Nizwa Souq

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In the shadow of the vast fort, Nizwa souq has been a focal trading point for as long as the town has been around; recently the buildings themselves have been restored, making this one of the best-looking souqs to tour. However it’s on a Friday morning that the place really comes alive for the weekly livestock auction. Goats and calves are led in a ring around a central dais, with buyers shouting out prices until a sale is agreed – like a rowdy auction with no auctioneer. It’s a wonderful place to people-watch: everyone is in traditional dress (as they are the whole time) and venerable men with grey beards and ageing weapons haggle alongside local women, their colourful shawls offset by the distinctive black face masks of the region. In amongst everyone’s legs, children run, shout and play, much as they do anywhere in the world. It’s as genuine a slice of traditional Omani life as you’ll find anywhere.

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