Khan el Khalili Bazaar is one of the most picturesque and beautiful tourist destinations in Cairo, famous for its ancient history and products from local artisans that can be purchased here.
No visit to Cairo is complete without a tour to Khan El Khalili bazaar. This culture, colorful, noisy, crowded, and exciting market offers all sorts of items and glittering trinkets.
You’ll find the traditional Egyptian items, but don’t get distracted, focus on more refined shopping than just items you can find elsewhere. For example, you can buy all kinds of herbs at the adjacent spice market.
The perfume market is overflowing with endless mixtures of essences and essential oils. As you head towards the central part, you’ll find the widest variety of products and stalls ranging from gold sellers, textile merchants to carpet merchants, and everything you could want.
Get up to 10%Off when booking one of our Egypt Vacation Packages check then now!
Khan El Khalili Bazaar in Cairo
Khan El Khalili is the oldest and largest bazaar on the territory of modern Africa, the first information about which dates back to the early Middle Ages. At the moment, the area occupied by the shopping facility has already exceeded 5 thousand square meters. m.
For centuries, Khan El Khalili bazaar in Old Cairo has been the city’s most visited place, where locals socialize, share the latest news, and shop. Over the centuries, little has changed – the market is still very popular, and over 3,000 people come here every day. The attraction is very popular among tourists – foreigners appreciate this place for its flavor and unique atmosphere.
Don’t be afraid to get lost or get confused among the myriad of products, Khan Al-Khalili’s bazaar is a real neighborhood, where everyone knows each other, people are welcoming and supportive of each other: if you don’t find what you are looking for, don’t hesitate to ask the traders themselves, because it is very likely that they know where you can find it.
Even if you are not in the mood for shopping, we suggest you take a walk in the winding alleys of this labyrinthine neighborhood, surely you will find something that will attract your attention, we have no doubt about it and even if you don’t find anything at all, it is still worth to wander around the area to see the ancient buildings, mosques, palaces, museums, restaurants, and traditional cafes in the area.
Above all, you will also be able to feast your eyes on the bright colors that characterize this place, as well as breathe an air of sincere cheerfulness.
Khan el Khalili will be interesting not only for shopping lovers but also for those tourists who want to look at the ancient architecture for which this part of Cairo is famous.
How Old Is Khan El Khalili? When was Khan El Khalili built?
This market dates back to the 14th century, to be exact to the time when Amir Karkas el-Khalili had the commercial complex built near the site of Za’afran’s tomb, the traditional burial place of the Fatimid rulers in Egypt.
This structure was part of a reconstruction project undertaken by Sultan Barquq (1382-1399) to help the city recover from the devastation caused by the Black Death during the 13th and 14th centuries.
Today the market has been significantly modernized, but there are still some parts that show the original architectural style of the Mamluk era, characterized by arched portals and vaulted ceilings.
Where is it and how to get there?
The market is located in the Old City of Cairo, near the Al-Hussein Mosque. A large number of shopping centers and cafes are located nearby.
The most convenient way to get to the bazaar is by taxi, and cheaper – by metro. Get to Bab El Shaariya Station (green line) and walk south for 15 minutes.
Location: El-Gamaleya, El-Qahira, Egypt.
Opening hours: “from sunrise to sunset”. There is no exact timetable for the bazaar, and many shops open and close at their own discretion – for example, some sellers sit until 22.00-23.00, while others leave at 19.00. Many take a weekend on Friday and Sunday. It all depends on the weather and the number of tourists.
What can I buy from Khan El Khalili?
A huge number of things are sold on the territory of the market. There are both ordinary cheap souvenirs and unusual products from local craftsmen.
Massive rings with emerald and pearls, ruby necklaces, bracelets with onyx and hematite, earrings with sapphires and cubic zirconia – all these products can be found on Khan el-Khalili in Cairo. They are made by local craftsmen, so all jewelry has oriental motives.
Keep in mind that jewelry with precious stones is expensive, and be careful not to confuse them with cheap Chinese fakes, of which there are a lot.
In any oriental bazaar, you can find long rows of sellers who sell aromatic and bright spices brought from different countries of the East. There is a wide choice – on Khan el Khalil you can buy both the well-known black pepper, cinnamon sticks, clove inflorescences, ginger, and seeds of calamus, amaranth, garcinia, and hyssop, unusual for a European.
Prices for spices are very affordable, and buying a similar product in a store will not work out cheaper.
Perhaps this is the most atmospheric part of the market, where you can find a lot of interesting gizmos. For example, ancient Aladdin lamps (most date back to the 19th century), products of Egyptian weavers, metal figurines, painted utensils, and much more.
Before going to the bazaar, it is advisable to study the features of local antique souvenirs so as not to buy a fake for a lot of money.
All eastern countries have their own unique carpet weaving traditions. Egyptian are characterized by warm colors and a large number of geometric shapes, especially squares. Unlike Iranian or Azerbaijani, there are not too many elements here, due to which Egyptian carpets will fit well into any modern interior.
Sandals, bags, jackets, belts, and jackets are the hottest leather goods to be found in Khan Khalili. They are made by local craftsmen right at the bazaar, therefore, if necessary, you can order an exclusive accessory.
Hookahs were invented in India, but now they are incredibly popular in Egypt. In Khan El Khalili bazaar, you will find many shops selling shisha in different shapes, colors, and sizes. Prices vary greatly – you can buy both an inexpensive Chinese version and a beautiful piece inlaid with precious stones from local craftsmen.
If you want to bring home an inexpensive but beautiful and practical souvenir from Egypt, you should pay attention to the multi-colored glass lamps. They look not only colorful but also decorate any interior.
The Khan Khalili bazaar also sells blown glass figurines, various patterned shades, and paintings with stained glass paintings.
Cairo ceramics are world-renowned for their quality and interesting designs. On the bazaar, you should pay attention to plates (they are characterized by geometric patterns), tea sets, and vases.
On the territory of the market, there are a couple of small shops selling furniture and decorative items for the home (paintings, bedspreads, curtains, bedside lamps). The quality is high and the prices are rather big. Something big is hardly worth buying here, but buying a small table or a beautiful painting from a local artist is worth it.
Book one of our Classic Egypt Tours to discover this attraction.
Things to do in Khan El Khalili Bazaar
The market will give you the opportunity to visit one of the luxurious palaces of emirs and wealthy merchants, wander through the busy and winding streets, stroll in front of shops with jewelry, products made of stone, copper, glass, and leather.
You can sit and enjoy the popular Egyptian atmosphere at Cafe El-Fishawy the oldest cafe in Cairo, decorated with huge mirrors and antique furniture. Even the famous Nobel Prize winner Naguib Mahfouz used to frequent this place.
Due to the author’s fame and habit of frequenting the area, an exclusive and upscale restaurant inside the market bears his name. Khan Al Khalili is located next to Hussein Square, the square facing the symmetrical mosque that also houses many shops and restaurants.
You can also walk around Al-Muizz Street, which is connected to Khan Al-Khalili, which contains one of the most amazing and beautiful mosques and historical Islamic monuments that will dazzle you with the beauty and grandeur of its architecture.
Khan el Khalili bazaar is one of the most important and famous tourist places in the Middle East, especially in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. You should visit it even once to enjoy the Egyptian folk atmosphere. Book your vacation to Egypt now and choose one of our best Egypt Tours with a discount of up to 10%.