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Just beyond the southern walls of Fatimid Cairo across the street from Bab Zuweila stands a singular space in modern Cairo. There used to be hundreds of covered markets selling all kinds of goods throughout the city, but Kheemiyya, the Tentmakers Market, is the only one remaining.
As you exit Bab Zuweila and walk across a narrow, busy street, you will see an alley ahead of you covered by a high roof. The alley is lined on either side with stalls from which merchants in Cairo have sold their wares for centuries. The merchants here specialize in a variety of textile goods.

You can find colorful carpets and tapestries, quilted pillowcases and wall hangings, but the market takes its name from the tent makers. Made of colorful canvases decorated with traditional Islamic designs reminiscent of the marble inlays that adorning the more beautiful mosques, the tents are used by Cairenes for all sorts of outdoor events—wedding feast, funerals, store openings, or holiday celebrations.

If you walk around any evening in one of Cairo’s popular neighbor hoods you are sure to see one of these tents in use, usually accompanied by loud music and the sounds of celebration.
In addition to being the only traditional covered market still in use in Cairo, the crafts produced here are also very affordable and good quality. You can find all kinds of interesting textile pieces here at much more reasonable prices than they will be sold for in the more touristic Khan Al-Khalili.
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