The affluent neighbourhood of Zamalek – in western Cairo – sits on the northern part of Gezira Island in the Nile River. Here you’ll find a variety of charming bookstores, restaurants, antique stores and hotels, representing the best that cosmopolitan Egypt has to offer.
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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 across Egypt and even from other countries such as Syria. It’s one of the many excellent stores available in the area.
Now one of three branches, this Mandarine Koueider shop was founded back in 1928 and has remained a family-run business since. Renowned for its excellent Asian 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.
One of the dozens of art collections throughout the island, Safar Khan Gallery 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.
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 – along with 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 recognisable in Cairo’s landscape.
Formerly a garbage dump below the infamous 15 May Bridge, El Sawy Culture Wheel is now a popular cultural centre – hosting a variety of activities and events such as lectures, concerts and festivals. There’s even a puppet theatre and is guaranteed to pique any curious traveller’s interests.
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 the country and offers everything from glazed pottery to textiles and leather purses to traditional Egyptian dolls. Since it serves the Fair Trade office as well as a store, you can also meet the staff.