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Shopping in Aswan: Where & What to Buy

Aswan is one of the off-beat destinations of South Egypt. Home to colorful Nubian culture, the place sends a laid-back vibe inviting you to relax after hectic sightseeing expeditions. While staying at Aswan, you can always explore the local delights like visiting the local museums or exploring the Nubian villages to know more about the people living here.

Apart from that, you can go shopping in Aswan. The tiny and ancient looking souks of the city offers some of hidden gems the city has to offer. Each street lead to a new alley taking you towards new experiences and shopping adventures.

Here are some of the popular shopping districts of Aswan:

1. Hanafi Bazaar   

What to buy? – Nubian artifacts like traditional swords or silk kaftans

Possibly the oldest and the most visited shopping district of Aswan, Hanafi Bazaar is home to some genuine Nubian treasures. Run by Hanafi brothers, the place is well-known for its customized 18 carat gold cartouches with Egyptian hero graphic.

Thing to remember while buying gold:

a. Buy from government authorized dealers
b. Weight the purity of the gold before buying
c. Run the current prices of the gold before gold shopping in Aswan

2. Sharia El-Souk

What to buy? – African masks, spices, traditional long robes (galebeyas), sandalwood

Close to the downtown Aswan, the Sharia el-Souk is the place to buy souvenirs to take back home. You can find a variety of objects like customized perfumes to sand art bottles under one roof. Also, a few local shops selling traditional galebeyas with Nubian embroidery which are worth taking back home.

The place is also famous for its neatly lined up spice shops selling an array of spices including bergamot, saffron, karkaide (dried hibiscus flowers), pepper, cloves, and nutmeg.

3. El Sadat Street

What to buy? - Papyrus art, perfumes and jewelry

The El Sadat Street is the place to buy papyrus art in Aswan. Usually used by the ancient Egyptians, the papyrus scrolls can be considered as the prototype of paper. Many souvenir shops in the street sell almost real-looking copies of the tomb paintings, making them the perfect gift to take back home. Remember to bargain to get a good deal while shopping in Aswan.

4. Nubia Tourist Book Centre

What to buy? – Books on local culture and Nubian heritage

An upbeat bookshop in the heart of Aswan, this place is ideal for the bibliophiles. One can find numerous books and journals on Egypt, Aswan and local Nubian culture by eminent writers. Most of the books available here are in English, but a few books in French can be found as well.

Aswan is a small city in comparison to Cairo or Luxor, the city is home to some unique delights that cannot be found elsewhere in the country. While shopping in Aswan, you might find the prices of the goods to be over inflated at time. Haggling is expected out of you, and can help you in reaching out a good deal. Also, the shopkeepers are prone to indulge in conversation. If you are someone who likes to talk, then these small encounters can turn very interesting.

Overall, the experience of shopping in Aswan can be an interesting venture.

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