One of the best experiences to have while in Cairo is visiting Khan El Khalili Bazaar. There’s nothing like it
For more than 600 years; this old souk has preserved much of its original structure and atmosphere
Not only tourists, but also Egyptians visit the bazaar to find all sorts of gifts, including Egyptian antiques, fine handmade crafts, jewelry, perfumes, spices and shishas.
The Old bazaar isn’t far away from Downtown Ciro
It is located near two of the city’s major landmarks; The Al- Hussein Mosque and the prestigious Al-Azhar university
If you’re going to go by taxi, it’s better to tell the taxi driver to drop you off at “The Hussein Square” or “Midan Hussein” where you’ll find the souk
One of the first things that you will notice are the large old buildings and the mosques. No matter which way you turn, you will eventually stumble upon them
The souk has so many mosques in it. They are picturesque, old and make a beautiful background for pictures
Apart from the famous key-chains, papyrus and figurines of Egyptian gods, there are lots of treasures in Khan El Khalili that make great gifts
Be on the lookout for alabaster pyramids and statues; these are an Egyptian specialty. There are also several shops that sell vintage jewelry boxes, backgammon and chess boards made with mother of pearl designs
There are many stores selling gold and silver jewelry, home accessories and trinkets. Traditional jewelry includes kaf Fatima, evil eyes and pharaonic symbols like Horus’ eye
There are several stores that sell Egyptian antiques, including lighting fixtures, movie posters and old books. Spice stores sell inexpensive common spices, Egyptian incense and shisha tobacco.
El Fishawy Café
Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week for the past 250 years, this mirror-laden passage café has hosted dozens of notables including Egyptian literary legend Naguib Mahfouz
During the evenings, you might see oud players, poetry readings or women offering henna tattoos.
Don’t forget that prices in Khan El Khalili are not fixed and you should use your bargaining skills
Visit several shops to see what the going rate is before agreeing to buy anything
The market is usually less busy in the morning. You will find that the crowds start somewhere midday and then it gets bustling and hot. Evening is a great time to visit because it is cooler and while it is crowded it gives you the feel of what an Egyptian market is like. During Ramadan time, many of the shops close in the evening so people can break their fast. If you visit Cairo during that time you may want to keep it in mind
So, Khan El Khalili is a must-have experience to enjoy at least once in your life!