Monday, September 21, 2015

Istanbul: Spice Market

21 Sept 2015

After emerging from the underground Basilica Cistern, I started out for the Spice Market on foot. Of course, stopping to take photos every few meters as usual...

This oven is in a Baklava bakery.

I doubt that this was baked in the stone oven in front, as it's too small, but it was certainly baked in house as I saw them removing it from the pans. Like all the Turkish sweet merchants, they are very gracious about allowing people to taste.

A little further down the street, in the window of a fancy looking restaurant, this woman is rolling out dough, I don't know what it is destined to become...

I can predict that it will be eaten in style, though! This looks so inviting.

This back street is right up against the old palace wall.

Due to the short time, this was as close as I got to the Topkapi Palace. Another thing on my bucket list, I expect the palace would take several hours to tour.

At this point I reached a tram stop and decided to shorten my trip, was not making much progress and time was growing shorter and shorter.

The Eminumu stop is the closest to the Egyptian Market (Spice Market) and the Balata Bridge. In the distance on the other side is the Galata Tower.

The Bosphorus Sea... I think (need to consult a map to check this).

This mosque near the Spice Market would probably have been much less crowded and therefore (to me) more interesting. Lesson learned...

And then I got a bit lost in the streets looking for the Spice Market, but this section had interesting architecture to admire as I rushed through.

The other side of the mosque.

This must still be near a mosque entrance, although I couldn't tell from the street. There is a washing fountain and drinking fountain, I believe it is customary to wash the hands and rinse the mouth prior to entering to worship.

Just when I was afraid I would miss it entirely, I finally found the Spice Market!

Once known only for spices and foodstuffs, a lot of tourist items can now be found here.

I didn't know that Turkey was known for olive oil soap. It comes in so many colors and scents, quite lovely.

Nuts, spices and teas are arranged in beautiful symmetrical mounds. So pretty!

Nuts, dates, and of course, more Turkish Delight!

Bundles of chilis and garlic... practical, yummy, and decorative!

This deli is apparently quite famous. I read about it in Rick Steves' Istanbul guide. Having just eaten breakfast, I just had a quick look around.

Also thanks to Rick Steves' guide, I found the famous coffee roastery where the locals buy their coffee, Kurukahveci Mehmet Efendi. They had an amazingly efficient assembly line inside, grinding, measuring, packaging, sealing, and selling the coffee briskly. When I arrived I got in line which went up half a block, but it only took about 3 minutes (if that long). I took this photo, but the flash went off and so it's mostly reflection, but after the flash they all stared up at me like I was crazy so I didn't try again (and the line was moving too fast!).

Mission accomplished!

The coffee really tastes and smells different than any other, the ground beans are a medium brown and have a more earthy scent. The area around this small roastery smelled heavenly (although the inside of the Spice Market was also amazing).

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