The country is home to a burgeoning contemporary arts scene that proves there's much more to art than hieroglyphics, and away from the main tourist trail you'll find intriguing galleries in many larger cities. Vintage movie posters are a great buy and can make for a great retro souvenir while paintings and photos of modern Egypt make unusual and inspiring gifts.
A true hidden treasure from the Nile is the rich selection of exquisite fabrics. Seek out family-run enterprises and snap fabric up by the metre to take home and stitch for yourself, or keep an eye out for hand-made items such as purses and slippers. Hand appliqu work is another traditional craft that's used to adorn everything from bedspreads to tents. The choice of fabrics is incredible, from roughly finished raw silks to beautifully delicate hand-embroidered pieces from as little as ten Euros per metre.
Amazing quality bags, purses, belts and shoes all make excellent gifts, while you'll find tonnes of Bedouin-based boho-chic leather goods and accessories. Keep your eyes peeled for leather-bound books, journals and diaries for something a little different. You can sometimes even get your own manuscripts hand-bound with just a few days notice as Egypt has a long historic tradition of book-binding. It is often free to add a gold monogram too!
Although it may be quite a common Middle-Eastern souvenir, you will not find better quality carpets and rugs anywhere on the planet. If you want something truly authentic, make sure you take a trip to one of the carpet-making schools in Saqqara, 30 kilometres south of Cairo, where you'll find the oldest stone-built complex known in history.
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