Cairo Shopping

Cairo has always been a great place to shop for traditional items because of its spectacular medieval marketplace, the Khan al-Khalili, where browsing and bargaining are half the fun. There is no tried-and-true bargaining strategy; just shop around, decide how much something is worth to you, and start bargaining lower than that in order to end up at that point. In the Khan, the opening price is

never the final price.

In the last decade Cairo has embraced the shopping mall. These enclosed, air-conditioned spaces stacked with international brands have revolutionized shopping for residents. Most malls also have shops selling a range of the same kinds of souvenirs that you'd find in the Khan al-Khalili, though at higher, nonnegotiable prices.

Wealthy and upwardly mobile Cairenes not only have the wherewithal to fund their lifestyles, but they also have great taste, so you'll find a wide selection of art galleries, designer shops, and fashion boutiques to indulge your need for retail therapy.

Although most of what you see in tourist shops are reproductions of varying quality, there is a long local tradition in Egypt of connoisseurship in collectibles, which means that there is always the possibility of finding a real gem. Be prepared, however, for local tastes that favor ornate French-style furniture and antiques, not the Middle Eastern pieces you might be longing for. There are several nameless antiques shops in Downtown Cairo along Shar'a Hoda Sharaawi that are worth looking into. Lots are shown for several days in advance of a two-day auction, which usually operates on a cash-only basis. Check the Egyptian Gazette for the latest auction schedules.

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Cairo Shopping

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City Stars

  • Shopping Centers/Malls

Cairo's megamall is huge, with more than 650 stores. There are also three hotels, a variety of restaurants and cafés, and two food courts.

Fair Trade Egypt

  • Crafts

This shop sells an interesting selection of handmade items from the 2,300 artisans working in 40-odd cooperatives around Egypt. Look...

Khan al-Khalili

  • Outdoor/Flea/Green Markets

Cairo shopping starts at this great medieval souk, which is chaotic and crowded but a thoroughly authentic Cairo experience. Although...

L'Orientaliste Books

  • Books/Stationery

Bibliophile Hassan Kamy stocks his shop with the city's best selection of books, antique maps, prints, and lithographs, plus wonderful...

Mashrabia Gallery

  • Art Galleries

This gallery is on the tree-lined Shar'a Champollion (the street named after the Frenchman who broke the hieroglyphic code), and it's...

Mit Rehan

  • Household Items/Furniture

This is the best source for modern Egyptian furniture—which means Islamic or pharaonic motifs applied to traditional pieces, like mashrabiyya...

Nile City Towers Mall

  • Shopping Centers/Malls

Underpinning two vast office blocks (plus the Fairmont Nile City hotel), this mall caters to upwardly mobile executives and office workers.


  • Jewelry/Accessories

Vaguely Bedouin-style jewelry, clothing, home goods, and a handful of souvenir-type items are among the goods here. You'll also find...

The First Mall Cairo

  • Shopping Centers/Malls

This series of 200-odd upscale boutiques sell jewelry, designer clothing, and elegant housewares in galleries around an open atrium.

Virgin Megastore

  • Books/Stationery

This vast emporium offers a good choice of English-language reading from magazines to hardcover books, as well as music, films, and games.


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