The Oriental Plaza or the Plaza as it has been dubbed over the years is synonymous with value bargain buys, a seamless mix of Eastern and Western culture and arguably some of the country’s most sought-after Samosas
The Oriental Plaza which was built in 1974 remains one of the countries’ most iconic shopping centres and provides a delicate balance between traditional Eastern delights, Western-type shopping and craft markets in the city centre.
For decades the Indian tradesman – and women – have offered real bargains on pretty much any of their wares be it electronics or houseware, exotic Indian herbs, spices and cosmetics. Their real speciality though has always been textiles and clothing including shoes, jewellery and apparels. Prices are not fixed, and well-intentioned bartering and haggling makes for a unique retail experience for all those who visit.
The Plaza’s history is rich and rooted in the passion and determination of the traders themselves and their loyal customers. Born in the midst of political turmoil, today’s buzzing plaza tells the story of a group of tenacious Indian traders who were kicked out of Vrededorp and Fietas during apartheid, after the group areas act. As a result of the eviction the white governing regime built the plaza and forced these traders to move their businesses to the plaza. Today the plaza is owned by the shop owners themselves – forming a close-knit community of 350 stores dedicated to best serving their customers and upholding the quality that has come to be expected.
The Plaza’s buzzing atmosphere makes it ideal for a casual and relaxed morning meander from store to store with friends and family as the unique contents of each store spills out onto the sidewalks and the remarkable variety of magnificent fabrics stacked around the doors draws you in.
The plaza is also renowned for being a destination spot for niche products such as formal bridal-wear, luggage, crockery, electronics and Eastern wear where competitive and healthy bargaining is often the order of the day – especially for those in search of something very specific.
Over the years, the mall has become home to high fashion boutique style stores and has evolved into a family orientated destination with kiddies’ rides and target activities hosted over certain seasons such as Easter and Christmas. Today the Oriental Plaza with its unique open-air atmosphere not only attracts people from Gauteng and surrounding areas but also visitors from all over the continent.
Of course, all that shopping works up an appetite so it would be remiss of us to not mention World of Samosas and the Golden Peacock restaurant. Various snack stores are also available as you explore the wide variety of retail outlets.
So, if you’ve never been to this vibrant spot or haven’t visited in a while, treat yourself and your senses to an outing that is hard to beat.