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The Exotic Open-Air Markets of Morocco

October 9, 2012

A souq or souk (Arabic: سوق‎ sūq) is an open-air marketplace or commercial quarter in an Arab city. A souk entails the concept of a free-market where vendors can command the going market price for their products.

Historically, souks were held outside of cities in the location where a caravan loaded with goods would stop and merchants would display their goods for sale. Later, due to the importance of the marketplace and the growth of cities, the locations of souks shifted to urban centers

In a souk, the final price of an item is reached by bargaining with the shopkeeper. Traders of a given commodity would all sell in the same souk, thus ensuring a competitive market.

Have you ever haggled over the price with a shopkeeper in a souk?  Leave a comment and share your story!

Read more about souks here.

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63 Comments leave one →
  1. October 9, 2012 7:51 am

    I’ve never been to Morocco, but I’ve lived in Istanbul, where the markets are similar.
    My haggling skills are pathetic, I’m sorry to say.
    I think when you’re a foreigner you’re never going to get the price anywhere near the level a local can, no matter how tough you are!
    I once bought a beautiful hand painted plate, and wanted to go back and get a similar one for my mother. I made my Turkish boyfriend come, and he got a nicer one for Mum for exactly a tenth of the price I paid!!!

    • mrbradjones permalink*
      October 9, 2012 9:28 am

      That’s hilarious. I think you’re right. Even if a foreigner can haggle the price down to half, a local could still get it for much less. Thanks for sharing.

  2. October 9, 2012 7:52 am

    BTW I forgot to mention, your photos are absolutely stunning. The slanting early morning sunlight creates a fabulous atmosphere.

  3. October 9, 2012 8:08 am

    Great shots, I think I will have to break out some of my Tangier photo’s.

    • October 9, 2012 9:31 am

      Great, and hopefully you’ll have the chance to return one day to get some more photos!

  4. October 9, 2012 8:29 am

    tangier looks extremely interesting thanks to these great photos.

  5. October 9, 2012 9:28 am

    Great shots, reminds me of the markets in Egypt. I got the hang of haggling there by the end of the trip. I think the trick is to not actually care if you get the item or not, then they keep dropping the price as you walk away. It was good fun.

    • mrbradjones permalink*
      October 9, 2012 9:32 am

      Yes, the “walk away” has got to be one of the strongest haggling strategies :)

  6. October 9, 2012 10:47 am

    I think it can be quite intimidating for tourists when they are shopping in the souks – especially in Marrakech – those guys are infamous and have a sixth sense for getting the best price out of a buyer! I have written some tips for shopping in the souks: http://www.maroc-o-phile.com/moroccan-musings/23-gift-shopping-in-the-souks

    • mrbradjones permalink*
      October 9, 2012 11:32 am

      Great post, thanks for sharing that.

  7. October 9, 2012 11:02 am

    Amazing photographs, the light is beautiful! I don’t think I’ve ever haggled anywhere, I’m ashamed to say… definitely something I need to do sometime!

  8. October 9, 2012 4:28 pm

    Reblogged this on Catena Travel.

  9. October 9, 2012 6:53 pm

    Wonderful light in every shot – well done! :)

  10. The Word permalink
    October 10, 2012 5:15 am

    Lovely! I visited the Marrakech shops during my visit to Morocco and wouldn’t buy anything for days because I didn’t want to haggle. Finally got the hang of it on my last day, though like others I paid more than I should have…. In the end I saved money as I didn’t buy nearly what I would have had there been a price tag.

  11. October 10, 2012 7:33 pm

    So lovely!

  12. October 11, 2012 2:32 am

    Your photos are so rich in color and detail. I feel like I could study them for hours and still discover something new.

  13. October 12, 2012 10:48 pm

    Never been to Morocco, but I did lots of haggling in Egypt and Jordan.

    Or rather, my friends did lots of haggling, because I’m terrible at it. Luckily, in Egypt we had a guide who really liked us, so when the man said a price he immediately responded, “These are my friends, and I expect you to treat them as such,” and the price was then immediately halved. In Jordan I was just lucky because one of my friends is particularly stubborn ^.^

    And definitely fantastic photos!!

  14. October 13, 2012 9:55 pm

    Those are great pictures in the souk. I love the way you were able to handle the lighting. I haven’t been to Morocco yet but have been to many souks throughout the Middle East and you certainly have captured the feeling of being there.

  15. October 13, 2012 11:03 pm

    Love your photos! I wish I had taken pictures when I was there years ago.

  16. October 14, 2012 4:42 am

    I’m not much good at bargaining, but my husband and sister-in-law are both very accomplished, to the point where it’s embarrassing. But they always end up with great prices.

  17. October 14, 2012 1:05 pm

    Hi mrbradjones, good news; I have nominated you for the Reality Blog Award!

    The rules are at

    http://dearkitty1.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/reality-blog-award-thanks-rhubblog/

    • mrbradjones permalink*
      October 14, 2012 3:00 pm

      Hi petrel41, thanks for the nomination!

  18. October 14, 2012 4:23 pm

    Effective use of light.

  19. October 14, 2012 4:24 pm

    Grazie per essere venuti – che belle fotografie qui

    - Misera e stupenda città

    *

    “One dream finishes in Tetuan and another begins in Tangier. Still in Tetuan, but already in Tangier.

    “Already in Tangier, asleep again in a park. I had arrived that evening”

    - Mohamed Choukri

  20. October 14, 2012 9:17 pm

    The light in that first picture is breathtaking! I’m going to Morocco in 2 weeks & I can’t wait :)

  21. October 15, 2012 11:23 am

    Wonderful pics. What about submitting them to Matt George’s Photo Lord site. There’s a competition on at the moment. I think your photos would do well. I’ll be your number #1 voter!

  22. October 15, 2012 3:22 pm

    Wow! Amazing photos. Thank you so much for sharing them with us all!

  23. October 16, 2012 9:46 pm

    I love the light in these photos, especially in the first one!

  24. robind333 permalink
    October 17, 2012 4:31 pm

    Such beautiful pictures!! The markets even looked wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing…many, many blessings to you…Robin

  25. October 21, 2012 9:19 am

    Lovely photos – I love the colour and the light. Well done!

  26. October 21, 2012 2:08 pm

    For lack of better words. “Incredible”.

  27. October 21, 2012 2:08 pm

    Reblogged this on ScottCWebster.

  28. October 21, 2012 2:34 pm

    Morocco has been on the top of my travel list for a while, but for some reason I never end up going, this has given me a grand incentive to go! Thank you for the beautiful pics!

  29. October 21, 2012 5:15 pm

    gorgeous pictures and stories. I’d learned in the souks of Egypt that you should always try the “walk away” trick so I applied this in Marrakesh for some lovely slippers.
    We haggled a bit, then I walked away saying I would think about it…. the market trader called me back into the shop, but I still did not like the price.
    He finally agreed and sold me the slippers for a reduced price, but said I was like a “Berber woman” :) I love my red slippers. :)

  30. October 22, 2012 2:56 am

    Your pictures are fantastic. They remind me of the three weeks my wife and I spent in Morocco two years ago. Want a wonderful country!

  31. October 22, 2012 2:57 am

    Wow! Your photos are stunning. Love them

  32. October 23, 2012 11:44 am

    Your photos of Morocco are beautiful! They capture the culture so well. As I view them I feel the magic I’ve often felt in the Middle East.

  33. October 23, 2012 8:16 pm

    Great photos of the suq. Love these because they remind me so much of the suq in Oman where I lived for many years. Have never been to Morocco, but it’s on my “to do” list. The photo of the archway out of the suq (I think) are so typical. One minute you’re in this totally different world, even era, then out into the light you go and you’re back in the hustle and bustle. Wonderful compositions here.

  34. October 23, 2012 8:46 pm

    That last shot is haunting.. Thank you.

  35. October 30, 2012 8:22 pm

    your photos are stunning. They make me want to visit Morocco.

  36. November 1, 2012 4:50 am

    i spent quite a while traveling around morocco, loved it. beautiful country, beautiful people. thank you for reminding me of that. :)

    • November 1, 2012 12:45 pm

      Your welcome! And from your avatar image, it looks like you visited Chefchaouen. Happy travels.

  37. November 5, 2012 4:14 am

    I have to go there. Is one those places that you have to go at list to enjoy de market atmosphere.

  38. November 6, 2012 6:17 pm

    Never managed to visit anywhere more exotic than Western Europe, but your gorgeous shots have sparked a new plan. Thanks for that. And thanks for looking in on my blog.

  39. November 7, 2012 8:46 pm

    Beautiful lighting on these shots. Really nice.

  40. November 9, 2012 2:17 pm

    Yes, yes and yes! Love bargaining, haggling. Grew up in Pakistan and then lived in both Pakistan and Egypt and had the hardest time adjusting to an American retail store where you can’t bargain. Although I’ve tried with limited success. There’s something so satisfying about the process – I don’t think Americans, or perhaps other westerners, get it and so they are left frustrated but it’s one of the funnest games on the planet. There are rules though and if you break them, you’ll break a relationship. Thanks for a great post and absolutely stunning pictures.

  41. November 10, 2012 1:10 am

    Thanks for checking out my blog. I remember the grand bazaar in Istanbul. Moreover, I want to go to travel here.

  42. November 10, 2012 5:58 am

    Incredible photos. Great use of light and subject matter.

  43. November 21, 2012 6:17 pm

    Beautiful, evocative photography – you have an artist’s eye. I like the walk-away trick, too, especially on a big-ticket item. Plus, I keep small change in my pocket, and when I see something I want, I will transfer any additional money elsewhere, so I can show empty pockets “This is all I have” It might not be all I have, but it IS all I am willing to pay, being a NOT rich American, and I can usually get it for my price. And you CAN bargain in American stores, but generally only if the item is already slightly damaged. I love souks!!

  44. November 21, 2012 7:15 pm

    So inspiring! Re-blogging!

  45. November 21, 2012 7:16 pm

    Reblogged this on La Maison by Karine and commented:
    Great and inspirational blog post for Morocco fans.

  46. November 21, 2012 8:02 pm

    tihi.. is some of the pictures from the very big market in Marrakesh? Then I’ve been there :-p

  47. November 22, 2012 2:03 pm

    Thank you for liking my post on the Hong Kong Museum of Art. I love markets! Maybe you are interested in sharing this post of mine too:
    http://opallaontrails.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/montreal-the-colors-and-tastes-of-atwater-market/

    I’ll be back to visit your Blog. :)

  48. November 24, 2012 3:19 pm

    Wow your photos are amazing – I love them! You have a
    beautiful eye!

  49. whereisset permalink
    November 28, 2012 4:39 pm

    Hello,
    You really know how the capture the beauty, those sunbeams are stunning. I’ve never been to Morocco, but as so many other countries it’s on my travellist. Thanks for stopping by!

  50. December 1, 2012 12:49 pm

    Superb sense of atmosphere painted with colour and light.

  51. visualpoetryphotography permalink
    December 20, 2012 6:13 pm

    Beautiful! Morocco is one of my top dream travel destinations!

  52. January 8, 2013 9:28 am

    Thank you for following my blog up until now – just to let you know I won’t have access to the internet for a while. Will be starting a full time job soon which will limit opportunity to write posts. Will let you know when I’m up and running again.

  53. March 12, 2013 6:34 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I enjoyed yours as well and these photos are beautiful!

  54. vdamiazzi permalink
    May 19, 2013 11:29 pm

    Thanks for checking out my blog because it meant that I got the chance to take a look at yours as well. These pics are breathtaking and only make me want to see all of Morocco with my own eyes!

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