Istanbul Arts Bazaar is located in the historical Sultanahmet Square, in the Cedid Mehmed Efendi Madrasa next to the Yesil Ev Hotel. During the restoration of the hotel, by the Turing and Automobile Association of Turkey, the derelict Cedid Mehmed Efendi Madrasa was restored and transformed into a bazaar where traditional handicrafts were promoted without losing its classical style. The bazaar, where a different art is performed in each room, has been opened to visitors as the culture and art center of the region, and has been a frequent destination for foreign guests.
Cedid Mehmed Efendi Madrasa hosts the Istanbul Arts Bazaar, which has been operating since 1987. Unfortunately, there is not enough information about the madrasa or its builder. The construction technique of the madrasah gives the impression that it was built in the 18th century. Although the lack of an inscription makes it impossible to date, the fact that the name Cedid Mehmed Efendi was not found in the Sicil-i Osmani records suggests that this person was a member of the public. The madrasah was built in a plan with a courtyard. There are 7 shops in the front part of the structure to bring in money. The arched portico surrounding the courtyard carries 9 columns on three sides and there are 12 madrasah rooms behind the portico.
The old records showed that the madrasa had the status of a tedrisat-ı tâliyye (secondary education) and it was closed with the Law of Unification of Education on March 16, 1924. Then, the ownership of the madrasah was tranferred to the Administration of Foundations. After being empty for many years, the rooms were rented out by the Foundations. The building, which became a ruin over time for the homeless, was restored by Touring and turned into a bazaar where our traditional arts are produced. Those arts were on the verge of being forgotten at that time.
Calligraphy, illumination, paper marbling, tile, paper filigree, fabric painting, Turkish art dolls, porcelain painting and handicrafts artists are currently producing works within the Istanbul Arts Bazaar. These artisans, each of whom are competent in their own field, perform their arts in the rooms and present their precious products to the taste of art lovers. The artisans who joined us in the new period and the older artisans of fabric painting, Turkish art dolls, porcelain painting, illumination and handicrafts work by sticking to the classical understanding and style. Located in one of the most central points of Istanbul, Istanbul Arts Bazaar plays an important role in the recognition and spread of our ancient arts all over the world. Touring is doing its part sensitively in bringing these arts, carrying all our cultural codes, to future in the most correct form.
The artists’ works are offered for sale in two internally connected shops in front of the madrasah. For art lovers to relax after visiting our bazaar and have a peaceful time away from the chaotic atmosphere of the city, Istanbul Coffeehouse serves in two shops on the front and in the inner courtyard of the madrasah. Culture books published by Touring can be purchased from the Istanbul Bookstore.