- "Of all Mehmet's accomplishments, I am beginning to think this Bazaar was the finest."
- ―Tarik Barleti to one of his Janissaries, 1511.[src]
Construction and conception
The Grand Bazaar was one of the earliest and most significant projects undertaken by Sultan Mehmet II following his conquest of Constantinople. Its construction began in 1456, and it opened to the public in 1461, offering items such as food, spices, pottery, and fabric.
The Grand Bazaar's close proximity to the Golden Horn waterway to the north provided merchants with easy access to and from ships arriving from all over the world. Its centralized location on the peninsula also ensured that all citizens had reasonable access to its bustling corridors. Located at the heart of the complex is the Old Bedesten, a fortified enclosure built by Mehmet II, originally used by merchants to store precious goods and expensive wares overnight.
Templar and Assassin presence
By 1511, the Grand Bazaar had naturally evolved into a complex labyrinth of vaulted streets and alleys that featured a wealth of different stores, including tailors, blacksmiths and book shops. Piri Reis, Master Assassin and cartographer, also possessed a small studio located in the bazaar. He first met with fellow Assassin Ezio Auditore da Firenze there, who was in need of directions to the old Polo trading post, and the two shared introductions before ending their succinct conversation.
Over the course of the year 1511, Ezio made many trips to the Grand Bazaar, with the first resulting in Piri Reis teaching the Italian Assassin Mentor how to utilize eight specific bombs. Convening in Piri's concealed shop, the cartographer provided Ezio with the bombs and instructed him on how to use each of the devices.
Also during that same year, Ezio visited the market again to spy on the Janissaries and their captain, Tarik Barleti. The Assassin briefly conversed with a rug merchant who informed him that the Janissaries had confiscated a large portion of his stock. Once he departed from the merchant's stall, Ezio covertly pursued Tarik through the market and tailed him as he made his way around the city, ultimately arriving at the city harbor.
Later on, Ezio pursued a thief, who had stolen a valuable portrait from a local book store, on behalf of his friend, Sofia Sartor. He ultimately caught up with the thief and interrogated him harshly, demanding to know the state of the artwork. The thief eventually informed Ezio that he had sold the painting to a merchant in the Grand Bazaar, and so the Assassin left for the market.
Upon arriving at the market, Ezio swiftly located the merchant and stole the portrait from the stall while the merchant remained distracted, who attempted to sell the art piece to passing citizens. Having recovered the stolen portrait, Ezio departed from the Grand Bazaar and made his way back to Sofia.
Sometime after, Ezio returned to the bazaar again, with the intention of aiding one of his Assassin apprentices. Ezio discovered his apprentice in a courtyard within the Grand Bazaar, and helped his recruit to fend off the Byzantine guards who were attacking them. With the guards vanquished, Ezio and his apprentice then began to flee from the Grand Bazaar.
However, during their escape the two were ambushed by a Templar vizier, Damat Ali Pasha, and his two guards. The vizier approached Ezio with his men, which allowed the apprentice to make their way behind the Templar, and stealthily assassinate him. With Ali dead, the two Assassins killed the remaining guards and escaped the Grand Bazaar.
- One of Ishak Pasha's memoir pages could be found on the roof of the Old Bedesten.
- Out of the two bedestens the bazaar was initially composed of, only the Old Bedesten had been constructed by the time of Ezio's visit to Constantinople, with the Sandal Bedesten having been built later.
- Upon liberating the nearby Assassin den, Ezio was able to purchase the Grand Bazaar for 42350 akçe.
- As noted in the Assassin's Creed: Revelations artbook, the Grand Bazaar was the largest interior zone in any Assassin's Creed game at the time.