President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday hailed the restoration of Istanbul's historic Spice Bazaar, located near the iconic Sultanahmet Mosque and Hagia Sophia Museum.
"This historic peninsula encompassing the Spice Bazaar welcomes a lot more tourists than any other country. It is a great pleasure," Erdogan said, during the opening ceremony of the bazaar following restoration work.
Erdogan said the government will make the peninsula more attractive through expansive restoration.
The Spice Bazaar, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar, stocks loads of spices, herbs, honeycomb and nuts. It has adorned the bosom of Istanbul's historic peninsula over the last five centuries — with its exotic smell which greets first-time visitors.
Erdogan said restoration of the bazaar cost around 16 million Turkish liras ($3.75 million), adding it had become more "beautiful, strong and attractive".
Istanbul on Friday also hosted the opening ceremony of Nusretiye Mosque in Tophane district following restoration work.
"Turkish tourism was affected due to intense internal and external attacks to which we were exposed," Erdogan said.
Erdogan reiterated that Turkey will host 40 million tourists in 2018.