This is a local shop right off from the Roman Ampitheatre in El Djem. Not all of the shops look this way but the items for sale are very much the same. Take some time to look around and find something that catches your eye.
What to buy: There are some shops just around the corner that offer interesting Berber jewlery and hand made textiles. The tea they offer is the exquisite mint tea that tastes really good on a hot day.
What to pay: The price can always be bargained with (unless otherwise noted). But expect to spend around 100 TD for a rug/textile and depending on handiwork for the jewelery the price will depend.
Vendor stand: Souvenirs
What to buy: Metal trays and jugs, birds' cages with lace designs, dates, hand made carpets, flavorings (especially saffron), jewelry, handicrafts made from oil trees, desert roses, leather articles, pottery tambours and plush camels are typical Tunisian souvenirs.
Seen in various shops: Tunisian Baskets
The art of shopping in Tunisia is tested in the old city, "the Medina". The Souks offer a wide variety of arts and craft, besides the more famous carpets and birdcages. Never pay more than half of the first asking price, though some will advise you to make that as low as 1/3! Some are convincing, some are sweet talkers, others are pushy. My friend, looking very much the out-of-country tourist, was once told she "had a Tunisian face" and thus was entitled to an even better deal! It was a good laugh for all, anyway.
What to buy: These intricate white baskets caught my attention as I was passing through the souks. I was told they were marriage baskets, and they would be filled up with gifts for the bride.
Soula Centre: THE place to buy souvenirs - with no haggling!!!!
It's quite a huge shopping complex in Sousse, close to the Medina which sells every kind of souvenir you can imagine all on 3 floors I believe... I suggest you buy all your souvenirs from here because you save the hassle of haggling out in the streets and the prices are sometimes cheaper than that you would have paid for!!!
What to buy: Anything from keychains to wooden statues to rugs to t-shirts to big hubbly bubbly bongs!
What to pay: Cheaper than stalls on the streets!
Just in case you need some more camels, here is a list of souk days:
Ain Draham, Houmt Souk (Jerba) Kairouan, Maktar, Tataouine Miscellaneous items
Béja, Kasserine, Sedouikech (Jerba) Miscellaneous items
Adjum (Jerba) Jendouba, Sbeitla, Nefta.
Gafsa, Hammamet, Houmt Souk (Jerba) Siliana and Douz. There is a camel market in Douz
Djemmel, Mateur, Midoun (Jerba) Sfax, Tabarka, Zarzis, Monastir, Nabeul.
Djemmal-camels, Nabeul-livestock, fruits, souvenirs and spices
Monastir, Ben Gardane, El Mai (Jerba).
Monastir-carpets and rugs.
Sunday: El Jem, Korba, Ksar Hellal, Enfidha and Sfax. Miscellaneous items
After seeing those butcher shops with the animal heads at the gate (they are supposed to attract the clients, but attract some flies too), you have to think twice before eating meat there.
Anyway, I did, and nothing happened to me, I must admit!
The shopping ceremony
The "shopping ceremony" for carpets is always the same:
- You walk in front of the shop.
- A man invites you in: "only look, no buy, no problem".
- You sit in a big room surrounded by hundreds of carpets.
- They invite you to tea, while showing you one after another carpet.
- You end up buying the cheapest one after a lot of bargain and 2 hours having mint tea!
The souks of Tunis are the hugest ones, I've ever seen, but watch out for pickpockets and ... Bargain, BARGAIN, BARGAIN !!!
I bought very nice chess figurines, but you will have to bring time along, I was bargaining for about an hour.
What to pay: Maximum one third of the peice, and still you paid to much !!!
the little souk: Tozeur: berber carpets, plates and vases
it's a row of simple little shops opposite the Dar Cheriat Museum
What to buy: Berber carpets are not as precious or refined as the famous ones of Kairouan - but Berber carpets - woven in thick wool - with traditional geometric designs. The colours are very cheerful - so they also make wonderful wall-hangings.
Hand-painted plates and vases have designs ranging from traditional ones in blue tones (inspired by the decorations on the typical Tunisian ceramic tiles) to the Berber ones, painted in bright colours.
What to pay: about 20 $ for a small carpet, and 5 $ for a plate.
the souk at the medina: Kairouan: allocha and margoum carpets
What to buy: Alloucha is a "rough" carpet of natural wool which uses mainly natural colours like white, beige, black, and all hues of browns. Traditionally there is a central lozenge with a floral design and large border of parallel stripes and geometric patterns. Margoum is another hand-woven local carpet which uses mainly geometric Berber designs. It's weight is lighter than the Alloucha and make uses of a multitude of bright colours.
What to pay: iot depends on how hard you bargain. Prices should depends on the number of knots per square metre.
Shopping and bargaining
Located in the old city (the Medina), the Souks offer a selection of objects of unsurpassed beauty and distinction , excellent arts and craft and traditional work
What to buy: The choice is yours:
Handcarved olive wood: Salad bowls, kitchen articles, vases, lamps, bracelets...beautiful , solid wood….
What to pay: A sharp eye, nerves of steel, a show of disinterest and a good sense of humor will make shopping a real pleasure.
Start by cutting the offer in half, then work up to a compromise if you are really interested.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
Jerba markets: Glass Paintings
In the market of Houmt Souk in Jerba you will find colorful special glass paintings describing scenes of local legends and from the Kuran.
Tunis Market Hall: Fresh fruit and vegetables
The Tunis Market Hall is a huge hall with dozens of stalls all around.
What to buy: They have almost everything: fresh fruit, vegetables, fish and seafood, chicken - a pure delight to stroll through this hall!
Don't forget to buy the typical mint tea.
Anyway, when you'll taste it in your kitchen it won't have the so wonderful tunisian taste....
So remember to drink it in local bars!
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