Makkah and Madinah are the holy cities in Saudi Arabia, where pilgrims gather in millions every year to worship and pray to Allah. However, these magnificent cities are a great place for shopping as well. After performing the pilgrimage and the ziyarats, one must turn to the markets in the two cities. The glamorous malls and bustling markets are the best places to shop in Makkah and Madinah. The shops here offer the best of local handicraft items, one-of-a-kind purchases and beautiful souvenirs.
If you are visiting during Ramadan, the joy and the festivities in the shopping hubs is infectious. Everything from malls to shopping complexes to street markets are beautifully decked-up, there’s a vibe of celebration all around. The joy of stepping out to visit these shopping hubs is a great way to become a part of the celebrations of Ramadan in Makkah and Madinah. However, irrespective of the timing of your visit, the plethora of options available in the cities are simply mind-boggling and can leave you confused as to what to pick and from where. Here is quick guide to the best places to shop in Makkah and Madinah that are a mix of fancy malls, decent complexes, and busy street markets.
Popular Places For Shopping In Makkah
1. Bin Dawood Shopping Complex – Housed on the first floor along the grounds of the Hilton Hotel, this complex has everything that open markets offer. It is only a minute walk away from the Haram and makes for a suitable option over markets. Pilgrims can come here to relish Kentucky fried chicken, buy dates, Swiss watches, sportswear and much more. The complex is one of the most popular places to shop in Makkah and Madinah.
2. Abraj Al Bait Complex is a famous five-storey mall that is renowned by the name of Clock Tower. There are complexes and branded outlets around the Al Masjid Al Haram road. The neighbourhood of Aziziyah is well-known for shopping complexes and luxury boutiques. Other places to shop in Makkah are Souq Al Otaibiah and Al Ghazaand Ajiad.
3. Khalid Ibn Al Waleed Street – Pilgrims often pass this famous street on their way to the Grand Mosque as there are many things that they can pick here for the pilgrimage. From eatables like juices and sandwiches, to Makkan specialties such as perfumes, prayer carpets, veils and souvenirs, it offers a wide range to the visitors. Also, you can buy traditional clothing with beautiful prints and patterns.
4. Shopping Malls in Makkah – Besides famous complexes and streets, opulent malls are also among the popular places to shop in Makkah and Madinah. Talking specifically of Makkah, malls here are grandiose structures and adorning interiors that offer a relaxing shopping experience to the visitors. Malls in Makkah have all leading global brands as well as premium gold shops. The most famous malls in Makkah are Makkah Mall, Makkah Auction, Al Diyafa Mall, and Hijaz Mall.
Most of the shops in the sacred city are open between 9.00 A.M. and midnight from Saturday to Thursday. On Fridays, the shops open around 2.00 P.M. or 4.00 P.M. and stay glittered until midnight. The shopping places around the Grand Mosque stay open at all times around every day of the week. Some famous places like Bin Dawood, Carrefour, Noori and Panda open early in the morning and entertain buyers even past midnight.
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Best Places For Shopping In Madinah
1. Malls in Madinah – Al Noor Mall is the largest mall in Madinah that even has an indoor playground for kids to enjoy and relax. Rashad Mall is also a popular and lavish place to shop and buy specialties of Saudi Arabia. It is a multilevel retail center that features a beautiful dramatic water fountain where visitors love to relax for a few minutes. Other popular malls in Madinah are Madinah International Mall, Alqarrat Mall, and Taybah Shopping center. With so many upscale shopping centers that house the best of brands in apparels, perfumes, cosmetic, decor, gadgets and more, it is a delight for someone who loves shopping branded items.
2. Open Markets – Madinah has ample open marketplaces that have small shops selling traditional specialties of the region. One of the most famous markets in Madinah is the Old Bazaar, which houses small merchants that have been running shops and selling quality items for generations. Homemade food, perfume and fresh produce are some of the specialties that you can find here. The city is famous for supplying exquisite dry fruits like dates, raisins, almonds, pistachios and apricots. It has a market to buy herbs and spices like oregano and mint. Taiba Commercial Center and Bin Dawood supermarket are some other places where one can roam around and make a good purchase to take home.
Makkah and Madinah are the holiest Islamic cities and attract a lot of pilgrims every year. Most visitors love to take out some time after performing Umrah to explore what these beautiful Saudi cities have. It is always lovely to find something exclusive and amazing, and malls and shopping centers in these centers are the best stops to pick it up. Besides, there are a number of street markets right outside the Haram in both cities. Here, you will find sellers selling everyday trinkets, prayers essentials, and tiny souvenirs that will easily fit in your pocket. With so many options, visitors can choose from a variety of options to buy and take home gifts for their loved one. The range is huge, so one can choose based on their budget.
Suggested Read: Top 10 Things To Buy In Makkah And Madinah
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FAQs About The Best Shopping Places In Makkah and Madinah
What is the most significant souvenir that can be bought in Makkah and Madinah?
A statue of a camel, the miniature structure of the Kaaba, marble, silver and bronze items, hookah, keyrings and T-shirts with ‘Desert Ships’ prints, soft toys for children and religious paraphernalia are some of the most bought souvenirs in the holy cities. If someone is your closest friend or relative, water from Zamzam can be a very loving and healing gift.
What kind of dates can one buy in Madinah?
The fertile land around the city allows it to cultivate varieties of dates. It even has specific markets that just sell this dry fruit. Some of the famous varieties of dates available in the city are Sukkari, Madinah Ajwa and Kalas.
What are the cuisines to try out in Makkah and Madinah?
Both the cities welcome travellers from almost every part of the world. Therefore, both have restaurants with specific menus from multiple cuisines. While Arabian, Continental and Mediterranean are some common ones, food items from the lands of India, Yemen, Turkey, Italy and China are also famous and a must-try out for foodies and bloggers.
Can a traveller buy gold in the sacred cities?
Yes, travellers and pilgrims can buy gold in Makkah and Madinah. In fact, it is one of the most famous purchases and there are markets designated to gold purchases only. One can find alluring designs on ornaments, making them a memorable purchase.
Where are the currency exchange centres available in the cities?
The country’s currency is called Saudi Riyal, which is the medium of purchase of goods and commodities in the country. However, to make it easier for travellers arriving from anywhere in the world, there are currency exchange shops at the airport, local markets and hotels.