Home to the pyramids and the Nile River, Egypt, or the land of the Pharaohs, has something to offer every type of tourist. Its blend of ancient heritage and modern traditions truly makes it one of the top destinations in the world. Of course, you must have some sort of proof of your visit, and luckily, Egypt provides a wide selection of souvenirs to bring home. With that said, here are the best souvenirs from Egypt to take home.
1. Pyramid-themed souvenirs
If there is one thing that comes to your mind when you think of Egypt, it is the pyramids. One of seven wonders of the world, the Pyramids of Giza is a must-visit on your trip. Of course, it is only fair that you leave with a memory of the place.
Luckily, Egypt’s markets are stocked with ceramic pyramids that come in a set of three. They come in different designs and range in sizes. They are also cheap, which makes it a great budget-friendly Egyptian souvenir to take home. After all, you need proof of having visited the pyramids.
A bonus would be to purchase a model of the Sphinx.
2. Ancient Egyptian Figurines
Another unique token to purchase are souvenirs that represent ancient Egypt.
These often come as mini figurines and cover a wide variety of mythological creatures and ancient Egyptian characters such as King Tutankhamun, Queen Nefertiti, Anubis, Thoth, Bastet, otherwise known as the cat, and many more. These renowned characters also appear on mugs, magnets and other standard souvenirs, but the figurines are regarded as more authentic souvenirs from Egypt. They serve as great collectibles and on top of that, they’re a better display than a King Tutankhamun postcard!
3. Mummy cases
Needless to say, the mummy holds great value in ancient Egyptian culture. If you have been to the museums, you know that there are mummy cases in every corner. Similarly, you will come across several mummy case souvenirs in every corner of the market. These come in different sizes and some even contain a mummy inside!
4. Camels souvenirs
Your trip to Egypt is surely incomplete without a camel ride. Whether you’re on the way to the pyramids or on a tour of Luxor, a camel ride is a must, and therefore an important souvenir.
Egypt’s markets offer stuffed camel souvenirs, each embroidered with traditional decorations and a dramatic eye. Not only are they a great souvenir from Egypt, but also a great representation of the trip. But if you’re simply looking for an ornament, then there are also mini gold camel figurines within your reach.
Given that Egypt is a Muslim country, it is no surprise that lanterns make up a great part of the country’s culture. At the start of Ramadan, Muslims put up lanterns or ‘fanous’ outside their homes to welcome the month. Of course, these ornaments are available for purchase all year round as seen in Cairo’s glowing markets.
These lanterns come in different sizes, colors and styles, including marble, glass, and metal. Some are even decorated with religious phrases and symbols. These souvenirs are truly beautiful and a great representation of Egypt during the holy month.
Another religious souvenir from Egypt is the rosary, or Misbaha which is used in supplication. Although the misbaha differs in the number of beads, it usually appears as 33 beads on one string. It is diverse in colors and textures; in fact, some are even created from date seeds. Truth be told, they look beautiful hanging together, making it difficult to pick a favorite. Fortunately, they are cheap and perfect souvenirs to purchase in an abundance.
7. Mother of pearl
If there is one souvenir in Egypt that is worth the steep price, it is the mother of pearl souvenirs.
Known as Sadaf in Arabic, it is made from the inner layer of the oyster and is thus regarded as prestigious. Designing items with this material requires precision and patience. Given its symmetrical patterns, you can often pinpoint a common print amongst the items.
For a reasonable price, you can purchase mother of pearl souvenirs such as boxes, tables, and drums. However, if you’re truly looking to splurge, then you can find Sadaf cabinets and tables. It is common for Egyptians and Arabs in general to have Sadaf furniture. Therefore, don’t be shy when it comes to the mother of pearl; it is truly a beautiful souvenir.
8. Belly Dancing Outfits
A tourist favorite from Egypt is the belly dancing outfit for women.
Its colors and noise enhance the dancers’ movement and add to the enchantment of the traditional dance. The outfit can either be a two-piece set or simply a scarf that is tied to the waist. It comes in various colors and is neatly decorated with silver or gold coins that create noise.
Another accessory that can complement the outfit is the face veil, which is a translucent material or simply metallic coins and chains. This is another original souvenir that is a great Egyptian memorabilia and also fantastic for parties!
Egypt’s cafes are packed almost every night with people gossiping, playing games, or watching a football match. One thing they all share in common is the Shisha. If you haven’t already guessed, Shisha is the norm, and like the camel ride, your trip to Egypt is incomplete without some Shisha. If you enjoyed your experience, then you should probably take home the Shisha as a souvenir. In addition to it, the market offers a variety of flavors, alongside equipment such as pipes and bowls.
Egyptian cotton is recognized worldwide for its quality. Although it comes from the same plant around the world, it is Egypt’s climate that produces softer and finer cotton. Instead of using a machine, the cotton is hand-picked which preserves its properties. The fine threads are then woven into high-quality fabrics producing souvenirs such as bedsheets and towels. These products are unbelievably soft and durable. However, they require the utmost care and maintenance.
Yes you read the correctly, and it would be a mistake to not purchase it! Unlike the other Egyptian souvenirs, this is one token that is truly unique and will definitely come in handy. In fact, you will thank the Egyptians for the new addition to your shower routine!
The loofah is the inside of a vegetable. It comes from the gourd which is grown only to be used when it has decayed. Once it is completely dried, the outer layer is removed, revealing an intricate network of fibers. It is a great tool for scrubbing and exfoliating, and worth the price. If there is one souvenir from Egypt you will thank yourself for purchasing, it is the loofah.
Egyptian jewelry is another great souvenir to take home because it embodies the culture and customs of ancient Egyptians and is thus quite different from the normal style of jewelry. If you look closely, the shapes and structures of the necklaces resemble the ornaments of ancient Egyptian women. The jewelry is usually made of metals such as silver and copper, and the pendant is uniquely shaped with ancient Egyptian art.
However, the jewelry that usually attracts most tourists incorporates ancient Egyptian symbols and is worn in the form of pendants and bracelets. Common symbols include the Ankh, Horus eye, Scarabs, the goddess Isis, and possibly the most famous, the Hamsa hand. They are decorated with colorful beads with a matching pendant attached, to complete the look. These pieces of jewelry are cheap and excellent Egyptian gift ideas!
13. Cultural Figurines
If you’re picking up ancient Egyptian figurines, then you should also add some cultural icons to your basket. These clay figures represent the civilians of Egypt performing everyday tasks. It serves as a cute display item and even as memorable gifts from Egypt. However, if you’re looking for notable figures in Egypt’s modern culture, then Umm Kulthum is at the top of your list. She is easily the most glorified singer of Egypt and you definitely won’t find any shortage of her souvenirs. Shops in Egypt proudly display her merchandise in the form of figures, posters, mugs, and more.
If you’re looking for other things to buy in Egypt, then your next item should be paper, but not just any paper. Papyrus is one of the oldest forms of materials used for writing. It originated from the cyperus papyrus plant that was found close to the Nile river, and given its comprehensive processing, is deemed precious.
During ancient Egypt, it was typically reserved for important work, such as religious texts, official documents, letters, and medical notes. Papyrus was also used in other forms such as sandals, baskets and ropes. Today, the material is limited, but several souvenir shops in Egypt’s markets offer copies of papyrus with inscriptions such as hieroglyphs and religious phrases, or images of iconic figures. Some of these souvenirs glow in the dark!
Egypt is widely associated with music and so it is no surprise that it has its own instruments. The traditional drums and guitars are commonly spotted in Cairo’s markets so you should take the opportunity to make your purchases there before you head elsewhere.
The guitar, also known as the Oud, is short and pear-shaped, with a hollow inside. The drum on the other hand comes in different forms, but the most famous is the Doumbek, which is typically used in belly dancing. Both instruments are expensive, and if you’re looking to indulge, then you should purchase them decorated with the mother of pearl. Either way, they make a great souvenir from Egypt to bring back home!
16. Islamic Decor
As of now, you probably have an idea of how well equipped Egypt is with religious souvenirs.
Islamic phrases and Quranic texts are embellished on wall hangings, fabrics (remember the quality of Egypt’s fabrics?), and even papyrus! They serve as great gifts, decoration pieces, and souvenirs. Such religious texts are valued and make beautiful Egyptian souvenirs for your Muslim friends.
However, before you make your purchase, it is important to keep in mind that when it comes to symbols, different sects of Islam have different beliefs about them such as the hand and evil eye. Therefore, you should double-check before you make your purchase!
17. Incense and Essential Oils
Like every Arab country, Egypt has its own concept of incense. The burning of incense is actually an ancient Egyptian practice that was performed to honor the Gods. Different incenses were burned at different times, and for different purposes such as medicine and magic. Today, Egyptians use it for less harmful reasons. They burn the perfumed sticks or powdered incense on coal for personal grooming or to fragrant the house.
Essential oils are another valuable souvenir. Like the incense, the oils played a critical role in ancient Egypt, specifically in mummification. While this is no longer in practice today, modern Egyptians use it for medical and therapeutic reasons, and also in the form of self-care. Both Egyptian products are affordable and useful to use at home!
18. Egyptian Tea Set
An Arab country without tea is unheard of. Egyptians can be seen at any hour of the day at a coffee shop, consuming tea with their gossiping, gaming, and football matches. Like the Shisha, the black tea with mint leaves has its own place at the table. Hence, the perfect souvenir to remember Egypt’s custom would be the traditional porcelain teapot. Although it is slightly heavy, the teapot is another souvenir that can be used even after your trip.
Hieroglyphs was the language of the ancient Egyptians that composed of symbols and images. It was a method of communication and was used to speak of all sorts of things such as stories, medicinal information, letters, and more. Luckily, it has been translated into our everyday language, making it a necessary souvenir to take home.
You can purchase postcards and mugs with hieroglyphs, but a better idea would be to purchase personalized hieroglyphic souvenirs. Some shops in Cairo customize bookmarks with your name translated into hieroglyphs, while others take one step further and engrave it into a cartouche to wear around your neck!
Given that the women can take home a belly dancing outfit, it is only fair that men too purchase their own token from Egypt. A tourist favorite is fez, which is the traditional hat worn by most Egyptian men. It is moderately tall and made of red velvet with a black tassel attached to the top. Ultimately, it is nothing more than a form of identity, and so anyone can wear it. Other traditional hats can be seen in other styles and colors, but the fez remains the most popular amongst the people.
If you’re thinking of what to buy from Egypt, then a cultural souvenir would be the traditional leather shoes. Although they don’t come close to the eliteness of the footwear of the ancient Egyptians, these traditional shoes are nonetheless a great souvenir. They appear in various colors and styles, and some might even have ancient Egyptian symbols. These shoes are practical, comfortable, and a great token to remember. In fact, you can pair your fez with matching shoes!
Perhaps garlic isn’t at the very top of your list, which is why we saved it for the last. Egypt’s garlic is in demand worldwide for its taste. It is purchased in sacks which are perfect to take home, although it might be tricky to avoid the smell in your suitcase. Still, you will recognize its worth once you’ve cooked your meal with it. Garlic has played a large role in ancient Egypt too. It was known for its medical benefits, and thus frequently consumed raw. If that isn’t enough to convince you about garlic’s value in Egypt, perhaps King Tutankhamen will, as it was discovered in his tomb.
That concludes the 22 souvenirs you must purchase from Egypt! Unlike the standard postcards and magnets, almost any product from Egypt constitutes as a souvenir, and that is the beauty of this country. You surely won’t find cotton or loofahs as souvenir items anywhere else in the world!
Also Read: 16 Things That Egypt Is Famous For