Wekalet El-Balah

Location

Wekalet El-Balah
Egypt
30° 3' 33.4728" N, 31° 13' 45.0732" E

"Ta3ala bos, be 7'amsa we nos" or "come and see, costs 5.5 pounds"...Once you enter that "souk" or "Dates market, you start hearing sellers "advertising" for their goods in their own rhythm! What is the story of this market and how did it get that name and how does it look like?

As a start, Dates market is a very famous old market located in Cairo. It obtained its name because in the past, this place was an area for trading dates because of its unique location which is overseeing the River Nile and so close to "Rod El Farag" market of fruits and vegetables. Long time ago, ships used to sail from the southern area of Egypt loaded with dates to be sold at the dates market, or maybe use this area as a storage point before shipping to another port.

In addition, ships used to arrive loaded with huge amounts of clothes from different parts of the world, especially Europe. These items were sold once more as used items for very low prices which accordingly attracted lot of people all over Egypt; hence, this market started expanding and adding new selling items later on.

Furthermore, once you enter this market, you find a long narrow street with shops on each side and sellers with no shops as well. Once you start asking about prices, you will find that a price varies according to the location of the shop, and above all the appearance of the buyer! At the end of this street, you would find several branches leading to much narrower lanes with more sellers. This specific area is specialized with cloths, clothes.

On the other hand, when you turn to the other side, you would find another sector for items which is car spare parts and of all car brands as well. This sector is very systematic; brands are divided upon sellers that you can never miss any item you are asking about.

Moreover, another sector at this market is located on the other side and is specialized in selling textiles of huge varieties and prices in the same time. Seller may sell to individuals or even to other merchants.

The last sector in the Dates market is the fruits and vegetables market, which is stuffed with lot of people, lot of gestures. One of the most outstanding features of this market is the people themselves; it is a community on its own. It is always crowded, always busy, always full of goods, always full of stories....