January 17, 2014

Egyptian ‘Spice Bazaar’ Heats up Istanbul


Founded 350 years ago, the Egyptian market in Istanbul—a hub for trading spices and seasonings between East and West—continues to entice customers.

The market was originally built during the reign of Sultan Murad in 1597, with the aim of raising funds for the “New Mosque”—known as Yeni Valide Camii in Turkish—which still stands near the marketplace. Rental income from the market continues to fund the running of the historic mosque.

The market officially opened in 1664, around 70 years after its construction began. Its distinguishing features include its stone walls and floors, as well as its ornate domes and L-shaped design. It is also the second-largest bazaar in Istanbul, consisting of 88 chambers, 21 of which sell gold and copper, 10 sell gifts and luxury goods, four sell clothing, and the remaining 53 sell herbs, spices, nuts, condiments, cheeses, sausages, dried fruits, jams and dried vegetables, which are a specialty of the market.

The market also sells beauty products made from natural ingredients, such as henna, natural sponges, oils and rosewater. Moreover, there are many powders that were traditionally used in Turkish baths as a means of purifying the skin and looking after it. 

Read more on Asharq Al-Awsat: Egyptian ‘Spice Bazaar’ Heats up Istanbul

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