One of the oldest traditional souks (marketplaces) in the Arab world, the Muttrah souk has a history stretching back over 200 years and has earned acclaim throughout Oman for its varied array of both local and imported goods – thanks in large part to its strategic position at the mouth of Muscat Harbor. Known locally as the Al Dhalam souk, which translates as ‘Darkness’ in Arabic, the souk takes its name from the network of narrow streets that run between Khour Bimba and the Al Lawatiya Mosque, where the stalls are so cramped together the sunlight can’t make it through the cracks.
Navigating the dimly lit stalls and maze-like alleyways is all part of the experience and shopping in the souks is one of the top pastimes for visitors to Oman. Exploring the myriad of stalls reveals a host of local goods like Frankincense, perfumes and fresh spices, alongside traditional handicrafts like Khanjers (Omani knives), Bedu jewelry and colorful hookah pipes. Pay a visit to the Gold Souk, where the honeycomb of stalls are laden with gold and silver jewelry, tuck into some local street food, then put your haggling skills to the test as you scour the markets for unique Omani souvenirs.