Guide to the Global Village ~ Egypt Pavilion!

January 13th, 2012

Every year I get one amazing item from the Global Village that I treasure above all. This year, I thought it would be that hand of Fatima necklace I bought in the Turkey Pavilion.

Not so.

This time my prized purchase came from the Egypt pavilion. Honestly, in years past this pavilion was a bit disappointing. So much so that I skipped going for some years. But this year was different.

I came. I saw. I bought.

In case you don’t know, the Global Village is located outside Dubai; it’s a fair-like shopping and cultural event that runs during the winter months. To find out more, see Dubai’s Global Village ~ Where the World Comes together.

Near the entrance to the Egypt Pavilion, these two guys dressed as King Tut made me smile. They were working on “traditional” Egyptian crafts, such as hieroglyphic bookmarks. I think it’s going to be a long four months for these two.

Meanwhile, the Egypt pavilion naturally offers the predictable papyrus leaf prints, busts of Nefertiti, cat statues, etc.

Your children can have their names written up in hieroglyphics–just like in Egypt.

There’s Arabic musical intruments such as the oud (or lute).

Also, you’ll find dresses made of Egyptian cotton.

And Egyptian cotton underwear, too.

Of course, there are Egyptian nuts and sweets. Notice the traditional fabric decorating the walls.

Around the corner I found a similar cotton fabric in different colors—this fabric has the motifs of traditional Egyptian tents, which are seen all over the Middle East on special occasions.

I bought two yards of the blue for less than $10 total, enough fabric to make a festive tablecloth.

So, the tent fabric was nice. But not as thrilling as what I found in this shop. I noticed the hand-appliquéd quilts right away.

Hand- appliquéd quilts made in Egypt? Yes, it’s true. Egypt has an appliqué tradition that goes back to their tent-making. As the demand for tents has gone down, the tentmakers now use their skills to make quilts, wall hangings, pillow covers and other items for the home. The designs are based on Islamic motifs, all done by hand and made by men (!!)

I learned about these quilts when I belonged to the Dubai Quilters Guild, where members were always showing off recent quilt acquisitions from Cairo. I decided that if I ever visited Cairo again, I would track down Kheiymiya Street (The Alley of the Tentmakers, south of Bab Zweila) and get one of these quilts.

Well. I didn’t need to travel after all. This is the quilt I bought in the Global Village—entirely hand-made—my prized purchase for 320 dirhams ($85). As a quilter myself, I know the work involved with applique like this.

If you are interested in buying one of these quilts, I suggest going the last weeks of the Global Village and bargaining heavily. You may get a good deal. Here’s are a detail of my quilt.

 If you’d like to see other Egyptian quilts, more spectacular than this, view the first few minutes of this short video.

For details on specific pavilions, check out my posts: The Yemen Pavilion, The Iraq Pavilion, The Turkey Pavilion, The Africa Pavilion, and The Palestine Pavilion.

  1. January 13th, 2012 at 22:28 | #1

    That blue fabric is gorgeous!!!! You know, you will be seeing me in two short months! 😉

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      January 16th, 2012 at 12:57 | #2

      I’ll keep that in mind, Jenne. 🙂

  2. January 13th, 2012 at 22:40 | #3

    Wow Holly! Honestly I only went to the GV once 3 years ago and was so disappointed I never went again. The stuff in the Egypt Pavilion looks amazing. This is the kind of stuff I waste precious vacation time in Egypt trekking around scattered old markets to buy every year!

    The cotton underwear is my favorite. I only get underwear for my kids from Egypt because I know it’s 100% cotton and sooooooo cheap. Mind you this is not the famous Egyptian Cotton as this would be too expensive for the Egyptian market. but even the lower grade cotton is good and the textile industry in Egypt is huge so you are bound to find something you like.

    The quilted fabric is called khayameya fabric and there’s a whole quarter in old Cairo called Khayameya…the word coming from Kheyma or tent in Arabic. The fabric is actually used to set up huge tents in the street for to celebrate/gather for the two most important occasions in Egypt: marriage and death. So in poor neighborhoods all over Egypt people would set up a huge tent made of this colorful fabric to create a space for a wedding, with a band and everything. and in case of a death, they set up the same tent but this time to receive people coming to give condolences. The tent is called Sewan in Egyptian Arabic. The wall hangings and such is probably a small addition to the real business of setting up the Sewan. In todays world, many middle class or well off Egyptians use the fabric for decoration especially for Ramadan items. you can find fabric covered bread baskets, table cloths, kettle warmers, etc…..

    I’m so glad that these things are available here. I’m definitely going very soon!!!

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      January 16th, 2012 at 12:57 | #4

      Hi Soha,
      Thanks for all the info. You’ve shed some light on this tent-making tradition. I’m starting to think of what I can make with that tent fabric…. Meanwhile, I’ll be checking out the Egyptian underwear! 😉 I hope you make it out to GV this year. The quality has improved greatly. You’ve still got 7 more shopping weeks.

  3. January 14th, 2012 at 20:13 | #5

    Loved the post…I enjoy all things Egyptian and am a big fan of Cairo specifically. So much to do there, so lively…the people are amazing with their humor and vivre for living.

    Thank you for showing us the lovely photos, didn’t you find any belly dancing outfits? 😉

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      January 16th, 2012 at 12:54 | #6

      Hi Zvezdana, Thanks for the comment. Yes, I did see some glittery sexy belly dance outfits. So much to photograph! Makes for difficult choices. 😉

  4. January 29th, 2012 at 16:41 | #7

    Hii Holly , thank you for the nice report about Egypt Pavilion at Global Village Dubai im Wa’el Creative Director of The Company which Built and Organized Egypt pavilion, Saudi Arabia Pavilion, Qatar Pavilion and Tunis Pavilion :).. i guessed you can to Egypt Pavlion Before The Egyptian Musuem Opening and maybe you didn’t watch a documentary movie at The Cinema Hall .. I would like to invite you .. again to mak a special private tour for you inside the Egyptian Museum and The Cinema Hall also you will Enjoy Eating “sweet Egyptian Patata” at Tahrir Square.:) just tell me which day?:)

    Thank you

    RGDs 🙂

  5. Holly S. Warah
    Holly S. Warah
    January 29th, 2012 at 18:57 | #8

    @Wael Moatamed Hi Wael! So great to hear from you! I really appreciate your comment. Well done on all these pavilions. I’ve always enjoyed the GV, but I’ve seen a big leap of improvement this year in every way. I plan to go again in early February. I will contact you when I have a date. Thank you for the invitation. Sounds like a lot of fun!! Bye for now, Holly

  6. January 29th, 2012 at 19:08 | #9

    that’s great Holly 🙂 when you decide that date just contact us on our facebook page:

    or on my profile:

    in addtional this is my photography page hope you like it 🙂

    don’t forget to write some words in our guest book ” Frist page ” 🙂

    • Holly S. Warah
      Holly S. Warah
      January 30th, 2012 at 08:05 | #10

      Thanks, Wael. I look forward to checking out the links. Have a great day!

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