Dubai // The inner suburbs //

Khan Murjan Souk

Hidden away between Wafi and Raffles, Khan Murjan Souk is one of Dubai’s finest “traditional” developments, allegedly modelled after the fabled fourteenth-century Khan Murjan Souk in Baghdad. The souk is divided into four sections – Egyptian, Syrian, Moroccan and Turkish (not that you can really tell the difference) – spread over two underground levels with a lovely outdoor restaurant at its centre and some 125 shops selling all manner of traditional wares. It’s a great (albeit pricey) place to shop, while the faux-Arabian decor is impressively done, with lavish detailing ranging from intricately carved wooden balconies to enormous Moroccan lanterns and colourful tilework. Of course, it’s all about as authentic as a Mulberry bag from Karama – indeed, if the city authorities are serious about clamping down on the local trade in fakes and forgeries, they could do worse than start here. Still, the whole thing has been done with such enormous panache and at, presumably, such enormous expense that it’s hard not to be at least a little bit impressed.