Where: Cairo, capital of Egypt
What’s in store: Bustling labyrinthian ancient bazaar for tourists, bartering and bargains
Bag a bargain: Excellent buys for gold and silver and elegant tents weddings – remember to barter for a hot deal
Where’s it’s at
The famous bazaar of Khan al-Khalili, by one of the five original gates of the city, is located on one of Cairo‘s oldest street. Known as the Turkish Bazaar in the Ottoman period, it’s now simply called Khan. It represents the market tradition that established Cairo as an international centre for trade and the ‘river of gold’ which ran through Egypt. Khan is one of the Middle East’s greatest bazaars and has been doing business since the Middle Ages. Today it exists mainly for the tourist trade and is a hotspot for bustle, bartering and bargains, as well as the site of many tombs and mosques.
A lot of local goods are made in the tiny workshops hidden in the maze of the bazaar. It’s easy to get lost in the labyrinth of narrow winding streets and razor sharp vendors watch you keen eyed to impress their trade on you, as odours of exotic spices and smoke encompass you.
The west of the Khan is the street of the goldsellers where the best deals for gold and silver are to be had, and the brass and coppersmith markets lie beyond this. The street of the tentmakers is a covered market for a centuries old tradition, and here it is cool under canvas. The tents on sales are not for camping but decorative for weddings and occasions, created in intricate shapes and mesmerising arabesque designs. This street is the centre for the trade in camel hair rugs – cheap but colourful gifts.
Remember: Egypt is a Muslim country, and women should keep their arms, neck and legs covered when shopping.
History of Khan Al-Khalili
History of this famous Bazaar at the Egyptian Bazaar guide
Bargaining in the Bazaar
Try your hand at bargaining, Cairo style, with this intriguing game at this bazaar website, only catch is you need to buy buy buy before you can start to bargain….
By Dave Lowe
main image: By Casual Builder – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=30720830