The Souks, or the local markets, and the larger bazaars are among the most remarkable attractions of Egypt. Unlike Lebanon, Syria and Turkey, Egypt doesn't really have a restaurant culture although it does have an exciting street food scene. Located behind and around the Temple of Luxor, Sharia el-Souq was converted into a charming, yet unauthentic, covered pedestrian zone. The newly paved and renovated street accommodates many shops that sell that same Egyptian merchandise, catering only for tourists. While items are the same, the pleasant surroundings make for a generally better shopping experience, albeit highly artificial. For a more authentic experience, however, continue north onto Sharia Ahmos where the local Luxor souk is located and where these pictures were taken.
When I was in Alexandria last summer, I had a little time to kill and stopped in at the local coffee house. In Egypt there is a coffee shop on every corner. Sometimes in the middle of the block, too, and even right next to another one. They’re all different and yet similar, open to the street, often old, with feral cats prowling underfoot and ceiling fans slowly turning overhead. Men drink tea, smoke water pipes, play table games, and talk or read the newspaper. Some cafes are tiny holes in the wall; others are large and sprawling. Often they fill whole alleyways, especially at night. Like most Arabic world coffeehouses they serve strong Turkish coffee and tea. Called qahwas or ahwas (from the Arabic word for coffee, قهوة qahwah), the shops are an Egyptian institution. Women can be seen in the more modern places but for most traditional local places, you’ll find only men.