When you’re planning to visit the land of the Pharaohs; the Great Pyramids, Sphinx, and similar attractions will be on top of the list, but there are so much more to see and enjoy

You cannot visit Egypt without going to Khan El Khalili; the oldest, biggest and most famous open-air bazar or souk; as called in Arabic, in the historic center of Islamic Cairo

It is located near two of the city’s major landmarks; The Al- Hussein Mosque and the prestigious Al-Azhar university

The bazaar was originally built to serve as a mausoleum for the Fatimid royal family, and was at that time a part of the Great Eastern Fatimid Palace which was built in 970 CE

During the 1380s, the Mamluk Sultan Barquq’s Master of the Stables; Amir Jaharkas al-Khalili, pulled down the Fatimid cemetery to erect a large Caravanserai – khan in Arabic – a building to house merchants and their goods at the heart of the city. So, Khan el-Khalili was born

In the 16th century, Sultan Qansuh al-Ghuri destroyed Khan al-Khalili and constructed rubu' (small hotels) in its place, as well as warehouses and shops, which are known today by the name of Wikalat al-Kotn (Cotton Caravanserai). There were three principal entrances to the khan but little remains of these today except for one gate: Bab al-Ghuri, also known as Bab al-Badistan (Badistan being Turkish for cotton or linen), which is located at the west end of the road leading from al-Husayni Shrine to the interior of Khan al-Khalili

The khan region was neglected during the Ottoman period, but began to flourish again in the period of Muhammad Ali Pasha (r. 1220–64 / AD 1805–48)

Since its inception, the market place has attracted visitors from all over the globe with its medieval atmosphere, providing them with an unforgettable adventure

At Khan El Khalili you will find yourself transported back in time to a traditional Arab souk, lost in the scent of spices and the bustle of trade, that takes place in the market daily

The bazar is famous for spices, perfumes, statuettes, traditional jewelry, t-shirts, gallabiyahs, belly dancing costumes, or anything for that matter

When you’re done shopping ; don’t miss out on a traditional cup of tea at the famous Fishawi’s Café

This coffeeshop has been open since 1773; making it the oldest and most famous coffeeshop in Egypt

So, next time you’re visiting Egypt, don’t forget to go to Khan El Khalili!