Muttrah Souq, Muscat
Mutrah Souq is the oldest marketplace in Muscat- 'Souq' is the Arabic word for Market.
Back before 1970, Muscat did not go beyond the Mutrah Area, and almost all the population (unless bedioun) lived inside the wall's of what is now Mutrah city. The area overlooks Mutrah Harbour, a waterfront corniche and one of the oldest harbours in the gulf region.
It has a fish market, with fresh fish being sold every morning (Some shops will season & grill the fish for you at a reasonable price that shouldn't exceed RO 6.000)
The Souq itself is brightly colored, and has been recently renovated to reflect the Omani style it had before the '70s
You'll find a wide variety of souveneirs here, including the old currency coins selling at RO 2.000 each.
The traditional Arabic market place is called the souq and these are found in many of the towns throughout the Sultanate. 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. Gold and silver are well priced and mainly sold by weight. Good buys are silver khanjars (the traditional Omani dagger, worn by men) and incense burners.
Although far from rivalling Istanbul's or Aleppo's fabled bazaars, Matrah's souk is undoubtedly the most interesting among those in the Gulf nations. Matrah has been a merchant town for centuries, so its souk has always held important commerce. Today, though, it sells a mix of Arab and Indian products, including clothes and spices. The covered souk was reconstructed in recent times in a style loyal to traditional Arabian bazaars and does not lack in charm. Beware though of the long siesta hours - the souk does not reopen in the afternoon until after 4pm!
The main attraction for visitors to Muscat is Mutrah Souk,. It is full of rich fabrics from India, antiques and pottery.
Some of the most popular shops with foreign and local visitors alike are those specializing in silver jewellery.
Enter the souk by the main gateway on the coast road, take the first alleyway to the right and you’ll find the silver traders beyond some fabric shops.
Muttrah Souq in the heart of Muscat offers everything, from souvenirs to gold and jewelry, clothing, leather and all. It is a busy and colorful part of Muscat where everyone gathers in small cafe's and restaurants. Vibrant with activity you will be able to meet the locals here. At all times I was never pestered by anyone, like one would find in the bazaars in Egypt or other places in the Middle East.
Just a short drive from the Al Bustan Palace Hotel you will arrive at Muttrah. It is nice to pick up a traditional handicraft at the souq - everything from dates to khanjars (traditional daggers). An evening stroll along the seafront is nice too.
The souq (market) at the Mutrah area (entrance is at the cornicle of Muscat) is one of the best souqs of Arabia and is definitely worth a visit. When you are in this souq, you can truely feel that you are in arabia as everthing is so traditional. There are many areas, including one section selling jewelries, clothes etc. You can buy very good frankincense, perfumes, myrhh, potteries, jewelries, Khanjars (arabic knife) and other souvenirs here.
The main attraction for visitors is Mutrah Souk, full of rich fabrics from India, antiques and pottery, with heaps of colourful fruit and spices: this is the description I found online. My experience with this souk was different, as it was closed... nio shopping to do (and I did not care much) but the empy and covered alleyway... basically the skeleton of the souk. Would you believe that it is so nicely decorated?
In the photo you can see the main gateway on the coast road.
Mutrah Souq is among the most interesting traditional market in the Arab Gulf States. It is centrally situated in the downtown of Mutrah, with the main entrance to Al Bahri Road and the sea front. The souq is covered by a roof to protect against the heat, but that makes it also quite dark inside the narrow shopping streets.
See more of the souq at the shopping tips...
This is a traditional Arabian souq- a warren of alleys with stalls where you are persuaded to buy traditional perfume, incense and incense burners for a couple of rials; trinkets, pashmina shawls, exotic looking dresses, and carved boxes.
The ceilings that protect shoppers from the overpowering heat are made of wooden beams or traditional straw woven mats.
The sellers come from different places like Pakistan and India as well as some locals. No one is aggressive and many are willing to reduce the prices considerably from the marked pricetag.
One of the oldest preserved souqs in Oman, Muttrah is located on the corniche of the port. In its many small stalls and shops, visitors can try on gold and silver jewellery and traditional Omani embroidered caps. Stallkeepers seem to sell everything from all corners of the earth: traditional incense burners made out of metal, ceramic, or wood, and incense with the scent of sandalwood, frankincense, or rose are particularly evocative.
Huge conch shells gathered from the bottom of the sea, dried starfish, and packets of small shells make wonderful gifts for children. Colourful spice shops sell saffron, turmeric, chilli, and other condiments by the pound while other stores specialise in antiques such as silver khanjars or daggers, Bedouin jewellery, and wood carvings. Pay attention to where you are walking so you can find your way out of the maze.