Souq attracts visitors during Camel Festival

ABU DHABI — As the Mazayin Dhafra Camel Festival in the Western Region of Abu Dhabi is coming to an end, more and more visitors are stopping at the traditional souk either for a souvenir, a gift or a practical item needed back home.


Silvia Radan

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Published: Tue 15 Apr 2008, 8:57 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 4:49 PM

According to the festival organisers, tens of thousands of tourists and visitors entered the souk, with the big rush starting last weekend.

At least 50 stalls were set up in the market area, selling a variety of products from colourful camel decorations to jams, toys and leather well buckets, all under the slogan "100 per cent Emirati, 100 per cent handmade". The souk is run by Bedouin women from across the Abu Dhabi emirate.

Fatma Al Mazrouei is one of them. While her husband is camping with his camels somewhere on the desert grounds of the festival, not far from the souk, Fatma is running a stall filled with items made by her and other members of her family.

"This is date honey, which I made with dates from our farm," she said proudly, pointing towards a few jars of jam.

On Fatma's front table, there are also Arabic oil perfumes, which she herself had mixed, colourful beads, necklaces and bracelets that her daughter had made, and ceramic oud burners crafted by a distant relative in Fujairah.

Behind the small objects table, an old blanket opens the way into a tent-like stall, filled with beautiful Emirati dresses, salvars and shawls in bright, vivid colours. Arabic coffee, sweets and dates are also available for guests who accept her invitation to step in, as she does henna decoration for hands.

"Most of my customers go for the beads jewellery, specially for their young daughters, and for the jam, as I let them taste it," added Fatma.

Mohammed Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Director-General of Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH), the main organiser of the festival, pointed out that the purpose of this handicrafts market is not only to add to the value and interest of the festival, but also to promote UAE's heritage.

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