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Khan el-Khalili - Historic Cairo

Kairo, Egypt
21.10.2023

Located in the heart of Cairo, Egypt, Chan el-Chalili is one of the oldest and most vibrant marketplaces in the world. This bustling bazaar dates back to the 14th century, when it was built as a hub for trading spices, textiles, and other goods between Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Today, Chan el-Chalili is a popular tourist destination, drawing visitors from all over the globe. As you enter the market, you will be greeted by a maze of narrow alleys and colorful stalls, each offering a unique blend of traditional and modern items. From handcrafted jewelry and colorful scarves to aromatic spices and intricate pottery, this market has something for everyone.

One of the most unique features of Chan el-Chalili is its vibrant atmosphere. The sound of merchants calling out their prices, the smell of freshly brewed coffee, and the sight of locals bargaining for the best deals create a sensory experience that is unmatched. Whether you are looking to shop or simply soak in the local culture, this market is a must-visit destination.

In addition to its bustling market, Chan el-Chalili also has a rich history and cultural significance. It is home to several historic mosques and monuments, including the famous Al-Hussein Mosque and the Mosque of Sayyidna al-Hussein. These architectural wonders offer a glimpse into the Islamic heritage of Cairo and are a must-see for history enthusiasts.

For those looking to experience the local cuisine, Chan el-Chalili has a variety of food stalls and restaurants offering traditional Egyptian dishes. From savory kebabs to sweet pastries, visitors can indulge in the delicious flavors of Egypt while taking a break from their shopping.

Overall, Chan el-Chalili is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Cairo. With its vibrant atmosphere, rich history, and diverse offerings, this market is a true representation of the vibrant and dynamic culture of Egypt. So, make sure to add Chan el-Chalili to your itinerary for an unforgettable experience in Cairo.


Tucked away amid the modern urban area of Cairo lies one of the world's oldest Islamic cities, with its famous mosques, madrasas, hammams and fountains. Founded in the 10th century, it became the new centre of the Islamic world, reaching its golden age in the 14th century.

Khan el-Khalili (Arabic: خان الخليلي) is a famous bazaar and souq (or souk) in the historic center of Cairo, Egypt. Established as a center of trade in the Mamluk era and named for one of its several historic caravanserais, the bazaar district has since become one of Cairo's main attractions for tourists and Egyptians alike. It is also home to many Egyptian artisans and workshops involved in the production of traditional crafts and souvenirs. The name Khan el-Khalili historically referred to a single building in the area; today it refers to the entire shopping district.

Islamic Cairo (Arabic: قاهرة المعز, romanized: Qāhira al-Muʿizz, lit. 'Al-Mu'izz's Cairo'), or Medieval Cairo, officially Historic Cairo (القاهرة التاريخية al-Qāhira tārīkhiyya), refers mostly to the areas of Cairo, Egypt, that were built from the Muslim conquest in 641 CE until the city's modern expansion in the 19th century during Khedive Ismail's rule, namely: the central parts within the old walled city, the historic cemeteries, the area around the Citadel of Cairo, parts of Bulaq, and Old Cairo (Arabic: مصر القديمة, lit. 'Misr al-Qadima') which dates back to Roman times and includes major Coptic Christian monuments.

The name "Islamic" Cairo refers not to a greater prominence of Muslims in the area but rather to the city's rich history and heritage since its foundation in the early period of Islam, while distinguishing it from with the nearby Ancient Egyptian sites of Giza and Memphis. This area holds one of the largest and densest concentrations of historic architecture in the Islamic world.: 7  It is characterized by hundreds of mosques, tombs, madrasas, mansions, caravanserais, and fortifications dating from throughout the Islamic era of Egypt.

In 1979, UNESCO proclaimed Historic Cairo a World Cultural Heritage site, as "one of the world's oldest Islamic cities, with its famous mosques, madrasas, hammams and fountains" and "the new centre of the Islamic world, reaching its golden age in the 14th century."

wikipedia.org