Exploring the Nizwa Souq Oman is one of the top things to do in the Sultanate. It is one of the oldest markets in the country and you will find fruit, meat, sweets, pottery, souvenirs and antiques... there is a lot to discover as you stroll through in the middle of the locals. And don't forget to visit the Nizwa fort right after!
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Why visit the Nizwa Souq in Oman?
Beside the Muttrah Souq in Muscat, the Nizwa Souq (some write it Nizwa Souk) is the other main Omani market.
Personally I enjoyed it better than the one in the capital city, especially when you walk away from the souvenir part of it.
Plus it is right next to the Nizwa fort. So combined, it makes for a great day.
PLANNING TIPS - Nizwa Souq Oman
Getting to the Nizwa Souq - Location
- Within the walls surrounding the Nizwa Fort
- Muscat to Nizwa = 1h30 drive - you can take the Express Way all the way
- Road 21 is the main road going through Nizwa, from there the fort is indicated
- Nizwa is included in my eBook which facilitates planning your itinerary:
Be overwhelmed by the beauty, not the planning!
If you don't want to drive, you can take join a day trip from Muscat covering Nizwa fort - Check out the Program
Visiting the Nizwa Souq Oman
- You can visit the Souq all day every day (except Friday afternoons) - with a break around lunch
- Entrance is free
- Except on fridays, there is a large carapark in front of the entrance
- Plan some time to really explore all the corridors and the different sections: the very modern vegetable markets, the sweet shop and the non-restored section to the east.
- Don't forget to cover your shoulders and knees. Many locals shop at the Souq.
- On Friday Mornings, the place next to the Souq filled in with people from the region who come to sell goats, cows, sheep and other animals.
- Nizwa silver craft is considered the best in Oman. Don't forget to discuss the price.
Modern Nizwa market for vegetables
The fruits and vegetable section of the Souq is modern with a wide room and white clean settings. It was not vey busy when I walked through.
Like Shery from OttsWorld, I was surprised to see only men shop for food. But it is customary in Oman. However the women cook in general.
I always love watching fruits and vegetables in different countries, it is intriguing with new shapes and colors, different ways of presenting and packaging.
Deals happen also outside of the walled market area, at the back of trucks.
Old section of the Nizwa Souq
The East Souq remains for the moment unrestored. This is where you can see what it was really like before. It is of course messier and you wonder how everything is holding on, but the stalls are way more intriguing with mixes of spices, nuts, household products etc.
The only organized shop...
See the arches, don't you think it might fall on you?
Those places are always inspiring for photography, but the lighting is not always helping.
There is also a section that is more geared towards tourists - so if you are looking for souvenirs, wondering what to buy: you can find potteries, baskets, spices, fresh dates... and of course knickknacks.
Restored section of the Nizwa Souq
I also entered corridors that seem to be within the wall of the Nizwa fort and were well restored. The roof was traditionnally decorated with wood. Owly few vendors were opened. I think it was the antiquieties section because there were old coffers with detailed decoration.
I really liked the mood of this section with the light coming from the top. This is the reason why I prefered Nizwa to the Muttrah Souq in Muscat.
The Nizwa Animal Market on Fridays
As I said earlier, every Friday mornings, people gather near the Souq to sell like stock. I was not there on a Friday, but check out this video from Times of Oman about the Nizwa Souq. The second part shows you how busy the weekly animal market can get.
You can also check Cat Bird Woman's article with photos and a short video.
Nizwa Souq vs Muttrah Souq
I personally have a slight preference for the Nizwa Souq.
The advantage of the one in Muttrah - are the beautiful location by the Corniche - it makes for a great half day wandering around. and if you are looking for gold, this is the best place
However, I felt the product sold in the Nizwa market were more traditional and I must admit that being inside the fort makes it quite fascinating.
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