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A Wander Through History In Istanbul’s Egyptian Spice Bazaar; Mısır Çarşısı

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We’re going to wander around the historic Egyptian spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı) in this article.

Istanbul has done what it does best and once again pushed itself to the forefront of our minds. That’s what this city does to you.

Mısır Çarşısı (the Egyptian Spice Bazaar)

The Egyptian Spice Bazaar is probably Istanbul’s most famous historic trading centre after Kapalı Çarşısı (the Grand Bazaar), and it comes in for just as much stick for being ‘touristy.’

Egyptian Spice Bazaar, Mısır Çarşısı
The Egyptian Spice Bazaar was reopened in 2018 after restoration

Last October, we decided to give it another go and decided that touristy it most definitely is, but that’s no reason to ignore it when you’re in Istanbul.

Yeni Camii

Built in 1664, Mısır Çarşısı is an L-shaped ornate construction whose main entrance sits right next to Yeni Camii .

There’s no grand sign to announce its presence and, with the crowds of people to-ing and fro-ing and the fact that there’s a huge mosque demanding your attention, the entrance is easy to miss if you’re just passing by and aren’t familiar with the area.

Istanbul Spice Bazaar Souvenirs
No shortage of (Turkish) viagra for sale in Turkey

We’re in the Eminönü area – one of our favourite areas in Istanbul.

Those looking to do traditional Turkish souvenir shopping can get all the classics from the Egyptian Spice Bazaar: Turkish tea, macun, Turkish Delight, fabrics and, of course, spices.


Nothing special there, so what is it that makes the Egyptian Spice Bazaar so appealing?

Soap Souvenirs, Spice Bazaar
Natural, handmade soaps are increasingly popular in Turkey

The 1664 construction date is the give away here.

As shopping centres go, the Egyptian Spice Bazaar is both historic and aesthetically pleasing.

We love walking through here. We’ve never bought anything (although the natural soaps above were a bit of a temptation).

We just enjoy the experience of passing under hundreds of years old vaulted ceilings, breathing in the jumble of aromas.

Turkish Sucuk
Very tempting cured meats for sale

If ‘touristy’ isn’t your thing, ignore the camera lenses and the ‘hello, yes please,’ of the traders.

Enjoy the history, the intricate paintwork on walls and ceilings…but, oh, how mouth-watering does all this sausage, sucuk and pastırma look?

If we were staying in an apartment in Istanbul, as we did in Izmir, even we would have parted with some cash at this shop.

Dried Aubergines
Strings of dried aubergines and other vegetables tempt the buyer

Keeping one’s eyes looking straight ahead in Mısır Çarşısı is no easy task.

Colourful mosaic lanterns, cured meats, sun dried tomatoes, chillies and dried, hollowed out aubergines hang along your route towards your exit.

Hasırcılar Kapısı

Ignore all this and you can march through the main entrance by Yeni Camii and exit the other side at Hasırcılar Kapısı in around five minutes. But what a waste that would be.

Because there’s nothing overwhelming about the size of the Egyptian Spice Bazaar. You’re not going to get lost in a maze of covered streets.

Take it as it is, enjoy the experience, and then emerge into the world of crowded streets that hug the exterior walls of this fine building.

These are the streets where you’ll find alternative Istanbul souvenirs. And where you’ll join the queue to buy fine Turkish coffee from the famous Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi.

These are the streets that sell all manner of household goods and where you’ll pick up good, cheap street food.

We use Mısır Çarşısı as our historic thoroughfare to get to these streets and this is where our Istanbul shopping expedition begins.

Have you ever been to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar? What did you think?

Egyptian Spice Bazaar, Istanbul: Useful Info

  • The Egyptian Spice Bazaar (Mısır Çarşısı) is in Eminönü, next to Yeni Camii (New Mosque). See map below.
  • Entrance is free and it’s open 7 days a week, daytime only.
  • If you’re arriving by Metro, get off at Eminönü. You can’t miss the imposing presence of Yeni Camii.
  • From Taksim and Beyoğlu areas, walk down to Karaköy and cross Galata Bridge. You’ll see Mısır Çarşısı directly ahead of you.

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Turkey's For Life

Friday 2nd of November 2012

@ Erica (Irene): Lucky you, getting loaded up with spices. You'll have to try and arrange a good deal for us next time we go to Mısır Carşısı then we can top up, too. ;)

@ Angela: The Egyptian Spice Bazaar is very attractive isn't it. Think we'll be back shopping in Eminönü as soon as we're back in Istanbul, too. :)


Thursday 1st of November 2012

Great photos, in black and white they are more dramatic. I ADORED this market, should I go back to Istanbul that would be my very first stop.

Erica (Irene)

Thursday 1st of November 2012

This is a great place....I've been several times. So many teas, spices, and fantastic smells and aromas.... my husband's cousin has a spice shop there so he always loads me up when I go to take back with me.Love the black and white.

Turkey's For Life

Thursday 1st of November 2012

@ Alan: And yet again, I've just worked out that you and BacktoBodrum are talking about the same place. Definitely going top have to try it now. :)

@ Jenny: Thanks. Definitely going to go back to the Spice Bazaar to get some good colour photos, too. A shame not to show all the fab spices and lanterns in their full glory. :)

Turkey's For Life

Thursday 1st of November 2012

@ Alan: Heard lots of good things about this place before but never been - it's the 'not cheap' bit that's seen to that. May just go as a treat if we're ever in Istanbul at a time when we're feeling flushed... :)

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