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A Bedestan (or bezistan or bedesten) is a covered market usually for haberdashery and craftsmanship.[1] Bezistans were built in Ottoman Empire and their design is based on the design of the mosques.[2]

A Bedestan, in the most basic definition, is the central building of the commercial part of the town. It has its origins in the Greco-Roman Basilica or Kaiserion, which served a similar purpose[citation needed].

The Bedestan was such an important building that during Ottoman times cities were often classified under two categories, cities with a Bedestan and cities without a Bedestan. [3]


The origin of the word is Arab word bez, which means clothes, linen but also indicating embroidery and other precious items, and Persian suffix istan.[4]

Examples of Bedestens[edit]

Numerous bezistans were built during Ottoman Empire, but not all of them survived. Some of the most notable bezistans are:

Examples of Bedestens in the Balkans.
Bezistan in Thessaloniki, Greece
Bezistan in Serres, Greece - Archaeological Museum of Serres. 
Bezistan - castle in Larissa, Greece
Detail of Bezistan - castle in Larissa, Greece
Entrance of Gazi-Husrev Beg's Bezistan of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Interior of the Gazi-Husrev Beg's Bezistan in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Brusa Bezistan of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.[5] 
Bezistan in Yambol, Bulgaria
Examples of Bedestens in Turkey.
Bezistan in Tekirdag, Turkey
Bezistan in Nigde, Turkey


  1. ^ Khadra Jayyusi, Salma; Renata Holod; Attilio Petruccioli; André Raymond (2008). "The Ottoman cities on the Balkans". The city in the Islamic world. Leiden ; Boston: Brill. p. 149. ISBN 978-90-04-16240-2. Retrieved 3 November 2011. ...bedesten (or bezistan, meaning enclosed market)... 
  2. ^ Norris, H. T. (1993). "Glossary". Islam in the Balkans: religion and society between Europe and the Arab world. London: Hurst. p. xiv. ISBN 978-1-85065-167-3. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  3. ^ Kreiser, Klaus: „Bedesten-Bauten im Osmanischen Reich. Ein vorläufiger Überblick auf Grund der Schriftquellen.“, in: Istanbuler Mitteilungen (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, Abteilung Istanbul) 2, pp.367-400 (Tübingen 1979), reprint in Istanbul und das Osmanische Reich. Derwischwesen, Baugeschichte, Inschriftenkunde. Istanbul: Isis 1995. 286 S. (Analecta Isisiana. 14) pp.61-96.
  4. ^ Zeitschrift für Ethnologie. Springer-Verlag. 1974. p. 226. Retrieved 3 November 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Brusa bezistan (Rustem Pasha bezistan, Small bezistan) with shops, the architectural ensemble". Bosna i Hertegovina - Commission to Preserve National Monuments. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  6. ^ "Gazi Husrev-beg bezistan with shops, the architectural ensemble". Bosna i Hertegovina - Commission to Preserve National Monuments. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  7. ^ "Bitola bezistan (Covered bazaar)". 
  8. ^ Βασίλης Κωστοβασίλης. "Μπεζεστένι Σερρών". τμήμα του άρθρου "Τα Μπεζεστένια - Οι μεγάλες σκεπαστές αγορές", Ελληνικό Πανόραμα Αριθ. τεύχους 30 - 2002, σελ. 102-131. Ιστοσελίδα Κεντρικής Βιβλιοθήκης Σερρών. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  9. ^ Bağışkan, Tuncer (8 November 2014). "Kıbrıs’ta Osmanlı – Türk Eserleri (5)" (in Turkish). Yeni Düzen. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  10. ^ Αλίκη Σαμουηλίδου - Αιμιλία Στεφανίδου-Φωτιάδου (May 1983). "Η Θεσσαλονίκη κατά την Τουρκοκρατία - Τα τουρκικά μνημεία". Περιοδικό Αρχαιολογία 7: 62. 

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