The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

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Darb El Barabra: Preparing a Party Has Never Been Easier

Darb El Barabra: Preparing a Party Has Never Been Easier
    written by
    Salma Tantawi

    El Attaba market has existed in Cairo
    for hundreds of years, creating the energetic pulse that the heart of the Capital
    is known for. Anything in this area is purchasable, salespeople are truly
    helpful for a change, and the market expands through many streets full of several
    little shops, which would satisfy every shopping need.

    Right when you think that you have seen everything that El Attaba has to
    offer, a narrow alley sparkles with hundreds of lit chandeliers that can be
    seen from afar. That is the clearest sign to indicate the entrance of Darb El
    Barabra, the market to be in if
    you’re preparing for a wedding, a baby shower (sobooa in Arabic) or any other

    From paper lanterns and Chinese lamps starting at 5LE, all the way up to
    pure-crystal chandeliers worth thousands of pounds; there isn’t a single shape,
    style or quality of lighting missing in this narrow alleyway. Handymen can also
    be spotted inside the shops and are available anytime to repair or replace a
    broken piece at a minimal cost. A variety of house decorations and ornaments
    are also available, making Darb El Barabra a favourite among Egyptian brides-to-be;
    especially those seeking cheap, effective products.

    Darb El Barabra is the perfect and perhaps only market to sell
    reasonably priced baby shower items. Traditional sobooa products are sold here,
    such as little decorated boxes containing sugar almonds and chocolate. The
    boxes come in all shapes and sizes, and can cost between 2LE and 5LE a piece. You
    can buy the sweets from the same shop, but be sure to go through a few shops
    and compare their prices and products before making a purchase.

    Also be careful when bargaining the price down; an insider told us that
    the shop owner can reduce the empty box’s price then raise the rest of the
    contents to absurd prices. However, the cost will normally be reduced if you
    buy by the dozen.

    Following the festive shopping spirit, the market displays colourful paper
    and light decorations that would make you want a party if you aren’t planning
    one already. Almost every variety of celebration signs and decorations can be
    found here: signs for birthdays, bachelorette parties, baby showers and get-well-soon
    balloons. Granted; many of the items here are of lower quality than high-end and
    more expensive shops in Cairo;
    but it generally doesn’t differ that much. With prices as low as 0.50LE for a
    birthday hat, a whole party can be planned with less than 20LE. Look out for
    the fun fruit and animal-shaped paper lanterns, as well as the star-shaped
    light decorations, all ranging between 5LE and 20LE a piece.

    To reach Darb El Barabra, you can park your car in the multi-level El Attaba
    parking lot, but taking the metro would also save you a lot of time spent searching
    for a parking spot. Be sure to dress appropriately and if you’re
    claustrophobic, prepare yourself for huge crowds packing the tiny alleyways.

    Darb El Barabra is truly one of Old Cairo’s wonders, a get-it-all-in-one market that will never disappoint you. It is a shame that the influx of touristic goods, people may assume that it is becoming more of a touristic market than the popular local market that it once was.