Long before the advent of malls and online shopping, people had been browsing, bartering, and buying in marketplaces for millennia. But markets have always been about much more than food. The social interaction they enabled was a key element in the development of the language and social structure of early civilizations. Additionally, you might find some very attractive deals.
Hendrik du Preez, Vice President of Sales – Africa at Qatar Airways shares a few of her favorite markets, of which I can vouch for three, leaving three more on my travel wish list.
Souk Waqif, Doha, Qatar
The winding corridors of this alluring market lead you past traders at their stalls (the name literally means standing market) selling traditional clothing, handicrafts, brassware and much more. If you have even a vague interest in food or cooking, allow plenty of time to explore the stores with bags and baskets of spices, herbs, nuts and fruits. sell After a shopping session, relax with ghawa, traditional café. X’s advice: halva, made in massive pots and distributed, warm, fragrant and irresistible, in a tin to take home or devour at your hotel.
Jemaa el-Fna Square, Marrakech, Morocco
The square has been the site of the market since the 11thth Century and at this time, the origins of its name – roughly “assembly of the dead” – have become unclear. It is believed that public executions may have taken place here. No more: during the day, observe the snake charmers with their distinctive characteristics. pungi flutes as well as the ancient mastery of henna tattooists. At night, a food market lures you with wonderful smells and tastes like grilled meats and, for the gastronomic adventurers, sheep’s heads, a local delicacy. The party is hosted by Amazigh musicians and the singing of gnaoua troops, as well as the antics of acrobats.
Read my articles on Morocco here with my sincere condolences to all those who lost loved ones, homes and livelihoods in the recent earthquake. May you build back strong.
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Türkiye
The bazaar is vast: it stretches over 60 streets in the heart of the capital, so Hendrik suggests putting on your walking shoes rather than your Louboutin heels. It has been operated in one form or another since 1455, shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Entire routes are dedicated to specific products: carpets, furniture, bracelets, leather goods, etc. After shopping for antiques, jewelry, mirrors, lanterns and more, enjoy some restorative time hammamor traditional steam bath.
Kuromon Ichiba Market, Osaka, Japan
This bustling indoor market is affectionately known as the Osaka Market as it is popular with local residents and restaurateurs for its supplies. It also offers the best in street food, with dishes prepared, cooked and served while you wait. There is also izakaya, popular with Japanese workers for after-work drinks and snacks. It is famous for its fish and seafood, as well as its pickles and fresh produce. X’s insider tip: Try the tea ice cream at Yamaguchien, a specialty tea shop in business since 1937.
Chichicastenango Market, Guatemala
It is considered one of the best craft markets in the world, with brightly colored pottery and textiles, including the huipuil worn by Mayan women. It’s also believed to be the largest open-air market in the world, so you can easily spend a day wandering and haggling, with regular stops to sample freshly prepared street food, like Chiles Rellenos, a mixture of shredded meats and peppers, dipped in egg batter and fried. Are you afraid to pronounce the name Chichicastenango? Don’t: The locals call it Chichi and you should too.
Feria de Libros, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Argentina’s beautiful and beloved capital has a variety of markets, and while many visitors gravitate towards the famous Feria de San Telmo, X suggests the Feria De Libros, a paradise for lovers of retro books and magazines , vinyls and CDs. That super rare bootleg double LP of Jimi Hendrix Live at the Los Angeles Forum in 1970? You might find it here.
If you have any favorite markets that could be added to the list, let me know. Otherwise, enjoy shopping, haggling and collecting in support of the trades and artisans who bring these historic and charming places to life.
**This post was provided by Qatar Airways who I like to fly with.