Spice Bazaar

A Must-See Place on Every Trip to Istanbul

Spice Bazaar Istanbul

The atmospheric and colorful Spice Bazaar is a must-see place on every trip to Istanbul. It is known as Mısır Çarşısı (Egyptian Bazaar) by the locals, since it was built with the taxes collected from Cairo for the trade of Egyptian products and spices. However, it is commonly known as Spice Bazaar or Spice Market in English.

The historical Spice Bazaar is part of the New Mosque (Yeni Camii) building complex and was built in 1660. Located in the Eminönü quarter of Istanbul, next to the Galata Bridge, it is one of Istanbul's largest and most popular markets, second only to the Grand Bazaar. The building has an „L“-shape and contains a total of 85 shops.

Exploring the History of the Egyptian Spice Bazaar

Egyptian Spice Bazaar

In the year 1660, under the guidance of Chief Architect Mustafa Aga, Hatice Turhan Sultan, the mother of Sultan IV. Mehmet, commissioned the construction of the present-day building. Originally referred to as the „New Market“ or the „Valide Market“ (with „valide“ translating to „mother“ in Turkish), this vibrant marketplace embraced a new identity in the 18th century and became the captivating "Egyptian Bazaar," a name that still resonates today.

The venerable spice market in Istanbul triumphantly survived two significant fire hazards: one in the year 1691 and another in 1940. After facing these challenges, the Istanbul Municipal Administration carefully restored the bazaar from 1940 to 1943, making sure to keep its historical charm intact.

Spice shop in Egyptian Spice Bazaar

The establishment of the bazaar in the 17th century brought together the majority of spice and herb merchants who were previously scattered across various locations in the city. These traders essentially served as the „pharmacists“ of their time. Back then, the remedies crafted in these shops were as significant as the spices themselves, if not even more important.

These old prescriptions were passed down from skilled masters to their apprentices, traversing through generations. Today, the phrase „Spice Bazaar“ evokes visions of exotic culinary delights and a panorama of spices, guiding you into a world of sensory marvels.

What to Buy and What to See at Spice Bazaar?

What to buy in Spice Bazaar

Without considering the Spice Bazaar, we can't even begin to talk about food shopping in Istanbul. Spices from all over Turkey and other Eastern countries are available here in large quantities.

If you enjoy cooking, you will love this place. There are many things to buy at the Spice Bazaar, including nearly every spice you can imagine, such as saffron, cumin, mint, cinnamon, thyme, dried red pepper flakes, and countless other herbs.

In addition to spices, you can find a wide variety of teas, such as Turkish tea (black tea), green tea, apple tea, jasmine tea, rosebud tea, and fruit teas. They also have dried fruits like figs, apricots, kiwis, strawberries, and dates. The famous lokum (Turkish delight) is available in a variety of colors and flavors. You can also find fresh ground Turkish coffee and many other items.

The Spice Market is a popular place for visitors to end their Istanbul trip by shopping for cooking ingredients before leaving. You can also find a wide variety of souvenirs, including porcelain cups, ceramics, glasses, and Turkish coffee pots.

Coffee roaster shop Spice Bazaar Coffee roaster shop Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi (Founded in 1871)

Don't forget to take a walk outside the bazaar. If you go straight ahead from the entrance until you reach the crossing point of the bazaar, then turn right, you'll find a section with cheese sellers who offer some of the finest Turkish varieties you've ever tasted. If you want to get the best Turkish coffee, make sure to stop by Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi, the oldest coffee roaster shop in Istanbul, located across from the Bazaar.

Grand Bazaar vs. Egyptian Bazaar

The Grand Bazaar and the Egyptian Bazaar are two iconic marketplaces that offer distinct cultural experiences in Istanbul. Both are covered markets with hundreds of shops selling a variety of goods, but there are some key differences between the two.

The Grand Bazaar, also known as Kapalıçarşı, stands as one of the oldest and largest covered markets in the world, dating back to the 15th century. Boasting an impressive array of over 4,000 shops, it showcases a wide variety of goods, including textiles, ceramics, jewelry, spices, and more.

In contrast, the Egyptian Bazaar, also called the Spice Bazaar, has a more specialized focus, primarily offering an enchanting selection of aromatic spices, herbs, nuts, Turkish delight, and other delectable treats.

Despite their shared historical and cultural significance, the Grand Bazaar distinguishes itself by accommodating a diverse spectrum of shopping preferences, while the Egyptian Bazaar captivates tourists with its lively and aromatic setting, becoming a paradise for those yearning to savor authentic Turkish delicacies.

Spice Bazaar Location

Spice Bazaar location

The Spice Bazaar is located in Eminönü, near the Yeni Mosque, across from the Eminönü Public Ferries Port.

The simplest way to get to Eminönü is via the Bagcilar-Kabatas tram (T1 line).

The closest tram stop is Eminönü.

How to Get to the Spice Market?

Taksim hotels: Take the funicular to Kabataş (from Taksim Square) or funicular to Karaköy (from Tunel square) and than take the tram (T1 line).
Sultanahmet hotels: Take the tram to Eminönü (T1 line).
Asian side hotels: You may take the public ferries to Eminönü.

Spice Bazaar Contact Details

Address: Mısır Çarşısı No.: 92, Eminönü, Fatih, Istanbul - Turkey
Tel: +90 212 513 65 97

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