Spice Souk and Old Deira Souk


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Spice Souk and Old Deira Souk

Once on the north side of the Creek, head across the main road and visit the Spice Souk. This occupies an alley alongside the perimeter road in the Al Ras area. The souk was established in 1850, close to the dhow moorings for easy trading and unloading. There are still a few spice shops left with their large sacks of spices displayed outside the tiny shops. The number is reducing as people buy from their local supermarkets – but those that remain are keen to sell you their wares.

Spice Souk

Within the spice souk you can smell the spices and the frankincense. As well as the traditional spices look out for dried limes, dried rosebuds, dried chillis, chamomile tea, saffron and various types of frankincense (a gum resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia). This is one of Arabia’s most prized perfumes and it is the base for some of the world’s most expensive scents and might be familiar from high church services.  You can also buy the incense burners here.




As you continue down into the rest of the souk it turns into a general market (Deira Old Souk) – with kitchen pots and pans – some big enough to feed an army; bed linen, toys – almost anything that can be traded – straight off the dhows on the quay.



Pots and Pans in Deira Souk

There are many alleys to discover although there is probably little that you will want to buy and much is for wholesale only. The area is best explored in the late afternoon or evening when the temperatures are cooler and trade is at its busiest.

Just the otherside of the Old Baladiya Road (on the right when your back is to the creek) and up a narrow flight of steps is a small Municipality Museum. This is where the city was run from in the early days and is just a couple of rooms. If you have time then fit in a quick visit (free) - not really to see the rooms, but there is a short video that shows what the city was like before the skyscrapers!


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