Sinaw Souq


Like most other souqs in the country, this market place, arranged around a central courtyard, is at its most active early on a Thursday morning. What makes this particular souq such fun to visit is that it attracts large numbers of Bedouin from nearby Sharqiya Sands, who throng to the town to trade livestock for modern commodities. Local ladies wearing bronze peaked masks and transparent gauzy abayas (full-length robe-like dress) add to the spectacle.

Just before eid (Islamic feast), the centre of town comes to a virtual standstill as camels are loaded (with inordinate difficulty) onto pick-up trucks, and goats are bartered across the street. Spirals of smoke emanating from almost every house in the vicinity over the holiday period indicate that the livestock are not traded in vain.

The souq is on the edge of the town, on the road from Sinaw to Hijj (also known as Hay). The souq gates are decorated with a green car for some reason.

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Well-preserved multistorey mud houses make this a fascinating place to wander around, and help demonstrate how Sinaw has always been an important trading…