Crafts and Chaos: Tunis Market
Where: Tunis, capital of Tunisia, North Africa
What’s in store: Food, tourist gifts and traditional crafts like gold and weaving
Bag a Bargain: Gold is high quality, cheap and made into attractive, simple designs
Where It’s At
Tunis feels more like a large town than a city. A European influence can be seen in its architecture and the easy going character of the people. “Suuq” is the Arabic name for market, but is now often called the “medina”. Most of what was once Tunis is today like an enormous shopping centre and handicraft factory. The central market is the largest food and vegetable market in Tunisia. Fresh fruit and vegetables are on offer all year round, and most people shop weekly here.
The central market opens early, around 6am is the best time to catch its colour and atmosphere. The markets are far from haphazardly arranged, there are areas for goldsmiths, metal workers, fabrics and food. The tourists have their own medina area. Stear away from the tourist area as goods are generally overpriced and inferior quality.
The arrangements of the souqs are traditional for Muslim cities, and they divide the different class of craftsmen from one another. In the Souk de la Laine (weaver’s market) it is likely that you can see weaving on hand looms using expensive fabrics. The gold on sale at the Souk des Orfevres (gold market) is far higher grade than in the west, but often simple designs at reasonable prices.
Lexicorient guide to Tunisia
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