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What is Khayameya ?

Pass through  the massive 10th-century gate of Bab Zuwayla, in old Cairo, cross the small square in front of the gate and you are at the beginning of one of the oldest thorough fares in Cairo - Shari (street) Khayameya. Khayma means "tent" in Arabic and here, in the Street of the Tentmakers, the ancient craft of making huge tent pavilions, or suradeq, out of appliqu├ęd cloth patterns has been carried on for hundreds of years.

All of the designs used in the making of a new tent must first be drawn on large sheets of brown paper. A fine needle point pricks out the outline of each pattern in tens of thousands of small holes.

The perforated sheet of paper is then laid upon each chosen piece of colored cloth - brilliant blue, blazing red or scintillating green. A black carbon dust is sprinkled lightly over the paper so that the dust percolates through the holes, leaving behind a fine stencil outline of the pattern pounced onto the cloth, ready to be cut out. This same process is repeated for the hundreds of pieces of colored cloth used to embellish a single tent.

The tent makers used the same technique in doing very attractive cushion covers, bedspreads, table runner and wall hangings .

Khayameyah ( tent maker) Street

Al-Khayameya street leading to Bab Zuweila

صناعة الخيامية . Handmade Khayameya

khayameya cushion cover

Click to buy Khayameya cushion cover

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