Mountains of brightly colored powder, various robes, intoxicating aromas, and vendors beckoning customers – this is the Spice Bazaar in the heart of Istanbul!

You’ve probably seen him somewhere, haven’t you?

James Bond had an epic motorcycle chase on it at the opening of Skyfall and it went right through the middle of the Grand Bazaar, which is the market right next to the Spice Bazaar and is one of Istanbul’s top tourist attractions. But make no mistake – the Spice Bazaar is also definitely worth a visit!

For centuries, the Spice Bazaar was a place that sold dried herbs and various plants found nowhere else in the city, as well as holistic remedies for every ailment. Not only spices but also confectionery, textile products, essences, gold, silver, and gift items.

You will not only satisfy your hunger for the exotic but also see and experience the traditional commercial life of Istanbul! A visit to the Egyptian Spice Market – Spice Bazaar is truly one of those experiences where you “smell” the Orient. The market is located in a covered building and next to it in an open area.

The spirit of a place that has been trading for ages awaits you, where Ottoman stone and turquoise tiles decorate the walls and floor as they did hundreds of years ago, views from the windows of the Golden Horn and the voices of muezzins calling to prayer from nearby mosques.

Spice, as a means of transforming our needs into desires, means strength. Enchanting aromas of cinnamon, cumin, saffron, mint, thyme, and all other herbs and spices fill the air even before entering the spice bazaar. The strong smell of the space makes it magical.

For centuries, spices have always been considered an extremely valuable substance originating from unknown parts of the world. Therefore, it has always been associated with the adjectives exotic, expensive, unique, and luxurious, which contributes to its perception as a manifestation of power from the very beginning.

History of the spice market

Serving as a coastal city extending from the Balkans and Europe to the northern Mediterranean and the Arabian Peninsula, Istanbul was on a transit trade route. Products such as silk fabrics, spices, gems, woven goods, and carpets originating from the East and the Arabian Peninsula were collected in Istanbul on their way to Europe.

The Spice Bazaar was like a complex of Ottoman classical style, built near the Yeni Camii, and is a combination of two bazaars. It covers an area of 6,000 m², in the form of an “L”.

Misir Çarsisi (which is its Turkish name) was built in 1663 as part of the adjacent Yeni Mosque complex to raise funds for its upkeep. The Istanbul Spice Market is the second-largest covered bazaar in Turkey and the largest spice market in the world.

In light of the dynamism of the Ottoman Empire in the 16th century, the Spice Bazaar is considered one of the rare representations of female power through an architectural building that created a prominent trade hub and showed the all-powerful position of sultan mothers in the Ottoman Empire.

This market was put into operation at a time when the economic reality changed drastically and the disapproval of such large expenses was expressed as a “shameless display of prestige”, the plots allocated for this monumental complex were among the most valuable plots of Istanbul at that time.

The spice bazaar has 6 gates. All the flavors of Eastern cuisine are showcased by the shops with an excellent sense of color and a beautiful arrangement. The more you explore, the more unusual goods you’re likely to find. In every sense of the word, the definition of “adventurous human soul” is apt at this mystical Egyptian spice bazaar in Istanbul. The Egyptian bazaar had two major fires during its history, but it survived.

What to buy?

In every sense of the word, a tour of the Spice Bazaar is truly beyond amazing. When you visit the spice bazaar, you can easily find yourself carried away by buying an assortment of spices, alternative pain medicines, or aphrodisiac preparations that have been proven for centuries.

This Egyptian spice market is truly a parade of aromas and flavors. Here you will also find all kinds of Turkish sweets (lokum), baklava, teas, Turkish coffee, and dried fruits…

Spice Bazar is primarily a spice/food market, but also sells some souvenirs, as well as soaps, oils, and all kinds of aromatherapy items.

If you feel the call of the spirit of the Orient or just want to buy quality local spices – Spice Bazaar is the right choice for you!