I feel badly that I haven’t blogged for such a long time but November has been one of my busiest months yet at BCCIS. We put in a lot of time and energy preparing for our B.C. Ministry of Education inspection which went off extremely well (as to be expected), then spent a week catching up on work that was put on hold during the inspection and finally went off to El Gouna to see how the new management team is making out at the El Gouna International School.
A while back our friend Lisa requested that I do a blog on the Khan el Khalili which is probably the best-known market or ‘souk’ in Cairo. This market is a maze (and I mean a maze!) of narrow streets and alleyways that attract hoards of tourists from all over the world as they try out their bartering skills against the highly skilled, persistent and seasoned Khan merchants. Good luck!
Originally (970 AD) the land on which the Khan el Khalili sits was the site of a mausoleum and palace complex of the Fatimid dynasty. By the 14th century this area became the centre for commercial activity and the Fatimid bones were disposed of in the hills to the east (where Garbage City is located). In order to keep this history lesson short, all one needs to know is that the area continued to grow as the most important trading area in Cairo and, in recent years, been transformed into an area predominantly for tourists. It is also the home of several high profile mosques.
Cynthia and I have braved the Khan twice since we have been in Egypt and found it quite exciting although we have yet to buy anything because most of the items for sale are ‘touristy’ sorts of things like mini-pyramids, stuffed camels, items of clothing that one might buy but never actually wear, exotic lights and lanterns, etc. Despite having little desire to drop any LE’s in the Khan and even though I like to stay away from crowds and closed in places, I could go back to the Khan over and over again. It is a photographers delight with so many shapes, colours and textures combined with interesting people. My photographs below describe the Khan much better than trying to write about it.