Getting Around - The Souq
The second installment of this series leads us to our oldest commercial area, the Souq or “Old Market” in Sharm el Mina / Downtown Sharm.
Sharm’s premier market hall was constructed in the early eighties, housing most necessities, from groceries to car workshops, in one basic hangar. Still in existence today, it is the second block of buildings behind the entry and exit gates.
In the nineties the ‘City Center’ mall was built on the main road in front of the old hall. Numerous other buildings were erected until the mountains prevented any further development. Nowadays the Souq is a compact labyrinth of alleyways and streets (for details check out the map at the end of this article).
Unsurprisingly, the “Old Market” is crammed full of touristic shops, but there are also many important and unique shops for residents, scattered over the whole area, together with some excellent restaurants that will not break the bank!
Property owners and Sharm residents will find several establishments offering electric appliances, kitchen utensils, carpets, tools, shoemaking services, key copying / lock changing services, coffee roasting and almost everything you could require; various shops serving refreshments, including foul & falafel stands, fresh juices and sandwiches; a business center (actually just a place to send international faxes), a Duty Free shop and much much more.
Some of the touristic shops are also worth a visit, particularly the spice shops where you can find most items which you might have missed on the supermarket shelves.
In the newer (but not newer aesthetically!!) section towards the back of the Souq, you can find a cosy little Egyptian Fetir restaurant favoured by Italians for their espresso (Pizza el Magnoun) and across the street you can buy first-rate ‘ahwa’ in a real coffee roastery.
Restaurants often frequented by Sharmers are found in the City Center Mall: Pizza Melodie at the entry and the Red Sea Fish restaurant at the exit gate, and in close proximity El Masrien and Sinai Star are situated in the old hall. (Look up more popular restaurants on the map)
The newest extension of this busy and flourishing tourist and residential quarter is the Tiran Mall, located just outside the “Old Market” area, between the exit gate and Iberotel Palace hotel. Upon closer inspection, some of the shops here are also of interest for residents. Divers will find a well stocked equipment shop on the first floor, toy shops, clothes for kids, men and women fashions, lingerie, shops with pillows and cotton products, freshly made pasta to take away (behind the Italy Italy Restaurant) and two opticians (one of which can make prescription glasses on the spot!)
At the beginning of the area, before the entrance to the Old Market and coming from Hadaba/Naama is the Aml Dowla office, beside Egypt Air. Upon exiting the Old Market, almost directly opposite the small roundabout you will find Terrazina Beach, an extremely popular beach restaurant and local hang out for the weekends.
“Old City Market” Map
For ease of reference we have marked the streets again by numbers and letters, however please note that this is entirely our own system - you cannot ask someone in the street for street no. 5 (unless he/she is an observant SharmPro reader!)