24 July 2024

Four of us went to visit the souk on our first night in Nizwa. It was a bit disappointing due to the lack of vibe. The building itself was magnificent though.

We went the following night and it was much more lively, almost magical. It was a Thursday night, the Muslim Friday night so lots of locals were out having the craic. It was also the day before Omani national day so a real festival vibe in the air. A few people strongly urged us to go to the souk the next morning at 6am for a goat fair. Unfortunately, we were leaving that morning.

The site of one of the oldest souqs in the country, this extensive marketplace is dedicated mostly to fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, all of which are housed in separate blocks behind the great, crenellated piece of city wall that overlooks the wadi. Part of the souq (nearest the fort) is dedicated to handicrafts and caters specifically to the passing tourist trade.

You’ll have to try hard to find a bargain for antiques and silver, but local craftsmanship is good. Nizwa is particularly famous for crafting the silver khanjar (traditional curved dagger). Today Indian or Pakistani silversmiths often work under an Omani master-craftsman, especially for pieces designed for tourists, but the workmanship is often exquisite. Prices range from OR50 for a tourist piece to well over OR500 for an authentic piece.

One Omani Rial is €2.50 or so. It is divided into a 1000 raisa. They even have a cute half Rial note.

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