Eminönü - Istanbul - Turkey
GPS : 41°01'02.0"N 28°58'16.0"E / 41.017222, 28.971111
The Bazaar is open from Mondays to Saturdays.
The Spice Bazaar, (Turkish: 'Mısır Çarşısı', Egyptian Bazaar) in Istanbul, Turkey is one of the oldest bazaars in the city. Located in Eminönü, it is the second largest covered shopping complex after the Grand Bazaar. There are different accounts regarding the origin of the name of the bazaar. Various spices from the Orient were offered here in the past, Egyptian Bazaar was so named because the spices used to be imported from Egypt.
On the other hand, in the Byzantine period, the site of the Spice Bazaar was the centre of corn trade. And the word mısır has a double meaning in Turkish: "Egypt" and "corn". The Spice Bazaar is located next to the Flower Market on the banks of the Golden Horn called Makron and Envalos by the Byzantine and Eminönü by the Ottomans. The Spice Bazaar is one of the most characteristic places of Istanbul. Spice Bazaar which is one of the oldest covered bazaars of Istanbul is situated within the complex of Yeni Cami.
The Yeni Cami complex which was commissioned by Safiye Sultan to be built and the construction of which started in the year 1591 was completed by Hatice Turhan Valide Sultan in the year 1633. The building itself is part of the külliye of Yeni Mosque, and rents from the shops within was intended to help pay for the upkeep of the mosque. The structure was designed by the chief court architect Koca Kasım Ağa, but completed by architect Mustafa in 1660.
With its characteristic as a “Double Bazaar”, the Egyptian Bazaar is a structure constructed in traditional Ottoman pattern as a combination of two separate bazaars. With its successive rows of stone and brick in traditional Ottoman pattern, the Egyptian Bazaar was constructed as “L” shaped. The East - West branch of this double bazaar, arising from the “L” shaped architecture, is comparatively longer than the other. In the intersection point where long and short branches come together, there is a praying square covered with cross vault.
The arches that supported the vaults were not rested on the walls; but instead bearing legs were utilized for that purpose. And there is a town crier house near the southeastern leg.
The main entrances of the Egyptian Bazaar are the ones on the edges of two long branches. The main entrances at the extremities of the two branches are in the form of two-storied portals with six-arch colonnades. Besides, the gate that leads to the Tahmis Street is also in the form of two-storied portals with six-arch colonnades. Two other entrances, facing one another, other than that main entrance are in the middle section of the branch which extends to Makulyan Inn.
The Egyptian Bazaar has 6 gates in total, 2 big and 4 small. According to the “L” shaped design of the bazaar, there are rooms above the colonnades on the edges both branches. Those domed rooms could be accessed through the ladders within the bazaar.
On the long branch of the bazaar there are 46 iwans and cells, 23 on each side; and on the short branch 36, 18 on each side. And on the intersection point of the two branches there are 6 iwans and cells, which sum up to 88 internal units in total. In the outside section of the bazaar which faces towards Tahmis street there are 18 stores.
In the original design before restoration, it is assumed that the shops were consisting of a ground floor above cellar. Only the ground floors were utilized as shops. The section which separated the arched entrance of the ground floor and the shop in the original design was broken down in restoration. And the connection between the hall and shop was turned into an open unit. The rectangular place in front of the shops leads you to a bigger rectangular place via an arched entrance.
In the original design, it is assumed that the rectangular space in front of the shop was utilized as the main selling space and the arched space leaded to the other rectangular space at back via a door. There is no typology at the present time in those spaces which were once covered with shelves, cabins and exhibition areas according to the function of the shop. While there is an abat-jour in each cell there also is a window for sunlight, which faces the domes of the cells, in the hall of the bazaar.
The cellar floor which can be accessed via the ladders on the ground floor is nowadays mostly utilized for storing purposes. And it has also been observed in some shops that the cellar floor is utilized as a shopping place to exhibit the products. However the designs of those floors have been altered in time for the most part. And with the separating sections that were built afterwards, those floors were turned into kitchens and toilets.
The first floors, built up on the ground floor, mostly comprise of two sections. The first is the vault covered section of the large arch which faces towards the bazaar; and the second is the almost square section where the main dome is located. Those places with suspended ceilings are mostly utilized as office buildings and have a window with a view to the outside of the bazaar. It has also been observed in some shops that the suspended ceiling itself has another suspended ceiling.
The Spice Bazaar was burned down twice in 1691 and 1940. The Bazaar was lately restorated by the municipality of Istanbul between the years 1940 and 1943. In the Bazaar which is famous for its herbalists currently dried fruits, delicatessen and various food staff besides conventional products such as natural medicines, spices, flower seeds, scarce plant roots and peels are sold. It is known that the spices sold here are in addition to their consumption as food staff, useful for the treatment of certain diseases.
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