Egyptian Spice Bazaar (Misir Carsisi)
In Turkish the market is named the Misir Carsisi- the Egyptian Market- because it was built with money paid as duty on Egyptian imports. In English it is usually known as the Spice Bazaar. This long building covered by a row of low domes is where foodstuffs, above all spices, are sold in a fascinating oriental athmosphere.
A view of Egyptian Market This bazaar was constructed in 1660 with its numerous small shops, as a source of revenue for the nearby mosque; Hatice Sultan, mother of Mehmet IV, had it built on the sited an old covered market dating from the Venetians. The visitor is struck by its oriental atmosphere and charm; it comprises three great galleries which are crowded with local people and visitors at all hours of the day. In the little shops below the vaults all kinds of foodstuffs are sold, as well as furniture, materials, etc. In former times the market was devoted entirely to the sate of indigenous herbs and drugs; and until the last century transactions of this drug market were a characteristic activity to observe and study...
The various jars and bottles, the rows of shelves, the counters and display stands were notable for the wide range of remedies and specifics that could be obtained there under a variety of picturesque names and titles, such as "oam of the seas", "the serpent's shirt” "the asses' tongue" along with other herbs beneficial as infusions or poultices. It is still possible to find there certain of those herbs which are much sought after as the ingredients of country women's remedies.
Stalls in the bazaar stock herbs, spices, nuts, sweetmeats and pastirma. Today's expensive Eastern commodity caviar ( the best variety Iranian ) is also available. Nowadays a range of other items including everything from household goods, toys and clothes to exotic aphrodisiacs are sold in the bazaar.