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Saturday, 6 June 2015

Spice Bazaar

Shopper's Heaven

Spicy Istanbul

Spice Bazaar

Full of products from spices to soap, delights to deserts  the Spice Bazaar is one of the most popular destinations for tourists.  It is also a small market compared to the Grand Bazaar but a much larger street market area stretches along several roads to the northwest of the  Spice Bazaar. 

It is also only a short tram ride or a walk from the Sultanahmet area to Eminönü Station.
Tasty Tatseven
 As it was late, we stopped to eat at the popular Tatseven restaurant on the Eminönü square.  You won’t find it in guidebooks.  There were so many local patrons so it had to be good.  We shared a mouth-watering, half BBQ chicken – two meals for TL 11.50.  Don’t forget to ask for Turkish tea. 
Turkish Delight

Afterwards we went to the Spice Bazaar, which is officially the Misir Çarşisi or Egyptian Market because it was built in 1664 by the administration of Egyptian part of the Ottoman Empire.  

We bought spices and dried apple mix to make the quintessential tourist tea. 
Just Delightful!

Plus there are lots of yummy things to buy such as baklava, nuts and dried fruits.  The best and more expensive Turkish Delight have nuts in it.  It is hard to believe that Turkish Delight is the origin of American jelly beans.     

Cheese Bar

Agriculture Superstar

Did you know that Turkey is one of the major agricultural countries of the world?  It is a top ten producer of apricots, figs, cherries, raisins, strawberries, and cumin.  Don't forget to try Turkish cheese
Tea Jockey
Turkey produces 75% of worldwide production of hazelnuts! I fell in love with hazelnuts when we lived in Italy since my favourite gelato flavour is nocciola (hazelnut).  An absolute must is to try Turkish hazelnut butter.  It’s to die for!  It beats Nutella hands down.  By the way, 25% of the world’s hazelnut production is used to make Nutella! 
Tea jockeys bring tea to the shopkeepers. You have to go outsize the bazaar to find restaurants and cafes. 
The Long Market
We discovered this area on our first stay in Istanbul.  After we toured Süleymaniye Mosque, we headed east where we had the best and cheapest sahlep drink at the local price.  From here we walked down Uzun Çarşi Caddesi – another busy and long (uzun) market (çarşi) street – where the working class do their shopping.  The amount of things for sale is overwhelming. 

Coffee Anyone?

You will love the Spice Bazaar, as it is compact but not overcrowded.  That’s because the prices are higher.  If you want see where the locals shop just continue south out of the Spice Bazaar and walk along the parallel street, Çiçek Pazari Sokak or flower market street. 

Turn right at the west end of the lane then left on Hasircilar Caddesi as you fall under the spell of coffee roasting aroma. Here you will find delicious Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi kahve (coffee beans) to bring home.  We made one big mistake!  We only brought one bag home.  This is some of the best and smoothest coffee on the planet! 

Turkish Contributions

Coffee came to Europe in 1598 via Venice, the controller of Adriatic trade between the Ottoman Empire and Europe.  The coffee came from the Ottoman Empire.  That may be the biggest contribution of Turkey to the world (ha ha).  The English word "coffee" is derived from the Italian word caffè, which is derived from Turkish word kahve. 
The pistachio tree is native to western Asia and Asia Minor, from Syria to the Caucasus and Afghanistan.  Archaeological evidence in Turkey indicates the nuts were being used for food as early as 7,000 B.C.

Musical Contributions

The Ottoman Mehter, founded in the 13th century, became the model for the world's marching bands.  Think cymbals, timpani drums and bells.  Mehterân music also inspired or influenced European classical music composed by Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.

Medical Contributions

The technique of inoculation was not invented by Jenner and Pasteur but was devised in the Muslim world and brought to Europe from Turkey by the wife of the English ambassador to Istanbul in 1724.  Children in Turkey were vaccinated with cowpox to fight the deadly smallpox at least 50 years before the West "discovered it".  Our word vaccination comes from variola (Latin), which means smallpox.  The Chinese can claim they used smallpox vaccine at least since it was documented in a medical book in 1549.   

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