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History & Heritage


Top 4: the most beautiful souks in the Arab world

Losing yourself in the alleys, smelling the smell of spices, admiring the bright colours, soaking up the sounds… Strolling through the souks is a highly sensory experience. It is also the best way to get to know a city, a country. You will discover the typical products, while establishing a link with the local people. From Morocco to Oman via Lebanon, discover the 5 most beautiful souks of the Arab world.

1 – The souk of Jemaâ El Fna Square in Morocco

Eight centuries ago, the souks of Marrakech were born. They were built by the Almoravids (Berber dynasty) and served as meeting points for caravanners. Today, the city’s markets gather more than 40,000 craftsmen with a variety of goods: spices, baskets, jewellery, slippers… At nightfall, the souk in Jemaâ El Fna Square comes alive. Storytellers, musicians, dancers and animal trainers perform in the open air, contributing to the mythical energy of Marrakech.

Food stalls on the Djemaa El Fna square. Marrakech

2 – The souks of Tripoli in Lebanon

The city of Tripoli has a total of 9 souks. There are fresh products, soaps, leather goods, silverware, fabrics and even flower essences. Access can be gained from inside the courtyard of the Al Mansouri mosque. As you walk through the various markets, you will also discover the old town and its riches: Ottoman houses of influence, ancient caravanserais, countless palaces, but also medieval mosques. You will have understood it, Tripoli and its souks are an open-air museum!

A clothes market in a traditional old souk in Tripoli Lebanon.

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3 – The souk from Nizwa to Oman

Protected by the city walls, the Nizwa souk covers an area of 7600 m2. It is divided into several districts in order to be functional. Near the fort is the craftsmen’s sector with its pottery, antique weapons and antiques. Then, further on, the markets covered with fruit and vegetables. On Friday morning, go to the citadel of Nizwa to take part in the famous cattle market. A pure Omani moment not to be missed!

Ceramics for sale at traditional souk. Street of city Nizwa, Sultanate of Oman.

4 – The gold souk in Dubai

Amateurs will be won over! Located in the Deira district, this precious souk marvels for its sparkling windows and illuminated galleries. Here, gold and precious stones are present in all forms, ready to be traded. Generally, the prices are reasonable and the parts are of high quality (18 carats minimum). Nevertheless, find out before you bargain!

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Publié le 19 February 2019