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

The Hand Glass Factory

The Hand Glass Factory: Unique Glassware in City of the Dead

reviewed by
Anne de Groot
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The Hand Glass Factory: Unique Glassware in City of the Dead

In a
city like Cairo it is hard to keep up with everything that is going on. The
city is simply too big to know every inch of it. The beauty of this is that you
sometimes stumble upon hidden gems. One such hidden gem is the Hand Glass
Factory located in the City of the Dead.

The Hand
Glass Factory consists of a shop as well as a workplace. Glassblowing is not
just a craft but an art as well. If you visit in the mornings, you can see the
glassblowers at work. The technique of glassblowing has been a longtime
tradition in the family that owns the shop. The workplace is relatively big
with the stone oven on the left side and recently finished works on the right.

The shop
space carries vases, glasses and lamps, as well as beads and glass decorations
in colours of green, white, blue and brown.

There many
different shapes and sizes glasses ranging from long drinking glasses to wine
glasses. Pricewise, this is the best shop to buy all your glassware from. The
glasses cost between 5LE and 10LE, depending on how many you take. For example,
you can buy twenty glasses for 100LE. There are also matching flagons; the small
ones cost 8LE and the big ones cost just 12LE.

the lamps are the highlight of the shop. There are wall lamps, hanging lamps,
standing lamps and bedside lamps. The wall light fixtures (35LE) are especially
amazing: made of glass bubbles, their lights create a very cool effect. Ceiling
lights are more expensive at 150LE and above, but their unique, handmade
designs in purple and red glass make them great value for money.

The popular egg-shaped mosaic lamps that can be
found all over Cairo are sold here for what is probably the lowest price. The
little ones cost 40LE, medium sizes cost 80LE and the large ones 140LE,
depending on the design. One of the most expensive items is a hanging lamp made
of various coloured and shaped bubbles. At 250LE, it’s still a bargain for a
handmade piece of such craftsmanship.

start at 20LE for mono-coloured pieces and can reach 35LE for multi-coloured items. There are also various scales and bowls starting at 5LE. Plates cost around
10LE, but again it depends on how many you purchase.

the designs are very modern and can be customised as per your request. These
lamps and vases can be found in more upscale shops around Cairo for much higher
prices, so this shop is definitely worth checking out if you want unique
designs for low prices.

By buying something at the hand glass factory, you are
contributing towards keeping an old craft alive. The shop owners are very
friendly and will help you with everything. If you need a taxi for the way back,
they will get you one or walk with you to the main road. So support the local
economy and head to the hand glass factory; it is definitely worth it.

360 Tip

Do your part for the environment; save up your used glass bottles and have them melted and made into new glasses or vases here.

Best Bit

Unique, colourful designs of vases, lamps and glasses for very low prices. Seeing the glassblower in action is a unique experience.

Worst Bit

Leaving without buying everything.

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