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When in Rome, do as the Romans and when in Egypt? If it's shopping, there's only one place to go for shopping 'under one roof'. The Khan el-Khalili in Cairo. Of course, if looking for alabaster, Luxor's the place to visit. If you want to experience the full onslaught of Egyptian shopping, it must be at The Khan.
As in most bazaars, or souks as they're also called in Egypt, you must put your bargaining skills to the test. If you do prefer to shop in the stores, some may impose fixed prices. The selection at The Khan is endless.
Tee-shirts made of Egyptian cotton can be found at affordable prices almost everywhere. They make great souvenirs, easy to pack and are light to carry. Egyptian cotton is well known for being soft and longer lasting. Browse for towels, bed sheets, shower robes or just cotton cloths to turn into your fancy. The 3 main districts which specialize in Egyptian cotton are Wekalet El Balah, Al Azhar Street and El Sadd Street with thousands more around the country.
The Khan provides a huge variety from spices to jewellery. One of my favorites are the famous glass perfume bottles. You can find bottles of almost every shape, size and color. Visit the glass factories in Shobra el-Khema for a feel of how these bottles are made. These bottles may look fragile but those made of genuine Pyrex are generally quite durable.
When in Egypt, how can we forget papyrus? Papyrus artwork comes in all forms and sizes. At the Khan, you will have a hard time deciding on these beautiful creations. Don't forget, the artist always signs on hand-painted papyrus. Visit the street outside the Egyptian Antiquities Museum as you may find them costing less.
You may not find a wider range of Water pipes elsewhere. Water pipes you say? They are hookahs or glass water pipes used for smoking. Trust me you may have a problem with the large selection. When packing, don't forget the bubble wraps which are best to keep your purchase in one piece.
More often than not, shopping is gut-feel. You may bargain over an item at The Khan and end up with an inferior product than one bought at a fixed-price outlet. This is always a risk we take at bazaars but hey, no one says you may not end up with a star-quality buy.