Spice Bazaar is located in Eminonu, in the heart of Istanbul’s Old City. Eminonu is one of the transportation hubs of Istanbul and therefore it is crowded with people all day long.
You can go to popular districts such as Kadikoy and Uskudar on the Asian side by ferry from Eminonu. In addition, you can take a Bosphorus cruise with the Turyol ferries on the Eminonu coast.
Street food tours in Istanbul have been focusing on Eminonu and Sirkeci in recent years. These districts, where the oldest local restaurants and dessert shops of the city are located, offer visitors a historical atmosphere and traditional food places together.
Spice Bazaar Shopping Tips
Spice Bazaar is one of the most important historical shopping places in Istanbul. As a local tour guide, in this article I tried to give you useful shopping tips on your visit to Spice Bazaar.
As a place located right in the middle of Eminonu, Spice Bazaar offers various opportunities to its visitors. It is possible to shop, visit historical monuments and eat great food in and around Spice Bazaar.
Istanbul half-day tour options are available on the home page of this site. The most popular among them is the Old City Tour. When you examine the program of this tour, you will see that the last stop is Spice Bazaar.
After seeing historical sites such as the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia and Basilica Cistern, it is very nice to take a walk to Spice Bazaar and get to know the best traditional restaurants of the city on the way.
History of the Spice Bazaar
The history of Spice Bazaar goes back to the 17th century. This bazaar was built in 1664 as part of the New Mosque complex. In the Ottoman period, only spices were sold in it.
The bazaar is known locally as the Egyptian Bazaar. The reason for this was that spices from Asia came to Egypt via caravans during the Ottoman period. Then spices were brought from Egypt to Istanbul by ship.
Traditional Silk Road and Spice Road trade was under the control of the Ottoman Empire for many years. Since Egypt was also an Ottoman province, it functioned as a distribution point.
Spices brought to Istanbul were distributed to the whole city through the Spice Bazaar. Spices were also exported to Europe from the Port of Constantinople, just as in Byzantine times.
Things to Do around Spice Bazaar 2022
Things to do around Spice Bazaar include visiting historical mosques, eating at Hocapasa restaurants, and walking across the Galata Bridge to the opposite side of the Golden Horn.
1. New Mosque
The New Mosque (aka New Mosque) is located right next to the Spice Bazaar. When a mosque was built in the Ottoman period, a bazaar was built next to it. Rental income from the bazaar was used for the restoration of the mosque.
One of the landmarks of the big square in Eminonu is the New Mosque. When you say Eminonu, Istanbulites think of the square in front of the mosque and the bazaar, and the flying pigeons.
Famous Turkish photographer Ara Guler has a beautiful photograph that depicts exactly the scene I have described. You can visit Ara Guler’s recently opened museum in Bomonti in Sisli. So you can see what life was like in Istanbul in the 50s and 60s.
2. Mahmutpasa Bazaar
After having a shopping experience at Spice Bazaar, you can also visit the local public markets around it. For example, Mahmutpasa Bazaar, which lies between Spice Bazaar and Grand Bazaar, is a very good example of this.
Mahmutpasa Bazaar is located on a sloping road and is one of the most popular shopping spots in Istanbul. Istanbulites usually come here to shop for cheap clothing.
3. Rustem Pasha Mosque
Rustem Pasha Mosque is one of the relatively little-known but most beautiful mosques in Istanbul. The mosque, which houses the most distinguished Iznik tiles from the Ottoman period, was chosen as one of the 100 hidden gems of the world by Newsweek magazine.
Rustem Pasha Mosque was built by Mimar Sinan, the most prolific architect of the Ottoman Empire. As a person who lived during the peak period of the empire, Mimar Sinan also built the largest mosque in the city, the Suleymaniye Mosque.
4. Hocapasa Street
Hocapasa Street is famous for its local restaurants. There is a shop here that represents each and every one of Istanbul’s street foods. For example, you can find delicacies such as doner kebab, pide, cag kebab and Turkish meatballs here.
Hocapasa Street is also home to Hodjapasha Cultural Center. It is possible to watch the best whirling dervish show of Istanbul here. In fact, it is possible to see an equivalent show at the Galata Mevlevi House Museum in Taksim.
5. Galata Bridge
Galata Bridge is the oldest and most famous of the bridges over the Golden Horn. It is very pleasant to pass by Beyoglu (Modern Istanbul) on foot from here. So you can take pictures of the fishermen on the bridge.
Galata Bridge is located at the junction of Golden Horn and Bosphorus and connects Istanbul Old City and Beyoglu (New Town).
When you cross the Galata Bridge with the Spice Bazaar behind you, you arrive at the Karakoy district. Karakoy is also the district where the Istanbul Cruise Port is located.
It is possible to reach popular tourist destinations such as Tophane, Cihangir, Galata, Istiklal Street and Taksim Square from Karakoy. You can also go to the famous Galata Tower by walking from Karakoy.
Spice Bazaar Opening Hours 2022
Spice Bazaar opening hours are from 09:00 in the morning to 7:00 in the evening for 2022. The bazaar is open to visitors every day.
Only religious holidays are exceptions. Spice Bazaar may be closed on the first days of Eid-al-Fitr and Eid-al-Adha.
In conclusion, Spice Bazaar is a must-visit place for those who are going to visit Istanbul. What this bazaar has to offer is much more than just shopping.
Where Spice Bazaar is located, you can find Istanbul’s best local restaurants and shop at the best dessert shops. For example, Ali Muhittin Hacibekir, the oldest Turkish delight shop in the city, and Hafiz Mustafa, one of the best dessert shops, are also located in the vicinity.
As an Istanbulite, I love spending time around Spice Bazaar. Because it is very enjoyable to eat traditional Turkish food at a point where you can watch the people shopping in the neighborhood.
After lunch, you can go to Brew Coffeeworks, one of the best boutique coffee shops in Istanbul, and drink a nice Turkish coffee while watching the crowds in Eminonu.
Written by Serhat Engul