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Istanbul Spice Market

Tea Shop, Spice Market, Istanbul

Spice Market, Istanbul

The Istanbul Spice Market (also known as the Egyptian Market) was one of my favorite places in Turkey.  While the Grand Bazaar is massive and decidedly touristy, the Spice Bazaar sprawls out with meat, produce, clothing, hardware, toys, party supplies and even pet shalls which all seem to cater to local shoppers.  If you visit the market, you just have to make it past the touristy shops at the entrance (where cruise ship passengers are entertained en masse) because the market is expansive and fascinating!

We bought a bag (5TL worth) of pistachio and coconut Turkish Delight from the shop below to snack on while exploring.  It was really amazing stuff – incredibly flavorful and fluffy, like eating a marshmallow wrapped in ground nuts.

Turkish Delight Shop, Spice Market Istanbul

Pistachio Turkish Delight in the center of the middle row with the coconut variety to the right – browsing fuel for the Spice Market in Istanbul

cheese shop, Spice Market, Istanbul

Cheese Shop, Spice Market, Istanbul

kitchen shop, Spice Market, Istanbul

Kitchen Shop, Spice Market, Istanbul

Tea Shop, Spice Market, Istanbul

Tea Shop, Spice Market, Istanbul

Spice Market shopping area, Istanbul

The Spice Market shopping area extends along all the neighboring streets

Beside the pigeons, ducks and peasants available in the “pet” section of the market, I was most surprised to find leeches for sale!  The sign here translates to “Traditional Istanbul Leeches” while another stall had a sign on their jar claiming you could purchase “Dr. Suck”.  If there are medicinal leeches for sale, maybe I’ll stick to just browsing today!

Leeches, Spice Market, Istanbul

Leeches, Spice Market, Istanbul

All photos by Daydream Tourist.

8 Comments Post a comment
  1. travelwyse #

    Reblogged this on travelwyse and commented:


    July 10, 2012
  2. very nice. i’ll bet the spice area smelled like heaven 😉


    July 10, 2012
  3. Wonderful pictures! Wonderful narrative! I can’t imagine how one prepares leeches or how one eats them. Maybe they’re a bit like escargots without the shells.

    Best! Elliott (


    July 10, 2012
    • I hadn’t even considered that the leeches were for eating! I just assumed they were therapeutic.


      July 10, 2012
  4. The organic saffron was more expensive than gold – 🙂 I will be back often (you have a ping to my blog btw) I love Turkey and Istanbul. Les


    July 12, 2012
  5. Mmmm turkish delight! Turkey was such a cool country, and the food was SO good!


    July 15, 2012

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