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Souk Al Khan, an ancient public market for low-income people of South Lebanon

13-3-2015

Along the Hasbani River banks, popular stalls are installed each Tuesday morning to mark the famous Souk Al Khan, one of the oldest markets in Lebanon and the Middle East, and established in 1356. Coming from the various social classes, customers of the market are continuously growing in numbers as a result of the economic crisis. Inhabitants of different towns and villages of the districts of Hasbaya, Marje3yoon, West Beqaa and Bint Jbeil, as well as UNIFIL soldiers since 2006, head to the market to purchase what they need. The regular shoppers like to name their market “mall of the poor” or the poor’s market. The market is cut by a tight road connecting the villages of Freidiss, Al Mari and Al Habariyeh with the villages of Kawkaba, Ibl Al Saki and Marje3yoon. Around this road stand small shops and to their sides tents mounted to handle the goods. The market displays various cheap goods such as readymade clothes, carpets, home utensils, fruits, vegetables, sweets, meats, livestock, flowers and various pottery and earthenware, in addition to a special section for fruit tree seedlings. Souk Al Khan entered a new phase of modernization after the municipality of Hasbaya, in cooperation with local and foreign donors, embarked on a project to renovate and rehabilitate the old souk. To this effect, the former Hasbaya mayor, Sheikh Ghassan Khairiddine, said the municipality, with the support of the World Bank, has built dozens of shops roofed with traditional tiles. The WB project was planned to be completed at a later stage with the restoration of the ancient Khan built with old stones, lime and white sand at the time of the Shehaby dynasty. (Al Diyar, 12 March 2015)

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