A few weeks ago I took a trip to Tent Maker’s Alley with a friend. Tent Maker’s Alley is across the street from Khan el Khalili and was fascinating to explore. From the main road we first went down the fabric alley which was so narrow it was hard to pass people. We had to turn sideways to slide past!
Our next stop was down the main alley past lots of local shopping, including one of the last authentic fez makers in Egypt. We stopped at a street vendor and Gasp! bought food. It was amazing and delicious and totally worth it. We picked a guy who had a steady line of customers and whose food looked hot and fresh. We got falafel inside baladi (Egyptian) bread (kinda like a pita) with a sauce, friend potato patties, tomatoes and onions. We got FOUR sandwiches for a total of 20le. That’s about a $1. YUM!!
After going through Bab Zuwayla (a massive door or gate), we entered Sharia Khayyameya, or Tent Maker’s Alley. This was a covered, dim stretch of road with stalls carrying canvas tents, cloth decorative lanterns, fabric creations, and more. The artisans were not pushy and helped me find what I needed. Some worked on their wares while watching shoppers. I love seeing artisans at work!
Update April 2019: I have now been several more times! My favorite shop is Tarek El Safty. He is about halfway down on the left. He has a red sign with his name. My guests and I have all been very happy with our purchases and he is so friendly and nice! This is him pictured below!
Next we went down another local road that sold a lot of household items–rolling pins, appliances, metal items, wooden items, barrels, etc. We saw a man making barrels and another making the metal framing for the cloth lanterns which was fascinating. Definitely a great place for photography and shopping!
Location–Enter from Al Azhar Rd, on the Al Azhar Mosque side. If you use this location, you’ll get close to the entrance. If coming from the Islamic Museum of Art or another location, use this as the pin drop for the Tent Maker’s Alley starting spot.
It is easy to walk here from many different points! I’ve walked from the Museum of Islamic Art, the Aqsunqur Mosque (Blue Mosque) and Khan el Khalili. It’s part of Islamic Cairo and streets are narrow and hectic, but it is fun and I always feel safe.
Bathrooms–none. Best bet is crossing the street using the tunnel at Al Azhar Mosque and going to Naguib Mahfouz Restaurant in Khan el Khalili
Stroller Friendly?–no, narrow alleys, bumpy roads
Food–street food! We used a vendor located approximately here. I imagine he’s there most of the time. Or cross into Khan el Khalili for restaurants.
Parking–none and Al Azhar Rd is very busy. Taxi or car drop off is easiest. Our driver parked here but it is very tiny and you need Arabic and to either have a driver stay with the car or leave your car keys as they triple and quadruple park.
Camera fee?–none, but be respectful of whether people want their photos taken or not