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    Spice Bazaar

    Variety Is the Spice of Life 

    Turn right before the Spice Bazaar and you find yourself walking up the fleet of shops that seems to be a continuation of the marketplace.  

    Once inside the Spice Bazaar, row upon row of stalls and stands and hanging delicacies, covers the spice bazaar that was built in the 17th century and is İstanbul’s fragrant hub for all things tasty. Stacks of pepper, saffron, tea, and dried apricots line up with shops selling colourful Turkish produce. With a few welcoming exchanges with the vendors, you may drink tea and haggle for the perfect price. 

    The Mısır Çarşısı, also known as the Spice Bazaar whilst considerably smaller than the Grand Bazaar, is still nevertheless a feast for the senses. Originally built as part of the New Mosque complex, the bazaar is a popular central place to buy herbs, spices, spice blends, tea, dried fruits, dried meats, and other delicacies. 

    The Spice Bazaar is a must-see for all first-time visitors to İstanbul, especially foodies. Do not be afraid to haggle - it’s tradition and even expected.


    Keeping your eyes straight in Mısır Çarşısı is no easy task. Suspended from ceilings and stall frontages are the colourful mosaic lanterns, cured sausages, dried tomatoes, chillies, and dried, hollowed-out aubergines that line your way to the exit. 

    After the first few shops, the true character of Eminönü becomes apparent. And if your eyes deceive you, just follow the smell of fresh lüfer and turbot. You will see the speciality shops that are the culinary sprawl of Türkiye. If you walk through Eminönü, you will quickly understand the combinations. First, there are the dried fruit and nut sellers, who usually also offer spices. Next, there are the shops that offer a trifecta of excellent Turkish food: varieties of olives, honey, and dairy products, including many kinds of cheese and the unique water buffalo cream known as kaymak. Then there are fishmongers, butchers, coffee roasters, and Turkish sweet shops. In the markets, you can find everything your heart desires, from tea sets and coffee grinders to party favours and fifty different kinds of bags, from burlap to decorated paper. 

    Sampling the tastes of the Spice Bazaar will certainly drive your taste buds wild, many vendors are more than happy to give you a little taste and flavour of their products to entice you further to buy. The overflow of vendors and sellers spills out of the bazaar in a long row, starting in the first street on your right after you walk up the right side of the spice bazaar. Stop at the dairy shops and try a piece of the most famous Turkish cheese, Beyaz Peynir, or white cheese. Also, try an olive or two. Smell the mountains of spices, from cinnamon to red pepper, piled up in huge containers.

    And do not forget the little restaurants scattered along this narrow path and its side streets. Some of the best Turkish masters offer their food on these streets. Here you’ll find rich, cheesy pide, delicious döner sandwiches, and succulent kokoreç.  

    After eating these delicacies, do not forget to cross the street and buy homemade lokum or Turkish Delight from the sweet shops. These colourful gems, covered in icing sugar or coconut, are sweet, tasty, and have an ideal consistency.