Wikala of Al Ghouri, Cairo
Constructed in 1505, Wikala el-Ghouri is a caravanserai that once housed merchants and goods arriving in Cairo. Although a separate building, it is part of the large el-Ghouri complex, built by one of the last Mamluke Sultans, Qunsuh el-Ghouri. It is located near el-Azhar Mosque and Khan el-Khalili and was meticulously restored in recent years. This Wikala is a fantastic example of a rehabilitation of a historic building, where the upper floors have been converted into an atelier for local artists and artisans, whose work is exhibited for sale in a medieval vaulted gallery on the ground floor. The main courtyard of the Wikala, where merchants' animals and goods were once kept, has been converted into a theatre. It is where the Tannoura dance show takes place twice a week (see nightlife tips).
A wikala is an old merchant's hostel, and dates from the Ottoman era. There are only a few left in Cairo. This wikala is quite well retored and gives agood idea of how it was used long ago. It is now used for artists and craft shops.
After paying a minimal entrance fee, I was showed around by a guide, which made the visit worthwhile, as he gave a good background of the building.