The Spice Bazaar, or Egyptian spice Bazaar, is a sensory “feast” you must experience if you’re on a Mediterranean cruise, and you’re here in Istanbul. In ancient days, “spices” were wealth! This bazaar is a lifetime experience for chefs or history buffs of any degree. It is located next to the Yeni Mosque, a photographer’s favorite.
It’s “all” a Kodak moment so bring your camera and you’re guaranteed some amazing photos. As you enter, you will absorb the cornucopia of scintillating smells, sights, sounds and colors. Compared to its big sister, the Grand Bazaar which has 4,000 shops, the Spice Bazaar has only 88 and thus it’s much easier to navigate and not get lost.
This is a great place to go before hopping on the ferry to cruise the Bosphorus River, which has been famous since antiquity as the “key” trade route amongst all the most powerful cultures. At the time when the Bazaar was built in the 1660’s, an enormous amount of spices came from Egypt and thus the nickname, “Egyptian” Bazaar.
This experience is not to be missed as you’ll have a plethora of shopping choices, from picturesque dried fruits and shelled pistachios, to every type of nut, Turkish Delight, and cheeses. Plus, there are hundreds of bright colored piles of teas and spices, scarves, hand painted bowls, cut glass tea sets, water pipes, carpets, perfumes, oils, jewelry, and more. There are also clothing stalls at the Spice Market and it is a popular place for locals to shop, even though there exist many modern shopping centers nearby.
Same as the Grand Bazaar, bantering back and forth over the price is allowed, assumed, and expected. Nevertheless, there are some places that have fixed prices. Have some fun and just know you will wish you had bought more when you get home and show off your Turkish treasures.
- Most of the places will ship things back home for you.
- Most places take Euros and credit cards.
- Don’t be surprised if you are taken to another shop owner that “does” take credit cards (amazingly, it is usually a “carpet” business).