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Suq
Arabic: 'as-sūq
Other spellings: suuq; souq; suuk; souk



Souq: The Hamadiyya souq of Damascus, Syria.
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The Hamadiyya souq of Damascus, Syria.

Souq: Sousse's souq is on UNESCO's World Heritage list.
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Sousse, Tunisia's souq is on UNESCO's World Heritage list.

Souq: Temporary souq in Baghdad, Iraq. These kinds of souqs are often cleared the day after, or may be used by a whole other group of merchants.
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Temporary souq in Baghdad, Iraq. These kinds of souqs are often cleared the day after, or may be used by a whole other group of merchants.

Souq:The simplest, and crudest, form of souq there is. Villagers come to Al-Arish, Egypt early in the morning, puts up their stalls along the outskirts of the town, aiming at the poorer part of the population.
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The simplest, and crudest, form of souq there is. Villagers come to Al-Arish, Egypt early in the morning, puts up their stalls along the outskirts of the town, aiming at the poorer part of the population.

Arabic name for market in a city or village. 'Suq' is in two contexts:

1. The permanent market that occupies a certain area in a town.

2. The ambulating market that moves from town to town, or which is staged in a certain town on a specific day in the week, month or year.

There are rules on how a suq should be organized. The same kind of shops are grouped together, so that a big suq, include suqs for goldsmiths, weavers, dyers etc. The second is that a mosque is organized in the centre, where after activities that are considered clean get positioned close to the mosque, while unclean activities are put further away.
A suq is normally not a place for dwelling, but dwelling quarters are often placed close to the streets where the suuq is. Suqs are often covered with roofs, to keep the temperatures low and pleasant. Most shops and handicraft stalls in a suq are extremely deep, often with a facade that is no wider than a couple of metres.
The facade is often only the door, and the entire facade is often used together with as much as possible of the streets. If there is a roof over the streets in front of the shop, the roof is used to hang items from.
The permanent suq offers more than just shops, there are also cafés as well as small restaurants and basic hotels. These amenities are not found in the ambulating suq.
Today many suqs have been abandoned for the centres that have been put up by former colonial powers, but in towns where the suqs were big, traditions are well kept, and with the exception of the occasional shop selling electronics, little seems to have changed during the centuries.




By Tore Kjeilen