Shopping in Egypt,Jordan&Israel

Old Jan 30th, 2008, 04:52 PM
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Shopping in Egypt,Jordan&Israel

I'm planning a wonderful and exciting journey to the Middle East for this May,and would love to hear from you.What have you brought back from these countries and loved?What do you wish you had bought or bought more of?Feel free to list your favorite stores,markets,too!Thanks in advance
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Old Jan 31st, 2008, 06:58 AM
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I, too, am traveling th those three places in April. When I get back, I will post to this thread. I am told to buy Alabaster in Cairo. One lady here at the office was there and brought back some gorgeous pieces, not too expensive. She says that perfume and glass perfume bottles are nice. they will fix the perfume specially for you.
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Old Jan 31st, 2008, 08:50 AM
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can only speak for Egypt...
- alabaster is great, inexpensive, but rather heavy - so choose carefully
- glass object are wonderful - altho I prefer the Xmas ornaments to the perfume bottles
- inlaid mother of pearl - boxes, picture frames, crosses, etc
- silver - anything! the craftsmanship is great
- applique - pillows, table linens, bedspread. Watch the quality - but it can be quite fine
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Old Jan 31st, 2008, 10:08 AM
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I'll be in egypt and jordan in march. Will definately post 'my purchases' upon my return.
However, I do plan to puchase some blown glass oil warmers and candle holders in cairo. I saw some photos of lovely items available at the Khan...
Perhaps a brass coffee urn, too....
I also plan to purchase some spices.
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Old Feb 1st, 2008, 04:53 AM
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Glass "pyrex" perfume bottles and christmas ornaments are always a good buy, and make excellent gifts. You can get them (after bargaining) for about 1/2 the US price. Be sure to ask that the shop wrap each piece in a strip of foam rubber.
Wood/bone enlayed boxes are lovely, but beware that some cheap boxes use plastic "bone" instead of the real thing. Shop around until your eyes can spot quality work.
Asfar Crystal is a high-quality crystal made just outside of Cairo. They make lovely crystal pyramid sets (sold separately or as a 3 pyramid set with 3 different sizes), some with frosted designs molded in the bottom. Just be sure you get genuine Asfar and not the less expensive plastic ones. These can be found in most hotel shops and at nicer shops in the Khan al Khalili. Look for the Asfar boxes - they have good foam packing to protect items from damage.
My favorite papyrus shop is Sunnyland Papyrus at the Khan al Khalili bazaar downtown. They have excellent quality hand-painted copies of ancient art done on genuine papyrus as well as scenes of 19th century Engypt done by a variety of artists. This is a "fixed price" gallery, but the prices are very reasonable, and you certainly get what you pay for. They provide tubes so that your artwork doesn't get damaged in your luggage. I've had their papyrus pictures framed and hanging on my wall since the 1980's, and they look as good now as they day they were purchased. Even if you don't buy from them, it is worth a look. If you've been in Egypt for any length of time, you will recognize excellent copies of famous pharonic designs as well as scenes done by the 19th century painter, David Roberts.
If you are a book lover, buy at least one of the lovely hardcover books on Egypt from the Egyptian Museum shop. They have a great collection. Other shops in Cairo and Luxor will have them as well. The bookstore outside the front entrance to the Old Winter Palace in Luxor has a good variety of Egyptian tablecloths (they wash well in cold water), books, gold cartouches, etc.
Another small but excellent gold shop at the Khan al Khalili is Magdi's. It is located directly across the patio from the Oberoi Cafe (the best and cleanest cafe with a bathroom in the Khan). This tiny gold shop also has additional things in their vault. They have excellent quality, and you will see lots of awards and business cards from US military and government officials who do business there. They can custom-make cartouches for you at their workshop upstairs while you shop. Lots of US and European expats living in Cairo shop at this long-time Khan al Khalili store.
I hope this helps. These were some of my favorite items to buy and places to shop when I lived in Cairo several years ago. They were still my favorites on my last visit a couple of years ago.
Remember to bargain and have a great time in a wonderful city.
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 09:07 AM
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Thanks,Texas City-I'll print your recs and take with me!
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Old Feb 3rd, 2008, 12:52 PM
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I came across this article in the NY Times regarding a Jordanian jewelry maker, I loved her stuff.
I will definately visit her shop

http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/10/14...4foraging.html
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