Thursday, February 10, 2011

Market Impressions - Aleppo Souq, Syria

Possibly one of the most lively and authentic experiences one can have in the Middle East would be that of visiting one of the bazaars, such as the Aleppo Souq (or Souk) in Syria. 
Textiles on sale in the Aleppo Souq.
The souq, despite having been mostly built during the Ottoman period from the 16th to the 19th century, still plays a major role in the day-to-day life of contemporary Syrians. It is where one would go to buy their daily needs, ranging from your everyday foodstuffs, clothing, to even jewellery and expensive and intricate works of artisanship.
A typical day to day scene for the sellers: Gawking the tourists.

It’s easy for the traveller to lose himself in this labyrinth that comprises a significant part of the Old City in Aleppo, with stores selling everything from olive oil soap, exotic spices, beautiful rugs, carpets, scarves and other textiles textiles, not to mention traditional handicrafts. My suggestion: Accept the invitation of one of the stall owners for a cup of tea – even if you do not intend to buy, I am sure that the warmth and generosity of the Syrian people will convince you to reconsider!


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