The Spice Market (Egyptian Spice Bazaar), Istanbul: Tips

The Egyptian Spice Bazaar, also known as the Spice Market or Misir Carsisi in Turkish, is one of Istanbul’s oldest and most popular bazaars. It is located in the Eminonu district of Istanbul, near the New Mosque and the Galata Bridge. One of the best places for shopping in Istanbul.

Fast Facts about Spice Market

  • The Spice Market, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar, is one of the oldest bazaars in Istanbul.
  • The market is located in the Eminonu neighborhood of Istanbul, near the Galata Bridge and the Golden Horn.
  • The Spice Market was built in the 17th century and was originally used as a part of the New Mosque complex.
  • Today, the Spice Market is a bustling marketplace where locals and tourists can find a variety of spices, herbs, teas, sweets, and souvenirs.
  • The market is particularly known for its exotic spices, including saffron, sumac, cumin, and paprika.
  • The Spice Market is open seven days a week, from early in the morning until late at night.
  • The market is easily accessible by public transportation, including buses, trams, and ferries.
  • In addition to spices, the market also offers a wide range of other products, including Turkish delight, dried fruits, nuts, and oils.
  • Visitors  can also enjoy traditional Turkish coffee and tea at one of the many cafes and shops located throughout the market.

Quick History

The Spice Bazaar was built in the 1660s as part of the New Mosque complex, which was commissioned by Sultan Mehmed IV. Its purpose was to provide income for the mosque’s upkeep and to help support the city’s poor. In the past, this place used to be a huge shopping center where products from all over the world meet with buyers. Later on, it took its current name due to the sale of products brought from Egypt.

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The bazaar was established as a center for the trade of exotic spices, herbs, and other goods brought to Istanbul from all over the world, particularly from India and the Far East. The market was a vital part of the city’s economy during the Ottoman period and continues to be an important trading hub to this day.

Over the years, the Spice Bazaar has been destroyed by fires and earthquakes and rebuilt several times. The current building dates back to the mid-1800s and features a distinctive L-shaped design with over 80 shops selling spices, tea, Turkish delight, and other traditional products.

Today, it continues to be an important hub for local traders and tourists alike, with a wide variety of spices, dried fruits, nuts, teas, and other Turkish delicacies on offer. Visitors can wander through the colorful stalls, inhale the fragrant aromas, and sample some of the market’s unique offerings.

What to Expect?

Spice Market is divided into two main sections, the indoor and outdoor bazaar. The indoor section is housed in an L-shaped building and has a high vaulted ceiling with 88 domes. It is home to more than 80 shops, offering a wide range of spices, Turkish sweets, and other traditional products.

Beautiful woman shows dried herbs or flowers while standing in front of a spice stall sold on stall in Egypt Bazaar in Eminonu,Istanbul,Turkey

The outdoor bazaar is a covered area with dozens of stalls selling everything from Turkish ceramics to souvenirs.

Spice Market is open every day from 8:00 am to 7:00 pm, except for national holidays. It is a popular destination for tourists, so it can get crowded, especially on weekends. Visitors are advised to haggle for prices and to be wary of scams and pickpockets.

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