Spices and sweets at the soukNizwa, Oman
Stalls of rich, earthy spices; an entire hall dedicated to mounds of sweet, sticky dates; and tiny shops laden with silver jewellery – Nizwa Souk is far from your average market. Situated by a famous seventeenth-century fort and the ancient walls of Nizwa, a city 140-kilometres from Muscat and country’s former capital, the souk is living history and should be considered must-do during any trip to Oman.
Most sellers proffer wares daily, but the best time to go is between 7am and 9am on Friday mornings, when the livestock portion comes to life and bleating goats, flocks of sheep and cattle are sold, occasionally alongside a haughty camel. Watch as sellers parade animals past prospective buyers and then put them up for auction, just as it's been done in these parts for centuries.
Next, peruse tailors’ shops, eyeing the fabrics laid out in a technicolour palette. Wander through the square of pottery, where curvy terracotta pots and ceramic vases huddle on the street and dangle from doorways. Run your fingers over the delicate patterns on khanjars (traditional daggers) and choose an ornate coffee pot to take back home.
After snacking through the produce stalls, finish your visit to Nizwa Souk at Al Saifi. Here you'll choose between metal pots of halwa, a local dessert made with ghee, rosewater, sugar, saffron and slivered almonds. This sweet, gelatinous treat is served all around the country to accompany ever-flowing pots of cardamom-infused kahwa (coffee), and Al Saifi is known far and wide as a producer of some of the country’s finest.
Visit Nizwa Souk as part of the Oman Experience with Swagman Tours.