The first time I went to Beirut souks, I was disappointed. Like many visitors, I was expecting an authentic souk, a maze of alleyways and sellers touting spices, jewellery and other goods. What I found instead was a modern shopping arcade. It did have a jewellery section, but sadly Cartier was a little out of my budget. It’s great if you want to do some regular shopping, as it stocks everything from Gap to Zara, but it’s not the place to go if you want something original.
If you’re on the hunt for some locally made gold and silver jewellery, head instead to Barbeer, an area close to the National Museum of Beirut and Beirut’s pine forest (Horsh Beirut). Ask to be dropped off at Barbeer where Em Wayri/Ouzai street starts. You’ll find a bustling road with gold and silver shops everywhere you look.
You can find everything from necklaces and rings dripping with diamonds and emeralds, to more simple gold or silver stud earrings and first-rate copies of designer jewellery. You won’t leave disappointed.