Apart from being an open-air museum, the Old City of San'a also houses the central market or suq. Entering the old city through Bab al-Yaman or Southern Gate, you directly walk into the suq. While the old city is an open-air museum of San'a architecture, the suq is where the old city comes alive. You can easily spend hours walking around the main suq streets and alleys for hours without ever walking the same stretch twice. It is probably a good idea to let your sense guide you through the area as you go, following your instinct and intuition. Stalls with preciously decorated jambiyas or traditional daggers, colourful clothes, piles of raisins, spices, shiny brassware, and many, many more things.
After a morning stroll through the suq, I decided to eat something. I bought a sandwich at a stall and sat down to eat it while seeing market life pass by. An old man offered me tea, and the son of a shopowner bought me a cactus fruit. Once again, the hospitality of the Yemenis was exceptional, they all wanted to talk to me, point things out to me, and make me feel at home. Sititng there, I saw various sellers of tea, fruit and sandwiches pass by, someone collecting empty tea glasses, while I heard the cling-clong of the workers going on.
Again, I regretted not speaking much Arabic, for I had loved to be able to communicate with these people, more than just basic hand-and-foot quizzes. There was animated conversation among others, people shouting, laughing, Yemeni men in traditional dress passing by, barely a woman in sight since both salesmen and buyers are almost always men. I wondered what the difference with the Middle Ages mnight be, and could only think of the plastic bags that people give when you buy something.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from San'a suq (Yemen). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to San'a suq.
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