At the foot of the ancient citadel, the Qaysari Bazaar spreads out as far as the eye can see. The first souk on this site appeared in the 13th century AD when the city began to spread beyond the confines of the walled enclosure above.
Prepare to get lost in the covered labyrinth of alleyways that spider their way through a myriad of stalls and stores selling everything from household appliances to gold.
If you don’t shy away from a little friendly bartering, you’re likely to come away with a few bargains.
It is worth stocking up on fresh sheep’s yoghurt, fresh walnuts and locally produced honey (three of the region’s specialties) before stopping for a glass of sweet tea at Khalil’s Chaykhana (tea house), where the current owner has been hosting thirsty shoppers and visiting dignitaries for the past 60 years. Khalil has a story or two to tell (as the photos plastered around his tea shop testify) and is always more than happy to sit down with his clientele and chat.
The Qaysari Bazaar offers a taste of city life that has changed little over the centuries and a unique opportunity for an authentic cultural encounter. Put on some comfortable shoes (there are acres of stalls to cover) and enjoy.