Istanbul’s Egyptian Bazaar, also known as the Spice Bazaar, is in the Eminonu District of Istanbul, at the southern end of the Galata Bridge, near Eminonu’s ferry docks.
Egyptian Bazaar’s First Impression
The Egyptian Bazaar has a few entrances; today you’re entering through the one that’s across from the New Mosque Istanbul. As expected from one of its names, the first thing you notice walking through the large green doors is the scent of spices and sweets. They are so many that you cannot pinpoint the exact scents. It’s as if someone placed all the spices in the Egyptian Bazaar into a large bowl and told you to smell—leaving you clueless to pinpoint the contents.
Compared to exploring the Grand Bazaar in the morning, you’ve visited the Egyptian Bazaar in the evening, when it is at its busiest with tourists. A few steps into the Egyptian Bazaar, you find yourself crowded among other tourists and visitors, occasionally bumping shoulders or elbows. You pause at the intersection, and just allow yourself to soak in the environment of the Egyptian Bazaar.
Sweets, Teas and More!
You turn left and right, the large alleys are there. You can’t help but gaze above, admiring the beautiful architecture—offered by the Egyptian Bazaar. It’s almost similar to the structure that its older brother—the Grand Bazaar—is built upon. There are spice shops wherever you look. Lights are bright, coming out from the shops. Many of them selling the same spices while others differentiating their products slightly.
You turn to an alley. They seem identical, so you’re not indecisive about which to take. The majority of shop owners are standing outside, their eyes searching for their next customer. As for the owners who are inside, they’ve passed that search—they’re assisting the customers inside. With all the competition around, it’s no surprise that every shop owner remains outside. They’re the ones who end up doing well in business.
Interactions with the shop owners
A shop owner who sells tea calls you over and asks if you want to try some tea. You tell him, “Sure.” Why not try some tea? You enter his shop, bright lights are everywhere. Not an inch of his shop contains darkness. In the furthest wall, you spot levels of Turkish delights, but then he grabs your attention.
“This tea is very good for focus. It has lavender as its main ingredient,” he says, handing you a small hot cup. Taking ahold of it, its potent scent of lavender slithers inside your nose. You bring the small cup closer to your lips, wanting to sip, and the scent of lavender rushes into your nostrils. The potent scent forces you to drink it quickly, but as the drink is really hot, you only take a short sip then take a break before taking another.
The drink was amazing, but you didn’t purchase any that time. Your goal is solely to explore the Egyptian Bazaar. Maybe next time you’ll purchase the tea. You leave the shop with his business card and continue exploring the shops. You continue roaming the Egyptian Bazaar.
At this point, you’ve been invited a few times by the shop owners. They seem to be more inviting than the sellers at the Grand Bazaar. And not only do they invite you in, but they offer you a taste of their shops which rank the Egyptian Bazaar as your favorite. By the time you finish exploring the Egyptian Bazaar, you’ve tasted many Turkish delights, teas, and other sweets.