A bazaar is a permanently enclosed marketplace or street where goods and services are exchanged or sold. The term originates from the Persian word bāzār,[1] from Middle Persian wāzār,[2] from Old Persian vāčar,[3] from Proto-Indo-Iranian *wahā-čarana.[4] The term bazaar is sometimes also used to refer to the "network of merchants, bankers, and craftsmen" who work in that area. Although the current meaning of the word is believed to have originated in native Zoroastrian Persia, its use has spread and now has been accepted into the vernacular in countries around the world. In Balinese, the word pasar, means market. The capital of Bali province, in Indonesia, is Denpasar, which means North market. Souq is another word used in the Middle East for an open-air marketplace or commercial quarter. Evidence for the existence of bazaars dates to around 3,000 BCE. Although the lack of archaeological evidence has limited detailed studies of the evolution of bazaars, indications suggest that they initially developed outside city walls where they were often associated with servicing the needs of caravanserai. As towns and cities became more populous, these bazaars moved into the city centre and developed in a linear pattern along streets stretching from one city gate to another gate on the opposite side of the city. Over time, these bazaars formed a network of trading centres which allowed for the exchange of produce and information. The rise of large bazaars and stock trading centers in the Muslim world allowed the creation of new capitals and eventually new empires. New and wealthy cities such as Isfahan, Golconda, Samarkand, Cairo, Baghdad, and Timbuktu were founded along trade routes and bazaars. Street markets are the European and North American equivalents. Shopping at a bazaar or market-place remains a central feature of daily life in many Middle-Eastern cities and towns and the bazaar remains the "beating heart" of Middle-Eastern city life. A number of bazaar districts have been listed as World Heritage sites due to their historical and/or architectural significance. Visiting a bazaar or souk has also become a popular tourist pastime.


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