The Egyptian (Spice) Bazaar in Istanbul
The Egyptian Bazaar is the place in Istanbul to find a fresh supply of incredible spices. Due to its extensive range of spices, it is also affectionately known as the Spice Bazaar. You will find more than just a few herbs and spices at the bazaar, however. Vendors sell items such as nuts, dried figs, honeycomb, and the pride of Istanbul, Turkish delight. The range of items is so large that caviar and Turkish cheeses are also available to buy.
Here, in Mısır Çarşısı, you can feel the atmosphere of history and old times. There are also small and crowded streets near bazaar with a lot of interesting things to buy — traditional turkish coffee and coffepot to make it, kitchenware and etc.
Let’s explore Egyptian Bazaar — Mısır Çarşsi with IstanbulPoints.com
Egyptian Bazaar History
The bazaar was constructed in 1664. It was built as an extension to the New Mosque, also known as Yeni Camii, complex. The money the Egyptian Bazaar made provided support for the upkeep of the New Mosque. The bazaar’s revenue also helped the mosque’s philanthropic endeavors such as its school, hospital and baths.
The market was named Mısır Çarşısı which translates to Egyptian Market. The name was given to the bazaar because it was constructed with the funds paid as duty on imports from Egypt. Istanbul was situated directly on the trade route between Europe and the East. Each year, the “Cairo caravan” would stop off with a load of spices sent from Egypt.
Egyptian Bazaar: What to Buy?
The aromas of the spices, nuts, and other food items can be overwhelming. Your senses will be sent on overdrive once you enter the market. In the beginning, the bazaar’s stalls only sold herbs and spices. Over time, more items such as honeycomb, nuts, dried figs, Turkish delight, and vegetables were added by sellers.
Today, there are more than 90 stalls and shops to explore. Some of the items you should definitely buy are Iranian caviar, smoked beef, and Turkish cheeses. These are some of the most delicious items for sale and are very different than the herbs and spices sold by vendors.
Unfortunately, many of the stalls now sell basic tourist items of low quality. You will find plenty of these stores which no longer trade in the traditional spices and food items of the Egyptian Bazaar.
There some lifehacks about shopping at Egyptian Bazaar and near:
- There are some local markets at the back side of bazaar, their names are Rüstem Paşa and Tahtakale. The streets of Rüstem Paşa market begin from back side of bazaar and strech until the Rüstem Paşa Mosque. Here you can buy cheap kitchenware things, coffepots for prepare turkish coffee, houshold goods and etc.
- For those who prefer shopping extreme as overcrowded streets and real atmosphere of cheap markets we recommend you to go to Tahtakale. To reach this area you should go out from Egyptian Bazaar’s back door and reach the famous street shop with turkish coffee — Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi. All the streets located near this shop and which are going higher to the hill — all of them belongs to Tahtakale market. The area of the market covers the streets untill the Valide Han.
Egyptian Market: Facts
The market underwent extensive renovations and reopened in 2018. Its upgrades have made it even more of a tourist attraction. Since the upgrade, more high-market shops have moved in. You will now find jewelry stores in the bazaar amongst other stores. Still, there are plenty of shops selling tourist trinkets if that is what you want to buy.
After strolling through the bazaar, you can explore the surrounding streets of the market. There, you will find even more shops and markets on the periphery of the Egyptian Bazaar. Hasırcılar Caddesi is a narrow street running west from the market building. It is a colorful place to explore with more shops selling snacks, herbs and spices, and housewares. Walk westward along Hasircilar and you will find the Rüstem Pasha Mosque. It is one of city’s finest small-scale architectural delights.
Egyptian Bazaar Opening Hours
The Egyptian Bazaar is located in the Eminonu quarter in the Fatih District. It is situated directly behind the New Mosque. The bazaar opens from Monday to Saturday 08:00 to 19:00. It is closed on religious and public holidays. The market opens on Sundays from 09:30 — 19:00.
Like everywhere in the crowded places, be carefool with your belongings! Put your smartphones and money at the bag so you can see it. Don’t use rucksacks, but if you do — wear it in the front