New Trinkets in Old Spaces

Anna Madoeuf and Marika Snider

in The Bazaar in the Islamic City

Published by American University in Cairo Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9789774165290
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781617971334 | DOI:
New Trinkets in Old Spaces

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The Khan al-Khalili is located in the heart of the historic city of Cairo. Though it changed extensively in the 19th and 20th centuries, it is considered the oldest market in Cairo and a symbolic place that widely became known through the eponymous novel by Mahfouz. Despite its reputation as merely a collection of shops selling trinkets to tourists, this chapter demonstrates that it also exists as a vibrant marketplace for the residents of Cairo. A tour of the market, presented as an archetype of an oriental market, is a main attraction for tourists. Composed of a thousand shops facing the street mostly dedicated to sales, the Khan is a dense commercial area where goldsmiths and jewelers dominate. Activities that were formerly present are today increasing, as are new bazaars. At the crossroads of districts specializing in various types of production and sales, the Khan is also a showcase of the trends and evolution of the old districts of Cairo, of competition and the dynamics of economic activities, and their numerous translations in the metamorphosis of the urban landscape.

Keywords: Cairo; Khan al-Khalili; Historic City; Tourism; Commerce; Oriental Suq

Chapter.  8841 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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