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Khan al-Khalili, Cairo
Fast Facts

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ADDRESS
near Hussein Square
Cairo, Egypt
ACTIVITIES
Market / Fair
 
 
More about Cairo
 
 

Al Azhar Mosque, Cairo

 

Photo by Alfredo De Simone

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Khan al-Khalili with its narrow streets and numerous stalls is a great place in Cairo to shop. Touts, tat and tour buses notwithstanding! Built by Emir Djaharks el-Khalili in 1382, the Khan, as Cairo's main market or grand bazaar is commonly referred, was once an important center of trade. Six hundred years on, both Cairene and foreign merchants hawk their wares here. Search for Bedouin treasures and funky souvenirs. Introduce the kids to the art of bargaining. And whether you stroll the Khan in the afternoon or evening take note of the quarter's many minarets and discover the meaning behind the name Islamic Cairo.
Getting There
 
Khan al-Khalili is located in Islamic Cairo, the heart of medieval Cairo. The quickest way to reach the Khan from downtown is by a taxi. Most drivers will leave you in al-Hussein the midan or square that bears the name of a neighboring mosque. The nearest metro stop is Attaba.
Getting Around
 
The only way to explore Khan al-Khalili is to get out and walk. Tour one or two streets selling specialized goods such as gold and brass and discover how commerce was conducted prior to the advent of department stores.
Hours & Times
 
Most shops open before 9:00 and close after 21:00. Some stalls are closed on Friday and most are closed on Sunday.
Things to Keep in Mind
 
Restaurants in Khan al-Khalili cater to the tourist crowd and offer everything from Egyptian pancakes to roast meats.
 
Traveler Reviews

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A tourist trap? Only if you let it be

Submitted on 30 January 2008 by snowedunder from Monza, Italy
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While the thought of strolling medieval Cairo with the tour bus crowd is likely to make more than one independent traveler cringe, writing off Khan al-Khalili for a few touts and a handful of shops selling cheesy souvenirs is to ignore 600 years of history and forego one of the activities kids enjoy most: shopping. Wander a block or two from Midan Al-Hussein and the throngs of foreigners give way to Cairenes. What better place to introduce the kids to the art of bargaining and shop for coveted souvenirs than an age-old oriental bazaar?
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