Qatar Airways VP, Sales, Africa Shares Some Attractive Markets To Visit
The Vice President, Sales, Africa, Qatar Airways, Hendrik du Preez says market destinations across the continent and beyond have always been about more than groceries. He identified a few favourites among them starting with Djemaael-Fna, Marrakech, Morocco.
“The square has been the site of the market since the 11th Century and in that time the origins of its name – roughly “assembly of the dead” – have become blurred. It’s thought that public executions may have taken place here. No more: By day, watch snake-charmers with their distinctive pungi flutes as well as the ancient mastery of the henna tattoo-artists. By night, a food-market draws you in with marvellous smells and taste like grilled meats, and for the gastronomically adventurous, sheeps’ heads, a local delicacy. The feasting is serenaded by amazigh musicians and the singing of gnaoua troupes, as well as the antics of acrobats.”
Other markets are “Souk Waqif, Doha, Qatar: The winding corridors of this beguiling market lead you past shopkeepers outside their stalls (The name literally means standing market) selling traditional garments, handicrafts, brassware and much more. If you have even a vague interest in food or cooking, allow plenty of time to explore shops with sacks and baskets of spices, herbs, nuts and fruit. selling After a bout of shopping, unwind with ghawa, traditional coffee. X’s tip: the halva, made in massive pots and doled out, warm,fragrant and irresistible, into a tin for you to take home or devour at your hotel.
Grand Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey: The bazaar is vast – it spans 60 streets in the heart of the capital, so Hendrik suggests donning your walking-shoes rather than your Louboutin heels. It’s operated in some form since 1455, shortly after the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople. Entire roads are devoted to specific products: carpets, furniture, bracelets, leather good, and so on. After shopping for antiques, jewellery, mirrors, lanterns and much more, have a restorative hammam, or traditional steam-bath.
KuromonIchiba Market, Osaka: This lively covered market is affectionately known as Osaka’s market because it’s favoured by local residents and restaurateurs for its supplies. It also offers the best of street-food experiences, with food prepared, cooked and served while you wait. There are also izakaya, popular with Japanese workers for leisurely after-work drinks and snacks. It’s famous for its fish and seafood, as well as pickles and fresh produce. X’s insider tip: Try the tea-flavoured ice-cream at Yamaguchien, a speciality tea shop that’s been in business since 1937.
Chichicastenango Market, Guatemala: It’s rated as among the world’s best handicraft markets, with pottery and vivid textiles, including the huipuil worn by Maya women. It’s also thought to be the world’s biggest outdoor market, so you can easily spend a day browsing and haggling, with regular stops for freshly prepared street-food, like chiles rellenos, a blend of shredded meats and peppers, dipped in egg batter and fried.Fretting about pronouncing the nameChichicastenango? Don’t: The locals call it Chichi and so should you.
Feria de Libros, Beunos Aires: Argentina’s beautiful, beloved capital has a variety of markets, and while many visitors gravitate towards the well-known Feria de San Telmo, X suggests the Feria De Libros, a haven for lovers of retro books and magazines, vinyl and CDs. That super-rare bootleg double LP of Jimi HendrixLive at the Los Angeles Forum in 1970? You might just find it here.”