Victoria Street Market (Durban Central)
The Victoria Street Market, on the corner of Queen and Victoria Streets in Durban, is rather like stepping into another world, with its blend of all things Indian and African. Spices and incense rent the air in which more than 170 stalls display their wares.
The Vic, as the Victoria Market is now known, is set in a huge building that resembles something out of a Maharajah’s story. The ornate structure is a humming place in which to buy anything in the way of food and spices (the delight of varying coloured varieties come by the barrel), including a fish market downstairs - a food lover’s delight.
The Indian community in Durban is the largest outside of Asia. They have had a huge impact on the character of the city of Durban, and the open air markets, that have evolved into the Victoria Street Market, were first opened in the 1870s - a fantastic way to familiarise yourself with the colour, smells, boldly colourful material and bartering that is so characteristic of their community. And it isn’t all about food. You can buy saris, scarves, arts and crafts, woven baskets, beaded dolls and animals, oriental ceramics, and Chinese wholesale goods.
If you really want to make a day of it, head a little further down to Grey Street (now called Dr Yusuf Dadoo Street) - the cultural heart of the Indian community with its distinctive Indian architectural character with narrow lanes, colonnades over pavements and a wave of material shops - Grey Street’s former status as a clothing mecca lingers.
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