Street markets are among the exciting travel experiences in any country, but the best souks take it to a whole other level. The souks of the Middle East are among the oldest marketplaces in the world and many of them have looked intrinsically the same for centuries – narrow alleys of small stores and stalls with goods of every nature piled high. The best souks are an amazing assault on the senses. The intense scenery, the colors, the aromas and the noise juxtapose to create an attention-grabbing melange for sight, sound and smell, and when you throw in that you can touch the goods and feel the fabrics and materials, and that street food stalls punctuate the other goods, your fifth sense is covered too. Every tourist has to try haggling at least once in their life and here are some of the top souks to try your skill.
1. Khan El-Khalili, Cairo, Egypt
With some foundations dating back to 1382, Khan-el-Khalili in Cairo is one of the oldest and best souks in the world. It is historically so significant that this market influenced the routes of trade from Asia to Europe. Some even say that it inspired Columbus to search for new routes resulting in his voyage to America. It’s not just the shopping that the market is famous for; visitors flock the market for its wonderful restaurants and coffeehouses.