Mutrah Souk is one of the oldest marketplaces in the Arab world. For centuries it served as a trading place for goods that passed through the Muscat harbor from India, China, Europe and other parts of the Middle East. The souk is still a lively marketplace today, with trading of local produce like fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices as well as traditional textiles, garments, jewelry, incense, pipes, pottery and craftwork.
Immerse yourself in the humming and aromatic marketplace with its many meandering aisles and alleys brimming with stalls and vendors. Locals call this market “Al Dhalam Souq,” (The Shaded Market). The ancient marketplace was once made up of narrow lanes with mud walls and palm leaves that blocked out most of the bright Omani sunlight. Today, the market has been renovated and decorated in contemporary Arabic style, with colorful stained-glass windows and bright lanterns under a sturdy timber roof.
Explore the winding lanes and follow the sweet fragrances of perfume oils, fresh jasmine and spices. Embroidered cloth, headscarves and clothing items can be found in the small shops that line the marketplace. Indian and Omani antiques and gold decorations are stacked up to the ceiling in some stalls, while others are piled with brightly colored spices and powdered dyes.
The main north-south thoroughfare becomes livelier after dark. Wander between stalls to join the exciting marketplace atmosphere or watch it all go by from a seat in a coffee shop.
The Mutrah Souk is located by the harbor in the heart of Old Muscat. It’s free to enter the souk. Haggling is expected here, but discounts may not be drastic.
The market is open twice a day: first from early morning until midday and then from late afternoon until late evening. On Fridays, the market only operates in the afternoons. It can be difficult to find a parking spot around the busy marketplace, so come by taxi instead.