Kırkkaşık Bedesten, literally translated as the Bazaar of Forty Spoons, is a covered market in Tarsus. Its history is closely related to the Grand Mosque of Tarsus, standing next to it. The bedesten is not only a historical attraction to the tourists who visit Tarsus, but it also plays a commercial role as a famous shopping centre.
The bedesten was erected in 1579 as a religious fundation (tr. vakıf), i.e. a charitable endowment under Islamic law. The founder was İbrahim Bey, the governor of Tarsus from the Radamanid dynasty. He also sponsored the Grand Mosque.
Initially, the building served as a hospice for travellers, a soup kitchen for the poor, and a religious school (a medrese). It only started to function as a covered bazaar in the 20thcentury. In the years 1960-1961, it was thoroughly renovated and transformed into a bazaar, run by the religious fundation.
The municipality of Tarsus leased the bazaar from the Directorate of Religious Fundations and restored it in 2004. The rooms of the bedesten were then rented to the local entrepreneurs to support the socio-economic and cultural development of the town. The first customers entered the bazaar on the 7th of March, 2007.
The bedesten was erected on a rectangular plan. It has the area of approximately 600 square meters. Cut stone blocks were used as the construction material. There are two gates covered with barrel vaults, located on the eastern and the western sides of the building. The roof of the bazaar consists of five small domes. Two more domes, of even smaller size, are located on both sides of the western portal. There are 21 rooms inside the bedesten.
In the past, the building was known as the White Bedesten. Its current name - the Bazaar of Forty Spoons - is the result of a misunderstanding. There are carved lotus flowers on the portico of the building. For the eyes unacquainted with art, they look very similar to spoons.
The entrance to the bazaar is free of charge. The shops that operate there offer cheap souvenirs but also locally produced foodstuffs, handicrafts and ceramics.
The bedesten stands to the north-west of the Grand Mosque, on Sayman Street, in Nur district of Tarsus.