Shopping in Egypt: Khan el-Khalili




Khan el Khalili Souvenirs Shopping heaven

Khan el-Khalili is for many the most entertaining part of Cairo. It is an ancient shopping area, but some of the shops have also their own little factories or workshops.

The khan - which is the Arabic name for bazaar, or market - dates back to 1382, when Emir Djaharks el-Khalili built a big caravanserai (or khan) right here. A caravanserai was a sort of hotel for traders, and usually the focal point for economic activity for any surrounding area. This caravanserai is still there on the road to Khan el-Khalili and Badestan.

As for the khan, you can easily grasp most of its charm and possibilities by wandering about. You do not need a guide, not even a guide book. Should you get lost, just keep going in one direction, and you will quickly come out of the maze, and close to a taxi.

Shopping is a must in Khan el-Khalili, there are items you should check out here, and items you better avoid. Clothes are cheap, spices are of good quality and affordable, the perfume shops sell copies of virtually all international Western perfumes. Souvenirs of just as good quality as in the hotel lobby, but at a better price. There are lots of products and jewelry that will match all the tastes so look around and feel free to ask around. Always bargain and don't go for the first price asked for, if you think its expensive for you feel free to go ask in another shop.

While all of Khan el-Khalili is an attraction, there are some local sights. The most treasured for visitors is Fishawi's cafe, which you can count on being open when you get there: It has been continuously open, day and night, for more than 200 years. Its interior is charming, claustrophobic but with mirrors almost everywhere.

Overview of Khan el Khalili alley

For readers of Nobel prize laureate Naguib Mahfouz, Khan el-Khalili is the place of Midaq Alley. Start in al-Mu'izz street, find the Sanadiqiyah street, and look out for it.



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