October 20, 2012

Several Centuries Later the Mısır Çarşısı Still Attracts


Lonely Planet has now listed the Mısır Çarşısı (Spice Bazaar) as number five on its Best Fresh Food Markets List. And just last July the Hagia Sophia made it on to the same organization’s list of the Ten Most Beautiful Buildings in the World. Istanbul is moving up in the world. Was it the spice trade that first promoted international trade as some would speculate or was it some other commodity?

Istanbul’s Mısır Çarşısı is in Eminönü, located today across the shore road from the ferryboat landings used for travel between the European and Asian sides of the city. But centuries ago it was cargo ships that tied up in this area to debouch their cargos of grain and spices. The Byzantines did the same and even had a market here called the Makron Envalos. The Romans and others who came here before the Byzantines probably also used the area for trade as well.

Certainly the whole of the area is covered in Byzantine remains, although you’d never know it today. Maritime trade was carried out by Genoese and Venetian ships, plying their trade between the Black Sea and their home cities in present-day Italy. Istanbul was a logical place to stop before going on to the Mediterranean.

Read more on Hurriyet Daily News: Several Centuries Later the Mısır Çarşısı Still Attracts

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