Cairo’s most famous market, also known as “souk,” has been around since the 1500s. It’s popular with tourist and Egyptian shoppers alike; though like many “tourist” places in Egypt it was pretty lacking in tourists who looked like me. Come to Egypt, one and all!
Khan (the k is not pronounced) means ruler or king. Khalili refers to Prince Jaharkas Al-Khalili.
Khan el Khalili was on my list of things to see right away. I was interested in looking at the market’s famous gold and silver jewelry. I also wanted to find a Turkish coffee pot. I did a lot of window shopping and didn’t end up buying anything, but I may have to think about making room in my suitcases for some of the unique copper lanterns. The merchants weren’t pushy and let me browse in peace for the most part!
The market is situated next to a large mosque called Al-Hussein. Next to the mosque is a row of historic coffee and tea shops, where I stopped for some mint tea and people watching. Smoking shisha/hookah (water pipes with different flavors of tobacco) is a common pastime here also. It was a busy Saturday and lots of local tourists and families were milling around, making a visit to the mosque and souk.
For my next visit, I would like to come back in the evening. Cairo seems to come alive at night.