The Turkish Bazaar, Lipova

Lipova (Hungarian: Lippa, German: Lippa, Serbian: Lipova, Turkish: Lipva) is a town in Romania, Arad County, located in the Banat region of western Transylvania. It is situated at a distance of 34 km from the Arad and it consists of two rural settlements called Radna and Şoimoş, its total surface is 134,6 square km.

The first written record of the town dates back to 1314 under the name Lipva. In 1324 the settlement was mentioned as castellanus de Lypua, a place-name that reflects its reinforced character of that time. Situated at the crossing of the roads leading to Transylvania, Banat and Ţara Românească, Lipova had a history full of vicissitudes. It was situated strategically at the Mureş River's exit from the defile, and consequently it was an extremely enviable centre. After the Tartar invasion in 1241 the fortresses were rebuilt, and the lines of the future urban settlement started to get contoured around the castle. Due to the continuous disputes, the town has became two times under Turk administration (between 1552-1595 and between 1613-1716), and starting with 1716 it became under Habsburg domination. In the 18th-19th centuries Lipova was a well-developed economic centre with famous craftsmen working here. In the period of the revolution in 1848-49 and in the beginning of the 20th century Lipova became an important centre of political and national emancipation.

The Turkish Bazaar is perhaps the most important and interesting monument, a true emblem of Lipova. It lasts from the second phase of Ottoman rule (1613-1716), and its construction began in 1637. Its imposing proportions confirm the data in documents about the intense exchange that took place here between merchants coming from the three Romanian countries and from central Europe. The Bazaar, as it survived until today, kept its original shape, with a large facade guarded by eight massive cylindrical pillars connected by arches. In the center of the facade there is a triangular frontispiece, decorated with five ceramic discs with figures, probably added later. Behind the columns there is a wide passage, where merchants, according to Eastern traditions, exposing the merchandise to reach buyers. The rooms of the Bazaar have been transformed and adapted to other requirements during time. Under the Bazaar is a huge basement, originally used for storage.

The Turkish Bazaar is listed in the catalog of the Ottoman monuments in the world and is unique in Romania.

Photos: CiMEc, Wikipedia.