Photo Essay: A visit to Oman's historic Nizwa souq

Home to a weekly livestock market most Fridays, Nizwa's market is a tourist attraction too

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Nizwa souq is one of the oldest in Oman.

Second in importance to Muttrah souq in Muscat, it serves residents and tourists alike. Situated in Ad Dakhiliyah region, Nizwa was the capital of the sultanate in the 6th and 7th centuries, when it was a centre for trade and art. These days it is a marketplace for the area.

The souq is near the wadi and close to Nizwa fort. Inside, there are vendors who sell meat, vegetables and handicrafts – the latter catering for tourists. On Fridays there’s a weekly cattle market where livestock is traded.

Nizwa is famous for creating the khanjar, the traditional, ceremonial blade worn by Omanis in official functions. In the souq, craftsmen sell the curved dagger recognised for its distinctive style and patterns. This craft is celebrated to the extent that positioned out the front of the market is a statue of a large khanjar.

Also available for purchase is handmade pottery from nearby Bahla – an ancient town famous for its ceramics using local clay. For something a little smaller, tourists can pick up silver jewellery, leather goods and, of course, dates.

The souq is open seven days a week, from 8am to 1pm with a midday break and then again from 4pm to 10pm. On Fridays, it is open at 6am.

Often described as the cultural capital of Oman, Nizwa presents an enchanting amalgamation of history, tradition and natural splendour. Nestled in the Hajar Mountains, it presents a captivating blend of experiences that transports visitors to bygone eras with a hint of modernism.

Updated: January 27, 2024, 5:17 AM