8th International Space Syntax Symposium, Santiago, Chile, 4 - 06 January 2012
Commerce is an ancient economical system that enables establishment of legal and ethical foundations, strengthening of social ties, improving cultural relationships, trading values and technology as well as goods. Trading routes necessitates places for accommodation and rest both for traders and pack animals, horses, camels, oxen and such. For many centuries, caravanserais helped as design solutions for this purpose. However as the stopping places on routes began to act as small trading towns, sarās or hans took over the accommodation service for traders. Although administrative, social, cultural, religious and linguistic distinctions present many functional and semantic variations, having situated on the ancient routes and ports of the Silk Road, cities and states of the west Asia have developed a traditional insight to shopping activity and design that are being preserved in the hearts of these ancient cities. Although there may be predesigned grid or crisscross exceptions, in most cases, traditional Islamic commercial i.e. shopping spaces are built in time, with expansions in relation to the organic pattern of the city and street layouts. In Turkish social system, covered bazaars are usually built as a part of a larger complex including, hamams, soup kitchens, and such as a source of revenue for mosques, religious or charitable trusts known as vakıfs, where the donated assets cannot be turned over to individuals or institutions. In Iranian system however, covered bazaars are built by state authorities or wealthy individuals solely for the purpose of commerce, although the latter may also include mentioned public amenities. On the other hand, unlike Turkish organisations, having a strong political and/or religious demonstration tradition, Iranian covered bazaars act as a reflection of social indicator. This distinction presents formal variations in layout and attributes semantic uses to spaces as well.