All Things Colour and Spice in the Souks – Photo Essay

“Having a life described as being colourful usually means it is also interesting”

Colourful scarves and fabrics galore in the medina in Marrakech, Morocco on Mallory on Travel, adventure, photography

A garment seller in Marrakech

Browsing the souks of the  in the medina in Marrakech, Morocco on Mallory on Travel, adventure, photography

Streaming sunlight only adds to the colour in a souk

One of the great pleasures of travelling is visiting markets and souks, not necessarily to pick up a bargain or experience the culture but just to soak up the sights, sounds and smells that ambush at every turn.

Sugar and spice in the souks of the  in the medina in Marrakech, Morocco on Mallory on Travel, adventure, photography

A World of Spice

Almost all foreign souks have one thing in common; incredible displays of vibrancy and colour. Spices, cloth and confectionary stalls are often awash with bright colour. It can appear as if an artist has gone mad and splashed their entire palette across the canvas of the market stalls, experimenting and mixing the hues as if solely for our benefit.

Spice store in the Old Market of Sharm el Sheik in Egypt on Mallory on Travel, adventure, photography

A bright spice shop in Egypt

Sweets on offer in a Manchester Christmas market on Mallory on Travel, adventure, photography

Colour with a sweet tooth

Stunning reds, vibrant blues, sun-bright yellows, subtle ochres and luxuriant greens, a rainbow provided by the artistic skill of the stall holder. It is a saturation feast for the eyes and always worth over indulging in, there is often far too much drabness in everyday life.

Spices in the souks of the  in the medina in Marrakech, Morocco on Mallory on Travel, adventure, photography

Spices for all

Much of this colour comes from spices, but long before the hues become visible the scent of the these can lead us from afar. Even on the faintest of breezes the aromatic smells can drift across great distances, saffron, turmeric, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger are just few that can draw the inquisitive ever closer to the sometimes pungent source.

Spices in the souks of the in the medina in Marrakech, Morocco on Mallory on Travel, adventure, photography Iain_Mallory_01485

Spicy

Spices in the medina in Marrakech, Morocco on Mallory on Travel, adventure, photography

Lots of spice

Our senses can become overwhelmed once we are in close proximity of an appropriate spice trader, the mixture of extravagant colour and sometimes overpowering aromas can assail two of our main senses. This is usually still a pleasure that most of us enjoy and cannot help returning as often as possible.

It is difficult to capture the full spectrum of hues properly in images, the vibrancy maybe difficult to portray and of course the fragrances are absent. However those with a particularly good imagination and memory can  possibly recall these  memories and the aromas will almost drift through the mind and transport them to souks in a favourite destination.

Try really hard now and maybe the voice of the merchant explaining the different spices will come to you, encouraging a little taste. Now your imagination is really going into overdrive, almost tasting the faintest flavours, possibly even a favourite meal comes to mind.

Travel is about experiencing new things and being able to recall these is a reason for continuing to travel, adding to the collected experiences and expanding our horizons.

Our memories offer us a taste of the extravagant, the more intense that experience is, the easier it is to recall and the stronger the urge to discover more. Souks provide a fascinating insight into the culture of any destination and always one of my favourite places to visit on any journey.

A slight change on an old and excellent travel phrase could be:

“Keep only memories and leave only goodwill”

Food stall in Djemaa el Fna in the medina at Marrakech, Morocco on Mallory on Travel, adventure, photography Iain_Mallory_01485

Time for dinner, street food anyone?

1

Comments 14

    1. Post
      Author
      Iain

      Thanks Michael, I really need to get back to Istanbul, such an amazing place. I have a very special picture of olives piled high which is even more amazing but it is in the post about Marrakech’s souks and used it quite a bit already as a favourite image.

    1. Post
      Author
      Iain

      Thank you for the kind words of praise Toni, very pleased you liked them go on get out and daub colour everywhere you go.

  1. Bushra Alvi

    Iain, the pics are so VIBRANT!
    I can see, smell and soak in the atmosphere of the bazaars sitting right at my desk!
    Do post more pics like these.

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author
  2. Catherine Brown

    Wonderful article – so descriptive, felt like I was there and the photos are fantastic and really added to the article. I too have so enjoyed the markets when I’ve traveled in India.

    1. Post
      Author
      Iain

      Glad you liked it Catherine, it is gratifying that it managed to convey you to there just a little that was of course my aim. India is an amazing experience too. Thank you for the kind words and taking the time to comment.

  3. Leah

    I like all the pictures, but I love the last one. The dark men in the foreground in contrast with the bright colors in the background is brilliant. Well done, my friend.

    1. Post
      Author
    1. Post
      Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.