Egypt Cairo Market


Egypt Cairo Market


Market in Cairo


Of all the well-known places in Cairo, the Khan el Kahlili Market is one of the most original, if a bit overwhelming, areas to go to.


First built in 1382, as its history shows, the Khan el Khalili, or “Khan,” was started by Emir Djaharks el-Khalili during the era when the Fatimids governed Egypt. From that time on, the market has developed and transformed, well known for its ancient avenues, the shops selling everything from apparel to spices to tourist souvenirs.
How could a place of commerce in Egypt be instrumental in the founding of a nation known as the United States of America?

Maybe this very market was involved in the spice monopoly under the power of the Mamluks,


which gave the Europeans the idea and incentive to search for new ways to get to the east and led the nation’s founder, Christopher Columbus, to find the Americas.


Although this is all pure speculation, the possibility is certainly interesting.


Named after the great Caravanserai, the Khan el Khalili market was built in the later part of the 14th century by the Emir Djaharks el-Khalili in the center of the Fatimid City.


Together with the al-Muski market to the west, they made up one of Cairo's most important commercial areas.


Aside from that, they symbolize the market tradition which placed Cairo on the map as a major center of trade, and at the Khan, you can still find foreign merchants.




During this time, this area was also the meeting place for subversive groups, often a target for raids before the Sultan Ghawri renovated a lot of the area in the early 16th century.

Cairo Market

Nevertheless, it was mercantilism which led to Cairo's early wealth, even from the time of the Babylon fort which was frequently a home of traders.


The Khan el Khalili is located in one corner of a triangle of markets that go south to Bab Zuwayla and west to Azbakiyyah. The Khan is flanked on the south by al-Azhar Street and on the west by the Muski Market. One of the first and original gates blocks the entrance to the original courtyard which lies in the middle of Sikkit al-Badistan (street).



On a narrow street leading off al-Badistand, one will find the El-Fishawi Cafe, or Cafe of Mirrors, which was once a place of congreagation for local artists, and is still frequented by one of Egypt's most well known authors, the Nobel Award winning Naguib Mahfouz. There are a great number of canvas covered streets in the area.


Egyptian clients usually shop in the area north of al-Badistan and to the west, where prices are much lower. Along the "street of the goldsellers" better deals for gold and silver are to be found west of the Khan. Walking further on you will find the Brass and Coppersmith Markets.



The Khan el Khalili is perhaps on o the most memorable places to visit in Cairo aside from the Great Pyramids. Bargaining for goods in the Khan is expected, almost compulsory.



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