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Mohandiseen, Cairo, Egypt.
Ranet Kholkhal: Handicrafts and Pottery in Mohandiseen
There's definitely more to Egypt than just Cairo. There are still lots of tribes occupying the oases and Sinai who thrive on their own culture and art. Of course, it's really cool to visit one of these places yourself and stock up your car with local pottery and lamps; but if you can’t make it out of the city, you can still get your hands on these handicrafts in Cairo.
Ranet Kholkhal is located on Mohandiseen’s fashionable Gezirat El Arab Street across from Mango. The shop feels a little out of place between all the high-end brands but it makes for nice variety. The inside of the shop is dimly lit, filled with goods and looks just like a handicrafts atelier.
Various rugs are stocked at the front of the shop. A medium sized rug costs about 175LE and a door mat will set you back 85LE. It is all supposedly handmade, which could be true but there could also just be a huge factory in 6th of October City producing all these products; you may never know. The best items on sale at the shop are probably the lamps with typical Arabic designs. A copper wall lamp will set you back about 375LE for a medium-sized one and 850LE for a large piece. The hanging lamps made of copper and glass vary from 350LE to 3800LE.
There is also loads of pottery pieces that can be purchased. The designs are all pretty much the same; in earth colours alternating with blue and pink. The pottery comes fairly cheap with small cups setting you back 6LE. The biggest mug costs 20LE and the sizes in between cost 10LE to 18LE. The most beautiful objects are the bowls. They come in a variety of different sizes, some of which feature edgy designs. The most beautiful piece we spotted cost 180LE, one of the most expensive in the entire shop. It was painted in a shiny red shimmery colour. Other simpler bowls cost about 75LE and for around 20LE extra, you can buy gold-rimmed versions.
Ranet Kholkhal is a cute shop that will have you lingering around for a while and picking everything up to check it out, while the staff is very friendly and helpful. So between shopping for shoes and dresses; take a look here to pick up some home accessories.
The common notion in the Egyptian market that the word ‘Imported’ stands for good quality has lead many business owners to neglect Egyptian-made products and even take pride in offering the costumer the imported ones. Now that almost everything we buy has been manufactured abroad, one can’t help but be impressed when finding quality products with the label ‘Made in Egypt’.
Among the local brands that are swimming against the tide, Inca & Co. offers a variety of furniture textiles and fabrics, which are designed by Egyptian artists and mostly manufactured in Egypt. Located on 26th of July Street next to Drinkies in Zamalek, the spacious shop well-organised and efficiently set-out. On the left, is a collection of fabrics is displayed on wall-mounted metal tubes, while other products, like cushions, are shelved on the other side. At the centre of the shop, a number of swatch books are displayed on a rectangular island.
One of the collections that can be found in the swatch books is ‘The Road to Marrakesh’, whose relatively light fabrics can be perfect for beach house furniture. From this collection, we liked a white fabric embroidered in black with a simple floral design (340LE per metre).
With a more complex design of flowers and birds, ‘Mexico Passion’ (460LE per metre) boasts a heavier material, durable for daily-use furniture. Not as heavy is the curtain-suitable ‘Winter Dust’ (325LE per metre), whose geometrical patterns come in various colours, including beige and light blue.
Besides fabrics, Inca & Co. has a versatile collection of products, including cushions (medium 325LE / Large 375LE), poufs (1150LE) and mattresses of different shapes and size. From the latter we liked the over-sized squared mattress (1980LE), which can comfortably take two persons, as well as a more firm mattress for a single person (890LE).
And like any Textile shop, none of the displayed items are available for instant purchasing; while the fabrics are received four days after placing the order, other products take to 10 days, which you can customise by choosing the fabric and adding tassels for an extra fee of 65LE.
In the textiles business, both durability and design are of great importance. And while Inca & Co. designs mainly cater to modern settings, the diverse collection promises good quality and taste – but at a price.