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Evolution of Marketplaces



The way we trade or do business has always been an evolving process throughout the history of human civilisation and has been the main proponent of its existence. It happens through exchange of goods and services where items of value have been utilised as means of income and wealth. The places where these exchanges take place are the Bazaars or the market places which have been featured and well documented in the historical artwork and literature. The contemporary marketplaces and the way we trade has changed considerably and has adapted modern realities of technology and internet.


The traditional market places go back to more than five thousand years in the form of the bazaars which enabled exchange of trade and commerce. According to documentary sources some specific zones were set out for traders within a specific area of the city. Furthermore, these planning structures are the result of not just the weather conditions but the culture itself. Such planning structure quickly spread across market places of the Middle East and all the way to wider Persia and into Europe.


Typically, in the middle east, stalls were arranged on either side of a long strip of walkway and was covered with roof to protect the products, traders and the customers from the scorching heat. The Bazaar of ‘Tabriz’ is a good example of this narrative, which stretches 1.5 km long making it the longest vaulted bazaar in the world. On the other hand, European markets were sluggish, informal and unregulated for many years which eventually made way for a universally chartered market in 12th century. Many historians have noted that these marketplaces were more centralised rather than linear in planning. Unlike both these types of markets, Asian markets were largely dependent on weather, and the time of the day, where fresh stalk was made available in the morning markets such as agrarian products and night markets were for all the other products which were not dependent on weather. According to Greek Historian Herodotus, Egyptian marketplaces were dominant by female traders and men remained at home to wove cloth.


The way an evolution of the marketplaces and its architectural significance represent the socio-economic structure of that time. These marketplaces have become important features of day to day life of all the citizens right from the beginning of time, some five thousand years ago. They become vital element of human life as they provide basic necessities like food shelter and jobs. Thus, it is of paramount importance to recognise the historical value of markets and how they have been moulded relative to the area of the world in question.

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