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Feb 12, 2012
This set is also available as part of large-scale city scenes.
Range of characters and vehicles also available. Many more linked sets available from ES3DStudios in all common 3D formats. Click 'ES3DStudios' for full sellection.
Textures contained in 2nd zip download.
Historically, souqs were held outside of cities in the location where a caravan loaded with goods would stop and merchants would display their goods for sale. Souqs were held when there was a caravan or more available. At that time, souqs were more than just a market to buy and sell goods; they were also major festivals and many cultural and social activities took place in them.
Later, due to the importance of the marketplace and the growth of cities, the locations of souqs shifted to urban centers. Types of souqs that originated from this are:
A seasonal souq is held at a set time, yearly, monthly or weekly. The oldest type is annually which usually included more activities than others and was held outside cities. For example, Souq Ukadh used to be held in pre-Islamic times in an area between Mecca and Taif during the month of Dhu al-Qi'dah every year. While many products were sold, it was more famous for poetry competitions. Some of the most prominent poets were judges such as Al Khansaa and Al-Nabigha. An example of an Islamic annual souq is Al Mirbid just outside Basra which is also famed for its poetry competitions in addition to its storytelling activities.
Changes in political, economic and social styles have left only the small seasonal souqs outside villages and small towns, selling livestock and agricultural products.
Weekly markets have continued to function throughout the Arab world. Most of them are named from the day of the week when they were held. They usually have open spaces specifically designated for them inside cities. Examples of surviving markets are the Wednesday Market in Amman that specializes in the sale of used products, the Ghazl market held every Friday in Baghdad that specializes in pets; and the Fina’ Market in Marakesh that offers performances such as singing, music, acrobats and circus activities.
 Permanent Souqs
Entrance to Hamidiyya souq in Damascus from the side of the Great Mosque
These are far more common but much less famous as they focus on the commercial activity and do not have much interest in entertainment. Until the Umayyad era, those markets were only an open space where the merchants would bring in their movable stands during the day and remove them during the night; no one had a specific right to a spot in the market and it was usually first-come first-serve. During the Umayyad era the governments started leasing the land to the merchants and then selling them. The merchants then began to build shops on those small lots to store their goods during the night. That is when the Arab traditional experience of a souq evolved.
The souqs are traditionally specialized due to planning constraints at the beginning. The souq is divided into small souqs, each usually housed in a few narrow streets and named after the product it specialized in such as the gold souq, the fabric souq, the spice souq, the leather souq,