High-quality Genuine Items From Zamalek-Cairo-Egypt
The geography of Cairo has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. Where both business and cultural life used to be concentrated in Downtown Cairo and it’s environs, now it is dispersed in outlying satellite cities and suburbs as people choose to escape the city. Shopping has also largely been relocated to huge malls near or within these new communities. A trip to the mall is unlikely to feature on the wishlist of any tourist visiting Cairo wanting authentic Egyptian souvenirs, gifts, or collectibles . A far more likely desire would be to rummage in speciality authentic shops. Despite Cairo’s changing geography this is still the best and most exciting possibility and can reap great rewards.
(Khan el Khalili) is the obvious place to head to for souvenirs and it remains a colourful and atmospheric part of Cairo which is a must-see for any visitor but a lot of the products are mass produced - sometimes even from China - so caveat emptor! It’s still a good source for Egyptian silver jewellery and personalised cartouches and hand blown glass, but if you want high and authentic quality more original handicrafts it’s better to look for your Egyptian gifts in independent speciality stores elsewhere.
Egypt has a long tradition of weaving, dating back to pharaonic times. Today the weaving villages of (AkhMim|أخميم) and (Nagada|نقاده ) continue to produce beautiful hand-loomed Egyptian cotton scarves, shawls and throws which can be found in Zamalek at (Nomad) and at some other stores. The eponymous shop Nagada in Dokki reworks the cotton shawls into interesting clothing and homewares.
Also with a long tradition of weaving the bedouin of the Western Desert still make beautiful wool kilim, and rugs on floor looms. The vibrant colours - predominantly red and black - and striking patterns make the bedouin kilim rug an unusual and special memento of Egypt. Nomad Gallery has the best selection and shipping can be arranged worldwide.
The bedouin of North and South Sinai are also renowned for their handicraft skills and a variety of bedouin products can be found in the stores mentioned above. The bedouin of North Sinai embroider in cross-stitch on purses, cushions and shawls using the same motifs which have adorned their dresses for centuries. The bedouin women of South Sinai use beading and embroidery to create beautiful Zamalek Top Stores purses, bags and cushions. The skills and motifs would traditionally have decorated the sugar bags which every bedouin carried but the colours and models are definitely 21st century.
A proper tour of the top independent stores specialising in high quality authentic Egyptian crafts should also yield some products from Nubia, another part of Egypt’s rich cultural tapestry. look in ( Nomad ) for really ravishing unique vintage Nubian products - henna pots, special old baskets and plates as well as some antique Nubian Silver Jewelry.
Shopping in Cairo is an exciting adventure and unique experience. The independent stores will welcome you warmly – very often with with a glass of mint tea - you’ll definitely have more fun than you would in the newly erected glittery modern malls ….