For our first trip around Cairo, we’re going to the Friday Market near the Citadel. In Arabic, suq means (open) market and ‘ala means castle. Adham took me early one morning, and I wore fairly loose clothes and a hijab (headscarf to cover my hair). It is not really a tourist attraction, and on the day we went I saw no tourists (other than myself!) and it was just people going about their Friday morning routine.
The suq reminded me of the old flea market in Sausalito, as well as Porta Portese in Rome. Anything your heart desires can be found in this market, from baby carriages to rottweilers.
couple selling wares under umbrella
This couple was the first shop as we entered the suq. Notice the sheesha (hookah) to the man’s right, and the radio he is fixing.
young girl watching the wares
Children in Cairo are often treated more like adults than in the States. Young boys run around the streets delivering tea and sheesha, and it gives me eternal amusement to watch them perfectly mimic adults in their speaking styles and hand gestures. The idea that children should be in bed by 8pm is not a common one, and I often see families (complete with toddlers and carriages) at restaurants, sweet shops, and window shopping at one in the morning.
this one is for dad!
This vendor was especially tidy in setting up this tool display. Assorted screwdrivers, saws, pliers, cool bolts, hooks and locks; perhaps this vendor has a shop in Cairo and makes a special trip to the suq.
Toys for tots and some pretty slick tricycles. There were plenty of Egyptian women at the market, although the overwelming majority was male (not unusual at all). These women are wearing very typical muhijaba clothing: long, dark and loose. In addition they are wearing full outfits underneath the black outergarments, and it was at least 80 degrees this day!
carpets for sale, entering the main suq area
As we passed through the carpet area, the suq quicky became crowded with vendors, especially for clothes. Adham is in the blue shirt with a Yemeni kifaya (some of you may recognize from this past winter, it kept me warm in Italy!)
Continue reading about Suq al-‘Ala