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For Shopaholics: Go Street Shopping In Cairo

Posted on November 4, 2009 | Fascinating CitiesNo Comment

There are travelers who just want to roam around the place, see the world and there are those who like shopping, either as compulsive shoppers or in a bid to collect the memoirs of a place. For the latter, Cairo comes forth as one great place.

Cairo has it all, from an ancient and famous Khan el-Khalili market belonging to the 14th century to modern day shopping centers. There is s good market for fabric, for perfumes, for gold and silver, carpets, mashrabiya or wooden-craved pieces of art, spices and many more things.

Khan el-Khalili market

The city’s main market in Islamic Cairo is also one of the city’s attractions for tourists. You can find almost anything here. It’s a vast place with more than 1000 or so shops. It is usually in the interiors that the locals go shopping.

Silks, jewellery, spices and hand-made gellibayas (long robes) make good purchases. Perfumes from the Perfume Bazaar area too are a good deal. Many French perfume houses source their supplies from Egypt. Pure essential oils too are there for sale. A word of caution, as in any other tourist place, this place too has touts you might need to be wary of.

Shopping In Cairo


An-Nahassin or The Street of the Coppersmiths is known for a good range of brass and copperware. While a good buy for home décor would be large engraved brass trays, complete with a wooden stand to turn them into a coffee table, more convenient shopping for tourists would be cups, bowls, plates and ornamental trays.

Souq as-Sagha

The Souq as-Sagha or the Goldsmith’s Bazaar has good jewellery shops such as the Sharia al-Muizz li-Din Allah. Other than this and shops in Khan el-Khalili, jewellery shops on Sharia Abdel Khalek Sarwat are a good bet.

While Gold and silver are widely available here and not very expensive, the trend in Cairo is for mock ancient jewellery, incorporating hieroglyphs, pharaoh’s heads and scarab beetles. You might want to find something more unusual and unique here.


Birqash Camel Market

It would indeed be an experience in it itself to make a trip to the Camel Market as well. This biggest camel market in Egypt takes place outside the village of Birqash, located 35kilometers northwest of the city centre. Every Monday and Friday morning, camel traders come from all over Egypt and as far afield as the Sudan, to sell their camels. As it has become popular among tourists, there is an admission fee you would need to pay. Hiring a taxi would be the most convenient way of commuting to this market. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the place. It is also advisable to make your taxi wait to take you back to the city, by making the arrangements in advance.

Other markets you might want to spend your money in or visit just for window shopping are street markets  like Wekalet al-Balah for fabrics such as the Egyptian cotton, the Tent makers’ Bazaar for appliqué-work, Mohammed Ali Street for musical instruments to name a few.

Markets are open here all days except Sundays, from about 9 am to 8 PM. While they shut early during summers, they remain open for tourists till late.

The markets here may not offer the best of prices, that too for foreign tourists. However, much of that depends on the bargaining skills you have. In spite of this small obstacle, markets here are worth a visit and who knows, you might just get a good bargain if you try.

For those, who just like observing and drinking in the pleasures of touring a new place, markets in Cairo are the best bets to do the same.

shop cairo

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