What you don't know about Zanket el-Setat market


Thu, 23 May 2019 - 09:14 GMT

Zanket el Setat Market in Alexandria- Egypt Today/Mustafa Marie

Zanket el Setat Market in Alexandria- Egypt Today/Mustafa Marie

CAIRO - 23 May 2019: Zanket el Setat Market is one of the most popular and densely populated markets in Alexandria. The market gained its name almost a century ago. The market was later named Sharee el Neswan (The street of women) because most of its visitors are women and young girls eager to get married.

Contrary to what might be thought about the market, it certainly differs from other common Egyptian markets. It is one of the most attractive markets in the country. The market’s visitors are individuals from different social classes, ranging from the poor and middle class individuals to the rich and famous.

Zanket el Setat Market in Alexandria- Egypt Today/Mustafa Marie

The market consists of neat and well organized alleys and pathways. It is vibrant and colorful. The market is renowned for its fabrics, silk and brides' accessories, in addition to women's supplies. The market also comprises gold and silver shops next to its countless bazars, which makes it a touristic destination as well.

Mahmoud el-Fakharani, researcher in Alexandria University, stated that the history of the ancient market dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. It was the only market that brought together all the merchant communities from Morocco, Syria and Libya. The merchants stationed in Manshiyeh district offering their goods at cheap prices.

One of the big traders in the market, Mohamed Saadoun, said he asked officials to include the market to the Supreme Council of Antiquities, as it is one of the archaeological sites.

Saadoun pointed out that the market is frequented by tourists of all nationalities, especially Americans, French, Italians and Greeks, to buy souvenirs before leaving the charming Alexandria or "Petite Paris" as it is sometimes called.

Zanket el Setat Market in Alexandria- Egypt Today/Mustafa Marie

Director General of Archeology Department in Alexandria Mohamed Metwally stated that the market area of Zanket el-Setat is indeed very old; however, it does not meet the required conditions to be included as an antiquity in the files of the Antiquities Authority.

To be included in the list of archaeological buildings, a building must exist for a time period of at least 100 years. The building or area must witness an important historical event or must be a war site. The place becomes archaeological also if an important historical figure once resided there. The place should also contain a rare building that has no duplicate anywhere else in its design or artistry.

Mohamed Fathi, a textile merchant in Zanket el-Setat market, affirms that the market is one of the largest and richest markets in Alexandria. Fathi proudly recounts that his ancestors have worked in the historical market for more than a century, explaining that the market is related to the Moroccan market of Okaz (KSA) and the Syrian market of Latakia.

He added that about 50 years ago, the market was the favorite place to shop for the elite and princesses, who were after the most luxurious and expensive fabrics and the jewelry that could not have been found anywhere else other than Zanket el-Setat. During that era, the most famous gold merchant in the ancient market was Elias, a Jewish man who bought the finest jewelry from Greece and England.



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