After lunch at Pandeli, we went down the stairs to see and smell the Spice Bazaar. The Spice Bazaar (Turkish: Mısır Çarşısı, meaning Egyptian Bazaar) in Istanbul, Turkey is one of the largest bazaars in the city. Located in the Eminönü quarter of the Fatih district, it is the second largest covered shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar. There are several documents suggesting the name of the bazaar was first “New Bazaar”. The building was endowed to the foundation of the New Mosque, and got its name “Egyptian Bazaar” because it was built with the revenues from the Ottoman eyalet of Egypt in 1660. The building itself is part of the külliye (complex) of the New Mosque. The revenues obtained from the rented shops inside the bazaar building were used for the upkeep of the mosque.
Spice Bazaar has a total of 85 shops selling spices, jewelry, souvenirs, dried fruits-nuts and sweets. The opening hours are 9:00 am to 7:00 PM during weekdays and Saturday; from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm on Sundays. Spice Bazaar is closed during religious and public holidays. The market officially opened in 1664, around 70 years after its construction began. Its distinguishing features include its stone walls and floors, as well as its ornate domes and L-shaped design. It is also the second-largest bazaar in Istanbul, consisting of 88 chambers, 21 of which sell gold and copper, 10 sell gifts and luxury goods, four sell clothing, and the remaining 53 sell herbs, spices, nuts, condiments, cheeses, sausages, dried fruits, jams and dried vegetables, which are a specialty of the market. The market also sells beauty products made from natural ingredients, such as henna, natural sponges, oils and rosewater. Moreover, there are many powders that were traditionally used in Turkish baths as a means of purifying the skin and looking after it.
It is mind-boggling to think that life and trade have been bustling under the high domed roof of the Istanbul Spice Market for the past 350 years. A few centuries ago it was a marketplace for goods brought from Egypt (hence the other name of the market – Egyptian Bazaar) that included spices, medicinal herbs, aromatic incenses, fragrant essential oils and of course rose water. With the possibly the same range that dragged merchants of the Western world to buy goods imported from the East back it still attracts city visitors looking for Iranian saffron, Indian curry, Chinese flower tea, Turkish Delight and Russian caviar. Foreigners coming to buy foreign goods, that’s what the Istanbul Spice Market has always been about.
Istanbul Spice Market: http://www.deliciousistanbul.com/blog/2011/03/24/istanbul-spice-market/
FX Cuisine: http://fxcuisine.com/?Display=77