Ramadan Lanterns in Cairo, Egypt

Cloth Ramadan lanterns hang over the Al-Khayama street in Darb Al-Ahmar

One of the many Ramadan traditions, especially in Egypt, is Ramadan lanterns. You can see them in front of homes and businesses, large ones are hung across streets, often designed with some local flare.

This is a selection of photos about the workshops where Ramadan lanterns are still made around Cairo.

Old Ramadan lanterns hang over the entrance to the mosque of Hasan Pasha Tahir

Old Ramadan lanterns hang over the entrance to the mosque of Hasan Pasha Tahir at the workshop of Atef Salama in Birkat al Fil. Birkat al Fil is named as the Pond of the Elephants, a watering hole that has now dried up and has long since been turned into a dense Cairo neighborhood. In 1735, De Maillet, the French consul in Cairo, wrote about Birkat Al-Fil, one of the most famous location for princely palaces until the 19th century: “Nothing is more pleasant than this place filled with water during eight months of the year, while during the remaining months, it turns into a perfumed garden.” Salama claims that there have been 4 generations in his family making ramadan lanterns by hand and his workshop is the only one that doesn’t use machines.

Workers eat breakfast and light the fires to start making Ramadan lanterns

An artist heats his soldering tool and water for tea at the workshop of Atef Salama in Birkat al Fil on March 23, 2019 in Cairo, Egypt. Salama claims that there have been 4 generations in his family making ramadan lanterns by hand and his workshop is the only one that doesn’t use machines.

An artist heats his soldering tool and water for tea at the workshop of Atef Salama
Red lantern outside the Ramadan Lantern workshop of Oum Ibrahim

I also visited he Ramadan lantern workshop of Oum Ibrahim in Sayida Zeinab. They make more modern looking lanterns, stamping out designs with machines and sometimes making special theme lanterns of football players or politicians.

The store of Nabil Hussein Shata sells a vide variety of Ramadan lanterns in Darb Al-Ahmar in Cairo, Egypt.
The store of Nabil Hussein Shata sells a wide variety of Ramadan lanterns in Darb Al-Ahmar. This includes lanterns that are up to a meter and a half tall.