March 1, 2021

Khan el-Khalili: Famous Shopping District

Cairo, Egypt
Moderate
3+hours

If you love being immersed in Egyptian culture, while browsing through various local shops, you will love Khan el-Khalili. This famous shopping district is an outdoor bazaar, which is located in Cairo, Egypt. If you didn’t know, a bazaar is an enclosed marketplace where you can buy or sell goods and services. Khan el-Khalili is known for being one of the world’s greatest shopping experiences, and it truly was. 

History of Khan el-Khalili

Khan El-Khalili was established in the 14th century and has always been an important district for cultural and economic activities. Khan El Khalili was built in 970 AD, which is the same year the city of Cairo was found. Today, the Khan el-Khalili is mainly used by local merchants and traders and is geared towards drawing in tourists.

Things to Do

There is so much to see and do here. Of course, the main reason people visit this marketplace is to shop and explore Egyptian culture. In addition to the shops, there are also several coffeehouses, restaurants, and street food vendors scattered throughout the market. One of the oldest coffee houses is El Fishawi’s, which was built in 1773. The coffee shops are super small and serve genuine Arabic coffee, which will wake you right up if you need a burst of energy. Throughout the shopping district, a lot of places, like the coffee shops, will offer you shisha, which is hookah.

What to Buy 

While shopping in Khan El-Khalili, there is so much to look at, it can be overwhelming. The shops were selling various things such as souvenirs, antiques, glass, and jewelry. Also, many craftsmen have workshops within the Khan El-Khalili that produce a lot of the goods sold in the market. You can find a lot of amazing metal pieces including silver, gold, copper, and brass. There is also a lot of genuine leather available in various forms. There was one shop, pictured below, that sold hundreds of beautiful glass lights, which was super cool. Another popular item you can find almost anywhere is shisha water pipes, which are used for hookah.

The Experience 

The Khan El-Khalili was super lively and fun. We had such a great time exploring and browsing through the amazing shops. There were what seemed like endless blocks of outdoor markets to look through. That being said, you can plan on spending some time there. Not to mention, there were a lot of people in the streets, like I said, this is a popular place in Egypt for both locals and tourists.

The shops are also located within walking distance of an exquisite mosque, which is the biggest in Cairo. As you can see in the pictures above, the mosque is even cooler at night because it lights up. This was an excellent experience, and I would highly recommend checking this bazaar out if you are traveling through Cairo. I truly felt like I was in the movie Aladdin, which was so cool! Thanks for reading along. I hope this inspires you to travel the world. If you want to catch up on my previous travels, you can read more here

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Big Guy Big World is a travel blog, following Mark Jacoby’s journey as a big guy on a bigger journey, exploring the world during a global pandemic. Follow along as we experience some of the world’s most beautiful and exotic places.

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