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Friday, May 9, 2014

Istanbul 2014 - New Mosque (Yeni Cami) & Spice Bazaar

Date of visit: 5th April 2014

As promised, I'm writing here places that we visited in accordance to our daily activities, 4 days in Instanbul following the itinerary. Yeni Cami and Spice Bazaar were the 2 places, 5 minutes walking distance from Yazar Hotel that we visited on our day 2.

Yeni Cami @ New Mosque - the courtyard
The Spice Bazaar @ famously called as Egyptian Market by the locals
The New Mosque is an English translation of the mosque name, Yeni Cami in turkish local language. It is one of the famous mosque in Istanbul seated in the Eminonu quarter of Istanbul, just opposite of the Spice Bazaar near the Galata Bridge. Yeni Cami is a symbol of local culture and religious beliefs, stand tall and proud next to Bosphorus straits.



Yeni Camni is seen as Istanbul skyline is as popular among foreign tourist as it is with the locals. The Arrchitect, Daud Aga assigned by Sultan Mehmet III mother's has designed the mosque way before its construction in 1597. The mosque idea and construction was commissioned by the mother queen, Valide Safiye. It was stopped for several years due to several obstacles but it was finally completed by another queen mother in a later stage, 1663.



The 351 years old mosque has its beautiful exterior architecture defined by its 66 domes and semi domes cascading like a pyramid which dropping down from the central dome. The mosque grand courtyard has an ornamental fountain in the centre, 2 minarets and the main dome at the centre measures 18 metres in diameter. In overall, the mosque architecture majestic and its boldness design as seen as a rare and unique as it comes.



Hundreds of pigeons perched on the domes adds natural beauty to its architecture. Inside, the mosque was finished with a square decorated Iznik tiles of gold, blue and marble. Akin to other Ottomon imperial mosques, Yeni Cami has 4 beautiful pillars on the corners and is held to the ceiling where the main dome stays. Calligraphic plates are fixed there with the names of the first 4 caliph @ Muslim rulers, Abu Bakar, Umar, Uthman and Ali.
Photo shared from istanbulpress.wordpress.com (kindly visit for more beautiful photos by the blogger)
Photo shared from www.8thingstodo.com
The mosque has it's own complex consists of a hospital, primary school, ham am, library and a market, the concept similar to the Prophet Muhammad's teaching, example of the prophet 1st mosque in Madina. The large market exists till today as an Egyptian market, famously known as "Spice Bazaar". Like any other royal mosques in Istanbul, there is a mausoleum which holds the tombs of the sultanates and many members of the courts.

After we have done taking photos with a beautiful garden between the Yeni Cami and the Spize Bazaar, we went inside to have a little shopping. Spice Bazaar is the second largest bazaar in Istanbul after the Grand Bazaar. Avoid going there during the weekend as there's crowds heading towards the market.


As of today, Spice Bazaar has a total of 85 shops selling spices, jewellery, souvenir, dried fruits nuts and sweets. The market is open from 9am till 7pm during weekdays, 10am till 6pm on weekends but closed during any religious ceremony/celebration and on public holidays.


There are several documents suggesting the name of the bazaar was first "New Bazaar". The building was endowed to the foundation of the adjacent New Mosque. Its name "Egyptian Bazaar" was because it was built with revenues from the Egypt Ottomon in 1660. The bazaar was (and still is) the center for spice trade in Istanbul, but in the last years more and more shops of other type are replacing the spice shops.



The building itself is part of the kulliyah's complex of the New Mosque. The revenues obtained from the rented shops inside the bazaar building were used for the upkeeping of the mosque. The structure was designed by the court architect Koca Kasim Aga, but the construction works began under the supervision of another court architect, Mustafa Aga, in the last months of 1660; following the Great Fire of Istanbul (1660) that began on 24 July 1660. The great fire lasted about 49 hours destroyed many parts of it's neighborhoods in the city. 



A major rebuilding and redevelopment effort started immediately in the city following the fire, which included the resumption of the New Mosque's construction works in 1660 as mentioned above. The construction of the mosque was ultimately completed between 1660 and 1665 and the beginning of the Spice Bazaar's construction in the same year (all buildings in the New Mosque Kulliyah complex, including the Spice Bazaar. It were all  commissioned by Sultana Hatice, the queen mother of Sultan Mehmed IV. 




Our group of 4 had spent quite some times looking for souvenirs, spices and tea for our loves one. We were invited to 1 of the shop for taste numerous kinds of tea in his shops. We ended having to carry those luggage through out the day exploration, which are quite heavy after a long walk and places to visit. Using public transportation card "Istanbul Card" that we purchased from the airport a day before, we managed to explore the whole city quite easily.



Special notes to all: kindly purchase an Istanbul Card from the machine which you can top-up depending on your usage. The card can be shared with so many people, hence, it is not necessary to buy each card for each person. 

Remarks: Due to misinformation about Yeni Camii, our group did not entered the mosque complex, hence, I have downloaded 2 photos from  istanbulpress.wordpress.com & www.8thingstodo.com, to share some inside views of the beautiful mosqueI hope both website bloggers would gave away their permission if they saw I'm sharing this for the knowledge of all.
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