Egypt is a magical land. Not only is it the birthplace of human civilization but it is a treasure trove of timeless art, fascinating history, and an unrivaled culture. When I think of Egypt, one of the things that come to mind is the treasure. I imagine tombs and temples filled with gold and jewels, and thieves breaking in to reap the rewards.However, most of those items have been lost or are showcased in some world famous museum. So if you find yourself in Egypt, Cairo specifically, and you want to go treasure hunting, where do you go? You could go to Khan el Khalili, an ancient market in the heart of the city. There you will find art and trinkets, but as a foreigner, you will probably pay too much and could end up getting some fake statue of an Egyptian cat. That’s tacky.
No. When you’re in Cairo, you need to go to Zamalek and go treasure hunting in one of the dozens of antique and silver shops. So that’s just what I did. I’ve spent hours walking through rows of gold, silver, paintings, and sculptures. There are many here in Zamalek, but three have really stolen my heart.
The first is a tiny silver shop situated on a quiet corner near the Lebanese Embassy. It’s called El Malek for Silver, 19. El Mansour Mahamed St. I have spent so much time there that the shop owner Ibrahim calls me a friend and always peaks his head out to say hello when he sees me passing by. El Malek has all the silver you could want. There are plates, frames, earrings, necklaces, and rings galore. Egypt is known for their silver; it is abundant and inexpensive. If you find yourself in need of some classy jewelry, El Malek is the place to go.
The next shop that I’ve taken a liking to is Gallery Famous, at 173 26th of July Street. It’s a small, two-level boutique with tiny trinkets that might not really be any use to you but nonetheless would look great on your bookshelf or coffee table. Even the outside display on the street is impossible to ignore because of the shiny gold objects that seem to invite you into the shop. The owner, George Adly, is a very sweet man who is always good for a small chat 🙂
The last place on my list is a great shop across from the Sufi bookstore off Brazil Street. Loft Gallery, located at 12 Al Qahera, is a maze of local art, furniture, books and one of a kind sculptures. This is a good place to bargain too. They start off at a high price but are usually fine to work their way down. The lighting in here is relaxing and warm. The first time I visited, an employee was playing beautiful classical music on their piano for a good thirty minutes and you know I stayed the whole time.
Although none of these places are as impressive as I imagine the pharaohs’ tombs were, they are still great places to pass time and to spend a little extra cash on one of a kind art. Definitely a to-do for your next trip to Cairo.