[[quoteright:330:[[UsefulNotes/{{Iran}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Merchant2.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:330:Tropes! Get your tropes here! Tropes for sale!]]

->''"If it can't be had here, it can't be had on any world."''
-->-- '''High Market''' flavor text, ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering''

A city populated mainly by merchants, or known for its shopping opportunities. Tends to be a port or somewhere financially strategic. Usually has a BlackMarket and/or a BazaarOfTheBizarre. You can buy the best available items there, or at least have the most variety to choose from.

This is often, but not always the capital or HubCity.

On many occasions it will be the hometown of a ProudMerchantRace, and will be the favorite hangout of the IntrepidMerchant. Some are even ruled by {{Merchant Prince}}s.


[[folder: Fanworks! The best fanfic on the Internet!!]]
* In Written by the Victors, an [[Series/StargateAtlantis SGA]] fanfic by Speranza, the main characters turn Atlantis into this as it's the only city that could protect an inter-planet market from the [[OurVampiresAreDifferent Wraith]]

[[folder:Fiiiiilm! Get yer film here!]]
* In ''Franchise/StarWars'', "Mos Eisley was built from the beginning with commerce in mind".
* Bartertown in ''Film/MadMaxBeyondThunderdome''. Trading is required to be able to enter, and holding on the deals is enforced by law.

[[folder:Literature, for free, and that's cutting me own throat!]]
* The Bazaar on the dimension of Deva in the ''Literature/MythAdventures'' series. While it doesn't come close to covering the world's landmass and in fact slowly migrates across it, it's the only settlement, transportation to Deva always routes visitors wherever it presently is rather than to geographic coordinates, and there's nothing else on Deva worth seeing in any event. (The land itself can no longer support life and the natives turned entirely to cross-dimensional trade to support themselves.)
* The Free City of Braavos from ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''.
** Also Vaes Dothrak, the sacred city of the Dothraki where merchants come from across the world to trade with each other under the protection of the Horselords who themselves have no concept of money.
* ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'':
** Jackson's Whole is nothing but a BlackMarket, selling devious and unethical goods and services for high prices.
** Komarr's society is based on {{Intrepid Merchant}}s, taking advantage of its location at the crossroads of several interstellar trade routes.
* The aptly named Trading Cities in ''Literature/InvisibleCities'', although they play with the idea. One particular city trades stories, another, character roles.
* Literature/{{Discworld}}'s Ankh-Morpork is without compare. Invaders often find that within a few days they no longer own their weapons and are just absorbed into the general ethnic character of the city.
* Gayjur in ''Literature/TheSparrow'', and while it's due to his unfortunate life circumstances, Supaari is definitely a ProudMerchantRace Guy.
* Vanity Fair of ''Literature/PilgrimsProgress''.
* The entire Iskoort world in ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' was a giant metropolis where one can purchase anything he or she wants.
* The ''Literature/RealmOfTheElderlings'' series has Bingtown, situated near the mouth of the Rain Wild River on the Cursed Shores. The Bingtown Traders consider themselves an exclusive caste, basically rule themselves via the Traders Council and are very proud of being the descendants of those who came to the Cursed Shores with nothing but themselves and not only managed to survive but also to make a fortune.
* ''Literature/GuardiansOfTheFlame'': Pandathaway, a port city which is a commercial hub and caters to visitors looking for goods. There is practically nothing that's not out for sale (this also makes it the center of the regional slave trade, much to the heroes' disgust). Merchants and guild heads run it.

[[folder:Live-Action Television, you'll never find a better one anywhere else!]]
* The ''Franchise/StarTrek'' franchise has Ferenginar, homeworld of the Ferengi. Being merchants is the Ferengi's [[PlanetOfHats hat]], and it really shows. There are hidden fees everywhere, from entering someone's home, to using the elevator, to even sitting down in a waiting room.

[[folder:Tabletop Games, wouldn't you like some?]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''
** TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms has Waterdeep, Calimport, Raven's Bluff... Amn in general is known as "Merchant's Domain" -- people there call [[GrimReaper the god of death]] "Black Forecloser" and that's not even a joke. Its capital city Athkatla (nicknamed "City of Coin") is [[UpToEleven so much of a merchant city]], it's a HolyCity of the trade goddess.
** Syrania in fourth edition of TabletopGame/{{Eberron}}.
** The City of Brass, the [[OurGeniesAreDifferent Efreet]] capital. In Fourth Edition The City of Brass is stated to be the largest mercantile city in the multiverse.
** The city of Union, introduced in the 3rd Edition ''Epic Level Handbook''. It was founded by the mercane, a ProudMerchantRace with a mysterious aversion to [[TabletopGame/{{Planescape}} Sigil]], and run largely to support the mercane's mercantile empire. Precious little has been done with it since it was first introduced, however.
** And though the sourcebooks don't really focus on it, it's clear that [[TabletopGame/{{Planescape}} Sigil]] itself is one - hosting portals to literally anywhere means that it's THE crossroads of the multiverse. The Golden Lords are periodically mentioned as some of the most fantastically rich individuals on the planes, mostly by taking advantage of Sigil's opportunities. However, since the game is focused on the ideological conflict of the factions as well as Sigil's potential as a jumping-off point for adventure, the mercantile side of the city went largely unexplored by the writers except as what would support adventurers.
* Tredroy in TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}.
* The capital city of Mercadia, Mercadia City, from the MagicTheGathering set ''Mercadian Masques''.
* Katapesh, and to some degree Druma, in ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}''.
* ''TabletopGame/WarhammerFantasy'' has the Free City of Marienburg in the Wasteland to the north of the Empire (the Wasteland used to be known as the Westerlands, but ever sine Marienburg bought its independence and refused to return the Imperials have taken to demeaning its importance in every way they can). There is also the far more upmarket High Elf version in Lothern and the Arabyan version in the Spice Port of Copher.
* Extropia, the first and most populous asteroid colonized by the anarcho-capitalist Extropians, in ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase''.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Ironclaw}}'' has Triskellion, the capital of Calebria and by far the most cosmopolitan city on the island. A century ago the king handed over most governance to a council of trade guilds.
* In ''TabletopGame/RocketAge'' G'Pak, the only island city on Mars' silt sea is run by the Pilthuri, the merchant and diplomat class who most other city states look down on and despise. The royal and priests caste have no real power there and are essentially kept around for show, to ensure that other cities don't attempt to use the unusual arrangement against them.
* Most starports in ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}'' have facilities for buying and selling goods, but a few worlds such as Regina in the Spinward Marches are notable for having grown rich from their position on the interstellar trade routes.

[[folder:Video Games! You want 'em, we got 'em!]]
* Mirage, a city in the Cleft of Dimension in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyV''. When it reappears in the real world it's full of merchants and some of the best items in the game can be bought there.
* Byzel/Baizel in ''VideoGame/SeikenDensetsu3'' -- a port city full of merchants, and has a Black Market that you can access by waiting for it to become night.
** Ironically though, it's the only town in the game where you can't buy regular supplies.
* Illium in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'' is a capitalist heaven: It is an independent planet outside the jurisdiction of any major government and while the planet is extremely rich, there are almost no rules on anything. During your stay, you are constantly bombarded with cheesy comercials and merchants making ridiculous claims to their customers.
* Tradefair, Rogurd's hometown in ''VideoGame/BlackSigil'', is a Merchant City and also has a Black Market.
* In ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' games, the capital is usually like this, often named Castle Town or Windfall Island.
* ''Franchise/{{Pokemon}}'' has [[VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue Celadon City]], [[VideoGame/PokemonGoldAndSilver Goldenrod City]], [[VideoGame/PokemonrubyAndSapphire Lilycove City]], and [[VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl Veilstone City]]. One big department store for each region.
* Constructable in ''[[VideoGame/MedievalIITotalWar Medieval II Total War]]'' is the Merchants' Quarter, which turns over an entire section of the city to trade.
* Hong Kong in ''VideoGame/DeusEx''.
* [[MartialPacifist Zoner]] Freeports and [[BlackMarket Junker]] bases in ''{{VideoGame/Freelancer}}'' are like this, according to rumors on bases, and chatter on ArtificialAtmosphericActions, but GameplayAndStorySegregation is in effect when you visit.
* ''VideoGame/QuestForGloryII'''s [[ShiftingSandLand Shapeir]] has Katta in every square, selling all sorts of items, that's not taking into account the smithy, apothecary and the joke shop.
* Varrock city in ''VideoGame/RuneScape'' is this for players, as it's where the Grand Exchange, a big facility that lets people put their items for sale or buy from other players without direct contact, is located. Ardougne, another big city with lots of stalls in the middle is this for [=NPCs=].
** Before the Grand Exchange was added, it was Varrock for free players and Falador for members, but only on certain merchant worlds.
* The goblin-controlled cities Gadgetzan, Booty Bay, and Ratchet in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''. As a ProudMerchantRace they are open to both factions and also provide access to the Neutral Auction House, the only method of cross-faction trading.
** [[TruceZone Shattrath and Dalaran]] used to serve as this when they were the main cities of their respective expansions. Having portals to each of the original capital cities, auction houses, high-end armor vendors, and close proximity to end-game content meant a high player density and trade.
* The Carcino region from ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheSacredStones'' comes to mind; it's the only nation of the six in the game that doesn't house a MineralMacGuffin, in favour of being a mercantile state. That said, [[GameplayAndStorySegregation it doesn't have any particularly special items for the player party purchase ingame...]]
* Virtually every major city in ''VideoGame/RagnarokOnline'' are packed with [[IntrepidMerchant Intrepid Merchants]], but a special mention goes to the PortTown of Alberta, where Merchants are trained from Novices.
* ''VideoGame/SecretOfEvermore'' has Nobilia.
* ''VideoGame/GuildWars'': In-universe, the Kodash Bazaar is considered this, being the capital of a merchant nation. In gameplay terms, though, it has a pretty average selection of merchants.
* ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireI'': Prima, which is also an UnderwaterCity.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVII'', one of the final forms for the immigrant town is the Bazaar, which has shops selling some of the best equipment in the game (including the Metal King Shield, hands down the best shield in the game).
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' has Chesedonia. Located directly between Kimlasca and Malkuth (in spite of ongoing tension between the two nations), nearly all goods that cross the border pass through it, and since each country is heavily specialized (with Kimlasca producing weapons, armor and fontech, while Malkuth grows crops for food and medicines), consistent and well-managed trade is an absolute necessity. Notably, if you're somehow incredibly rich early on in the game (if you carried money over onto a NewGamePlus, for example), you can buy weapons there that are ludicrously powerful for your level.
* Any and every province designated a "Centre of Trade" in ''VideoGame/EuropaUniversalis III'', including several of the real-life examples below.
* The Republic DLC for ''VideoGame/CrusaderKings II'' introduces Merchant Republics ruled by families of {{Merchant Prince}}s, including many Real Life examples.
* Mercantile City-states in ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}} V'' are named after famous examples from history. Get on their good side and they'll send out shipments of luxury goods to increase major nations' [[MoraleMechanic Happiness]], including unique goods that can't be obtained any other way. The player can also choose to focus cities on trade by building Wonders such as the Great Lighthouse, Petra, and the East India Company, or turn their entire nation into a ProudMerchantRace by taking up the Commerce and Navigation policy trees.
* Jita has become such a massive trade hub in ''VideoGame/EVEonline'' that all missions and resources have been removed from the system and it's been moved to own server in order to handle the traffic. Of particular interest is the fact that Jita became the premier trading hub of New Eden not through developer edict, but through players following actual market forces of supply and demand.
* ''VideoGame/HarvestMoonGrandBazaar'' has the world-famous Zephyr Town. Or ''had''. At the start of the game the bazaar is a shadow of its former glory. It's up for the newbie farmer protagonist to revitalize it.

[[folder:Webcomics! I got yer webcomics right here!]]
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', Sandsedge. A town of tents, but one gathering traders from the whole Western Continent.
* In Drowtales, "Chel'el'Sussoloth was built around the Klar'bol, the market section is literally the heart of the city".

[[folder:Real Life! While supplies last.]]
!!North America
* UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity. It seized the title for the US with the opening of the Erie Canal in the early 19th Century, as the canal made it easiest to ship stuff to and from the then-West (now Midwest) to the rest of the world (i.e., the Eastern Seaboard and across the Atlantic) through New York. Manhattan's Fifth Avenue is world-renowned for its high-end shopping.
* UsefulNotes/{{Chicago}}. On the other end of that east-west overwater trade route from New York was Chicago, because of its location right on a portage (a land bridge where boats or their cargo can easily be transferred between two bodies of water) between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi Watershed - the Illinois and Michigan canal was later dug so that passenger, cargo, and ship could traverse together. When the rails began to be laid down, Chicago was the hub for many lines - this is probably the biggest reason for its growth into the Second City as being able to send goods easily in most any direction made it a great trading spot, whether they be the destination of many a Texan cattle drive (Chicago had many slaughterhouses, including the one in Upton Sinclair's ''The Jungle'') or if you're selling stuff by catalogue and use the rails to ship your sales (i.e,. Sears). Chicago's answer to Fifth Avenue for luxury shopping is its own Michigan Avenue, specifically the Magnificent Mile north of The Loop.
* UsefulNotes/{{Vancouver}} is home to a massive port and ships almost all of the goods passing from Canada to Asia and vice versa. As such, you can buy almost anything if you know where to look.

* Name a city-state from medieval or early Renassiance UsefulNotes/{{Italy}} and it's probably a Merchant City. Special mention should go to UsefulNotes/{{Venice}} - there is, after all, a Shakespeare play called ''Theatre/TheMerchantOfVenice''.
* Seville's merchants flourished during much of the Age of Exploration once Columbus reached the New World, as that city was given a legal monopoly on all transatlantic trade going into Spain. The loss of the monopoly to Cadiz, a plague in 1649, and the silting up of the Guadalquivir all contributed to its decline by the 18th Century.
* UsefulNotes/{{Paris}}, back in her early days. That's why the city's coat-of-arms displays a trim merchant ship in silver (representing money by commerce, not through the royal mint.)
* Amsterdam was and is a commonly used port for trans-Atlantic trade, especially when the Netherlands had overseas colonies.
* Rotterdam doesn't look like it in city centre, but it has the biggest port of Europe, most of it located outside the city and largely automated.
* Germany: Lübeck, UsefulNotes/{{Hamburg}}, Danzig and the rest of the UsefulNotes/HanseaticLeague.
* UsefulNotes/{{London}} specialises in merchant ''banking'' these days, but is still a busy port.
* Liverpool in the heyday of the cotton trade, much less so these days.
* An upmarket area of Glasgow directly adjacent to the city centre is called actually called the Merchant City. (Commemorating the fact that before it was an industrial center, Glasgow was a commercial center. Let's not dwell too much on the fact that the commerce it specialized in was [[NeverLiveItDown the transatlantic slave trade.]])
* Novgorod, in UsefulNotes/{{Russia}}, before Ivan the Terrible burned it down.
* The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul - see the page pic. Both land routes (coming in from the east via Anatolia and west through the Balkans) and sea routes (from the Black Sea to the north and the Mediterranean to the south) converged at Istanbul.

* Japan:
** UsefulNotes/{{Tokyo}}. Two different flavors, too - the modern, fast-paced, latest fashion stuff led by the huge corporations known the world over can be found in the western and southern parts of the city (especially Ginza, Shinjuku, Harajuku, and Shibuya); and the smaller shop mom-and-pop entrepreneurs to the north and east around the Sumida River (e.g., the long line of small shops leading to the entrance of the temple at Asakusa).
** Akihabara can be thought of as a mix of these two things - it was a radio and electronic parts mecca after the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII, where shops were small (and often black-market) but one could find parts for nearly anything electronics-related. Then just as the wave for futuristic parts passed, the anime explosion and the emergence of otaku culture starting in the 1980's revived the area, this time as the place where one could get all sorts of anime merchandise.
** Historically, Osaka was this for Japan, as it wasn't until the Tokugawa shogunate was established in the late 16th Century that the center of power shifted east to the Kanto Plain. Being a port very close to the traditional center of power in Kyoto as well as being on the Inland Sea (so it wasn't as given to being trashed by tsunamis and typhoons), rice shipments (samurai were paid in rice) naturally congregated there and gave the otherwise looked-down-upon merchants (who traditionally were considered the lowest of the four classes in Japanese society[[note]]Burakumin, who were treated as outcasts because their occupations dealt with taboo things like death such as slaughterhouses and tanners, weren't counted[[/note]]) economic power over the samurai by the time of the Meiji Restoration.
* UsefulNotes/{{Dubai}}. Started out as an oil center, but what made it leap to the top of the global city list was early diversification into other industries like tourism, finance, and aviation.
* UsefulNotes/{{Singapore}}. Originally a British Crown Colony that thrived on entrepot trade between the East and West, today it is a cosmopolitan metropolis full of shopping centres and features one of the world's busiest ports.
* UsefulNotes/HongKong. Probably the biggest factor in its growth is it sitting right next to China at a time when the latter was closed to Western investment.
* UsefulNotes/{{Manila}}, capital of the UsefulNotes/{{Philippines}}, used to be a prominent one, especially in the days of Spanish colonialism as early as the late 1500s, as the hub where richly laden Mexican galleons docked after the long Pacific voyage from Acapulco, in UsefulNotes/{{Mexico}}. Colonial Manila was in fact something of a bridge between the silver mines in Spanish Latin America on the one hand, and the huge Chinese market on the other. This continued to be the case into the 1800s, when British firms started setting up in Manila and other Philippine cities mainly to capitalise on sugar milling and textile production and shipping. Today, while perhaps not as globally outsized in influence as it used to be, the modern Manila (that's ''Metro'' Manila, the entire metropolitan area surrounding and including the ''City'' of Manila proper), still holds some of Asia's largest malls, many built or owned by Chinese-born or -descended entrepreneursóreflecting the Filipino people's incredibly consumerist mindset.
* Guangzhou could be considered Hong Kong's forerunner, as for several centuries that city was the only one where foreign merchants could legally trade in China - many countries and companies sent ships there. It began losing its footing in the mid-19th century as Britain and France forced open other ports to trade (and the UK founding Hong Kong); it wouldn't be until Deng Xiaoping's economic reforms in the 1970's and 80's that Guangzhou would start trying to catch up again.
* UsefulNotes/{{Shanghai}}. The city historically has had greater commercial impact than the Imperial Chinese government gave it (it wasn't considered an official city until 1927, only considered a county seat for most of its history), but it was one of two major Western-financed centers of banking during the 19th Century until the Communist victory in the Chinese Civil War caused most foreign firms to flee for Hong Kong. The city managed to hold itself in the midst of the dearth of opportunities for growth until it was able to start growing again when China began opening up to foreign investment starting in the 1970's.
* Kaesong, a city now located in UsefulNotes/{{North Korea}}, was this during the Goryeo Dynasty, the Dynasty that preceded the Joseon Dynasty that moved it's capital from Kaesong (then called Gaegyeong) to UsefulNotes/{{Seoul}}. The city prospered from trade with the neighboring kingdoms, including Song Dynasty and Heian Japan, and the city's merchants had a reputation for being skilled centuries after the fall of the dynasty. The city was so prosperous that if estimates were correct the city would have a population of half a million (more than the city's current population), which at that time (10th century) was quite a big deal.
* Mumbai for India.
* The Old City in Jerusalem, Israel, due to the amount of tourism and pilgrims stopping there for religious purposes, is more or less filled to the brim with merchant shops on roads between churches, synagogues, and mosques.

* Timbuktu during the 12th through 16th Centuries, as a major trading center of gold, ivory, salt, and slaves. In addition, the University of Timbuktu was one of the largest and most innovative centers of education (actually consisting of three schools centered around the Djinguereber Mosque, the Sidi Yahya Mosque, and the Sankore Madrasah), which further encouraged the spread of books along its trade routes.
* Mogadishu rose to become one of the most prominent merchant centers on the Horn of Africa during the Sultanate era (roughly the 10th through 16th Centuries), being situated on the Indian Ocean and conducting trade along the Arabian Sea - its zenith of prominence is around the 12th to 14th Centuries. The writings of the Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta, who visited the city in 1331, noted that it was already "an exceedingly large city" that exported many goods like silk to Egypt.
* Similar to Mogadishu, Mombasa also thrived since the Middle Ages under similar conditions in regards to Indian Ocean trade.
* Most people outside Southern Africa tend to forget that Pretoria is the state capital of South Africa... simply because its younger sibling, Johannesburg, massively overshadows it both in size and international financial importance. The gold and diamond mines (and the rushes they spawned from in the C19th) lie behind the whole of Gauteng being the beating heart of the entire greater region's trade links, despite not being anywhere near a coastal port. Rivers, roads, rail, airport ''and mines'' for the win. For the biggest traditional ''sea port'', that would be Durban (sorry, Cape Town, but you know it's true). And, Jo'burg could still swallow ''both'' whole.

!!South America
* Sao Paulo for Brazil. High-end luxury brands looking to enter the Brazilian market usually start in the Jardins district.