Photo Essay: Local markets in Lebanon, sheesha, spices and mixed feelings

Herbs and spices exhibition as soon as you enter Tyre’s market

A beautiful display of spices and all kinds of herbs in a shop at Tyre market

Weighing herbs and cereals, could I miss the shot that brought me right back to childhood in my hometown?

A bit of everything scattered around in Tyre’s market

Sheesha anyone? Kind of the watchword in Lebanon.

No better way to round off a lovely sightseeing in Sidon than with a delicious falafel. Yes, I took the picture after the bite, I couldn’t resist.

And here is falafel in the making..

Yesteryear vaulted passageways in Sidon’s market

Beyond tasty sweets in Sidon. Flavored with coconut, milk, pistachio and other nuts, they are impossible to resist. In fact I didn’t even try.

I couldn’t resist food but I did manage to resist bellydancing costumes. I’ll wait to take some classes before tackling the cost of the outfit.

It seems like everywhere I go, some of my favorite places are always open markets. I can’t explain how these messy, hectic and often smelly city spots lure me in every time, but I can give for a fact that whatever country I visit, local markets are the first thing I ask for.

I’ve never been disappointed with open fairs, their flaunted ordinariness makes them intriguing, their primeval modesty is their appeal, and Lebanese stalls, both in Sour (Tyre) and Saida (Sidon), lived up to my expectations. Big time.

In perfect line with the country’s conflicting style, also its markets show a clash of emotions, and just beside hijab shops we can easily find lingerie displays. Whether you want to buy a chador or a bellydancing outift, you don’t need to go far, everything is within arm’s reach from each other, standing together with no apparent discomfort, making it possible to see young ladies wrapped up in a see-through sheath dress exchanging tips with abayah-clad dowagers.

Tangy spices, clouds of sheesha-released flavored smoke and evocative attires are only some of the scenes that will unfold before your eyes when you go out looking for grocery in Lebanon.

For more pictures on Tyre and Sidon local markets, head over to the Flickr set I devoted to it.

  1. Lovely colourful photos! I can’t resist falafel’s either, they are superb!

  2. I love walking around markets. There is no better way to experience a country and immerse yourself into it’s culture. Great photos!

  3. Love Southern Lebanon – we’ve had some wonderful experiences there – you’re making me miss the Middle East so much. Great posts!

  4. Love your photo posts on markets like this. We always hit the markets, too. Just got back from rural Italy and there was a great little market in our village. We were only there for 6 days but we went twice. Think I must have a photo of every stall! :)

    • I love local markets, it’s becoming my healthy obsession, everywhere I go it’s the first thing I ask. And I stop at every stall to ask the owner about their products! I can spend an entire day like this :)

  5. Great photo essay – I’ve a friend who lives in Lebanon and he always tells great stories about his country. Definitely need to plan a trip to visit Lebanon by myself. However, it’s really sad, that they always struggle a bit due to politics & religion.

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