Nizwa Market, Oman
The city government refurbished Nizwa Market a few years ago. For travelers, new market is code for “less interesting”. When we travel, we’re looking for the gritty and the authentic. But sometimes, the authentic happens to be new. Even in a foreign country like Oman. As travelers, we have to accept that. We can’t expect places to be the way we wish them.
Despite Nizwa Market’s makeover, there is still plenty of interest for visitors. Sure there is the tourist section with beautiful hand-made souvenirs, but there is also the real market where locals buy everything from spices to swordfish. It isn’t as rustic looking as it use to be, but it’s the same old people and the many of the goods they’ve been buying and selling for centuries.
The thing that still stands out in my memory from Oman is that people wear their traditional dress. Most men wear a dishdasha (also know as a thawb or thobe). The dishdasha is an ankle-length, collarless robe which buttons at the neck and has a tassel hanging down. Traditionally this tassel would be dipped in perfume. The dishdasha is commonly worn by men throughout the Arabian Peninsula.
Nizwa Market was quiet in the heat of the late morning when we visited but the fish mongers were happy to show off their catch. Some were still busy cutting up the huge tuna. Elderly men sat around on the perimeter of the market chatting with each other. We took a short walk through the narrow streets behind the market before visiting the Nizwa Fort nearby.
If we’ve piqued your interest about Oman, here’s an intro to Omani sword fighting, photos of the spectacular mountain village Bilad Sayt, and highlights from a road trip through Oman.