Also known as ‘El Gezira’ the Zamalek neighborhood is located in western Cairo on the northern part of Gezira Island in the Nile River. Though the name derives from the Kurdish word meaning ‘straw hut’ it has become an upscale neighborhood full of foreign dignitaries (it contains more foreign embassies than any other area of Cairo). Here you can find a variety of charming antique stores, bookstores, restaurants, cafés, shops, and hotels, representing the best that cosmopolitan Egypt has to offer.
Offering a superb collection of home goods, The Loft Gallery is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the street. It displays its wares in a quiet, high-ceilinged space, many of which are outsourced from flea markets all across Egypt and even from other countries like Syria. It’s one of the many excellent stores available in the area.
12 El Sayed El Bakri, Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt, +20 2 27366931
One of three branches, this Mandarine Koueider shop was founded back in 1928 and has remained a family-run business since that time. Renowned for its excellent oriental and french pastries, ice cream, and chocolates, it’s a lovely place to go for a relaxing sweet treat after a long day of touring.
17 Shagaret Al Dor, Zamalek, Giza Governorate, Egypt, +02 273 55010
One of the dozens of art collections throughout the island, SafarKhan Art Gallery both sells and collects contemporary Egyptian art. It focuses on ‘educating and enriching’ the public by raising awareness of the originality, importance, and active social role of Egyptian art in the country. The gallery also throws amazing opening parties that are well worth attending if your trip’s timing aligns with one.
6 Brazil Street, Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt, +20 2 27351240
The mother church of the diocese, All Saints’ Cathedral is the most-frequented cathedral within the Anglican Communion. It hosts Arabic, English, and Sudanese congregations, multiple ministries, the Wady craft shop, a library, Refuge Egypt, and the Alexandria School of Theology. It is a beautiful structure reminiscent of a lotus flower, and it’s easily recognizable in Cairo’s landscape.
5 Meshel Lotf Allah, Zamalek, Cairo Governorate, Egypt, +20 2 27363679
Formerly a garbage dump below 15 May Bridge, El Sawy Culturewheel is now a very popular cultural center, hosting a variety of activities and events, like lectures, concerts, and festivals. There’s a puppet theater, radio, magazine, and much more. There’s something here to pique any traveler’s interests.
26th of July Street, Zamalek, Egypt, +20 2 2736881
Located just off 26th of July Street, this Fair Trade Egypt shop was opened in 1998 and is a great place to pick up quality souvenirs. It supports 34 artisan groups throughout Egypt and offers everything from glazed pottery to textiles, leather purses to traditional Egyptian dolls. Since it serves the Fair Trade office as well as a store, you can also meet the staff.
27 Yehia Ibrahim, Apt. 8, 1st Floor, Zamalek, Egypt, +02 273 65123