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Photographer's Note

The Khan El-Khalili bazaar in Cairo, or simply the ‘Khan’ to locals, traces its origins back to 1382, when it began life as a caravanserai. A caravanserai was essentially an inn where travelling merchants would stop with their camel trains (caravans). The caravanserai provided accommodation for the merchants, stabling for the camels and safe storage for their merchandise. Because of its centrality, it quickly became a major trading centre, which it remains to this day, more than 600 years later.

Most tourist groups will have the Khan El Khalili on their itinerary as one of their destinations. To appreciate the Khan though, people need to understand that this is not just another eastern souk. The Khan is conceivably the oldest and most historic market in the world.

No visit to the Khan is complete without having a tea at the famous El Fishawy Café. The El Fishawy is frequented by artists, writers and poets (and by certain intrepid photographers). One of its most famous and regular patrons was Naguib Mahfouz, Egypt’s Nobel Prize author.

This image shows one of the many bustling and crowded coffee shops of the Khan. The man in the right foreground is an artist, drawing a sketch of a girl. His progress is however being carefully watched by the coffee shop waiter and a patron of the shop next door. Not many artists would be prepared to work under such intense scrutiny, but hey, it’s Cairo and it’s a living!

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Additional Photos by JP Grobbelaar (Fly) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 66 W: 1 N: 70] (366)
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