Shopping in Omana
The traditional Arabic market place is called the souq and these are found in many of the towns throughout the Sultanate of Oman. One of the oldest preserved souqs in Oman is in Muttrah, on the Corniche. Gold and silver jewellery is found in abundance as well as numerous wooden carvings, ornaments and spices. Muttrah souq is a maze of pathways leading in and out of each other.
Household goods make up the bulk of the souq, but browsing through some of the smaller shops may result in a lucky find. Bargaining is a must, however.
Nizwa souq hosts a lively cattle market early each Friday morning where cows, goats and sheep are auctioned. The obstinate behaviour of the animals often provides great amusement for the spectators. There is an abundance of local handicrafts and produce in the covered souq. Silversmiths can be seen hammering patterns into the hilts of khanjars and women sell the birka, a glittering, embroidered facemask worn by local ladies.
Sinaw souq is best visited early in the morning on weekends. It has similar ware to Nizwa souq, including a cattle market. Some of the silver shops sell the old silver Bedouin jewellery, but you have to look hard. This is actually the new souq, the old one being situated to the rear. The old one is now abandoned.
Ibra souq is open to all, as long as you are female! It is a fairly recent innovation, opened in 1990 and is held on Wednesday mornings. It is the only souq in Oman which lends itself totally to the needs of women. Lotions, cosmetics, powders, textiles, perfumes and henna are amongst some of the items on sale.
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