The spice market in Istanbul is the second biggest covered bazaar in Turkey, and quite possibly the biggest spice market in the world. According to historical records, it was first called the “New Market” but was later changed to the “Egyptian Bazaar” since it was financed using revenue from Egypt.
The bazaar was essentially a part of the “New Mosque” and rent collected from the numerous traders was originally meant to pay for the mosque’s upkeep. Visit this fascinating bazaar and so many other amazing attractions with one of our expertly designed Egypt and Turkey Tours.
The Spice Capital Of Turkey
Spice traders from all over the region would travel to the spice market in Istanbul to buy; sell and trade various spices. In fact, the market was even an essential venue for traders from further afield. Traders and brokers from Europe would also visit, and lively haggling was the order of the day.
Even to this day, the spice market in Istanbul continues to be the spice capital of Turkey. Unfortunately however, an ever increasing number of shops are slowly but surely being taken over by merchants selling goods and commodities other than spices.
Despite this gradual transition, anyone who visits the market will still be greeted by countless spice traders selling every spice imaginable, including a hoard of spices which most people have never even heard of. Wherever you cast your gaze, you’ll see sacks of spices so full, that the contents are overflowing onto the floor.
Whether you intend buying anything at the Spice Bazaar or not, the venue is definitely worth visiting. It is alive; it has so much character, and it is without out question the most aromatic of all Turkey tourist attractions.
Visiting The Spice Market In Istanbul
Most tourists visiting Turkey find themselves spoiled for choice as far as culinary delights are concerned. Just like any large cosmopolitan city, Istanbul is awash with restaurants catering to all tastes. However, if you visit a strange new country, why not sample that country’s cuisine? Many visitors do try Turkish dishes when they visit the country, and many fall in love with the massive variety on offer.
If you are an adventurous foodie, then you’ll well and truly love the spice market in Istanbul, and might even find yourself having to pay an extra baggage surcharge when you board your flight back home. After all, many of the spices you’ll see at the market are most like not available in your own country, so it’s worthwhile stocking up while you have the opportunity.
All of our Egypt and Turkey Tours are fully customizable, so even if the bazaar is not featured in your preferred tour itinerary, we can easily add it in if you request that we do.
Under The High Domes
When you enter the bazaar, it’s amazing to think that people have being flocking there for the last 350 years, and in that time, not much has really changed at all. A lot of first time visitors are quite surprised when they discover may traders selling stuff that isn’t actually from Turkey.
It’s important to remember however, that the market is not, and never has been a venue for Turkish produce only. This is essentially what makes the market such a fantastic place, in that you can buy goods from all over the world.
You’ll see traders selling Russian caviar; you’ll see traders selling Iranian saffron; you’ll see merchants selling various Chinese teas, and etc. It’s a place where people from all over the world go to, to buy goods from all over the world.
A Few Points To Keep In Mind
If quality and freshness are important to you, then it’s best to buy your spices from vendors selling their spices loose. There are now several shops in the spice market in Istanbul that sell prepackaged spices but freshness and quality is questionable. A variety pack containing a dozen different spices might look nice, and it might seem convenient, but if they were really so good, more locals would buy them as well.
Another good bit of advice is that you should always make sure you can pay for your spices and so on in the local currency. Most vendors at the spice market in Istanbul will be more than happy to accept payment in Euros or even dollars, but it’s going to cost you. To begin with, you won’t get a very good exchange rate, and on top of that, it’s a dead giveaway that you are totally unfamiliar with the setting, which inevitably results in over pricing.
Experience The Top Attractions In Egypt And Turkey
If you would like to experience the spice market in Istanbul, together with countless other fascinating attractions in Istanbul and beyond, please explore our range of Egypt and Turkey Tours. We offer a wide range of package tours catering to all tastes and budget, and we’re also able to customize individual tours to match your own requirements.