The enticing Spice Bazaar, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar, is much smaller than the Grand Bazaar but more colorful—though not as colorful, perhaps, as it was in the 17th century, when it was built to generate rental income to pay for the upkeep of the Yeni Cami (New Mosque) next door. In those earlier days the bazaar was a vast pharmacy filled with burlap bags overflowing with herbs and spices fresh off the ships from Egypt and the Spice Islands. Today, although an
increasing number of souvenir shops have opened up in the bazaar, you can still wander past numerous stalls chockablock with sacks of spices (including highly sought-after Iranian saffron), bags full of dried fruit and nuts, and delicacies including lokum (Turkish delight), caviar, and Turkish coffee and tea. The maze of narrow streets on either side of the bazaar is filled with open-air booths and shops selling similar foodstuffs at generally cheaper prices—as well as everything from household items to medicinal leeches.
Yeni Cami Meydanı, Istanbul, Turkey