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The UAE has attracted hordes of shoppers from around the world due to the sheer volume of sprawling, modern shopping venues that dot the entire emirates. However, there remains a few who want to rough it up in old traditional markets, perhaps drawn to the rustic appeal of the narrow alleyways and the chaos of the crowd. True, amidst all the modern trappings, nothing can compare to the charm of the good old souks which are mostly steeped in history and culture. Here, traders do not mind you practising your haggling skills to the core.
The narrow paths of the famous Gold Souk in Deira are lined with a vast number of jewelry retailers. The hundreds of counters that glitter with gold, diamond and silver jewelry and precious stones seem to beckon everyone to make a purchase or to just take a look. The rates are more affordable here compared to the shops in malls.
A few steps away is the Spice Souk, which is a cornucopia of colors and textures. Carrying a collection of every spice imaginable, it is the favorite haunt for cooks, foodies and even tourists who tend to hoard different varieties to bring to family and friends as gifts. Turmeric powder, cardamom, saffron – you name it, you’ll get it here. There are also sacks upon sacks of rose petals, dried fruits and medicinal items among the field of spices.
Textiles, RTWs, perfumes and watches at reasonable prices are available at the Naif Souk, also in Deira, and the Meena Bazaar in Bur Dubai.
The artfully designed Blue Souk in Sharjah is never absent from any visitor or tourist’s itinerary. Housing two storeys of shops selling a wide range of items – from electronic goods to clothes, home décor, jewelry and antique pieces – it truly is a bargain hunter’s haven.
In the capital, the Al Mina Fruit and Vegetable Souk, located near the Fish Market, is produce heaven. Brimming with an assortment of colors, it is the perfect place to get the freshest fruits and vegetables at the lowest prices.
• Spices, dried fruits and medicinal items are sold at the Spice Souk
• The Al Mina Fruit and Vegetable Souk is capital’s produce heaven
• Sharjah’s Blue Souk is considered every bargain hunter’s dream
Source: Ellen Joyce Soriano, Special to Properties
The writer is a freelancer