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Bahrain’s biggest suq set to open

A historic valley in the Southern governorate will host Bahrain’s biggest traditional market.

The 18,000sqm suq will open tomorrow night at the Hunniniyah Valley, and will feature 80 indoor and outdoor stalls selling traditional clothing, perfumes and scents, food and handicrafts, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

It will be open during the weekends from 9.30pm until midnight, and is expected to attract 20,000 people a day.

The Hunniniyah Valley Market is a joint venture between the Southern Municipality, Southern Municipal Council and Southern Governorate, and will be under the supervision of renowned Bahraini actress Salwa Bakheet, who was known for her role as Um Helal.

It will also consist of a children’s corner, a zone for the elderly, collection boxes for local charities, and a large tent where department store Ramez, will sell its items for half price.

A special gargaoun celebration will also be held.

The new market is reportedly larger than the Isa Town Traditional Market, which only covers an area of 12,000sqm.

Details about the opening ceremony, which will be held under the patronage of Municipalities and Agriculture Affairs Minister Dr Juma Al Ka’abi, were announced yesterday during a Press conference at the municipality’s headquarters in West Riffa.

“Most merchants have productive families so they are busy with other events and festivities throughout the week so having them showcase their products on a daily basis would be difficult,” said municipality director-general Asem Abdullatif.

“Taking the Isa Town Traditional Market experience to just the weekends is more appealing and attracts more business.

“At the moment, exhibiting products is free and we want to attract as many merchants as possible to the market, which is also located in a unique historic natural site in the middle of the governorate.”

He said setting up the stalls has cost the municipality BD25,000, which is expected to increase with added expenses such as lighting and other facilities.

Council chairman Mohsin Al Bakri said the market was three years in the making.

“We are very proud the market will now open to the public after three years of waiting and our aim is to make it permanent,” he said.

“But, it will follow the seasons system as there has to be a rest period for merchants and for us to evaluate things.

“The 20,000 people expected daily is a huge number, but we are ready.”

He said special steps were built to take people from the parking area into the valley.

“We also have plans to construct a walkway surrounding the valley to allow people to exercise and see the attractions below.”

Deputy Governor Faisal Al Nuaimi said officials will evaluate the market after six months.

“We need two seasons to evaluate the market and the issue is not about it being successful, it is how to accommodate more than the 20,000 people expected a day and coming up with attractions that match the month and weather,” he said.

“Police, firemen, paramedics, and municipal and health inspectors will be present at the location from the moment it opens at 9.30pm until closure at midnight.”

Prizes, competitions and children’s games will also be organised, said municipality financial and administrative affairs director Hassan Al Mannai.


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