Bustling markets and souqs brimming with treasured lamps and magic carpets have long been a rather stereotypical, largely orientalist image associated with the ‘Eastern World’. In reality, that Middle East mall culture is where its at, but in recent years a number of very innovative and groundbreaking markets have also cropped up in and around Amman. Here is a roundup of the top ones.
Nour Al Barakah’s Saturday Market exists to bring people with disabilities and community members together by providing young adults with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to intermingle with peers in a safe, recreational and structured environment. The market sells locally made products in order to implement a permaculture that is built on the ethic of caring for earth and for people. Nour al Barakah is a weekly market operating year-round.
All produce bought and sold at the Farmers Market Amman is sourced from farms outside the capital and is guaranteed to be organically grown and free of chemicals and GMO’s. Taking place every Friday at the Orthodox club, the Farmers Market also sell handicrafts from an assortment of artisans around the country.
‘The Friday Market’, or Souk el-Joumea, is a large second-hand clothing market located near Ras el-Ayn on the edge of downtown. The market is extremely vast so if you want to make it all the way around you may want to reserve at least half a day. If you have a keen eye you’ll find a few gems every time you visit, from shoes to wedding dresses and everything in between!
The Flohmarkt is Amman’s answer to the traditional flea market. Held sporadically throughout the year, it is essentially a jumble sale event where families gather to set up stalls and sell off unwanted, yet sometimes very valuable belongings. You may find anything from film cameras to old Egyptian straw baskets, but go early to avoid disappointment and seek out a bargain or two.
Location varies event to event – make sure you check on Facebook. 0799639849
Souk Jara is an open-air handicrafts market held every Friday just off Rainbow Street in Jabal Amman. As you’re strolling down the aisles of vendors, you will come across a large variety of locally produced goods including antiques, handicrafts, soaps and various condiments.
Souk el-Khodra, or the vegetable market, is the perfect weekly destination for all your fresh fruits and vegetables. Much of the produce is locally grown and the prices are substantially more affordable than most supermarkets in Amman. Take a stroll through the souk and enjoy the abundance of fresh seasonal produce available while listening to the melodies of the traders songs, enticing you to their stalls.
Souk el-Sagha is essentially the gold market in Downtown Amman. Full of beautifully crafted gold jewellery, many famous jewellery makers in Jordan started in this market. A top tip is to watch out for what is known as ‘Russian Gold’, it’s not as valuable as regular gold, and make sure that you use your best Arabic skills to bargain a good deal.
Souk Mango is one of the oldest markets in Downtown Amman. Here you will find many dress shops and bridalwear, as well as some stalls selling bedding and towels. It may not be one you’ll visit regularly but it’s still worth taking a stroll down occasionally!