Every town in Ethiopia, large and small, has a market day. This is a chance for people to come into the town from rural areas to sell what they have grown and made as well as buy goods that cannot be found locally. Saturday is market day in Axum. Although we don’t need to visit every week it has become a regular trip for my housemates and I. We have our favourite stall that we visit to get our vegetables (some like carrots are only found in the market). The whole shop normally comes to around 40 – 50 birr (which is about £1.50). As well as the vegetables there are many different spices sold (I’ve got no idea what most of them are – labels don’t exist!).
There is a kitchenware section and an ironmonger area, nearby which injera cooker lids are on sale.
With an animal area, a grain area,
a cotton area
and even sometimes an area for wood for your plough!
There are other markets too here. In the centre of the older end of town is the basket market where women gather to sell the injera baskets they have made under an old fig tree. The different colours as well as the time and skill involved to make the baskets is amazing.
Further up into the old town under another fig tree is the firework market. The wood is all transported in by the camels.
On the outside of town is the animal market where you can pick up a donkey, cow, sheep or goat. The chickens are part of the main market in town.
On special religious holidays another market takes place selling crosses, drums, vestments, paintings, bells and books for use as part of the church services.
All in all the markets are full of different sights, sounds and smells, which make them an experience not to be missed. It’s just not the same popping down to the supermarket at home and they are definitely something I’ll miss visiting after I return to the UK.