 1552. And well said, Pedro. The Grand Bazaar is still one of the most spectacular buildings in Istanbul, if not the World. The ‘Bezistan’ that he mentions is now only an inner part of the Bazaar. With time many other streets and buildings were added and today the Kapalıçarşı covers an area of 45.000 m2 with 64 streets and 3600 shops. Even with approximately 150 shopping malls all around Istanbul, the Grand Bazaar is still the city's biggest shopping centre and it is incomparable to any other in terms of history, culture and tradition. In the past there were artisans of Latin origin, Armenians, Jews, Greeks, and Syriacs all trading here.

On December 25th the Grand Bazaar is to host an event that celebrates the multi-cultural treasure it has been holding for centuries, and also its own 550th anniversary: the Closing Ceremony Concert – a great finale to several other anniversary events which have taken place here during 2011. For the main event, Turkish pianist Tuluyhan Uğurlu will perform a collection of pieces from his album Istanbul Until The End of Time on Kalpakçılar Caddesi, the main Street of the Bazaar. In keeping with the multi-cultural make-up of the bazaar, Uğurlu will accompany Christian chants - sang by the tenor Adruşan Kirkor Halaçyan - and Jewish chants to be played by Yako Taragano Ensemble. Representing Islamic culture, the great voice of Hafız Aziz Mahmut Hardal will reverberate throughout the domes of the Grand Bazaar with his performance of Sala.

Surely an unconventional but interesting way to spend Christmas Day in Istanbul…

On the day of the concert, entrance will only be permitted from the “Nuruosmaniye Gate”. Prior to the performance, food and drinks will be offered. Tickets from Biletix.


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