Photography by Ndoema
I loooove to wander through traditional local markets. They tend to be one of my very first destinations as soon as I step foot on new territory (I recently broke my own rules in Cairo with the Giza pyramids… but who can blame me ;). True that being the voracious raw foodie that I am, when traveling I’m always on the hunt for fresh and juicy local produce to feed my body and ward off long-haul flight dehydration but really there is nothing better to me for diving right into the culture, meeting its people and catching a slice of life.
I’ve scoured a good many Southeast Asian colorful markets (they’re a personal favorite), from Yogyakarta’s lively Beringharjo market, to Bali’s magical Candi Kuning market and Bangkok’s bustling Khlong Toey market, but this was my very first time in a North African souk. And it was a totally novel experience!
Sharia el Souk is a seven-block long market that runs parallel to the Nile. Though this colorful bazaar is primarily aimed at tourists (it’s arguably the most touristic market I’ve ever visited… I always shy away from tourist crowds and typically prefer to shop like a local 😉 it’s actually bustling with locals and the atmosphere puts you right in the thick of it.
What I loved the most was the end-of-day smudging, so unique and delightful! I’m an avid “smudger” myself. cleansing smoke baths are a powerful purification practice I use almost daily at home but I’d never seen it practiced in open markets before. I stalked this wonderful fellow (pictured above) for several blocks as he was smoking up the souk’s shops and stalls with frankincense and leaving behind the most marvelously fragrant trail…
4 thoughts on “Sharia el Souk, Aswan”
You always know where to shop Ndoema, I admire you for that!
I’ve always wanted to buy loads of middle eastern spices from Egyptian markets. It couldn’t get any more authentic than there.
The place looks amazingly neat and clean. Kudos to the people at Sharia el Souk.
I love shopping in local markets too! Although I know, like you said, there are markets that are for tourists and there are markets that local go to… so much more authentic.