TRADITIONAL EGYPT www.traditionalegypt.co.uk

SOUVENIRS OF LUXOR


PAPYRUS, EGYPTIAN COTTON, ALABASTER

Papyrus, Egyptian cotton and alabaster are the most obvious souvenirs of Luxor. Real Alabaster, first made by the ancient Egyptians in the times of the Pharaohs, is made in only two places in Egypt - Luxor is one of them.

embroidered card
Embroidery (greetings card)

COLOURFUL SOUVENIRS

Colourful temptations include carpets and rugs, pierced earthenware lanterns, various textiles such as embroideries, weavings, clothing and scarves in simple cottons or gorgeously vivid jewel-like colours in silk or synthetic fibres - and even belly dancing costumes. Gold and silver are normally priced per gram weight - and jewellery can be a great buy. Wood craft - especially inlaid designs, such as backgammon boards - are popular, and there is some lovely furniture if you can arrange transportation.

CULTURAL SOUVENIRS

Karkade  (hibiscus tea) For more unusual souvenirs of Luxor visit a spice seller for fantastically fresh spices, Karkade (hibiscus tea) as drunk by pharaohs. Some spice sellers also sell powdered indigo - for dying fabric, not for colouring your food! Perfume or essential oils and ornate little handblown perfume bottles are worth considering - Lotus flower has a subtle scent, and is very Egyptian!

Arabic musical instruments are fun. Get cheap and cheerful drums, tambourines or bamboo flutes from the suq, or quality stringed instruments from a reputable musical instrument shop. Leather handbags and belts are made on the cheap - whatever the label says. If you're tempted to buy a 'Hubba Bubba' (shisha pipe), bear in mind that a recent research study has just demonstrated that a single use of a 'Hubba Bubba' with tobacco is the equivalent of smoking 60 cigarettes. Statues and carvings are popular - and the ubiquitous scarabs are very portable! One guest reported that Fresh Sugar Cane one of her most successful souvenir-gifts - see right for her comments.

Spices
Spices in the Suk

MAZAG - WOMEN'S ENTERPRISE

Before the creation of a huge park on The West Bank, with the creation of a new shopping area which has yet to be completed, there was a wonderful not-for-profit shop called Mazag. It sold good quality, appealing hand crafted items mostly made by women living in villages near Luxor and Sohag. Mazag is a private organisation managed totally by Muslim and Christian Egyptians to provide a way for women to work with dignity, to receive fair treatment and wages.

Hopefully the shop will return. Their impressive range included small embroidery cards complement wooden sculptures and furniture. The weaving is lovely - panels the size of your hand and large woven carpets. Ceramics, rugs and hand embroidered gallabiyahs (robes), scarves, paintings, jewellery and ornaments make a colourful and fascinating show. Across the Nile a similar shop (near Macdonalds) is part of an international Fair Trade organisation.

RAMLA MARKET, LUXOR WEST BANK

The local Ramla market - Tuesday mornings, very early - is near the ferry landing West Bank - the market is near the village post office (where the road to the Valley of the Kings starts, opposite the memorial temple of Sety I).

Breakfast on sweet tea and enameled bowls of "ful medames" at the ferry landing cafe before you start, or snack on sweet pastries, savoury breads or bags of popcorn, pumpkin seeds, and peanuts in the market. By 6am it's already busy, packed with humanity in the early morning haze.

White robed men squat, wielding aluminium pans to measure fruit and vegetables from palm-wood crates. Black-robed women carry laden baskets on their heads and sell ducklings, turkeys, fresh eggs or homemade butter and cheeses. Livestock abounds - look for people shearing donkeys, buying sheep and tiny baby goats or madly test-driving donkeys on a special track! But for souvenir-buying purposes the palm-frond brooms, baskets or ropes, earthenware casseroles and shawls are more practical!

At the King Mina Bazaar opposite the Museum of Mummification (on the Corniche el-Nil) the stallholders have a no-hassle policy. You can buy papyrus, brassware, silver jewellery and little stone models of sphinxes and other souvenirs here.

BOOKSHOP

The wonderful Aboudy Bookshop next to the Winter Palace is a Government shop - which means the prices are fixed - no haggling here! A fantastic choice of books of all types (travel guides and novels) in several languages, usually at similar prices to home (an unusual but welcome sensation for most travellers). Aboudy also sells a few other items like postcards and papyrus notebooks.

EVERYDAY GOODS

To buy 'everyday stuff' in Luxor - electrical goods, furniture, teaspoons and such - cross the Nile to the harsher environment of Television Street. You can get almost anything in Television Street, and the C on Cleopatra Street is the nearest thing to a department store, albeit rather cheerless one! For a 'posh shopping experience' you need to visit Cairo.

Your Luxor Souvenirs

You came,
you saw,
you shopped . . .
and you told us what you liked!


musical instruments

Musical Instruments

- cheapo instruments were a great hit with the kids!

The flute-y thing, drum and tambourine from the souk were a great hit with our grand-children! They used these souvenirs of Luxor at their church farmyard-style nativity day to add 'atmosphere' (rather than actual 'music'!)

BG, from UK


Fresh Sugar Cane

- one of my most successful souvenir-gifts!

We bought a few sticks of sugar cane on a horse-ride that went through a sugar cane harvest. My grown-up children all loved it - even my health-conscious daughter! So I'd say fresh sugar cane is a good gift to take home - it's wonderfully novel - and the flavour is so unexpected and delicious. But it needs to be used within a few days - eventually it gets fibrous and brittle.

GB, from UK


Displaying Souvenirs

We carted home tiny bastet cat carvings and loads of other tiny, weeny souvenirs, pebbles from The Valley of the Kings, you know the stuff? we usually lose it all after we get home. well ta-ra! this "Egyptian Temple World Display Stand" from amazon. Whaddya think? (Not sure that's what it was designed for, but hey . . .)
Hope the idea is useful to someone.

JR, from Jersey

Egyptian Temple World Display Stand
Egyptian Display Stand



Papyrus

Papyrus Antique papyrus is not available, but there several places called "The Papyrus Shop" in Luxor.

Watch papyrus being made, and being painted. Your name - in hieroglyphs - can be added to some papyrus paintings.

painting papyrus You can also buy papyrus as large plain sheets (great for friends who enjoy art / craft) or as notebooks. Papyrus comes in all sizes and prices.

painted banana paper

Banana Paper 'Papyrus'

You'll see kids selling painted banana paper 'papyrus' bookmarks in the streets.

This design featuring Bastet (the cat Goddess) and a set of Hieroglyphics is typical.

Handmade Alabaster

wonderful souvenir - alabaster jarHandmade Alabaster

Luxor is renowned for the quality of it's alabaster
(buy handmade alabaster if you can!)

Alabaster was made in the ancient Egypt in the times of the Pharaohs.












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