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Friday, 5 February 2010

Souk El Fustat - Where to go to get quality Egyptian gifts

If you want to get some good quality gifts here in Cairo, then I can highly recommend Souk El Fustat (Souq El-Fustat) which I visited for the first time last Saturday.

Within around 10 minutes walk of Coptic Cairo (Mar Girgiz metro), it has space for about 40-50 small shops selling handicrafts, toiletries, lamps, glassware etc.. There is also a cafe there - we didn't try it this time round, maybe next time!

Another miracle is that there is almost no 'tourist hassle' and shopping here is a very calm experience.  (The quid pro quo is that there is little room for bargaining though a couple of my companions did manage to squeeze a little with the help of an Egyptian friend!)

To get there, come out of Mar Girgiz metro station (on the Coptic Museum) side.  Turn left and keep walking in a straight line! It's on the right hand side of the road, before the recently refurbished Amr Ibn El-A’as mosque.

One of the shops there provides items made by the Zabbuleen (Garbage Collectors) women (read more about the Hay El Zabbuleen in the second half of my post here: St Simon Tanner.  I checked with the shop keeper and he told me that the paper goods are made from recycled paper, but that the cloth goods are made from fabric offcuts from the various factories in Cairo.

Here is a  good article on the aims behind the Souk El Fustat.

Link to my google map showing the walking route (give it time to load! There will be a thick blue line on it when it's finished!) -  click HERE and get it directly via Google Maps so you can play with it!

View Souq El Fustat and Coptic Cairo in a larger map


Candi said...

Cool, I really can leave a comment now! Just wanted to say that I would love to think I would need this information one day, but, in the meantime, it's great to read about what is literally another world to me. Thanks!

C said...

Another place to try out in Cairo! That's what is so great about being able to go several times . . . there is always something else to see! Fie on my dance friends that come once and say "I've done the touristy stuff, so now I only want to go for dancing stuff!" . . . and fie on those who only come for dance, lol!!! but then again, i've always been interested in the cultural aspects of any place I travel to beyond dance opportunites ;) . . . the dance is fun too though, hehe!!!

C said...

A quick followup . . . the items that I bought at the Souk el Fustat have received nice compliments. I am particularly enjoying the "glass" case that I bought . . . yes, pretty fabric decorated with beads . . . I should have bought a few more of those ;)

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