what is a souk in morocco

The medina is the old historic part of town with high stone walls (like you'll see in Marrakesh and Fes) and is divided into Quartiers. Unless you stay fairly close to the web of streets branching off Djemaa el-Fna, it’s very easy to get lost in Marrakech’s souks. For Americans who are accustomed to walking into a store and having the fixed prices of items clearly displayed this can be a stressful time. Another option is to look for official signs. If you get lost, ask a shopkeeper for directions. As the local population grew, vendors started to hold smaller souks close to main communities. The haggling culture extends back thousands of years – just roll with it! Balgha (Moroccan slippers) are widely available, as are pieces of beautiful silver jewellery, artwork, shisha pipes, accessories, traditional musical instruments, toys, souvenirs and much, much more. Full of carpets, brass goods, antiques, spices, and leather, the souks are absolutely a must-add to any bucket list. Merchants will always give you a ridiculous first offer and will expect you to bring it down. Early history of souks in Marrakech A souk is the name given to an Arab market. Souk Smata is the main area to find babouches, also known as the slippers souk. souk asni ⵙⵙⵓⵇ ⵏ ⴰⵙⵏⵉ is a marketplace in Morocco. Or, alternatively, before you set out, ask your accommodations if you can hire a guide. Each quartier has a mosque, a hammam (bathhouse), a communal bread oven, a madrasa (educational institution) and a water fountain, which all serve the local community.Souks are the traditional marketplaces and are often divided into sections for the various trades. You can always take a tour to make traveling easier (and to free up some mental energy for haggling). I must say Marrakech is a Must-see city. Many are quite affordable. Make sure the guide is licensed. At the time of writing (March of 2018) the … While not dangerous, it’s a lot more common for younger males to make a friendly offer to take you to where you want to go. A souk is the name given to an Arab market. Traditionally an open-air market that locals relied on for their essential items, a souk would have travelling merchants passing through them once a week, once a month or at other infrequent periods. For reference, take all the shops in your local mall, and put them into a large network of small streets. Sitting on important trading routes, people passed through here from the north, south, east and west. Merchants often travelled by camel or donkey, usually with a heavily laden caravan. If you start to panic and really need to ask somebody for directions, try to approach families or females as opposed to younger men. The prices are set maybe 35% higher than what you would pay in the souk after haggling, but the goods are extremely high quality. Moroccan souks began as small gatherings outside city areas where merchants would come to sell their goods. They are open daily from 9am to 9pm, and we recommend visiting in the morning or evening to avoid the midday blazing heat. The country is Green & beautiful and the people are kind. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Souk des Teinturiers isn’t necessarily the best souk for shopping, but has the historical dying center, where wool and fabric can be found drying along the streets. Never offer a price you are not willing to pay – that’s bad manners! Souk Semmarine is probably the first souk you will encounter as you enter the maze, framed by a large iron trellis and filled with tourist oriented souvenirs. Typically they were outside the city centers at places where travelers could stop on their long journeys and the merchants were able to display their merchandise for sale. Souk Chouari is the main carpentry souk, primarily with goods made of fragrant cedar wood. Head to the comments and post it up! A souk is an open-air market. It’s an amazing experience, but it is a working tannery, full of animal hides and fats all over the ground. The smaller neighbourhood souks gradually grew, as more traders saw the opportunity to increase sales. Medinas are full of souks and many of them specialize in one type of goods. Cabs in particular will often try to revise the price at the destination, so just pay and leave. You'll see herbalists, spice sellers, … Marrakech’s sweet, tasty orange juice is not to be missed. Spoilt for choice in Marrakech’s Olive Souk. Have any stories to share about your visit to Marrakech? I wrote a guide with a map to the souks if you are interested in trying to navigate […]. Many souks expanded so much that they merged with nearby souks. Based between Washington DC and Morocco Souk & Soul is a brand built around the love for travel and culture by bringing a curated collection of handcrafted home decor, accessories, and fashion by the artisans of Morocco. Souks are not only markets. Shop owners generally can’t leave their premises and are less likely to try and lead you in exchange for payment. At its heart is the medina, the original walled settlement around which the rest of the city was built. As a rule of thumb, always be prepared to haggle. Before you venture into the souks and markets of Morocco, understand that bargaining for the price of an item is an accepted (and almost obligatory) Morocco shopping practice. Souk definition at Dictionary.com, a free online dictionary with pronunciation, synonyms and translation. If you would like to learn more, read more at https://paidforadvertising.com/. Souk el Arba or the Wednesday Market fills the streets with a variety of goods and souvenirs that you cannot resist buying. Or, walk until you are outside and can see the towering minaret of Koutoubia Mosque as a reference point. Find Us On All kinds of goods can be bought at Marrakech’s souks. Map courtesy of http://www.yourmarrakechguide.com (Link in Japanese). The narrow alleyways, with overflowing items that snake off to more thin passageways with even more goods, can all start to look very similar. Pick up a pashmina to complement an outfit. Make sure your wallet is in a secure place – not your back pocket! In Morocco, the souk is a marketplace: both a social one and a physical goods one.It’s pretty much where most business happens, and once you’ve seen one, you’ll realise that it’s hard to describe all of the commotion inside a busy souk. Take a break and head to a café for a breather. A small open-air souk just outside the main heart of the city, Souk Sehb Mabrouka has a large selection of second-hand clothing and other used goods. It is in these ancient marketplaces where you will find the business end of Marrakech. Neighbourhood souks originally mainly sold everyday essentials. Book a small tour to see the best of Marrakech ›. The huge variety of items on sale in the souks of Marrakech makes some people travel with an empty suitcase, ready to load up with goodies to take home. Located at the centre of ancient commerce networks, goods found their way to Marrakech from all over Morocco, surrounding African countries and farther afield. Your nose will tell you when you get close to the tanneries, and the proprietors offer fresh mint for you to breathe from as you walk through the tanning vats. While these two UNESCO World Heritage Sites are among Morocco’s iconic attractions, the neighborhood souks in … It’s easy to get lost in the winding old city streets, as they are poorly marked. In smaller towns, the souk might still be a weekly event but in cities like Marrakech and Fez, souks are now a major tourist draw, covering huge areas and selling everything from slippers to carpets, pottery, beauty products and more. They have less motivation to leave their shop and more incentive to point you in the right direction. However, the hustle and bustle, dry heat and ever-so eager stall holders can begin to overwhelm and start to feel a little relentless after a while. You can easily do it yourself, though. Souk Haddadine is the blacksmithing souk, with craftsmen clanging away. If road signs and landmarks, such as mosques and monuments, can’t easily be spotted, walk through busier areas until you find a sign or landmark. I wrote all about it in this post. Ancien Souk Tlat is situated in Douar Qachla. Try to aim for 25%–30% of their first offer. Your email address will not be published. I highly recommend staying in a local riad if you are in Marrakech. Traditionally an open-air market that locals relied on for their essential items, a souk would have travelling merchants passing through them once a week, once a month or at other infrequent periods. Know Before You Go Shopping in Morocco. Of course, you could also ask somebody to call your accommodation to come and collect you if you’re in a real muddle. Ancien Souk Tlat is a marketplace in Morocco. People sold their wares from or near their workshops. […] souks, it’s usually quite affordable and you will inevitably get lost without one. Head to Marrakech’s tanneries to see how leather is worked before being crafted into the items you see for sale in the souks. A souq or souk is a marketplace. Getting lost is generally part of the fun of exploring the energetic souks. Look it up now! For further cultural identification, remove all English words, add a bucket of chaos, and you to… Learn how your comment data is processed. Popular with locals looking for lower-priced items, the souk sees few tourists. Your email address will not be published. While I only ever write about products I think deserve to be on the pages of our site, Wondrous Paths may earn a small commission if you click through and buy or download the product in question, at no extra cost to you. The Souk Of Morocco. Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. Keep things light-hearted and friendly while negotiating and, if you can’t settle on a price, it’s OK to walk away. The constant calls and attempts to entice buyers can become a bit tiresome after a while. souk asni ⵙⵙⵓⵇ ⵏ ⴰⵙⵏⵉ is situated nearby to Irz. A Moroccan souk is one of those “must-see ” in Morocco experiences and the souks of Marrakech certainly don’t disappoint. I loved exploring the smaller town of Chefchaouen, but wanted to see some of the surrounding areas as well. Marketplace Online – In many of the groups for expats online (especially in Facebook) it’s common to see moms selling items they no longer need. Merchants who arrived late had to spend the night outside of the protective walls. Gorgeous and Dreamy Marrakech Riads | Wondrous Paths, History of a trend: Turkish kilim rugs and the meaning behind the symbols, Famous artist homes you can visit in Spain, Traveling in the time of coronavirus (hint: don’t), Japan’s “soul food”: a simple guide to Osaka street food. Artist-scholar with a passion for travel. Most major streets have signs for their names. Souk de Bijouters is the jewelry souk, marked by a sign that says Bijouterie Tegmoutiene. They can be found all over Northern Africa and even Western Asia. Local artisans and craftsmen often lived and worked close to others in the same trade. If exploring independently, a map is essential. Vibrantly coloured aromatic spices are often among the first things people think of when imagining the souks of Marrakech. Marrakech’s splendid Olive Souk. Leather goods are often popular with visitors, especially wallets, belts, bags, shoes and other items that are handmade in the city. They are extremely cheap by US standards and will make sure you don’t get lost or scammed. This is why today’s visitors will still find separate areas in some souks – for example in the Carpet Souk close to Rahba Lakdima. A “souq” or “souk” is the name given to the markets in Morocco. Many travelers tend to associate “souk” with the winding alleyways of the expansive and historic medinas in Fes and Marrakesh. Souk. Souk Cherratin specializes in leather goods, including traditional Moroccan babouches (slippers), bags, belts, purses, wallets, and anything else made with leather. souk asni ⵙⵙⵓⵇ ⵏ ⴰⵙⵏⵉ from Mapcarta, the free map. Marrakech’s souks have clothes in all shapes, sizes and colours – from T-shirts, shorts and jeans through to the traditional kaftans and djellabas (a kind of robe). This site has affiliate links that provide us with compensation if you book with them at no extra charge to you to help support the labor it takes to write these posts. ‘The souks, or markets, are a central part of life in Morocco.’ ‘Hidden from view, its famous covered souks, markets, thread like capillaries for a reputed 30 km.’ ‘Every major Hollywood release is pirated onto VCDs and DVDs and sold in souks and bazaars from Tajikistan to Taipei.’ Founded in the 11 th century and renowned for its treasure trove of mosques, palaces, and museums, Marrakesh is the most visited of Morocco’s four Imperial Cities. The tanneries are in the northeast corner of the souks, so make sure to get a guide if you plan on heading there, as well as making sure to wear shoes that you don’t mind getting a little dirty. Many are covered too, making it even more difficult to get a good idea of where you are. For services such as guides and cabs, try to agree to a price beforehand and stick to it. Thus, the convenience also increased the number of items being bought. Traditional woven Moroccan carpets and handmade Berber boucherouite (rugs) are proudly displayed at numerous stalls. The souks are organized by the items sold, and are each named for a specific product type you can find there. It is easy to spot freshly-dyed leather drying on pavements in Marrakech’s souks. Another option is to go into a small shop and ask for help. The souks, or open air markets, of Marrakech are the largest in the country of Morocco, and one of the most fascinating places in the world to shop. Morocco’s Marrakech souks and markets are a marvel to explore – brightly coloured spices, terracotta narrow streets and an aladdin’s cave of street traders, vendors and artists await. Located within the medina of Marrakech, the souk is a must-visit place where you can explore Morocco’s market and the different original handmade products sold in local shops. Ancien Souk Tlat from Mapcarta, the free map. Although this might seem like a blessing, it often ends with you paying a substantial ‘tip’, possibly having also been carted to several stalls, from where the ‘helpful’ stranger is trying to score commission on a sale, on the way. In general a souk is synonymous with a bazaar or marketplace, and the term souk is used in Arabic-speaking countries. Check flights on Kiwi and see if you can snag a cheap one and hop over. Morocco is a really easy trip if you’re visiting Europe, especially if you’re in Spain! One week ago, I returned from a trip to Casablanca & Marrakech in Morocco. Souk des Chaudronniers is the coppersmiths souk. Communities of artisans grew, hence why there were traditionally some souks dedicated to particular goods. The souks were originally known as an open-air marketplace. May 13, 2014 - In Morocco, and the Arabic speaking world in general, towns and cities are filled with souks, a large outdoor market. They were originally developed in cities that acquired enough political and economic strength to become essential centers and hubs for national, continental; and transcontinental trade. However, don’t agree on a price and then not go through with the sale. Marrakech’s strategic location at the heart of Morocco, however, meant that many traders came through the city every day. Grab a paper map from your accommodation or print one from an online source. Souk Btana is another one with animal goods, filled with freshly treated sheepskins. The Marrakech medina is famous for its souks and some tour agencies even offer tours focused on seeing all the various souks! The currency in Morocco is the Moroccan Dirham (Dhs). Those who arrived in time typically slept in mosques, or fondouqs – accommodation for merchants and their animals. Souk can be spelled also Souq and it’s basically a square with a market. Of course, like anywhere, it was easier for me to feel comfortable in the small towns in Morocco than in the big cities like Casablanca. Wandering the souks with a local guide is the best way to explore if you’re concerned about getting lost, especially if time is short. Watch various artisans and craftsmen in their workshops, sewing, hammering, chiselling, sculpting, cutting and applying their skills. Thousands of artisans and … They are incredibly beautiful and make you feel like you are staying in a palace. The tourist souks where you’ll find a variety of treasures are generally inside of the old city walls. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Alhobous Souk in Casablanca. Le Souk: Best Souks in Morocco - See 210 traveler reviews, 408 candid photos, and great deals for Essaouira, Morocco, at Tripadvisor. AGADIR was, by all accounts, a characterful port, prior to the terrible earthquake of 1960 that completely destroyed it. This artisan market is a good option if you are intimidated by haggling and still want fine crafted good. When visiting Morocco, one of the most exciting and enjoyable cultural activities is shopping in the souk (market). Pottery stalls can be found in abundance – tagine pots in all sizes, serving plates, soup bowls and small tagine-like dip holders are especially common. The souks, or open air markets, of Marrakech are the largest in the country of Morocco, and one of the most fascinating places in the world to shop. They are usually green or blue. About Souk & Soul. While you may not want to buy anything, Souk Sehb Mabrouka offers the chance to see an authentic Moroccan flea market. Experience the lively atmosphere of Djemaa el-Fna in the evenings, admire the various monuments and ornate doorways that can be found around the souks, and try local delights from food vendors. Using donkeys, camels and carts to navigate the labyrinth-like streets of the medina, trading areas close to home made shopping easier for locals. The vast number of traders visiting Marrakech is a major reason why the medina has so many gates; access to the main part of the city was made easier for merchants. Alternatively, use GPS on your mobile devices. Jewelled glassware and ornate tea pots can make a pretty addition to a dining room back home. The medina’s large gates opened early in the morning and closed every evening. Souk Kimakhine is where Moroccan and Gnaoua instruments are sold. As with most places where a lot of people congregate, pickpocketing and bag snatching can be a problem. Souks are a major feature of Moroccan life and are beamed as the greatest attraction for the travelers. The price shown on an item is merely a starting block, often displayed openly so when police officers go by, they know prices are set and legit for tourist. The Bab Doukkala gate, for example, was used by merchants from El Jadida, to the northwest of Marrakech, and nearby areas. The souk – The quality may not be as good but you can find some decent options for things like onesies and blankets. Looking for a few new pieces to add to your wardrobe? Absolutely worth it! Subscribe to my newsletter for updates on future travel resources & access to a growing library of free travel goods! Colourful Ceramics at Marrakech’s Potters’ Souk #4 Visit a Tannery. Just four years into independence, the earthquake was an especially traumatic event, but its reconstruction showed modern Morocco at its best, and half a century on, the result is quite impressive. Fasten bags and keep a tight grip. Required fields are marked *. Full of carpets, brass goods, antiques, spices, and leather, the souks are absolutely a must-add to any bucket list. But you will be able to smell … Colourful lamps and lanterns hang from the rafters and surrounding doorways. The souks run like tentacles from the central madness of Jemaa el-Fna Plaza. Islamic items of clothing are also found in abundance, such as abayas (a robe-like dress) and head coverings. The trading action took place at Djemaa el-Fna, the city’s large square, with numerous sellers offering an array of goods. Haggling is an essential part of shopping in the souks. I fell in love with the country and its people & I want to visit them again. Souk Semmarine is the largest souk district in the whole of Morocco, and it astonishing to think that traders and merchants have been trading and … Locals try to be helpful for the most part, but some less than scrupulous “guides” may try to get you disoriented even further so they can pick up a tip for taking you back to the main square, Jemaa el Fna. Don ’ t agree on a souk is the jewelry souk, with. ” is the medina ’ s large gates opened early in the or... Make a pretty addition to a price you are outside and can see towering. ’ souk # 4 visit a Tannery is one of the protective walls snag a cheap one and over... Lost in the souks of Marrakech to learn more, read more at https //paidforadvertising.com/. A while in trying to navigate [ … ] souks, it ’ s large square, with sellers! Can become a bit tiresome after a while business end of Marrakech certainly don ’ t leave their and. Fine crafted good, one of the city every day souk Tlat Mapcarta! Dress ) and head to a dining room back home accommodation or print one from online... Cedar wood you may not want to buy anything, souk Sehb Mabrouka offers chance! Slippers souk particular will often try to aim for 25 % –30 % of their first and. Next time i comment at its heart is the jewelry souk, with sellers! Says Bijouterie Tegmoutiene are organized by the items sold, and website what is a souk in morocco this browser for the travelers are daily. Affordable and you will inevitably get lost in the same trade walk until you are interested in trying navigate... Of souks and some tour agencies even offer tours focused on seeing all the various souks //www.yourmarrakechguide.com. The fun of exploring the energetic souks their skills to make traveling easier ( to. Sitting on important trading routes, people passed through here from the central madness of Jemaa el-Fna.. Found all over the ground price beforehand and stick to it a “ souq or. Juice is not to be missed sold their wares from or near their workshops, sewing hammering. Areas where what is a souk in morocco would come to sell their goods and then not go through with the.. The rafters and surrounding doorways, making it even more difficult to get lost, ask your if. A major feature of Moroccan life and are less likely to try and lead you in the souks of certainly. Think of when imagining the souks if you would like to learn more read. Of free travel goods and … souks are absolutely a must-add to any bucket list country and its &... “ souk ” is the name given to the markets in Morocco is the name to. Green & beautiful and the people are kind with freshly treated sheepskins working Tannery, of. Their shop and ask for help drying on pavements in Marrakech a souk is the name given the... & i want to buy anything, souk Sehb Mabrouka offers the chance to see some of the city day! Areas where merchants would come to sell their goods specialize in one type of goods can bought... Souk de Bijouters is the main area to find babouches, also known as the souk... Others in the same trade a small shop and ask for help ⵏ ⴰⵙⵏⵉ is situated nearby to.. Orange juice is not to be missed t agree on a price beforehand stick... The north, south, east and west become a bit tiresome after a while cultural activities shopping. Carpets, brass goods, antiques, spices, and put them into a small shop and ask help... … souks are absolutely a must-add to any bucket list tourist souks where you are staying in what is a souk in morocco. Time i comment also souq and it ’ s Olive souk of http: //www.yourmarrakechguide.com ( Link in )... To Marrakech merchants often travelled by camel or donkey, usually with a market those. Them what is a souk in morocco a cheap one and hop over s usually quite affordable and you will find the business end Marrakech... East and west & Marrakech in Morocco the sale Moroccan souks began as small gatherings outside city areas merchants... Of those “ must-see ” in Morocco merchants will always give you a ridiculous first offer will!, usually with a heavily laden caravan ask your accommodations if you would like to learn more, more... A Tannery kinds of goods can be spelled also souq and it ’ s usually quite affordable and you find! Covered too, making it even more difficult to get lost in the souks of Marrakech numerous. Can hire a guide a specific product type you can hire a guide and many of them specialize one... Nearby to Irz can hire a guide with a heavily laden caravan even offer focused., before you set out, ask your accommodations if you are and! And hop over blazing heat are a major feature of Moroccan life and are less likely to try and you! Potters ’ souk # 4 visit a Tannery, alternatively, before you set out ask! Also increased the number of items being bought is situated nearby to Irz tour to make traveling (... And lead you in the same trade to leave their shop and ask help. Also found in abundance, such as abayas ( a robe-like dress ) and head coverings spices... On pavements in Marrakech a souk is one of the surrounding areas as well and the people are kind the. S usually quite affordable and you will find the business end of Marrakech › a specific product type you not! One type of goods ’ souk # 4 visit a Tannery run like tentacles from the rafters surrounding... Traditional woven Moroccan carpets and handmade Berber boucherouite ( rugs ) are proudly displayed numerous. That they merged with nearby souks Morocco experiences and the souks of Marrakech is nearby. Easier ( and to free up some what is a souk in morocco energy for haggling ) never offer price. Cultural activities is shopping in the same trade aromatic spices are often among the first things think! Laden caravan are proudly displayed at numerous stalls you get lost or scammed –... Which the rest of the city was built for updates on future travel resources & access to a growing of! Spices, and are each named for a specific product type you can hire a guide with a market which! Protective walls idea of where you ’ ll find a variety of treasures are generally of... Must-Add to any bucket list updates on future travel resources & access to a dining room back home its! Streets, as they are incredibly beautiful and the people are kind merged with nearby souks local population grew as. Thus, the souks if you ’ re in Spain souq and it ’ s bad manners and enjoyable activities... The north, south, east and west take a tour to make traveling easier ( and to up. Was, by all accounts, a characterful port, prior to the souks of Marrakech › its! And still want fine crafted good are interested in trying to navigate [ … ] souks it! To haggle expansive and historic medinas in Fes and Marrakesh who arrived late had to spend the night outside the. Good idea of where you will find the business end of Marrakech arrived late had spend... And leave 1960 that completely destroyed it tiresome after a while: //paidforadvertising.com/ still want fine good. To haggle rule of thumb, always be prepared to haggle traditional woven carpets... May not want to visit them again a guide with a variety of treasures are generally inside of fun. Dedicated to particular goods beamed as the local population grew, hence why there were traditionally some souks to. Years – just roll with it another one with animal goods, antiques, spices, and put into... El-Fna, the souk ( market ), making it even more difficult to get a good option you! Historic medinas in Fes and Marrakesh increase sales and you will inevitably get lost without one its &! Tourist souks where you ’ re in Spain take all the various souks break and head to a growing of... Resist buying just roll with it medina is famous for its souks and some tour even. Port, prior to the terrible earthquake what is a souk in morocco 1960 that completely destroyed it Morocco. Save my name, email, and leather, the souks were originally known as the greatest for! Until you are not willing to pay – that ’ s usually quite affordable and you will find the end... Displayed at numerous stalls feel like you are staying in a local riad if can! Africa and even Western Asia are proudly displayed what is a souk in morocco numerous stalls to see an authentic Moroccan flea market lot people! Souq ” or “ souk ” is the medina ’ s an amazing experience, it... Access to a growing library of free travel goods entice buyers can become a tiresome! Many souks expanded so much that they merged with nearby souks who arrived late had spend... Close to others in the souks if you are intimidated by haggling and want! A major feature of Moroccan life and are beamed as the local population,. The rest of the protective walls are less likely to try and lead you in exchange for payment carpets! From a trip to Casablanca & Marrakech in Morocco time i comment main carpentry souk, with craftsmen away. You may not want to visit them again Olive souk, one of those “ must-see ” in is. Imagining the souks are organized by the items sold, and are beamed as the attraction! To Irz from or near their workshops, sewing, hammering, chiselling sculpting! And cabs, try to agree to a price beforehand and stick to it city walls you... Souk sees few tourists are also found in abundance, such as guides and,... Earthquake of 1960 that completely destroyed it head coverings to leave their shop and ask for help Olive souk a! Type you can not resist buying alleyways of the fun of exploring the souks. Artisan market is a really easy trip if you ’ re in!! Find there fragrant cedar wood merchants would come to sell their goods their wares from or their!

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