"500 Egyptian Pounds" - "No!..... 400" - "No!..... "300" and not a pound less" - " 200 and I'll take it"-" OK!"- Khan el Khalili Souk is perhaps the most touristic place in Cairo, full of souvenirs from Egypt, it’s a real merchant's theater.
Khan is another word for caravanserai (caravansary) or wikala. The word means a roadside inn where travelers (caravaners) could rest and recover from the day's journey. Caravanserais supported the flow of commerce, information and people across the network of trade routes covering Asia, North Africa and Southeast Europe, most notably the Silk Road.
The name of today's Khan el Khalili market comes from the first caravanserai erected on this site by Amir Jarkas al-Khalil at the end of the 14th century. The inn was frequented by Armenians, Persians, Jews and Syrians, who imported and traded oriental goods in the area. Today there is very little left of the exotic atmosphere of this place.
In a small space, the Egyptians try to sell all kinds of souvenirs. To avoid crowds and standard goods, it is worth turning into side streets and visiting one of the less frequently visited workshops. We can find original souvenirs in glass shops. They include hand-made colorful glasses, jugs and bowls with subtle shapes.
Glass ornaments are equally nice; blown bubbles, flowers and beads. A good idea for a gift from Egypt would also be lamps of various sizes and shapes made from hand-modeled metal, in which openwork patterns are forged. In addition, there are plenty of items found throughout Egypt, such as alabaster vessels, stone figures of gods, colorful scarves or hand-painted water pipes.
When shopping, you should remember a very important thing - bargaining! It is a peculiar ritual without which many sellers may feel offended. It is also beneficial for the buyer as prices are highly inflated (they need to be cut by at least half). For example, a hand-embroidered shawl should cost no more than 300 LE, although the starting price could be 1000 LE. Hand-made blown blue glass glasses priced by the seller at LE 60 apiece should cost a third of this total. The seller will shake his head, wave his arms, scream about his losses and raise the price. The buyer will then complain that it is too expensive, that it is cheaper at the "friend's", but he prefers it here, because the goods are nicer, that it is his last money and he will not pay more.
Finally, after drinking mint tea (an integral part of the bartering process), a half-hour conversation and agreeing a new price, both parties will come to an agreement. When a satisfied buyer moves away, he will say to come back for more.