Monday 08 May 2023
Highlights: Egyptian Spice Bazaar, The New Mosque (1665)
Tonight I had a plane to catch to get to Kyrgyzstan and begin my Five Stans of the Silk Road tour but that still left a little time for more exploring of Istanbul.
I checked out of my hotel as late as possible and headed to the Egyptian Spice Bazaar. Established in 1660 it gots it’s name before it was built with the revenues from the then Ottoman province of Egypt.
Egyptian Spice Bazaar has a total of 85 shops selling spices, Turkish delight and other sweets, jewellery, souvenirs, and dried fruits and nuts. It is packed with shoppers at all times but the key to this Bazaar is the energy of the vendors who consistently try to get your attention and ‘sweet’ talk you into getting something sweet 🙂
Next door was the The New Mosque whose construction began in 1597 was abandoned for a time, and was eventually finished in 1665 so not really new anymore. It was originally named the Valide Sultan Mosque (Queen Mother Mosque).
The mosque was a total of 66 Domes and semi Domes in a pyramidal arrangement, as well as two minarets. It is impressive on the inside and the outside. Like all mosque you must take your shoes off on entering and women must keep their heads covered.
From here I headed back to the hotel to read about my next tour while waiting for my booked airport transfer. Getting to Istanbul Airport is a real issue with crazy traffice and high costs, my trip cost $43 USD. On arrival I found my flight was already open for bag check in (3.5 hours before the flight) so I was able to get airside a long time before my flight.
Prices in the airport are crazy high, much higher than at any Australian Airport but with only time on my hands and no lounge access I purchased a late lunch / pre dinner meal and walked around this massive airport using the free one hour wifi as well.
Unfortunately my flight was delayed by 30 minutes, finally near 9 pm I was on the plane ready to start the next leg of this trip.