Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Europe (
-   -   Oldest continuously operating market in the world? (

Andrea_expat Jul 22nd, 2003 08:55 AM

Oldest continuously operating market in the world?
I've just returned from 2 fabulous weeks in Egypt and am writing my trip report, and am hoping fellow Fodorites can help with fact-checking.

Many people claim that the Khan el Khalili market in Cairo is the world's oldest continuously operating market - it was opened in 1382, and still trades many of the same items. Some of the individual stores are over 200 years old, and Fishawy's cafe claims to have been in continuous operation for 250 years.

Can anyone think of any other market that might beat this claim? I think to qualify it would have to have been continuously operating along a similar purpose to its original one.

Would love to know if there are other markets that can beat this claim . . . if Fodorites can't come up with any, that will be "proof" enough to me that the claim is correct! :)


ben_haines_london Jul 22nd, 2003 08:59 AM

I am not at all sure, but wonder whether this might be the market in Plovdiv, a city with 3000 years of occupation. Anyway, it is beautiful.

mpprh Jul 22nd, 2003 09:36 AM


Sommieres in Languedoc, France has a very old market.

It was a crossroads between the Med, and the Mountains via the River Vidourle and was also an East West bridging point. The Romans saw the potential and installed stepping stones, then Tiberius built a bridge in AD (BC ?) 0 which still survives. It naturally became a trading point.

The present Place du Marche was built in c AD 1000. The arches date from 1150 AD.

The market is believed to have been continuous since at leat AD 1050.

Currently markets are held :

Saturday - general & brocante
Wednesday evenings - night market

Next week is the town Fête where bulls will run through the medieval streets, but not until after the market closes on Saturday !

The Languedoc Page

Christina Jul 22nd, 2003 09:54 AM

That doesn't seem that old to me, considering -- maybe it has to do with a specific building or something, but there were tourists and markets back in ancient Greece and Rome long before that, including vendors selling souvenirs. Nero used to vacation in Capri, I think, along with other tourists, and the Appian Way saw lots of tourists, also. The Romans used to go as tourists to Greece and bought things on those trips.

As I said, maybe the claim relates to a particular building rather than just a market area in general, but even the main market square in Krakow was operating about 100 years before that (although the Cloth Hall wasn't built for a couple hundred years). Obviously, the Agora in Athens was functioning as a market square long before 1382 AD.

ira Jul 22nd, 2003 10:05 AM


About ten years ago there was a grocery on the edge of Copenhagen that claimed to have been continuously operating in the same family for over 600 years.

Not sure if it is still there.

For that part of the world, 250 years is not a long time. The Old-New Synagogue in Prague dates to at least the 1300's.

coco Jul 22nd, 2003 11:00 AM

For What It's Worth: I was once told that Tarragona Spain was the oldest marketplace (in Europe??). It would certainy pre-date 1382 and had been operating since early days of the Roman Empire.

JandaO Jul 22nd, 2003 11:18 AM

Here in Seattle is the Pike Place Market. It is the oldest continuously operating market in the USA :)

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:06 AM.