Grand Bazaar in Istanbul is probably one of the largest covered markets in the world, dating back to the 14th Century when it was an integral trading center of the city. Since then it has extended manifold and now comprises of over 5000 shops and 60 streets. This huge labyrinth of domed ceilings and eager shopkeepers sells antiques, ceramics, copperware, fake designer wear, spices, dried fruits, ornaments, musical instruments, clothes – you name it and its there. Although with restaurants and café’s are regular intervals the Grand Bazaar is a challenge and a half. Simply because you are dazzled by the enormity of structure, lured in by its offerings and tired by the end of the day with bargaining, spending money and lugging your goods.
What you can’t miss there is the Nazar Boncugu, an eye-shaped amulet that is believed to ward off the evil eye, it is one of the most popular souvenirs, and is a must carry home for any tourist. I personally love the piece simply for its circular blue design, featuring one eye and because it reminds me of the force- the force of intense eyes! The relationships that those intense eyes create when scanning the world, the compassion that they throw around, the softness and coldness that they experience and often times the shrouding darkness that they possess. It is not surprising how much emotion eyes hold, how many songs and poems have been dedicated to eyes, and as Rumi very poignantly puts across
“There is a voice, that doesn’t use words. Listen”
For they talk, they have their own language – a blazing language! And i have to admit that i have witnessed that blaze many a times!
Whilst eyes say a lot, I think food has its own language too - a language of love, spice, sourness, sweetness, tanginess and so much more. Featuring today is the traditional Cacik, made with yogurt, spinach, and a glug of olive oil and a strong undertone of garlic. Cacik forms part of the Turkish Mezzes, or can be served as a stand-alone cool dip that is comforting both to the eye and stomach.
Cacik is incredibly easy to make, versatile in terms of serving and is best eaten with warm toasted bread. Although it looks rich and creamy but it is essentially cool and comforting on a summer afternoon