Büyük Valide Han

Istanbul, Turkey

Büyük Valide Han

The Büyük Valide Han (Turkish: Büyük Valide Han, lit. 'great inn of the sultan's mother') is the largest historic han (caravanserai) in Istanbul, Turkey. It was founded in 1651 by Kösem Valide Sultan, the mother of the Ottoman sultans Murat IV and Ibrahim.

The han is located in the central historic market district that extends from the Grand Bazaar to the Eminönü neighbourhood on the shore of the Golden Horn. Since the founding of the first bedesten by Mehmet II in the mid-15th century, the Grand Bazaar developed into the city's main hub of international trade, spawning entire districts of shops, warehouses, and merchant lodgings. A han, a type of urban caravanserai, was a common type of commercial structure in Ottoman architecture (and more broadly in Islamic-world architecture) which served a number of functions including lodging for foreign merchants, storage for goods or merchandise, housing for artisan workshops, and offices from which to conduct dealings. A number of hans were built over the centuries in and around the Grand Bazaar district.

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