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By Emma Parker

The concept of a shopping mall is very new to Libyans, with the majority of shopping being done in shopping districts where individual stalls line the streets.

Souk Al-Thalat

The Souk Al-Thalat (Tuesday Market) is Tripoli’s newest shopping mall.  On the ground floor a large supermarket along with a bakery and fruit and vegetable market hall can be found.   The supermarket stocks a wide range of foods, but it does not stock foods that can't be found in individual stores around the various shopping districts.  It does however give you the best comparison of goods, as they are housed together in one place.

On the first floor a large homewares store can be found.   Once again, this store does not necessarily stock products that can't be found in individual stores, however it does stock an extensive range with which to compare.  A large selection of plastic containers, crockery, and electrical appliances are amongst these.

On the third floor there are several children's amusement park rides, including soft play inflatable jumping castles for young children and dodgem cars for older children.  A monorail circles the roof of this floor and a central ticket booth operates.  Also on this floor is a small food court.

The rest of the complex is broken up into a variety of small stores.


Many expats live in Janzour and Seraj, so for them, Mahari is hardly their local shop. Nonetheless, if you are going downtown, it is worth taking a coolbox and stocking up on some essentials at Mahari. The supermarket area is not huge, but it has most of the things you need including wholemeal and gluten-free products. It is also very good on cereals. The butcher is friendly and helpful and you can even buy ostrich meat and eggs there.

Likewise there is a good selection of fish, and because so many people use Mahari, you know that there is a good turnover of fresh products. It's also a useful place for dried goods, spices and nuts, although I was somewhat perplexed when, having looked up 'turmeric' in Arabic, I was asked to choose between two sorts. This happened with other spices too ...

Apart from the supermarket there are various other 'shops' in the complex: incense and toiletries, a perfume mixing bar, pastries and coffee grinder, watches, stationery, clothing, shoes, and an excellent household goods section. There is a small greengrocer's next to the supermarket with a much larger one just outside the gates. Compared to the Souk Al-Thalat supermarket it is easier to get round because it is smaller and it probably has more variety, although doesn't have as good a cheese section and is missing a bakery. Mahari has interesting items such as square washing up bowls, loose glitter, and glass Italian food storage containers.

It is open from 9 in the morning until half past midnight, so it is best to pick a quieter time such as early morning or mid-afternoon to avoid confrontations in the car park. On Fridays it is open from 9.30 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. and then from 5 p.m. to half past midnight. The location is Zawia al-Dahmani, which is close to the sea and near the British Residence. If you are going along Jamahiriya Street towards the sea, turn left at the junction with Fashloum Street (where there is a huge sort of lampost in the middle of the road) and then bear right where you see a tea garden on a traffic island. Mahari is a few metres along the road on your right, behind black railings and grass.

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Published June 2009