Picture an ancient open-air marketplace with hawkers selling their wares – camels, mystical fragrances, artefacts, relics and curiosities from around the world and you would have imagined a souq. This enduring symbol of Arabian commerce can be traced to as early as 550 BCE.
Historically, souqs were held outside cities where caravans stopped and merchants displayed their goods for sale. Sometimes they extended beyond buying and selling goods to include major festivals involving various cultural and social activities. Moreover, a souq also had a role as a social spot where people met and talked over refreshments.
Although malls have taken over most of the Middle East with their super franchises and towering buildings, the souqs are still an important element of Arabian life given their cultural and historical significance.
In Kuwait, visiting the Souq Al Mubarakeya is essential if you want an authentic Arabian shopping experience. This popular traditional market is located in Kuwait City, between Abdullah Al Mubarak, Abdullah Al Salem & Palestine Streets.
With a history of 200 years, the market was damaged during the Iraqi invasion in 1990, it has since been restored to its former glory.
Spending a few hours strolling around and haggling for the best deals on carpets, antiques, oud (perfumes), honey, spices and sweets is enough to invoke the feeling of going back hundreds of years for those looking for a mystical Arabian adventure.
When you’re tired, head to the traditional cafes brewing their teas and savour the authentic Arabian, Indian and Persian cuisines in the open air.
Make sure you stop by at Souq Al Mubarakeya on your next visit to Kuwait and buy a keepsake.
Fly with Air India Express from Kochi to Kuwait, and travel back from Kuwait to Thiruvananthapuram. Visit airindiaexpress.in to book your tickets!