Camel market at Birqash - Daily News Egypt

Advertising banner

Advertising banner

Advertising banner

Camel market at Birqash

Located an hour north west of Cairo’s city centre, the Birqash camel market provides a glimpse of rural Egyptian life that cannot be found on the manicured streets of Maadi or under the loud din of Downtown. On Friday mornings, livestock merchants from across the region gather in Birqash to buy, sell and trade camels, …


Located an hour north west of Cairo’s city centre, the Birqash camel market provides a glimpse of rural Egyptian life that cannot be found on the manicured streets of Maadi or under the loud din of Downtown. On Friday mornings, livestock merchants from across the region gather in Birqash to buy, sell and trade camels, enjoy some banter and peddle various other wares.

But the trip to Birqash is not for the faint of heart. These camels are not pets, to the merchants they are commodities, and hence, treated as such. The camels who cannot survive the long haul from Upper Egypt are disposed of along the side of the road leading to the market.  Those that do survive are bound and beaten to keep them in line on the way to the auction.  And of course, it all smells as a livestock pen does.

If you can withstand the poor treatment of the camels, you are bound to meet friendly villagers who are eager to talk, have their portraits taken, and share a cup of tea. The good, the bad, and the ugly all come together at Birqash.

To get to Birqash, it is best to arrange private transportation with a tour company. Entry to the market is free for Egyptians, but EGP 20 for foreigners.

 

Different herds sport unique, painted markings (Photo by Aaron T. Rose)
Different herds sport unique, painted markings
(Photo by Aaron T. Rose)

 

Camels have a mind of their own and can protest loudly when forced to lay down when they do not want to (Photo by Aaron T. Rose)
Camels have a mind of their own and can protest loudly when forced to lay down when they do not want to
(Photo by Aaron T. Rose)

 

The merchants sit close to their merchandise (Photo by Aaron T. Rose)
The merchants sit close to their merchandise
(Photo by Aaron T. Rose)

 

Large groups of camels, hobbled to prevent them from running all over the market, await buyers (Photo by Aaron T. Rose)
Large groups of camels, hobbled to prevent them from running all over the market, await buyers
(Photo by Aaron T. Rose)

 

While the tourists walk around and take pictures the merchants are on the lookout for a sale (Photo by Aaron T. Rose)
While the tourists walk around and take pictures the merchants are on the lookout for a sale
(Photo by Aaron T. Rose)

 

Camels of all ages are offered for sale, like these two young camels (Photo by Aaron T. Rose)
Camels of all ages are offered for sale, like these two young camels
(Photo by Aaron T. Rose)

 

A cup of tea and catching up on the sales of the day is part of the camel market folklore (Photo by Aaron T. Rose)
A cup of tea and catching up on the sales of the day is part of the camel market folklore
(Photo by Aaron T. Rose)

 

and have many ways to express their feelings towards humans (Photo by Aaron T. Rose)
and have many ways to express their feelings towards humans
(Photo by Aaron T. Rose)

 

Camels are quite possibly the most disdainful among all animals... (Photo by Aaron T. Rose)
Camels are quite possibly the most disdainful among all animals…
(Photo by Aaron T. Rose)

 

One of the camel sellers on the market (Photo by Aaron T. Rose)
One of the camel sellers on the market
(Photo by Aaron T. Rose)

 

Advertising banner