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Exchange of commodities is one of the fundamental economic activities and requirements of the members of a community or society. In the course of evolution of mankind the methods of exchange developed, from bartering at the stage of hunters and food gatherers to exchange with the help of money and to sophisticated, most modern institutions for buying and selling (shopping centers) in industrialized societies. This publication investigates the example of Istanbul, the city’s career as a merchandising place with a long history. Istanbul’s development of commerce began with traditional Oriental bazaar structures and continued with two waves of innovation, the older one in the 19th century of department stores and shopping arcades and the latest one with modern shopping centers since 1988. With each of these retail agglomerations in a separate city location competition was unavoidable – illustrating today the problem of globalization: The struggle between old and new structures. The Turkish word for shopping center (Turkish: sing. alıÈveriÈş merkezi) has a general meaning, too, lacking the differentiation of several types of new shopping centers in Istanbul since 1988: the American, mall-type shopping center with pedestrian walkways (malls) inside the building and independent shops, the huge hypermarkets (Migros, Carrefour, Metro) with self-service of customers and the specialized centers, offering a limited range of goods, IT-equipment (Media Markt), furniture (Ikea), building material for amateurs (Bauhaus). The change from bazaar to shopping center is, first and foremost, an economic and social phenomenon. In the old bazaar area of Istanbul most of the historical buildings, the covered bazaar streets, the central halls (Turkish: pl. bedestens), even some of the extinct caravanseries and the two near-by mosques still exist – frequented by tourists. But the old functions, the combination of production and selling, the organization of financial transactions, the management of long distance trade, are all gone, moved out to opulent banks and skyscrapers for business adminstration in the commercial centers in the northern Istanbul.