The Middle East and North Africa is home to some of the oldest and most beautiful souks in the world.

In fact, one of the largest covered historic markets in the world is located in the Ancient City of Aleppo, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1986. Dating back to the 14th century, Al-Madina Souks reflect the long heritage and tradition in the city of Aleppo. Unfortunately, many parts of the souk were destroyed, burnt, or ruined following the clashes between the Free Syrian Army and Syrian Armed Forces back in 2012.

However, there are parts that do remain. With the region subject to wars time and again, we've lost a bunch of historical sites due to the political instability and turmoil. Fortunately enough, there are a number of traditional souks that remain intact, bringing various cultures together in an open market bazaar.

1. Souk El Hiraj, Aleppo, Syria

Within Souq Al Madina, Souk El Hiraj was traditionally the main market of firewood and charcoal. Nowadays, it is home to 33 stores that bring you the best of rug and carpet products.

2. Souk Al Sayagheen, Tripoli, Lebanon

Souk Al Sayagheen located in the heart of Tripoli, Lebanon is one of the oldest souks in the city specializing in goldsmiths and silversmiths. The souk was renovated in 1996 by the municipality of Tripoli.

3. Souk Ableuh, Marrakech, Morocco

It's no surprise to see one of Marrakech's souks on here. From Souk Semmarine, which sells everything from colored sandals to leather pouffes to jewelry, to Souk Ableuh, filled with stalls specializing in lemons, chilis, pickes and delicious olives, the souks in the city are not to be missed.

4. Gold Souk, Dubai, UAE

Located in Deira, the gold souk consists of over 300 retailers that trade almost exclusively in jewelry.

5. Eminönü Egyptian Spice Bazaar, Istanbul, Turkey

Since 1664, this old spice market in Istanbul is the center for spice trade in the country. If you're a foodie, then this is the best place for you. With a variety of dried fruits, nuts, oils, and olives, the spice market in Istanbul is surely one that will leave you happy.

6. Khan el Khalili, Cairo, Egypt

Egypt's widely known Khan el-Khalili sells everything from your typical souvenirs to antiques and jewelry to street food and shisha. Fishawi's is one of the oldest coffeehouses there and was established in 1773. Naguib Mahfouz's novel, Midaq Alley is actually set in an alley in this famous souk.

7. Souq Waqif, Doha, Qatar

Translated to "standing market," this souq is known for selling everything from traditional garments to spices. Dating back at least 100 years, where bedouins and locals used to trade goods, the souk was renovated in 2006 to preserve its architectural and historical identity.

8. Souk Jara, Amman, Jordan

Although Souk Jara  is not an all-year-round open market, it really is a must-visit during its opening season from May till September. Filled with a variety of craft stalls, you will definitely leave with something in your hands, no doubt.

9. Souk el Attarine, Tunis, Tunisia

Built in 1240, Souk El Attarine is the oldest souk of Tunis specializing in the trading of perfume and beauty products. It is also famous for trading jasmine and rose water as well as amber and henna.