Istanbul’s Really Old Spice Market

The Saturday we were in Istanbul, we took a tour that included the spice market that was built, in 1664, to help support the New Mosque, which is right next to it. It is still the center of the spice trade in Istanbul.

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The New Mosque

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Streets around the Spice Market

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The market has leaked out to the streets around the building

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Different kinds of feta

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Strings of candy

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Animal innards and feet for sale

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A surprise amongst the innards!

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This guy thought our squeamishness of the sheep head was amusing.

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Non-feta cheese!

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Lot 0′ olives!

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Masses of dried vegetables

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Perfect mounds of spices

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Pickles!

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Nuts and dried fruits

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Prepared foods for the “meze” or little dishes that are typically served when drinking alcohol, but are often served before a meal as well. These are readily available, so people tend to purchase them ready made, rather than making them at home.

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Mezes can be  hot or cold, spicy or savory, or salty. Sometimes most of them will be of vegetables and meat, and other times they will be of vegetables and fish.

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The Turks love their pistachios, so it’s no surprise to find that they would put them in their cheese too.

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Slabs of the wonderful honey found in this part of the world

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Honeycomb, cut off, and ready to go home with someone.

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I have a feeling these are dried intestines

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I believe these are the little pots used for making Turkish coffee.

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We stopped and had a snack of this which is philo dough that has been boiled and then baked, making it kind of chewy.

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This place was making their version of a pida

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Finished pidas

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Big vat of diluted yogurt for drinking. It’s covered in big milk bubbles, like somebody blew into it with a straw.

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Fancy shish kebab sticks

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Pretty beaded curtains

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Paddles for putting bread and pidas into the oven

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These little hand sewing machines were a popular item being sold by street people, both in Istanbul and Athens.

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Tobacco for “roll your own” cigarettes. Love the sign below the bags!

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This is a mold for making a Turkish cookie. The designs are distinctive to various regions and families.

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This thing scared the dickens out of me! It is a goat skin bag that is used for making cheese. The cheese hangs in the goat skin for 8 months.

Finally we entered the market itself.

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Different kinds of baklava. The one in the middle is called Jennifer lips, because they look like lips

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As you can see these are Tulumba which is fried batter soaked in sugar syrup.

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Dried mulberries. We currently have fresh mulberries in the markets here in Shanghai.

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Another kind of sweet

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Dried figs

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This store in the market sells every kind of dried fruit you can think of.

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The dried fruit was so beautiful, I wanted to buy it all!

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Nuts too.

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Spices, actually in the spice market.

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So many different kinds of Turkish Delight

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Here we are at Ucuzcular, store no. 51 in the spice bazaar. This store is run by the newest generation of the family. Both siblings have been educated in the US. Along with spices they also sell the aromatic oils in this picture, teas, skin care products and soap.

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Here are Meredith and I with Bilge (next to me), who is the store owner and Taciser, our guide, next to Bilge. Imagine our surprise to learn that Bilge had gone to the University of Rochester and had been to Corning to the glass museum! We had a great time tasting her spices. I can’t wait to get back to the States so I can open up the ones I bought and use them!

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Back outside, we walked on an interesting street where you could buy things like pet food.

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Or have your feet nibbled on by fish! This was popular in Bali. Unfortunately it’s a great way to get foot or blood diseases, as people’s feet bleed from the bites and often they don’t change the water between customers. Are you grossed out yet?

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A very handsome brown pigeon (I think) for sale. Maybe we have brown pigeons in the US, but I don’t remember seeing them. They’re quite common in this part of the world.

DSC09981Ritual cleansing before entering the mosque.

I’ll stop here for this post and finish the tour in another one, as the number of pictures is getting unwieldy.

About DECRYPTKNIT: knitter on the loose in Shanghai

Hi, I'm Marisa Newhouse, a former pharmacist (for a brief time during the Reagan administration) who's real calling was probably anything that has to do with cooking, plants, literature and especially knitting; hence my last and favorite job, working at Woolyminded, a wonderful yarn store. But now, I have moved half a world away to Shanghai where my husband will be working. Lots of people are interested in what we will be doing here and I have always kept journals of our travels, so I thought I'd do it the modern way and keep a blog.
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One Response to Istanbul’s Really Old Spice Market

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