Khan Al-Khalili Bazaar
Cairo’s Most Famous Bazaar
You will probably write off Khan al-Khalili as a tourist trap, especially when you consider the numerous touts and the Chinese trinkets that litter everywhere. However, the city has been a prominent trading center since its establishment in the 14th century, with Cairenes as the pioneer trading tribe. Even until now, most parts of the market, including the gold district, remains locals’ favorite trading places.
You can choose to shop from the first light to sundown (except on Friday morning and Sunday) – there are unlimited options with the collection of shops and stores, each with different goods. Most of these shops are arranged around small courtyards, and they are stocked with almost every item possible; from soap powder to semiprecious stones, as well as alabaster pyramids and toy camels.
Before now, there were divisions of the Khan into considerably stern districts. However, the only existing areas currently are the spice dealers, the gold sellers, and the coppersmiths. You will definitely get called more times than you can imagine, by touts and traders alike. But other than these, Khan Al-Kahlili boasts of the most popular charmers on the planet.
You can be sure of getting anything you set out to buy. Even if you meet a merchant that doesn’t have what you want in stock, he will gladly find someone who does.
There are several places and landmarks worthy of touring while in the Khan. One is the historic Ahwa Fishawi’s, situated in an alley that is situated one block west of Midan al-Hussein.
Another landmark, Midaq Alley (Zuqaq al-Midaq) can be found on the southwest side of the Khan, Midaq Alley is the setting for one of the Naguib Mahfouz’s most popular works. While you may not find the exact replicas of the colorful characters described in the novel, the real Midaq Alley hasn’t changed much from what the descriptions contained in the 1940 book.