Also spelled Jan el-Jalili, it is the oldest bazaar in Cairo and the world, and without a doubt the most famous. This is where any visitor to the city will learn the art of haggling. It is not the only one that exists in the Egyptian capital, but it is undoubtedly the best-known bazaar and the one that attracts the most visits.
We also give you some tips when haggling so you can get the products you want at the best prices.
And remember, if you don’t haggle, Egyptian vendors may be offended.
What is the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar like?
The Khan el-Khalili Bazaar located in the very center of the city is full of shops located in a labyrinthine system of alleys where getting lost is very easy, but the more you get lost the more you will enjoy it.
In addition, there are not only shops at street level, you will also find them inside the buildings around a central patio and on different levels.
Here you can buy practically everything, from clothes to jewelry, through ceramic figures, spices such as saffron and the famous papyrus.
In this way, inside a building, there is the famous Jordi store, well known among the Spanish and in which it is not necessary to haggle, since it has a fixed price.
For that reason, Jordi, an Egyptian who lived for years in Barcelona, is very hated among his fellow bazaars, largely because he has bought the children and even the police to take tourists who see Spanish to his store. If you want to go there, someone will surely offer it to you.
The art of haggling. Tips for haggling
With the exception of Jordi’s store, haggling is mandatory here, and not only to get cheaper items, but also because the Egyptians consider it contemptuous if you don’t haggle. They take it as a game and keep in mind that they will never lose because they would never sell something at a price where they lose money. Some will even give you the opportunity to haggle in euros or dollars.
The first thing to know is that even if you see them very angry because they say that you have offered them a very low price, you should not pay attention, it is part of their strategy. And the second thing is that you must be confident in the negotiation, forceful and of course not be afraid.
The method of haggling is as follows: let them start by saying the price and you offer a tenth. They, after a bit of drama, will lower the price and it is that moment in which you raise the price a little compared to the first.
The negotiation will end when you reach an agreement. Even after the agreement they will be furious making you believe that you have won but as soon as they receive the money their face changes and they will not hesitate to ask you to take a picture with them. Actually, the furious one should be you.
The Cafe of Mirrors and the Fatimid Quarter
In the same bazaar is the Café de los Espejos, which is actually called Cafe Fishawi but takes its name from the number of mirrors inside.
It is worth going through the alley that leads to it and sit down to taste a good Arabic tea, a Turkish coffee or smoke a sisha.
It must be said that this cafe is open 24 hours a day. Very close to the Khan el-Khalil Bazaar is the Fatimid neighborhood and its mosques. It is worth staying until nightfall to see them illuminated.