Spice Bazaar

Spice Bazaar information

Istanbul , Turkey
Getting there
tram Eminönü
Opening hours
8am-6pm Mon-Sat, 9am-6pm Sun
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Lonely Planet review

This bustling marketplace was constructed in the 1660s as part of the New Mosque complex, with rents from the shops going to support the upkeep of the mosque and its charitable activities. It was called the Egyptian Market because it was famous for selling goods shipped in from Cairo.

As well as baharat (spices), nuts, honeycomb and olive-oil soaps, the bustling spice bazaar sells truckloads of incir (figs), lokum (Turkish delight) and pestil (fruit pressed into sheets and dried) – try the highly regarded Malatya Pazari (shop 44) if you want to take home some dried fruit or nuts, and Ucuzcular Baharat (shop 51) if you're after spices. Although the number of shops selling tourist trinkets increases annually, this is still a great place to stock up on edible souvenirs, share a few jokes with the vendors and marvel at the well-preserved building. Make sure you visit shop 41, the atmospheric Mehmet Kalmaz Baharatçı, which specialises in henna, potions, lotions and the sultan's very own aphrodisiac. Most of the shops offer vacuum packaging, which makes it easy to take souvenirs home.

On the western side of the market there are outdoor produce stalls selling fresh foodstuffs from all over Anatolia. Also here is Hasırcılar Caddesi, a narrow street selling spices and other goods that are often a fraction of the price of equivalent products in the Spice Bazaar. Lookout for the flagship store of the most famous coffee purveyor in Turkey, Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi , which is on the corner nearest to the bazaar.