Activity Level: Easiest
Egypt's best shopping experience- haggling is key! Khan el-Khalili, once known as the Turkish bazaar during the Ottoman period, was built in 1382 by the Emir Djaharks el-Khalili in the heart of the Fatimid City. Together with the al-Muski market to the west, they comprise one of Cairo's most important shopping areas.On a larger scale, they represent the market tradition which established Cairo as a major center of trade; in fact, at the Khan one will still find foreign merchants. Some speculate that this very market was involved in the spice monopoly controlled by the Mamluks, which encouraged the Europeans to search for new routes to the East and led Columbus, indirectly, to discover the Americas.
This market is situated at one corner of a triangle of markets that go south to Bab Zuwayla and west to Azbakiyyah. The Khan is bordered on the south by al-Azhar Street and on the west by the Muski Market. One of the original gates guards the entrance to the ancient courtyard which lies midway down 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 meeting place for local artists, and still is frequented by the Nobel Award winning Naguib Mahfouz (one of Egypt's most widely known authors). Egyptian buyers generally shop in the area north of al-Badistan and to the west, where prices may be lower. Better deals for gold and silver are to be found west of the Khan along the "street of the goldsellers," and further on one will find the Brass and Coppersmith Markets.
Courtesy of Egypt Tourism Board