After the Grand Bazaar, Spice Bazaar is the second largest and oldest covered bazaar in Istanbul that survived until today. The Bazaar is actually built as a part of New Mosque (Yeni Valide Camii) complex, located at the southern end of the Galata Bridge in Eminönü district. Including market place (Spice Bazaar), complex had a primary school, public baths, hospital, a tomb and two public fountains covering an area of approximately 45,000 square meters.
In order to maintain the Mosque and it’s public facilities, market places had an important position to give necessary finance with rental incomes or dedicated shops. It was very common practise for most of the Mosques in Ottoman and Islamic culture. The Spice Bazaar construction has finished, right after one year from New mosque completion in 1664. The Bazaar is built on 6,000 Square Meters area and has a unique ottoman market architecture with the shape of “L”. It has 86 shops which can be accessed by way of 6 different gates.
Since it has built, Spice Bazaar also called with many other names such as Valide Sultan Bazaar, New Bazaar and Egyptian Market. But mostly called and remained names are Spice Bazaar and Egyptian Market for sure. It has called Egyptian market due it has built with the taxes collected from the Cairo, Egypt during it’s construction in the Ottoman Empire. And as you can guess, it is called Spice Bazaar due it offers rich variety of herbs and spices from Turkey and all over the World.
Beyond The Spice
You may have a wrong impression that Spice Bazaar sells only spices for your food pleasure. Actually you will be looking at the mysterious turkish pharmacies that heals people with traditional Turkish folk medicine which has a history of thousands years.
Herbal medicine tradition has benefited from nature in order to make the drugs or heal patients. This situation has continued unchanged in the new tradition as well. In addition to these, tradition of a folk pharmacy has occurred because of use of various herbs and animal products in making drug. This kind patient healing techniques and drug making applications, have reached until now with the traditional ways of transmission.
Beyond The Love
For sure everyone knows that, if you are having sexual problems or want to add some more colour in to your relationship, today’s drug industry offers many alternative ways such as Viagra and supplement pills. But how about in old times, what was those people doing? Imagine you are Sultan and have a big Harem ? How are you going to manage?
That’s one of the origin of Herbal medication took important place in old times people life. Therefore, while you walk around the Spice Bazaar, you will often hear people talk about herbal love or natural Turkish Viagra. Good part is, you will have less heart attack chance compare to modern pills.
According to indefinite historical traces, at current location of the Spice Bazaar, there was another market place called Makro Envalos in the Byzantine Empire. However existence of this market place, wouldn’t be so surprising due it was a strategic harbour in the history that trading carried out with ships. If you are planning to visit Istanbul, do not miss your chance to see this unique market place.