Friday, February 6, 2009

Cairo's Friday Market (al-souq al-goma'a)

All photos in this post copyright John Zada and John Bell 2009

In Cairo's Sayeda Aisha district, people flock in droves to take part in the weekly al-souq al-gomaa (the Friday market). This souq, one of the largest, busiest and most frenzied in the Middle East is a fusion of flea market, junk market, antiques market, animal market and textile market, and runs directly underneath a long highway overpass that bisects the city's southern cemetery.

The souq commences at the crack of dawn and is thronged by countless thousands of people who come early to find the best deals in anything and everything imaginable - from pairs of jeans, to new shoes, to pigeons, snakes, dogs and goldfish, new toilets, kitchen ceramics, and replacement carborators or spark plugs for one's car. Ad hoc gambling stands featuring forms of the 'three shell game' can be found here for those apt to trying their luck against seasoned shysters. Mounds of random junk, culled from households all across Cairo gather in the souq and remain in situ sometimes for years, or even longer..

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