Around Palmyra, especially in front or around the highlights of the place, there are several local people selling rugs, they will approach you - they speak english - and ofer you their wares mostly those red rugs. Some are pushy, in general, they're friendly. I heard one guy selling the big rug for SYP300, less than 7 dollars? Unless he meant 300 dollars! It was cheap in my opinion, if I'm not traveling around and the burden of putting and carrying it in my bag, I could've bought one. These local people are depending on this as their source of daily income.
I've spent an hour sitting with one of the guys selling stuff and we chat - 4 kids and a meager income, and his cheerful. I'm convinced that happiness really is relative.
Next time you see them, buy anything, your money surely will go a long way.
What to buy: Rugs, local handicrafts.
Palmyra's oasis is full of date palm trees (hence the city's name) and produce commercial quantities of dates. In the city of Tadmor, many shops sell locally produced dates and display them as shown in the attached photograph. Buy some to sample while you're visiting Palmyra.
Since Palmyra is quite near the frontier of Iraq, it's really not too far from Iran either. We found a reasonable collection of khilms and other rugs that had been imported for sale at the ruins. Since these were clearly imported for sale to tourists visiting the ruins, it's important to bargain. However, we made a mistake and didn't buy. I recall bargaining while waiting for the bus back to Hamah. I failed to buy and then found prices for similar items higher in Alleppo.
In all the shops in Palmyra, we were invited to go inside, have some tea and free sigarettes. I even tried the waterpipe.
Of course, they want to sell but you can easily walk away without feeling guilty
it's not exactly a shop.. it's husein's kingdom: a sort of tent with a simple stove and thousands of dates. The owner, Husein, seems more busy inviting people for tea than selling his dates.. go figure! Yet I spent a few fun hours there with him.. he's a truly kind guy
What to buy: dates... only dates! but delicious ones!
What to pay: it really depends on how much husein likes you. I did not buy any, but i still walked away with a keffiyeh (for free) after having been served delicious tea.
it's just one of the many souvenir shops along the main street, with the exception that it seems to sell just about anything: films, postcards, batteries, kilims, pottery, musical instruments. A very messy shop-window, so messy that ones nearly misses the interesting goods on sale.
What to buy: whatever you like. I especially found the (beduin?) drums very appealing - yet I had no room in my bag for one. Next time!
What to pay: it depends on your patience and your bagaining skills.