Spice Market - Egyptian Bazaar


Spice Market is one of the most important historical and touristic trade centers of Istanbul. It has maintained its characteristic of being one of the important trade centers in every period with the effect of being a port city since its establishment, hosts thousands of visitors every day, especially domestic and foreign tourists.

In 1597, Safiye Sultan, who was the wife of Sultan Murat III, order the construction of the New Mosque, which is now next to the Spice Market. The Ottomans had a particular way of building imperial mosques. The imperial mosques were not just worship centers but also community centers, including many buildings serving different purposes. One of those buildings would be covered bazaars. The Spice Market is part of the complex building of the New Mosque. The construction lasted about 67 years, and the inauguration was in 1663.

The History and Name of the Spice Market

The Spice Market’s first name was the “New Bazaar” or the “Valide Bazaar,” according to some writers from the17th-century. However, since the products sold in the shops here were mostly from Egypt, Egyptian Bazaar became the primary name since the mid-18th century.

In the beginning, there were only two groups of merchants at the Spice Market: Spice Merchants and cotton shops. There were six entrance gates to the Spice Market. Three of them were for the spice merchants, and the other three were for cotton shops. Although there is no such distinction today, the names of the doors didn’t change. The doors are Fish Market, Hasircilar, Ketenciler, New Mosque, Haseki, and Flower Bazaar.

The upper floors of the main entrance gate on both ends of the Bazaar served as the Commercial Court, where they solve the issues between the shops or merchants and people.

The historical Spice Market had severe damage by a large-scale fire in 1940. Istanbul Municipality restored it and regained its identity. The Egyptian Bazaar, which has a history 400-years, separated itself from the New Mosque in 1941.

The Spice Market had a major restoration between 2013 and 2018 with the latest technology by the General Directorate of Foundations.

Private Tours of the Spice Market

If you are interested in visiting Egyptian Bazaar with an experienced private tour guide please contact us! Our private tours are the best option to enjoy wonderful and complex sites such as the Egyptian Bazaar.

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