‘El-Khayameya Street’ Art of Fatimid Renaissance

El- Khayameya street built in 1600s, is Cairo’s sole remaining medieval covered market which takes its name from the bright colored fabrics including applique works, cushions, covers, Egyptian cotton bed covers, wall hangings, car covers and traditional Egyptian galabeyas.

El- Khayameya street in Bab Zuwayla

The place is located in a 300-meter-long street overlooking Bab Zuwayla, Cairo’s medieval gate and the only one remaining from the 11th and 12th-century walls of Fatimid Cairo. The shops themselves have been around for over 150 years and were recently renovated following extensive damage beacuse of 1992 earthquake.

The market is also famous for its colored fabrics used for the large street tents set for funerals, weddings, shop openings and other gatherings. While the workshops are located on the second floor. You can also find some expensive Khayameya art pieces in the Egyptian ”Textile” Museum in El- Moez Street.
El- Khayamiya feature hand-stitched cotton applique over a heavy cotton back this is intended to be protective and durable against a hot, dry and dusty climate.

The hand stitching is performed quickly by skilled tentmakers while seated cross legged, using needles and thread. Small pieces of fabric are cut to size as they are required using large scissors and usually completed by a single tentmaker regardless of the size of the piece.

Ordinary people buy rolls of blue, red and yellow-colored fabrics decorated with Islamic designs in order to use to decorate balconies and streets as well as cafes also use them in making Ramadan tents.

The new generations lost interest with fabrics because machine-made wall hangings and cushions that are imported from China are cheaper and are to be found everywhere.

El- Khayameya street

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