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Spices are us.

As I indicated in a previous post, I have done quite a bit in Turkey, albeit, having the flu slowed me down significantly the last few days. Consequently, I haven’t had the time to post about all the places I have been. One of those places I discovered by mistake was the Spice Bazaar, i.e., I went on a long walk, that encompassed part of the Bosphorus shore line and came upon the Bazaar during this walk.

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Stunning views of the Bosphorus strait.

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Seeing this Mosque from the shoreline I was walking, eventually led me to the Spice bazaar.

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Closer view of the New Mosque.

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Inside the courtyard of the New Mosque.

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Another photo of the courtyard of the New Mosque

The Spice Bazaar is located in Fatih, in the Eminonu neighborhood. It is one of the largest bazaars in Istanbul, second to the Grand Bazaar in size. As my photo above indicates, the bazaar began construction in 1597 and wasn’t completed until 1664. According to research I have done, the bazaar is part of the “kulliye of the New Mosque and rents from the shops within are intended for the upkeep of this mosque.”  The Spice Bazaar was designed by the Chief Court Architect, Koca Kasim Aga, but completed by architect Mustaffa in 1664.

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Sign near the Spice Bazaar entrance.

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Sign which provides information about the bazaar, including its other common name, the Egyptian Bazaar.

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I ended up buying pistachios and dried apricots at this stall.

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I love the colors. Safron is an expensive spice that is relatively inexpensive here.

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Herbs and spices. I love the colors.

Today, the bazaar is still the center of the spice trade in Istanbul, despite more and more types of other shops replacing those that once sold spices. Personally, I think this is a mistake, since most of these shops are of the cheap trinket and souvenier variety. The Spice bazaar is an “L” shape building, with 88 vaulted rooms, that are divided into upper and lower stories. Monumental gateways are at the ends of both halls, with chambers above each entrance way. The main entrance is in the southwest corner, facing the Yeni Mosque.

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Inside the bazaar building

I have never seen this many shops devoted to selling spices and herbs. I was quite impressed. I would imagine that someone who is passionate about cooking, would especially enjoy shopping here. By the by, most, if not all of the spice shops have the ability to vacuum pack any spices you buy and take back to the United States. Apparently, this may be an issue with security in other countries as well. So make sure you vacuum pack any spice that you buy and it is identified as a spice.

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Another colorful display.

Tomorrow morning, I take off for Athens, Greece. I hope I feel better, especially in the check-in and security lines. I certainly don’t want to be arrested or thrown off the plane for having a sneezing or coughing attack. I still may do 1-2 more posts about my time in Turkey. It all depends on time. Turkey is an amazing country that I really enjoyed visiting. Istanbul is a very modern, cosmopolitan city, that also has done an excellent job of maintaining its historical past. It’s quite apparent that they take great pride in their country and particularly, the city of Istanbul. Food and accommodations are very inexpensive. If you get a chance, visit this country. You wont be disappointed. Take care, Steve 🙂

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