The Spice Bazaar is an absolute must-visit if you're in Istanbul, Turkey (Türkiye). Don't be fooled by the name, you'll find much more than just spices here. Most of the stores sell a variety of teas, candies, spices, and souvenirs, all arranged in a colourful, aesthetically-pleasing fashion.
One of the things that makes this market really unique is that all the vendors will invite you into their store to sample their teas and other treats. Accept their invitations and try everything! I did this in many stores and honestly did not feel pressure from anyone to buy afterwards. This is just part of Turkish culture, they are very hospitable people. This is also a really great way to learn what everything is and what flavours all the colours are.
This market is quite touristy and I did find the prices to be a bit higher than other more local parts of Istanbul, but coming here is more about the experience. Here are some of my favourite shots from the market when I visited in August 2022:
Just looking at the shelves is a photographers dream. Everything is so colourful!
Mounds of spices.
And beautiful teas!
And dried fruits.
This is what your typical store looks like on the inside. Vendors will invite you to sit on the little chairs on the left and you can sample anything you want!
This is all Turkish delight, also known as lokum. You are probably used to seeing it in cube form but there are also these other styles with different fillings and shapes.
Turkish delight everywhere!
Here is the more traditional Turkish delight in cube form.
The market has beautiful architecture.
More Turkish treats
And of course baklava!
Many stores had these natural sea sponges for sale. The Turks use these for bathing.
There is a tea for just about everything...
Including your sexual needs 😉
You'll also find variety of souvenir items here.
Scarves and textiles.
And perfumes! They can mix a custom scent to your liking.
You will see these evil blue eyes everywhere in Turkey. They are known as a Nazar Boncuk charm and they keep away bad spirits.
You will also see portraits ex-President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk everywhere. He is much loved for being for being the founder father of the independent Republic of Türkiye out of the ruins of the Ottoman Empire.
These next few photos were taken just outside the Spice Bazaar. The whole area is a market wherever you go.
This is another perfume shop. The layout of the bottles is so beautiful.
These lamps are pretty.
These are Turkish coffee pots, also known as a cezve or ibrik.