Part of a tourist’s experience is picking up souvenirs from the country they are visiting in order to remind them of the memories shared there. Souvenirs are also brought back as gifts for loved ones to make them feel like they were somewhat part of your experience. Since Egypt is home to many ancient monuments and cultural treasures, souvenirs that showcase the country’s individuality are everywhere. Here is a list of the 10 traditional souvenirs to buy in Egypt.
What to Buy in Egypt?
Since they are a defining symbol of the country, mini pyramids are one of the most popular souvenirs to buy in Egypt. And it’s no wonder as the Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the most visited attractions on the globe and is the only surviving ancient wonder in the world. Since the two smaller pyramids, the pyramid of Khafre and the pyramid of Menkaure, are ancient attractions as well, visitors usually buy the miniature complex as a souvenir. Along with the pyramids, other miniature statues of ancient Egypt, such as the Sphinx, are a hit as well. Mini pyramid complex
Another item of ancient Egyptian origin and a heavily bought souvenir in Egypt is the papyrus scroll. Papyrus was the paper used during ancient Egyptian times and was made from the pith of the papyrus plant. Of course, the papyrus scrolls sold nowadays are replicas of the original; however, they’re pretty cool and look real as well. Papyrus scrolls differ in size and have different shapes printed on them as well, from pharaonic battle scenes to the Hieroglyphic alphabet.Pharaonic scene on papyrus scroll
Ancient Egyptians used to have amulets in the shape of dung beetles, known as scarab beetles. At that time, scarabs represented a religious significance in the ancient Egyptian religion. Today, scarabs are another souvenir that people love. You can find them in all sizes, colours and materials and some are also engraved with the Hieroglyphic alphabet. Scarab bracelets and necklaces are also very popular in Egypt and many visitors wear them as a reminder of their trip.Egyptian scarab necklaces
The cartouche is another ancient Egyptian souvenir – it is an oval with a horizontal line on one end, indicating the text enclosed.You can find them engraved on many ancient Egyptian temples. Nowadays, they are sold on different materials, such as alabaster and stones, as souvenirs for tourists. However, as the silver industry is huge in Egypt, visitors usually buy them in the form of silver necklaces. Not only do they buy them due to the unique silver in Egypt, but also because they can write their names on them in the hieroglyphic alphabet – talk about a customised ancient souvenir! To many, this is a great gift for both themselves and loved ones.Silver chain and Cartouche
The jalabeya is a cultural and traditional outfit in Egypt. It is composed of a loose fabric, similar to a dress, for men and women. Although you may not find many wearing them in the capital city of Cairo, you will find people in rural areas and in most areas outside of Cairo still wearing them. The designs and styles of the jalabeya differ in each governorate – some are colourful and others are black with colourful embroideries. Jalabeyas for men are usually basic and come in light or dark colours and since they represent Egyptian culture, you will find many stores selling them – especially bazaars.Wall of Egyptian jalabeyas
Belly dancing outfit
Considered Egyptian in origin, belly dancing is an Arabic expressive dance that comprises certain movements and specific music. Belly dancing has always been a part of black-and-white Egyptian movies and has developed over the years. Belly dancing outfits come in different styles and colours and are all designed with shiny and glittery embroideries. As visitors are mesmerised by belly dancers and their outfits, they usually buy belly dancing outfits as souvenirs; however, they are not worn as an outdoor kind of outfit.
Geometric pattern boxes
Also known as jewellery boxes, these arabesque-style boxes are very popular in Egypt and are sold in many places. They come in different shapes and sizes and are designed with Islamic geometric patterns. Many historical landmarks in Egypt feature these geometric patterns and their existence is evident in the architecture of several outdoor and indoor monuments around Egypt. Although Islamic geometric patterns date back to Egypt’s Islamic era, the existence of geometric patterns in general trace back to ancient Egyptian times.Traditional decorated souvenir boxes in a market, Cairo, Egypt
Handmade leather slippers in different vibrant colours line the shelves of many Egyptian bazaar shops. Many visitors fall head over heels for these leather slippers and their colours. Although these slippers are cool and fashionable, they are not the real souvenir. What really makes them a souvenir is the pharaonic symbol (which always appeared on deities in the Egyptian pantheon) that can be found on them. They count as a great gift because not only are they practical, but they represent the ancient side of the country as well.Leather slippers
Glass sand bottles
The use of sand as art can be found in many places around the globe. And just like these places, Egypt is also a hub for glass sand bottles and it is one of the oldest crafts found in the country. The glass is filled with the pure white sand that comes from the deserts of Egypt. Although many street vendors sell these handmade bottles, they are very popular in cities like Dahab, Luxor and Aswan. The artist fills the glass bottle with white sand as well as coloured sand for decoration.Glass sand bottles
Egypt is home to diverse cultures within one big Egyptian culture. Therefore, diverse clothing is found around different areas of Egypt. These items of clothing include hats, some of which are still worn nowadays and others that aren’t. A type of hat that many visitors buy as a souvenir is a Nubian hat. These hats are found in Nubia near the city of Aswan and are still worn by Nubian men. They can also be found in Cairo’s bazaars such as the Khan el-Khalili bazaar. Another hat that is also bought as a souvenir but is not worn any more is the tarbush, also known as the fez. The tarbush, a Turkish inspiration, was worn by Egyptians, which included the Egyptian army.Nubian hats
Shopping In Egypt: 13 Places To Shop In The Country
Shopping is something that excites everyone and something that is loved by almost everyone. Barring a few rare people, everyone loves shopping and is always on the lookout for good places to shop at. This excitement of shopping scales up to new levels when you are visiting a new city or even country. In the case of Egypt, a country having immense historical and cultural importance, you can hardly keep yourself off the markets and places for shopping in Egypt that offers a variety of items.
We’ve shortlisted the most popular places in Egypt where one should shop so as to bag some of the most amazing items of the country at very reasonable prices. Hence, here are the best 13 places to go shopping in Egypt:
Khan Al Khalili
Souk Al Fustat
Souq El Ataba
Sharia El Souk
Cairo Festival City Mall
Khan El Khalili
This market in the interiors of the old Cairo city is centuries old and is a must-visit for all those who have a bug for shopping. Even if you’re not someone who is into shopping, you can just roam around this market to experience the hustle and bustle of this spectacular Arab city. Keep your pockets filled with cash and learn well to haggle beforehand, as that skill comes very handy at this place. Probably the best place in the entire city to buy novelty T-shirts, little bottles of colored sand having pictures of camels, as well as, the amazing souvenirs with your name printed in hieroglyphics, an ancient Egyptian writing.
Address: Al-Azhar Street, Cairo 11511, Egypt
2. Souk Al Fustat
Situated just outside the northern entrance to Coptic Cairo, the Souk al Fustat is a fascinating little shopping mall that aims at the clear-sighted foreign buyers. Do not miss checking out the beautiful handmade copies of Fatimid as well as Mamluke lamps that are sold here by Hassan and Mohamed. Although the prices here are fixed and no amount of bargaining skills can help you, the items available here are also worth your money. You’ll find everything from wonderful bedouin work on pillowcases, colorful metal cups, woodwork, paintings, traditional, bowls, trays, ceramic products, etc. This adds this market to the list of mystery shopping in Egypt as one gets extremely confused about where to spend their bucks. It is a great place to visit, also because you can dive deep into the interiors of the old Cairo as also pay a visit to the hanging church situated next to the souk.
Address: Corner el Emam Street and Hassan al Anwar Street | Old Cairo, Cairo 11511, Egypt
3. Aswan Souk
This beautiful outdoor market is one of the important places of Aswan, the southernmost city of Egypt. And although the city is growing day by day, receiving more and more tourists, this Souk retains all the features and characteristics of a millennia-old crossroads between Africa and the Mediterranean world on its trading routes. One can get good quality spices for very reasonable prices here.
Address: Aswan, Egypt
4. Old Market Sharm El Sheikh
The best place in Sharm for souvenirs as well as shopping in Egypt , the market boasts of plenty of juice and fruit shops. Also, one can buy things like spices, oils, t-shirts or even small pyramids for keepsakes. Also, there is an extremely beautiful Mosque here which is a must-visit while strolling through the roads of the Old Market. The prices here can be a bit on the higher side, but they are negotiable and one can bargain here. The market also offers plenty of options to eat with many restaurants and shisha lounges.
Address: Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
5. Souk Al Gamaal (Birqash Camel Market)
Souk-al-Gamaal or the Birqash Camel Market is a fascinating market in Cairo where one can buy camels for meat, racing or for farming. One of the most horrible sights here is that of the camels who are tied to a rope to keep them from running away, while also being hit with a stick in order to herd them in a specific direction. One can take pictures of the camels here but only after you have paid up for taking your camera inside the market with you.
Address: Barqash, Imbaba, Cairo, Egypt, Cairo 11511, Egypt
6. Sharia Khayamiya
Located in the Cairo, this market is an amazing place for a stroll as it houses very unique and interesting items. The vendors here are very friendly and kind, unlike most of the vendors in Egypt who irritate you by asking you to buy something from their shop. There are many carpets and shawls on offer, as well as mini-sized tents that serve as play house for the kids here. The materials available here are used for several occasions like weddings.
Address: Islamic Cairo, Cairo 11511, Egypt
7. Khan El Khalili
Khan El Khalili is one of the most popular places for shopping in Egypt, this amazing market offers a plethora of options for its fellow visitors. One can get books and agendas in various sizes here and if one wants their name engraved on the book, even that is available as they can engrave your name on the book with gold gilding. There are also gift shops, souvenir shops as well as shops selling antiques. There are also numerous restaurants available here serving great food.
Address: Cairo, Egypt
8. Souq El Ataba
This amazing market in Cairo has a lot to offer with many options for its visitors. Various types of jewellery, accessories, clothes, antiques, handmade crafts, etc are available here so there’s at least something for everyone who visits here, making it a must-visit for everyone visiting the beautiful country of Egypt. The atmosphere here is brilliant and one can easily mix with the locals here and share your life experiences too as they are very welcoming which makes it the best place to shop in Egypt. With the prices being very reasonable, there is no need to bargain as you are already getting all the items for the least amount of money. Thus, the market boasts of being one of Egypt’s cheapest markets.
Address: Cairo, Egypt
9. Luxor Bazaar
Situated in the Luxor Center in Luxor, this beautiful market offers things like scarves, statues of deities, music CD’s, gold, silver, clothes as well as spices. The entrance to the market is marked by a structure that looks like a gate that leading to a medieval castle. All the shops here, have matching signs. Also on offer here, are leather goods, papyrus, and postcards. You need a lot of hassling skills in order to buy things at cheap prices here.
Address: Luxor Center, Luxor, Egypt
10. Tent Market
This amazing market is located in the Qasaba of Radwan Bay in Cairo, and is one of the best places to shop if you require peace and a serene atmosphere while shopping in Egypt . The vendors here do not hassle and make sure you are satisfied with anything you buy. It specializes in tents with a huge variety of Tents on offer here. One can also get designed clothes like tablecloths, cushions, etc here. Most of the items here are handmade, and the prices are extremely reasonable.
Address: Qasaba of Radwan Bay, Cairo 11511, Egypt
11. Sharia El Souk
Parallel to the beautiful Nile River, this is a very quiet and less crowded market in Egypt, which is why, it is often visited by people who love calm and quiet environments while shopping. The quietness makes the experience of shopping here very nice and one can peacefully buy things like spices, garments, etc. Although very expensive, the prices can be negotiated very easily and all one needs is to be good at bargaining. Also, there are a few restaurants and bars where you can chill after shopping.
Address: Aswan, Egypt
12. Lotus Bazaar
Another interesting market in Luxor, this fascinating place offers souvenirs, clothes, as well as various stone statues. Also what’s interesting is that unlike other markets, one can easily enjoy window shopping here as the vendors here are very kind and generous, and make sure to not irritate you with their constant offers which makes it one of the best places for shopping in Egypt. There are also different restaurants where one can take a break from shopping so as to satisfy their appetite. With all these things, it is undoubtedly, one of Egypt’s best flea markets.
Address: Khaled Ibn El Waleed Street, Nr. Savoy Street, Luxor, Egypt
13. Cairo Festival City
The perfect shopping place for all ages and sizes, this spectacular mall in the city of Cairo is one of the country’s best. One can get all the necessary household things as well as shop from some of the world’s best brands. And if you get tired or hungry while shopping, there are numerous restaurants here serving delicious food as well. With a lot of shops under one roof, this is the place you should visit whilst your visit to the beautiful country.
These places in Egypt are where most of the tourists as well as the locals love shopping as they are surely the best in the business. Hence, these places are a must-visit while shopping in Egypt if you are an ardent shopping enthusiast. Make sure you stop by at these hubs on your trip to Egypt. You’ll certainly make some pleasant memories.