One of the world''s most historic cities and highly popular with
tourists, shopping in Cairo is fun and distinctive with its
markets, stalls, souvenirs and haggling. Many visitors to this
vibrant city will have a wonderful time just wandering through the
souks (markets) taking in the sights, sounds and smells.
Just about everything and anything can be bought at the largest
market of Khan al-Khalili in Islamic Cairo. Most visitors dare not
venture into the interior as touts can pressurise shoppers and
shopkeepers can be pushy. Bartering is an essential skill when in
Cairo and a good rule of thumb is to halve the first asking price
and start haggling from there.
Popular souvenirs include painted papyrus scrolls embellished
with hieroglyphics, copper and bronze items, jewellery, carpets and
leather goods from bags and belts to full-length jackets, which can
be found away from the main tourist drags. The quality is normally
excellent. The Wekalet al-Balah is a must for lovers of beautiful
fabrics and Egyptian cotton.
Most shops are open depending on the season and shops in tourist
areas generally keep longer hours. The majority of stores open at
9am and close at 7pm during the winter months, while during the
summer stores open later but close for an extended lunch hour
during the day. Opening hours during summer are usually 9am - 1pm
and 4pm to 9pm. During Ramadan opening times can be disrupted.
Visitors are only able to claim tax refunds on purchases of more
than US$1,000, which are shipped out of Egypt within three months.
Travellers who wish to reclaim tax have to produce their passport
at the point of purchase and request a governmental refund
application form, which must be presented to the appropriate
customs official at the departure point.P>