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Mısır Çarşısı (Spice Market)

How many Turkish delights can one eat in a day!

Misir Carsisi

Mısır Çarşısı is one of the largest and oldest bazaars in Istanbul and is a unique place that every visitor should go to. This bazaar was opened in 1660 and since then played a vital role in spice and cotton trading.

During the Ottoman days, Akhtars, old time medicine men, who not only sold spices but also made medications with them, occupied the Spice Market. Medicine making tradition slowly faded; hence most of these venues rather sell spices, herbs, and Turkish delight today.

Although many famous chefs still come here to shop for fresh and hard to find spices there are a lot of shops that no longer sell anything related to spice or food. If you want to buy something special in Istanbul consider buying some Iranian safran, dried almonds or figs, nuts or rose oil.

Don’t fall for the so-called ‘Turkish Viagra’. This product is locally known as Mesir Macunu, an old recipe for a paste made with forty some spices, which was first produced to cure the mother of a sultan. It’s yummy but may not function as advertised. In any case, strolling through the Mısır Çarşısı is a lot of fun if you accept the offers given to you as you walk by and let the shopkeepers lure you into their shops to show you some esoteric delicacies. Just play along and you’ll have fun.

And if you’re in this neighborhood, do not miss the Bazaar District SoUL Walk. The starting point for this walk is a few steps away so you may want to check it out.

We like: Free lokum (Turkish delight) offered by the shopkeepers.


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