The Spice Bazaar is one of the most exotic attractions of Istanbul. It was constructed in
1664 as part of the New Mosque complex. The market acquired its name “Egyptian Bazaar” in
the 18th century, it is so called because most of the goods on sale used to come from or
through Egypt. The Spice Bazaar still retains that Arabian Nights atmosphere; shady streets,
spices, vendors calling to their goods, oriental perfume oils… Not something you experience
in any other European city, or perhaps in any city in the world, for that matter. The Egyptian
Bazaar is situated in Eminonu, right next to the Yeni Cami (the New Mosque), it can easily be
reached from anywhere in Istanbul. It is open everyday.
The Bazaar was originally called Valide (Sultana) Bazaar since it was commissioned by Safiye Sultan (mother of Sultan Mehmet III) in 1663. And then it was started to be called Egyptian Bazaar, as mostly the products from Egypt were sold here. Having been devastated by the fires in 1691 and 1940, the Bazaar was restored by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and reached its current condition. The Spice Bazaar, second largest covered bazaar in Istanbul has six gates all of which are not used today. The shops in the bazaar sell spices, traditional appetizers and souvenirs.