Cairo | Khan el-Khalili Bazaar


cairo, egypt, khan el khalili, bazaar, street market, al moez streetEl Moez Street.I love to shop. (See: carpets and jade.) So Cairo’s famous Khan el-Khalili Bazaar was near the top of my list of places to visit on my recent trip to Egypt. After our quick tour of the Citadel, my friends and I headed over to the market.cairo, egypt, khan el khalili, bazaar, street marketDating back to the late 14th century, Khan el-Khalili is famous for clothing, spices, traditional jewelry and perfumes. El Moez Street is the oldest main street in Cairo. We didn’t actually walk down El Moez Street. The bazaar is huge, comprised of several criss-crossing streets in one large general area.cairo, egypt, khan el khalili, bazaar, street marketSpices.We sort of picked a street at random and walked its length, ducking into narrow alleys to see where they would lead, and generally trying to avoid being jostled around too much by the swelling crowds. We browsed shops selling spices, t-shirts, figurines and statues, papyrus scrolls and more.cairo, egypt, khan el khalili, bazaar, street marketAs we got further down the street, it got narrower and narrower, and the merchants were selling fewer and fewer touristy goods and souvenirs. Eventually we were clustered in so closely that only single-direction foot traffic could make it through. Shopkeepers were selling everything from toys to kitchenware to lingerie. It was lot of … junk.cairo, egypt, khan el khalili, bazaar, street marketA narrow alley.Eventually we realized we had strayed away from the tourist part of the bazaar and tried to make our way back to where we started without having to weave our way through hoards of people and stalls of stuff. It was a little bit overwhelming. At this point, more than one of us were starting to get hangry (hungry + angry).cairo, egypt, khan el khalili, bazaar, street market, turkish coffeeTurkish coffee.We finally returned to a more spacious part of the bazaar and were able to enjoy a cafecito at a little place that served Turkish coffee. Knowing how I get during long days of touring, I had also packed a couple Clif bars to tide us over until lunch. The coffee shop owner was pretty funny and gave a few members of our group (mildly offensive) nicknames: Ni Hao (me), Pakistan (Pakistani colleague) and Rambo (American colleague).I thought about returning to explore Khan el-Khalili one evening during the week, but I also wanted to enjoy much-needed down time and rest at the hotel. Cairo is so huge and there is so much traffic that any activity takes an extra 1.5 to 2 hours, factoring in transportation time and just getting around. With early starts to our days, I didn’t want to have too many late nights.I definitely plan to keep Khan el-Khalili on my list of things to do for next time. It seems that everything I did in Cairo I want to do again. I guess that’s a sign of a good travel destination!Do you like shopping?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

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