DEIRA OLD SOUK EBADI TEXTILES
Currently under careful refurbishment, this is Dubai's largest and oldest souk. The easiest way to enter is to head for the windtowers on the Deira side of the creek. A wonderfully different experience, the spice souk has narrow streets and an aroma so unique, it's like walking into another era. The place seems to have downsized in the past year and the rows of stalls displaying spice laden sacks are fast diminishing. Although spices are available, a Far eastern influence seems to be setting in, with integrated shops of cheep eleronic goods and wholesale shoes. Perhaps the slow demise is due to more and more supermarkets suppling a wider range of spices.
Souks, or traditional street markets, have been called "the heart of urban Arabia", and Dubai has a good selection of them. 'Souk' is the arabic word for market or place where any kind of goods are brought or exchanged. Trditionally, dhows from the Far East, China, Ceylon, India would discharge their cargos and the goods would be bargained over in the souks adjacent to the docks. Each Souk has merchants who specialise in the same products and the traditional style of doing business by enthusiastic and sometimes melodramatic haggling over endless cups of sweet tea or Turkish coffee is common. One rule prevails - if you do finally agree a price with a merchant you are morally obliged to buy the item from him at your price. Just walking away is considered bad manners. The Dubai Souks range from the traditional, dusty alleyways of the Spice Souk, a stone's throw from the Creek, to the most famous market of all - the Gold Souk. Dubai souks are located on both sides of the Creek. Discover narrow alleyways selling handicrafts, carpets and every spice imaginable. The slightly larger lanes are where you will find the gold souks, which are shops overflowing with gold, said to offer the lowest prices in the world. Haggling is a tradition in the souks. Find the wonders of aromatic spices and the beauty of hand-crafted gold through the labyrinth of narrow winding alleys on the Deira side of the creek. In the spice souk you will find perfumes, incense, and delicious foods piled in sacks awaiting your haggling skills. Walk a bit further toward the gold souk and be dazzled by the glittering displays in each shop window. Choose from gold necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and even design your very own jewelry. Bargaining with shopkeepers is expected and encouraged. You will find the antique market near the souks where you can buy coffee pots, Arabian chests, daggers, Bedu jewelry and carvings at excellent prices. If interested in buying textiles or silk, head for Cosmos Lane in Bur Dubai or the streets of Satwa, where numerous shops sell a vast array of colorful fabrics. you can also find excellent electronics on Al Fahidi Street in Bur Dubai. This area is lined with electrical and electronics shops. Dubai is awash with local markets, and the Creekside souks are a remnant of its days as a thriving port for smugglers and traders in the 19th century. While much has changed since then, the Deira and Bur Dubai souks still have plenty of goods that are worth haggling over, from spices and silks to electronics and gold.