Monday, June 9, 2008

Kahn el Kahlili (Turkish Bazar) - Cairo

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A Nile cruise and seeing the great pyramids is of course a must when visiting Egypt but walking in the alleys of Kahn el Kahlili market is another must.

Khan el Kahlili market is the oldest market in Cairo before it was known as the Turkish bazaar, during the Ottoman period built in 1382 by the Emir Djaharks el-Khalili in the heart of the Fatimid City. He built a big caravanserai (or khan); a caravanserai was a sort of hotel for traders, and usually the focal point for economic activity for any surrounding area.

As you walk through the unpaved, dusty alleys of this market its like you are in a maze, too deep and adventures , the charm and architecture of the place just takes you away, Kahn el Kahlili carries the literal meaning of the word market, very colorful and many goods are on display for sale.

Just as all old tourist markets it’s a must to bargain, whether it's typically oriental souvenirs you want to carry back home as gifts, or gold and silver jewelry with an ethnic touch are all found west of the Khan, market along the "street of the gold sellers", further on one will find the Brass and Coppersmith Markets, so as long as you work on improving your bargaining skills with a moderate budget you can definitely come out with a few distinguished typically Egyptian goods.

Egypt famous for being one of the most ancient spots in the world known for the trade of spices, this fact is assured by the aroma filling the air of the Khan, it is so beautiful and strong it makes you feel like buying all kinds of spices even the ones you don’t know how or what they are used for, specially that the ones sold in Khan el Khalili are known for good quality.

Besides shopping, traditional cafés are scattered around for tourists and locals to rest enjoy an ethnic cold or hot drink, For smokers, there is the Shisha, or water pipe to give a try , people are generally friendly and very helpful in those cafes, and just in case you cannot find your way out they will have pleasure in showing you the way.

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