finance & economy

Muttrah Souq slowly returns to normal after 17 months of lull

September 7, 2021

Muttrah Souq, the largest traditional souq in the Sultanate, is brimming with life again after the intermittent closures and lockdowns in the past 17 months.

The souq, which houses more than 5,000 vendors, salesmen and craftsmen from across the world, along with citizens, and traditional tradesmen, has started receiving people in good numbers, heralding the signs that life is getting back on track, slowly but steadily.

The Supreme Committee tasked with formulating and implementing strategies against the Covid-19 pandemic ordered the closure of traditional souqs in the country on March 17, 2020, after Muttrah was known to be the focal point of the Covid-19.

Later, it was ordered to function as usual after some 150 days of closure but within strict Covid-19 restrictions.

'Major seasons for the Muttrah Souq, say, four Eid days, and two Ramadhan months which would have given us relief just vanished in front of our eyes, with hardly any customer doing any shopping here,' said Mohammed Firos, an expatriate who runs antique shops in the souq.

'However we believe in joining the nation against any common enemy and we obeyed the Covid rules strictly. We are happy that we could sacrifice what we could,' added Mohammed Navas, another vendor.

Added to their joy, more cruise ships have expressed their joy to call on Omani shores, predominantly Muttrah which is again a reason to stay positive.

'We are happy that the cruise season is going to be back with hundreds of vessels visiting the coastal sides of the country. This season is very important for people like me as it can fetch good international clients from Germany, France, the US, the UK and many other countries,' hopes Somendra Kutchwala, who runs a family business in the souq.

For many of the tradesmen inside this oldest souq, it is like beginning their lives all over again but, as they say, it's worth it.

Muttrah Souq has a global name and fame for its varied artifacts and curios that the international tourists who mostly come on cruise liners during the season look for. During their promenade along the coastal Muscat, they hop into these shops and their presence is highly welcomed by these tradesmen just as the country does.

omanobserver

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