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For hundreds of years, souks have been embedded in the culture, economy and city life across the Middle East. In Lebanon, there are many souks that have withstood wars and economic turbulence. They are saturated with people, heritage, treasures and traditions. Each Souk is as different as its vendor and eager customer.  This past weekend, I ventured to the northern city of Tripoli. Normally there is only bad news coming from this city, but today I want to highlight an untapped resource of treasure and discovery!

Souk Al Sayyagheen

Known as the oldest souk in Tripoli, this bazaar specializes in goldsmiths and silversmiths. Here, you can find merchants selling an assortment of gold and silver jewelry.

Just a couple steps into the cobbled walkway leading to the souk, is Al Rachid Jewelry. From the outside, the window is covered with gold bracelets, rings and necklaces, which are tempting and mesmerizing to any person sauntering along the road. Owner, Mohammed Hassoun has been in the business for 16 years after taking it over from his father and uncle. He says that selling and buying gold is a small industry in Lebanon, but nonetheless he still enjoys selling beautiful pieces and maintaing family traditions. Pieces can range in price, starting at $35 for one gram of 18K gold. He acquires gold from places such as Italy and Turkey.

If gold isn’t your thing, don’t fret. Outside the gold souk, there are shops selling clothes, delicious sweets, books and  a colorful rainbow like assortment of scarves. If you get thirsty along the way, one can grab fresh orange juice and a bite to eat. From every corner and vendor, any visitor is guaranteed to find a treasure waiting to be discovered. All it takes is some patience, time and an eye to find the diamond in the rough.

Photos taken by : Elie Moussa

 

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A man demonstrating his handmade tool to clean the inside of coussa (zucchini).

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On both sides, the gold illuminates through the glass windows.

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Aboud, 48, has been selling street food for 18 years. Here, he is cutting a coconut to roast.

 IMG_6776IMG_6830IMG_6807Happy Hunting!

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