Sierra Leone’s massive arts and crafts market, Big Market boasts of a wide variety of colorful wood carvings, hand-made earrings, bracelets, necklaces, Krio print dresses, leather sandals, and many more artistic ornaments. Located in the heart of Freetown, alongside Wallace Johnston Street it is not only the biggest but the oldest market in the whole country.
Before 1999, it was just a general market. The January 6th rebel invasions that year saw it shrink to a pile of ashes after the rebels set it on fire. It was rebuilt by the government in 2004 and a lot of artisans from Victoria Park were moved to Big Market.
The recently renovated antique building is within walking distance from the historical cotton tree, it also sits opposite the NASSIT offices, a place that used to be a slave trade center. A myth among the locals suggests that you can buy anything at this market. I don’t know how true this is, but if you ever find out, don’t hesitate to leave your findings in the comment section on your next adventure at the Big Markit.
Be prepared to be captured by the hand-crafted, sparkling earrings, abstract wall art, delicately crafted wooden statues. The 100% genuine leather sandals are definitely worth the buy as they are made to survive the toughest of terrains whilst giving you the best comfort that leather brings. Not only do you get durable, ready-made pieces of art, you also get the chance to let your creative side come to life by ordering works of art according to your specifications.
Whether you are on a quest to unravel the rich history of Sierra Leone, or you came to tan your skin on the beach listening to the waves as they kiss the sand shore, be sure you pass through the Big Market and get yourself a gift wrapped up in years worth of stories.
Special mention to the Assistant Director of Cultural Affairs, Sierra Leone, Mr. Ishmeal Abu Kamara. For providing writings, research and advise.
Lonely planet article: Big Market | Freetown, Sierra Leone Shopping
visit sierra leone : Big Markit – Craft Market