Shop at the The Egyptian Bazaar

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A bit of history…

The Egyptian Bazaar, a.k.a The Spice Bazaar and Mısır Çarşısıin Turkish is one of the oldest bazaars in the city – second only to the Grand Bazaar or Kapalıçarşı. Due to the fact that many spices were imported from Egypt during the Ottoman period, the name Mısır Çarşısı was favored by the public. On occasion, the name has been incorrectly translated as “Corn Bazaar” as the word mısır in Turkish means both Egypt and corn. The Egyptian Bazaar was and still is the center for Istanbul’s rich spice trade.

 

Designed by Koca Kasım Ağa, the chief Ottoman court architect, it was later completed by architect Mustafa in 1660. The building itself is part of the complex of the New Mosque (Yeni Cami), with the rents collected from the shops originally intended to help pay for the upkeep of the Mosque.

 

The location…

Located to the right at the southern end of the Galata Bridge on the Golden Horn in the Eminönü district, it is located next to the New Mosque (Yeni Cami).

 

The complex…

The market is L-shaped, 5,000 square meters in size, with six entrances and approximately 100 shops.

 

The shops…

Spices, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, tea, coffee, lokum (Turkish Delights) along with other edibles (deli meats, cheese, caviar, etc.) fill most of the shops, although jewelry, clothing, handbags, souvenirs and other high-end goods are also available.

 

Some recommendatıons…

Arifoğlu was established in 1944. The repertoire of products includes spices, medicinal herbs and shampoos, oils (avocado, bitter almond, jojoba, rosemary, etc.), tea and honey among others.

 

Galeri Set is a gift shop selling handmade replicas of objects (cups, trays, bowls, etc.) from the Ottoman period (16th to 19th century) using the original gold leaf and colors of the period. The Ottoman-style handcrafted Turkish coffee cups are especially beautiful.

 

Güllüoğlu was established in Gaziantep in 1871 and is a major purveyor of baklava, but also carries a variety of other desserts (milk puddings, halvah, etc.). The Güllüoğlu brand is independently managed by three brothers and the branch at the Egyptian Bazaar is not affiliated with the branch in Karaköy. A wide selection of baklava (plain, nuts, carrot, etc.) is available but the favorite here is the chestnut (kestane)baklava.

 

Malatya Pazarı was founded in Malatya in 1932 and carries dried fruit, nut, herbs, spices and regional delicacies (carob, oleaster, mulberry paste) among others.

 

Sufi Art carries a very nice selection of high quality jewelry, artwork, porcelain and more crafted by a variety of Turkish designers, and includes Özlem Tuna’s Turkish coffee cups and trays.

 

The vendors…

The majority of the shopkeepers and their staff can converse with you in almost any language you can think of! Besides English, most can speak French, Russian, Italian and Spanish. Don’t forget, bargaining is ‘par for the course’ at most shops!

 

The neighbors…

When you enter from the main entrance and make your first right at the end of the street next to Malatya Pazarı to exit, the smell of freshly ground Turkish coffee wafting from Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi greets you. As you head right back towards the main square, both sides of the one-block street are covered with cheese shops, fishmongers and butchers. Open since 1901, Pandeli is a landmark and specializes in Turkish and Greek cuisine. Steps from the market is the 20-plus year-old Hamdi Steak House. The 3-story eatery specializes in meats and kebabs and has a lovely view of the Haliç Bay. 

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