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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Cairo Shopping
Cairo Shopping Guide - TravelPuppy.com
Shopping can be great fun in Cairo, whether its for an everyday souvenir or for something more valuable.

Painted papyrus scrolls, often embellished with hieroglyphics, are admired and perhaps a little more tasteful than the stuffed camels or models of the pyramids. Egypt may be rich in antiquities but it is not rich enough to supply the thousands of vendors who will edge towards tourists offering a furtive glimpse of a ‘genuine antique’, in any case, it is illegal to export authentic antiquities without a licence.

Among the items that do make attractive legal souvenirs are jewellery, leather goods, perfume, copper and brass items, and herbs and spices. Almost anything can be found in the city’s main market, the Khan al-Khalili in Islamic Cairo. While this is on every tour itinerary and there will be 100's of shopkeepers and touts to deal with on arrival, it is a vast place and most visitors do not venture into its interior, where many locals do their own shopping. Jewellery, silks, spices and hand-made gellibayas (long robes) make great purchases, as do perfumes from the Perfume Bazaar area. Several French perfume houses source their supplies from Egypt, and in the bazaar pure essential oils are available for purchase.

The Street of the Coppersmiths (An-Nahassin) is the place to go to find a good range of brass and copperware. Large engraved brass trays are very popular and can be bought complete with a wooden stand to turn them into a coffee table. More easily transported are the bowls, cups, plates and ornamental trays.

Silver and Gold is largely available and not expensive, provided you bargain the price down a little. However, local taste tends towards the gaudy or the mock-ancient, incorporating scarab beetles, hieroglyphs and pharoah’s heads , so it may be a hunt to find something a little more unusual. In addition to the Khan al-Khalili, the jewellery shops on Sharia al-Muizz li-Din Allah and Sharia Abdel Khalek Sarwat are good bets.

Opening Hours

Normal opening hours for shops are Monday to Saturday from roughly 9.00 am to 8.00 pm however in the summer they will close between roughly 12.30 pm and 4.00 pm with the tourist shops often staying open later.

Haggling

Haggling is a way of life, especially in the markets and bazaars, visitors should not be frightened to try. Prices are inflated for visitors anyhow but remember that it is meant to be fun and not a fight to the death, if the final price is between half and two 3rds of the original asking price, then both parties should be happy.
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