Nizwa Souq

Market in Nizwa

Image by Mark Daffey Getty Images

The site of one of the oldest souqs in the country, this extensive marketplace is dedicated mostly to fruit and vegetables, meat and fish, all of which are housed in new buildings behind the great, crenulated piece of city wall that overlooks the wadi. If you’re not put off by the smell of heaving bulls and irritable goats, the livestock souq (in full swing between 7am and 9am on Friday) is well worth a look.

The livestock souq occupies a small plot of land beyond the main market walls, left of the entrance, and the brisk trading in goats, sheep, cattle and occasional camels is a centuries' old tradition.

Part of the souq (nearest the fort) is dedicated to handicrafts and caters specifically to the passing tourist trade. You’ll have to try hard to find a bargain for antiques and silver, but local craftsmanship is good. Nizwa is particularly famous for crafting silver khanjars (traditional curved daggers). Today Indian or Pakistani silversmiths often work under an Omani master-craftsman, especially for pieces designed for tourists, but the workmanship is often exquisite. Prices range from OR50 for a tourist piece to well over OR500 for an authentic piece.