A visit to Cairo would be incomplete without a visit to the Khan Al-Khalili market. This colorful, noisy, crowded and exciting market is a place where all sorts of items and glittering trinkets can be found. Here visitors can find the typical tourist souvenirs, however, we would advise them to keep their eyes open and to look carefully as they can discover and purchase many unique objects.
The perfume market bursts with infinite mixtures of essences and essential oils. Heading towards the central part, you will find venders who sell gold, fabrics, carpets and everything you could wish for. If you do not find what you are looking for, do not hesitate to ask the merchants themselves, because it is very likely that they will know where you can find it. Even if you are not in the mood for shopping, we suggest you take a walk through the winding streets of this labyrinth neighborhood, because you will definitely find something that will catch your attention.
This market dates back to the 14th century, when Emir Dajaharks Al-Khalili built the commercial complex on the site of the tomb of Za'afran, the traditional burial place of the Fatimid rulers in Egypt. This structure was reconstructed by the order of Sultan Barquq (1382-1399) with the aim of helping the city recover from the devastation caused by the “Black Death” during the 13th and 14th century.
Today, the market has been significantly modernized, but there are still parts that show the original architectural style of the Mamluk era, characterized by arched portals and large vaulted ceilings. The market includes numerous restaurants and cafés where you can take a break from your shopping spree. Al Fishawy is the oldest café in Cairo, adorned with huge mirrors and antique furniture. Nobel Prize-winning writer Naguib Mahfouz used to come to this place. An exclusive restaurant located within the market bears his name.
Khan El Khalili market is a must-see when visiting Cairo.