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Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
Lehnert & Landrock: Shop, Gallery, Publisher, Treasure Cove in Downtown Cairo
Hidden a little too well amongst the shops on Sherif Basha St. in Downtown Cairo lies a gem of a shop; Lehnert and Landrock. Standing proud since 1936, the name of this shop comes from the founders; two friends born in Bohemia and Saxony, though their successful partnership began in Tunisia in 1904.
Rudolf Franz Lehnert and Ernst Heinrich Landrock were photographers, writers and travellers whom, after many years of travelling, wound up in Cairo where they opened the shop as a representation of all their passions - photography, art, travel books and culture.
Over the years, the shop has remained very much the same, but with the addition of extra merchandise and art, particularly handcrafts in the form of textiles which can be found on both floors.
Bags cost an average of 110LE, while simple threaded bracelets start at 10LE. There are also wall hangings portraying an extensive amount of patience and hard work on display. Ceramics are also available on the second floor in the form of cups, glasses, plates and bowls, many with an Egyptian theme or touch to them.
The books are mostly in English, though some German, French and Arabic language books can also be found on topics such as travel and culture. Prices are a little high, starting at around 100LE per book, but all are brand new, neatly bound.
Not only is this a shop where items are purchased, it is also a a gallery of sorts, containing historic artefacts from the past of these two talented gentlemen-an antique typewriter, a wood box camera and a collection of old photographs all displayed in a large glass cabinet. It's an exhibition in itself.
Colourful displays of creativity fill the shelves and almost everything inside is centred around Egyptian culture from the books on the shelves to the paintings on the walls.
The prices for many items at Lehnert and Landrock seem high yet at the same time very appropriate as you are not just paying for an item, you are buying a piece of art.
This store is definitely ideal for gifts small and large as it's just filled with a variety of knick knacks like coasters, Christmas decorations carved from wood, bookmarks, greetings cards, calendars, fridge magnets, and notebooks. Lehnert and Landrock is the kind of store you can get lost inside for quite some time.
Stationary shops are in no short supply in Egypt. The average type of stationary can be found on almost every other street corner. But once we start talking about quality, a wide selection and, sometimes, obscure little knick knacks, suddenly, there’s far fewer choices of stationeries to go to.
Possibly the most famous of all the stationary shops is Samir & Aly. Situated on Sherif St. in Downtown Cairo, this particular branch has two large spacious floors plus two separate quarters located at either side of Alwan.
With a much bigger selection than any other stationary shop, Samir & Aly look to meet all the needs from school and office supplies to an extensive art section with different types of paint, canvases, sketchbooks, paper, and even a selection of easel’s to choose from.
Sketchbooks are available in a range of sizes—A4, A3 and A5. The qualyty of the paper feels very rich. There is a whole wall dedicated to drawing pastels with one small box of 12 costing 53,55LE. A set of 18 Gouache paints costs 46LE plus the bottle of fixative to brush over your finished painting costs 14.95LE. Should you run out of one particular colour, Samir & Aly offer single 200ml tubes of acrylic paint at 23,90LE. Other sizes are available as well.
In the window there is a nice range of stylish stationary gifts including beautiful wooden pen holders for your desk; paper holders and organisers made from the same mahogany wood and even a large selection of lamps. One of the cheaper ones costs 50,89LE, whereas a more stylish and mobile lamp costs 159LE.
The prices here at Samir & Aly are a little steep, but that is reflected in the qualyty of the brands that they carry, including Faber Castell, Uni Ball, Parker Fabriano and Office.
The first branch of Samir & Aly was opened in 1969 by Samir El Maayergy and Aly Shatla, it quickly grew to four branches by the early 1980’s and thanks to their savvy business minds has became a staple of stationary shopping in Cairo.