The Exotic Open-Air Markets of Morocco

A souq or souk (Arabic: سوق‎ sūq) is an open-air marketplace or commercial quarter in an Arab city. A souk entails the concept of a free-market where vendors can command the going market price for their products.

Historically, souks were held outside of cities in the location where a caravan loaded with goods would stop and merchants would display their goods for sale. Later, due to the importance of the marketplace and the growth of cities, the locations of souks shifted to urban centers

In a souk, the final price of an item is reached by bargaining with the shopkeeper. Traders of a given commodity would all sell in the same souk, thus ensuring a competitive market.

Have you ever haggled over the price with a shopkeeper in a souk?  Leave a comment and share your story!

Read more about souks here.

66 Comments on “The Exotic Open-Air Markets of Morocco”

  1. The Sicilian Housewife

    I’ve never been to Morocco, but I’ve lived in Istanbul, where the markets are similar.
    My haggling skills are pathetic, I’m sorry to say.
    I think when you’re a foreigner you’re never going to get the price anywhere near the level a local can, no matter how tough you are!
    I once bought a beautiful hand painted plate, and wanted to go back and get a similar one for my mother. I made my Turkish boyfriend come, and he got a nicer one for Mum for exactly a tenth of the price I paid!!!

    1. mrbradjones

      That’s hilarious. I think you’re right. Even if a foreigner can haggle the price down to half, a local could still get it for much less. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ardun Ward

    Great shots, reminds me of the markets in Egypt. I got the hang of haggling there by the end of the trip. I think the trick is to not actually care if you get the item or not, then they keep dropping the price as you walk away. It was good fun.

  3. Áine Warren

    Amazing photographs, the light is beautiful! I don’t think I’ve ever haggled anywhere, I’m ashamed to say… definitely something I need to do sometime!

  4. The Word

    Lovely! I visited the Marrakech shops during my visit to Morocco and wouldn’t buy anything for days because I didn’t want to haggle. Finally got the hang of it on my last day, though like others I paid more than I should have…. In the end I saved money as I didn’t buy nearly what I would have had there been a price tag.

  5. Jillian

    Never been to Morocco, but I did lots of haggling in Egypt and Jordan.

    Or rather, my friends did lots of haggling, because I’m terrible at it. Luckily, in Egypt we had a guide who really liked us, so when the man said a price he immediately responded, “These are my friends, and I expect you to treat them as such,” and the price was then immediately halved. In Jordan I was just lucky because one of my friends is particularly stubborn ^.^

    And definitely fantastic photos!!

  6. Kongo

    Those are great pictures in the souk. I love the way you were able to handle the lighting. I haven’t been to Morocco yet but have been to many souks throughout the Middle East and you certainly have captured the feeling of being there.

  7. miseraestupendacitta

    Grazie per essere venuti – che belle fotografie qui

    – Misera e stupenda città


    “One dream finishes in Tetuan and another begins in Tangier. Still in Tetuan, but already in Tangier.

    “Already in Tangier, asleep again in a park. I had arrived that evening”

    – Mohamed Choukri

  8. Sydney LK

    Morocco has been on the top of my travel list for a while, but for some reason I never end up going, this has given me a grand incentive to go! Thank you for the beautiful pics!

  9. Our Adventure in Croatia

    gorgeous pictures and stories. I’d learned in the souks of Egypt that you should always try the “walk away” trick so I applied this in Marrakesh for some lovely slippers.
    We haggled a bit, then I walked away saying I would think about it…. the market trader called me back into the shop, but I still did not like the price.
    He finally agreed and sold me the slippers for a reduced price, but said I was like a “Berber woman” :) I love my red slippers. :)

  10. mjculverphotography

    Great photos of the suq. Love these because they remind me so much of the suq in Oman where I lived for many years. Have never been to Morocco, but it’s on my “to do” list. The photo of the archway out of the suq (I think) are so typical. One minute you’re in this totally different world, even era, then out into the light you go and you’re back in the hustle and bustle. Wonderful compositions here.

  11. gravitasbaby

    Never managed to visit anywhere more exotic than Western Europe, but your gorgeous shots have sparked a new plan. Thanks for that. And thanks for looking in on my blog.

  12. Marilyn

    Yes, yes and yes! Love bargaining, haggling. Grew up in Pakistan and then lived in both Pakistan and Egypt and had the hardest time adjusting to an American retail store where you can’t bargain. Although I’ve tried with limited success. There’s something so satisfying about the process – I don’t think Americans, or perhaps other westerners, get it and so they are left frustrated but it’s one of the funnest games on the planet. There are rules though and if you break them, you’ll break a relationship. Thanks for a great post and absolutely stunning pictures.

  13. dirtdaubber

    Beautiful, evocative photography – you have an artist’s eye. I like the walk-away trick, too, especially on a big-ticket item. Plus, I keep small change in my pocket, and when I see something I want, I will transfer any additional money elsewhere, so I can show empty pockets “This is all I have” It might not be all I have, but it IS all I am willing to pay, being a NOT rich American, and I can usually get it for my price. And you CAN bargain in American stores, but generally only if the item is already slightly damaged. I love souks!!

  14. whereisset

    You really know how the capture the beauty, those sunbeams are stunning. I’ve never been to Morocco, but as so many other countries it’s on my travellist. Thanks for stopping by!

  15. backthewaywecame

    Thank you for following my blog up until now – just to let you know I won’t have access to the internet for a while. Will be starting a full time job soon which will limit opportunity to write posts. Will let you know when I’m up and running again.

  16. vdamiazzi

    Thanks for checking out my blog because it meant that I got the chance to take a look at yours as well. These pics are breathtaking and only make me want to see all of Morocco with my own eyes!

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