Today we are going to explore one of the most important Hans of İstanbul, the Büyük Valide Han. İt was use to store goods coming off ships anchored in the Golden Horn and as a caravanserai or hotel, for traveling merchants. Now a days there are workshops inside were you can see craftmen working on different materials iron, pottery, lamps, textil among others.
Views of Suleymaniye from the Büyük Valide Han's roof.
To get there you leave the Grand Bazaar via the Mahmutpaşa Gate. You will be able to walk down to the Spice Market along a route that takes you past many of the city's oldets hans. Walk along Mahmutpaşa Yokuşu and then turn left along Tarakçilar Caddesi. At the end you will see the huge Büyük Valide Han.
The Büyük Valide Han's roof.
At the entrance, note the enormous iron-plated doors, which were—and still are—closed at night for security. The han continues to be a working building, occupied mainly by textile wholesalers and small sewing workshops, but visitors are welcome to have a look around.
Büyük Valide Han is a two-storey, three-courtyard type han; and with reference to the settlement area, the largest among the Istanbul hans. İt has an irregular plan, determined by the site’s conditions and the layout of the roads. The uniqueness of the building comes from its three courtyards, a characteristic not observed in Istanbul hans until the 17th century. It has 153 rooms at the first and second courts, and 57 rooms at the third, cumulating to 210 rooms.
Hall at Büyük Valide Han.
Hall at Büyük Valide Han.
In the northwest corner of the Büyük Valide Han, a crumbling old stone staircase leads up to the roof, which offers a fabulous view of the city.
Walking thru the Büyük Valide Han's roof.
If you wish to venture up, find the caretaker, Mehdi Bey (who is usually on the northwest corner of the second floor, near the room where he lives), and offer him a small tip to unlock the door for you. Note that climbing up to the roof is at your own risk, as there aren't any railings on the roof.
Büyük Valide Han roofs.
The han's three courtyards have become very dilapidated, especiallysince the use of the old weaving machines was banned in 2007, but if you can get up there, the view from the roof top is absolutely extraordinary, taking in the Bosphorus, the Golden Horn and much of the Old City.
Views of the Golden Horn from the roof of Büyük Valide Han.
From here you will also be able to examine the adjoining Byzantine Tower of Eirene, which was badly damaged and cut down in size by and earthquake in 1926.
Tower of Eirene from Büyük Valide Han.
Büyük Yeni Han.
The third courtyard of the han used to be called the Sair (Foreigners) Han because it was inhabited by Persians. İts name has now been corrupted to Sağir (Deaf) Han. Deep inside it the remains of what appears to be a Byzantine chapel go completely disregarded.
Workshops inside the hanİn its prime it could accomodate up tp 3,000 traveling traders. There's a Shiite mosque in the center and in the 16th century one of İstanbul's first printing presseses was housed here.
Craftman working pottery.
Window of a workshop.
It was a winter rainy morning and even though the weather was not great, the visit was worth seeing it. I would certainly like to do it again. I hope to see it next time during spring or summer. Mean time I hope you enjoyed this rainy views!
STREET LIFE AND DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHY