Spice Bazaar Istanbul, Istanbul Overview

The Spice Bazaar in capital city of Istanbul is one of the largest and most popular bazaars filled with tourists and traders. It is one of the busiest markets having a wide range of spices and other items making it full of color and fragrances. A trip to this historical and beautiful city is incomplete without paying a visit and buying some of the most exotic spices in this market.

The ‘L’ shaped design of the Spice bazaar houses over 85 shops that sell a variety of spices, jewellery, sweets, fried fruits and other souvenir items that not just attract the eyes but noses as well. Turkish Delights are a favourite among all the locals as well as tourists.

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Spice Bazaar Istanbul

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Things to Buy at the Spice Bazaar

Some of the shops and spices that you must pay a visit to are :

1. Saffron

Saffron is pretty cheap as compared to other countries, and an essential flavour in several sweets. The shops sell two types of saffron - turkish and iranian, the turkish one being more popular.

2. Dry fruits

A large number of shops sell dry fruits such as raisins, almonds, cashews and walnuts. Dates, figs and apricots are a specialty of this market. Not only are they used in most of the turkish dishes, but can also be eaten raw for their authentic taste and large amount of nutrients.

3. Fish mixture

There are several types of spices you would see in the shops that are used to marinate the fish. They are quite famous as they give richness and flavour, and also remove any kind of smell.

4. Turkish Delight

If you’ve seen The Chronicles of Narnia and have obsessed about turkish delight, then you have come to the right place. Turkish delights are the most popular sweets in the country, and can be seen in a variety of colours in the spice bazaar.

Tips

  1. Reach as early as possible since it gets very crowded.
  2. Beware of pickpockets and fraud. 
  3. Check the price of each and every item on the internet. 
  4. Some spices may not suit your body and health, hence you should ask either your doctor or the shopkeeper about the nutrient values.
  5. Wear comfortable shoes as you would do a lot of walking.

How to Reach the Spice Bazaar

Take a tram to Eminönü and then walk
Walking distance from Grand Bazaar and it takes about 10-15 mins (1km)

History of the Spice Bazaar, Istanbul

The bazaar was built in 1664 in the New Mosque Complex. In turkish, the market is known as Mısır Çarşıs which translates to Egyptian Bazaar as the revenues from Egypt played an important part in the making of this market. The bazaar acted as a junction for spice trades across the world, and with its gaining popularity several other shops also began to settle down in this area. The cost of rent and revenues were used for the development and charitable works of the Mosque like schools, hospitals and shelter homes. 

The main architects that led to the construction of this world famous markets are Koka Kasim Aga and Mustafa Aga. However, the Great Fire of 1660 severely damaged the infrastructure of the neighbourhood, and it took another several years for renovating the Mosque and other buildings.

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