Oman // The Western Hajar //

The food and livestock souks

The southern end of the souk area is more functional, with specific areas devoted to fish, meat and dates, plus a colourful Fruit and Vegetable Souk, with piles of produce and a string of stalls at the back selling tubs of halwa. Immediately south of here is the Goat Market, home to Nizwa’s famous Friday Market where locals come to trade livestock – cows and goats in particular – which is sold by auction. The market starts at around 8am and finishes at around 11am in time for sala al Jumu’ah, the congregational Friday prayers. Animals are walked around the circular stand at the centre of the market and auctioned off to the highest bidder, a lively scene featuring hundreds of locals, a fair few tourists, and an overwhelming smell of animal poo. Things can get particularly lively during the cattle auctions, as some of the more restive animals (including some rather large bulls) attempt to break free of their handlers and charge to freedom through the surrounding throng.