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Nizwa Goat Market:
Just as many people go to their local Farmer’s Market to get the freshest food straight from the source; Omani’s head to the Nizwa Goat Market to buy the best livestock directly from the herder. Markets are one of my favorite places to go in order to get a sense of the local culture and people. Walking into the Nizwa market I immediately felt as if I was witnessing life in Oman like a local. I didn’t have any goats to sell and I wasn’t planning on buying one, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t get into the middle of the action.
Men had formed a circle where goats were being paraded around the small circle in front of prospective buyers. It was comical to watch the seriousness in which business was conducted amidst the chaos. Each goat was fondled by all the men in the circle and then bids were yelled out, money was thrust forward and goats exchanged hands. Not all sales were this quick, some goats were briskly escorted around the circle multiple times until a bid was received.
Just when we were getting the hang of goat buying and really enjoying the craziness of the goat circle, in came the cows. Instead of maneuvering small goats through the crowd, fully grown bulls were being pulled around the circle. The hilarity of the situation was lost on these men, whom only saw this as serious business. Once the business was done, everyone corralled their unsold animals and new acquisitions into their vehicles and sped off into the desert.
Nizwa’s Friday Goat Market is one of the most unique markets I’ve been in the world. If Oman is in your future travel plans I would highly recommend planning your visit to include a stop in Nizwa. Not only will you get an authentic taste of Omani culture, but a crash course in buying livestock. Next time we find ourselves at a cattle market we won’t go home empty handed.
WHEN YOU GO:
Plan ahead, the Nizwa goat market is only on Friday and it’s not held on certain holidays so make sure you coordinate your visit when it will be opem.
Get there early, the action takes place right away in the morning. You will want to get there by about 7:00 am.