Bezesteni

Within the commercial centre of the city, between the streets Ermou Ionos Dragoumi Egnatia M.Yennadeiou Karolou Diel, there are three market complexes which have represented indispensable focal points in the commercial life of the city for many decades, if not centuries. There is ample evidence to convince us of the presence of markets on this site since the time of Turkish rule, probably of the kind familiar in other mediaeval eastern states. The area of the main market began at Egnatia Street, then known as ‘Broad Street’, and extended as far as the southern side of the Church of Aghios Minas. To the east, it was bounded by the district extending from Panayia Halkeon to the market baths (Komninon St. V. Irakleiou St.) and to the west by the avenue known as Yali Kapsi (Seafront Gate). It was within the narrow streets and alleys of this quarter that most of the city’s commercial activity took place. At the heart of the district stood the Flour Market (Un Kapani), which is mentioned in the older Turkish records as Kapani Galle or the Kapani, a name still used by local people to refer to the market. But from the early 20th century it ceased to function as a flour market and began to sell all sorts of goods: lime from Asvestohori, tin and earthenware vessels, rice and pulses, meat and seafood. The little square in the centre of the Vlali market was occupied by stalls selling pets and other animals like sheep and chickens. Following the fire of 1917, and the new layout of street blocks in the market area, a programme was drawn up in October 1923 to sell off small lots and create new markets in which rules would be laid down for the various types of stores and goods to be sold in particular areas. These rules have remained in effect to the present day.

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