One by one the lanterns lit up, illuminating the surrounding in thousand pieces of broken colourful lights. Disjointed yet connected with a sliver of shadow. The lights sparkled in a perfect kaleidoscopic moment creating intricate filigree on the sepia walls.
People floated past like phantoms, pausing only when something interesting caught their eyes, which happens quite frequently. Only those who guarded their shops hovered, ready to call out to tourists.
“India? Amitabh Bacchan?” they shouted at me as I casually strolled past the heavily laden shops in the unending maze.
From souvenirs to local handicrafts, from pieces of jewelry to clothing the shops are crammed with merchandise that can blow away your shopaholic mind. But hey! Why wouldn’t they? You are after all in one of the most popular souks or markets of Cairo, Khan-el-Khalili Bazaar.
Pushing forward the undercurrent of ineligible din that keeps this place alive, you will soon realise it is straight out of an Arabian Night story. Khan-el-Khalili Bazaar is crowded, colourful and loud.
The looming arched gateway radiates into multiple arterial lanes, each heavily compacted with shops of all sizes.
As you skirt in and out of the labyrinth a constant trail of strong yet sweet fragrance of the hukkas will follow you accompanied by a spicy smell of Turkish coffee from the cafes that intercept the shops. These cafes are like gathering hubs for both locals and tourists where you can easily get respite from your shopping spree. Over the animated hubbub of constant chattering of the crowd strains of soulful Arabian songs can be heard, transporting you to the land of thousand magical lamps and Ginnie.
It is astonishing to know that the building of Khan-el-Khalili was originally built to serve as a mausoleum. But then it grew up to become a vibrant trading centre which today allows you to take a sneak peek into the lifestyle of Egypt.
With all the trading activities that go on in this Bazaar, it will become clear to you why it is one of the busiest places in Cairo. It is as if the Bazaar never has a dull moment. It will offer you a piece of modern-day Egypt roughly wrapped in a quick packaging.
You will find that Khan-el-Khalili Bazaar has a charisma of its own which can take you on an exploration of a medieval shopping experience. Set far apart from today’s shopping mall, Khan-el-Khalili will present you with whatever you would like to take back home as your memory from Egypt.