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Islamic Cairo, Cairo, Egypt.
Bazaar Al Shaaban: Colourful Mosaic Lighting in Old Cairo's El Muez Street
As a street that encompassses the beauty and authenticity of Islamic Cairo with all its architectural treasures, a walk down El Muez Street in Khan El Khalili always leaves you inspired. With hundreds of handicrafts shops and bazaars selling a variety of gifts and souvenirs in the area, it it's hard not to stop by and shop.
Our last visit to the busy and vibrant street left us particularly drawn to a small boutique in El Muez Street selling colorful and beautifully crafted mosaic lighting called Bazaar Al Shaaban.
Inside Bazaar Al Shaaban, hundreds of colorful mosaic lamps sit along the shelves, while colourful brass lamps in different designs dangle from the ceiling, and look nothing short of stunning.
Most of the lanterns exhibited in the bazaar are inspired by different cultural aesthetics; lanterns inspired by Islamic architecture - some of which are shaped to resemble the dome of the mosque - and lamps derived from the Ottoman style, made from brass and mosaic stones, as well as Indian lanterns with colorful mosaic-carved roses stand out in particular.
Among our favourite pieces, however, the oval shaped, scattered-mosaic lamps colored in blue, red, white and green; create gorgeous reflections and light patterns in the dark.
Other interesting mosaic lamps include vase-shaped lanterns, mosaic lamps which resemble an upside-down drum and square shaped lanterns. We were particularly amused to see small mosaic balls with mystical lighting which looked like a gypsy's crystal ball.
Prices of the lamps vary according to size, shape and style; small lamps sell for 70LE to 250LE and larger ones - with intricate copper and brass carvings - cost betwwen 400LE to 2500LE.
The pieces at Bazaar Al Shaaban are 100% handmade by Egyptian craftsmen, which the owners take great pride in. The lamps are perfect for adding a colorful touch to any room and also make for excellent gift ideas.
Over the last few years, a new appreciation of local craftsmanship has emerged, giving a new dimension to shopping in Cairo. Located on Zamalek’s Hassan Sabry Street, on the ground floor of Degla Center, Al Haramlek offers locally made luxury home products.
While the shop itself is relatively small, its smooth, chic atmosphere and well-arranged products set an inviting, neat vibe that welcomes customers in.
A variety of products across for the bedroom, bathroom and dining room make up the bulk of Al Haramlek’s stock, but with the summer season approaching, a few fun beach products are on display, too.
The products are commonly soft in texture, taking on earthy colours of beige, whites and creams with simple floral patterns and colourful beadwork. A set of two bedspreads with orange beaded patterns and two pillowcases (2300LE) stood out in particular.
Dining linens ranged in size, starting with the 250cmx250cm at around 15ooLE, 400cmx190cm at around 1750LE 170cmx170cm at around 800LE. All are simple, elegant in design and perfect for brightening up any dining room.
Offering a variety of bathroom towels as well as beach towels, a set of small guest towels with simple pattern work cost 154LE, a set of four bathroom towels 418LE, and a few colourful beach towels available in orange, blue and white (253LE).
Some cute beachwear items were also on display, including a funky, practical towel dress available in blue and orange (429LE), as well as colourful pseudo-galabeyas (336LE).
Every-day pouches for men and women range from 200LE and 300LE, depending on the size, including creamy linen pouches with basic designs, as well as translucent waterproof beach pouches.
For the little ones, a cosy bread spread set with pillowcases taking on warm colours range from 550LE to 594LE, as well as a cute kid’s bathrobe at 286LE.
There are plenty of shops that successfully champion local materials and craftsmanship, but no shop translates that into truly high-quality, luxury products like Al Haramlek.