Hookahs in Egypt: features of the smoking culture, legislation, manufacturers and institutions
The history of the emergence of a hookah in Egypt
It is not known exactly when the hookah appeared in Egypt. Many scholars are inclined to believe that Egypt is the founder of the hookah culture, since ancient records indicate that smoking devices of a similar nature were still under the pharaohs.
But still, hookah came to Egypt from Persia. It was made of a coconut shell, into which a reed tube fell. The device was assembled quite quickly and allowed to smoke tobacco. However, it was in Egypt that the hookah received its first modification. Instead of coconut, the Egyptians began to use dried pumpkin, and later, porcelain flasks and snake skin mines appeared.
Further, the hookah industry began to develop, and the models acquired a modern look, which is still being held. Egyptian hookahs are known for a high massive bulb, as well as a cast mine. They, unlike Turkish ones, have a purge valve that allows you to control the heat. The most famous brand is Khalil Mamoon. The company was founded in the 18th century, and it was thanks to the master of the same name (after all, the company was named after him) that there was a debate about whether the first modern hookahs appeared in Turkey or Egypt.
History of Khalil Mamun
Mamun Efendi is a craftsman from Turkey who became interested in repairing oil lamps. Having become a famous artisan, he ended up in the palace of the Ottoman Pasha. There he repaired not only lamps, but also antiques. So Mamun developed his skills, and became famous in many countries. Going to Turkey, he invented a hookah almost in the form in which we can see it today.
After some time, Khalil Mamun gave the hookah to the lord of Egypt, and he was fascinated by the gift. Then the master began to create new models and develop the industry, but until his death he continued to repair antiques, as he was not relieved of these duties. Today, the museum houses the first hookah, and it is not too different from the modern Khalil Mamoon hookah. Descendants were able to maintain traditions and extend them, creating new models. Today you can buy Khalil Mamun hookah in our store.
Features of the culture of hookah smoking in Egypt
Egypt is a unique country, here the hookah is the property of the nation. Walking along the street, you will surely meet several people who will sit and smoke hookah. Moreover, they will do it on a chair by the road, or right on the ground. All institutions are full of hookahs, and do not be surprised if even a child smokes. The Egyptians have their own cultural characteristics, here are the main ones:
- You can smoke hookah from around 12 years old. Many are surprised by the fact if a child does not smoke hookah at the age of 12.
- Everywhere, without exception, the rule applies: one hookah per person. You will not meet a company of people smoking one hookah for several people. Each will have its own device. Even if you order a hookah in an institution, they will bring you only one mouthpiece.
- In Egypt, it is not customary to put a hookah on the table, even if it is not high. It’s the same as having a tea kettle with guests on the table. The hookah should stand exclusively on the floor.
- The Egyptians use a special method of scoring, or rather, the opposite of ours. The bowl is rammed with tobacco, spreads in a thin layer of foil, large holes are made with a toothpick. At the same time, the cup is very small, as a rule, of poor quality. The hookah turns out to be quite heavy, but locals really like this way of driving.
- The Egyptians do not smoke hookah on one cup. After 30 minutes, it is replaced by a new one, where the coals are put, and smoking continues. At the same time, this function is also available for tourists, but you will have to pay for a new cup, like for a hookah.
- Egyptians never mix tobacco flavors. They can’t smoke an apple with grapes, they will look strange at you. One drive - one taste.
- In Egypt, they smoke Nakhla - Egyptian-made tobacco. It is strong, heat-resistant, has a good taste line. In the cafe, visitors can offer other brands of tobacco, but locals prefer only Nakhla.
- It is customary to smoke a hookah in the open air, and not indoors. It is believed that in Egypt, hookahs are heavier, stronger, stronger give to the head. However, this is not so, because it is smoked differently in the fresh air.
- The Egyptians are used to talking under the hookah. Even if a person is sitting alone on the street and smoking a hookah, he will talk on the phone or with passers-by. Silently they do not like to smoke, so the streets are quite noisy.
- Orange charcoal is used everywhere. Outwardly, it does not look like pressed coconut, but more like charcoal for barbecue. It burns out in 5-7 minutes, so hookah workers constantly run and bring new coals.
- A peculiarity of hookah smoking in Egypt is the method of hookah delivery. Here it is prepared in 2-5 minutes, you are unlikely to wait longer. Coals are constantly standing in the grill and heated, cups of tobacco are clogged, and water is collected in the flasks. After ordering the hookah, put the cup with the selected taste on the hookah, put the coals and immediately bring it to you.
- Interestingly, the most famous Egyptian hookahs Khalil Mamun are not found here so often. A lot of other manufacturers, small workshops that make devices. Therefore, in the institution you can see a lot of other hookahs, but not Mamuns.
- In Egypt, a lot of water is poured into the flask, the loader drops by about 5-7 cm. Therefore, the smoke is saturated and quite heavy.
- Locals categorically do not recognize the additives in the water in the flask. You will not be able to order a hookah on milk, or, especially, on alcohol. For tourists, they can make such an offer, but the hookah will cost a pretty penny. And the locals will not understand you.
- Ice also does not fit into a flask. There are models of hookahs with a chiller - a capacity for ice, but no one will ever put it there.
- Most establishments use disposable plastic hoses. In good cafes, they will bring it to you sealed, but if you were served a hookah with a hose, there is no certainty that it is one-time. It is assumed that the visitor takes it with him after smoking, as there is a removable mouthpiece. But not all visitors pick it up, so they can reuse the handset. You can also ask for a regular hose, a one-time mouthpiece will be brought to it for you.
- The Egyptians love to play board games with a hookah. In particular, they prefer backgammon.
- Local residents do not drink alcohol under a hookah. Ideally, you need to drink tea or coffee.
- Hookah is smoked by everyone, starting from the age of 12. This is the norm, no one will tell the child that you should not smoke, since there is no such ban. Women also smoke hookah, but to meet them on the street or in ordinary institutions will not work. They gather in expensive cafes and sit there.
These are the main features of the Egyptians and the culture of smoking hookah in Egypt. Going to the country, you should familiarize yourself with their traditions, and most importantly - respect. Be prepared for the unusual taste of the hookah, for the unusual clogging and for uniform tastes. Nevertheless, you should definitely try a hookah in Egypt.
Famous brands of hookahs in Egypt
In Egypt, a huge number of workshops that produce hookahs. These are large companies that supply their products abroad, and small private workshops, whose hookahs are ordered by local cafes or ordinary people. Let's look at the main brands:
- Khalil Mamoon. This is the most popular company that has become known around the world and still holds the brand. In the manufacture of hookah, many metals are used, but most importantly, they are still made by hand. Rather, the details are made by machine tools, but assembly, welding, as well as engraving and jewelry are made by the master. A distinctive feature is the inscriptions on the flask and saucer, but the logo is a lotus flower, it is very common in Egypt and is used on other hookahs.
- Magdy Zidan. Also a famous brand that appeared in 1982. Models of hookahs are also made manually, but the creators monitor the quality, so traces of welding and the intervention of the master are less noticeable. Thanks to the addition of a little silver to the alloy, hookahs from this manufacturer are highly glossy. The creators make the models elegant, applying interesting authentic patterns. In general, these are good hookahs at an adequate cost.
- Asmar 2000. A very popular company in Egypt, in many institutions you can find hookahs from this brand. He is famous for creating tall models, they look stylish and are inexpensive. By the way, in the name, the number does not mean the year the company was founded. The owner said that this is just a beautiful number that does not mean anything.
- Awlad Sarhan. A brand founded in 1950. Hookahs are made of tin, creating a stylish design. Here you can find a variety of models, decorated with authentic patterns, stylish volumetric elements and inserts of another metal. Simple and practical hookahs that are in demand in Egypt's hookahs.
- Layaly Zamman. A young company producing hookahs since 2013. Nothing special, just pretty nice and inexpensive hookahs. If you want to order a batch of devices at the factory, the company will put your logo without any problems.
- Also a young company, existing since 2009. They regularly create a large number of hookahs and distribute them in the world. The cost of models is inexpensive, average quality hookahs. If necessary, the company can create a hookah to your requirements and put your logo or inscription.
- Yehia El Khawanki and sons. One of the oldest brands, exists since 1890. But at the same time, the company did not become popular all over the world, however, in Egypt, the UAE, you can find hookahs in almost every institution that has the logo of this brand. The mines are decorated with carved patterns, volumetric elements and inserts of other metals. It looks stylish, expensive, rich. But in fact, hookahs are cheap, and therefore are in demand in Egypt.
These are the main popular brands producing hookahs in Egypt. But for the Egyptians, the brand is completely unimportant. They look at the quality of the hookah. Sometimes a master who makes models of a house in a garage creates a hookah, which is much better than famous brands. Most companies have made a name for themselves only for trading in the foreign market. Hookahs come from Egypt, reliable and high quality. But there is no need to go to a distant country to get a device, because you can buy a real Egyptian hookah on our website. Choose a model and make an order.
Famous Tobacco Brands
In Egypt, you can find a large number of tobaccos, but only one brand has become popular throughout the world. Everyone else works for the domestic market, and this is not surprising. It is unlikely that there is another country in the world that smokes the same amount of tobacco. Even the Turks can’t compare, but they like hookah. Therefore, manufacturers are conquering the domestic market. However, one brand could be liked all over the world and gain fame, and this is Nakhla tobacco.
Nakhla is considered one of the best tobaccos in the world. It is strong enough, saturated, not afraid of great heat, so it is difficult to burn it. In addition, it holds a taste for a long time that many users like. The company was established in 1913. Tobacco has the following characteristics:
- a good soak in the syrup, due to moisture, tobacco remains smoky and saturated for a long time;
- small cut;
- there are "twigs", but in fact, these are twisted leaves that do not need to be removed, they, on the contrary, allow you to keep the taste longer without giving bitterness;
- natural aromatic taste, lack of chemicality;
- high heat resistance;
- Tobacco has an average strength, but even for beginners.
Thanks to these characteristics, the Egyptian Nakhla tobacco has become popular all over the world and has won the love of thick smoke fans.
Egyptian legislation on hookahs
Unlike Turkey and many other tourist countries, in Egypt there is no law prohibiting smoking hookah in public places. In addition, there is not even a law limiting the age of smoking. You can meet a child who will enjoy a fragrant hookah. Do not be surprised if a 12-year-old boy brings you a device in a hookah room. This is normal.
An unwritten law indicates that women cannot smoke hookah on the street. In addition, they can not be found in ordinary institutions. But in expensive restaurants, women can calmly sit for hours and smoke a hookah. However, legally, a woman is not forbidden to smoke hookah on the street or in any other place.
Tourists can also smoke hookah anywhere. But the price for this entertainment will be much higher. If a local resident orders a hookah for 20 Russian rubles, then a tourist with the same hookah will cost 300 rubles, or even more. If you ask for a menu, they will tell you that it is not there, or they will bring a menu for tourists. Therefore, boldly start bargaining and threaten to leave for another institution. Surely they will drop the price to 70-100 rubles for a hookah.
Where to smoke a hookah in Egypt
You can smoke hookah in Egypt at almost every corner. You can smoke anywhere, go to any cafe, and you will probably be offered a hookah. But there are a number of recommended places where this will do better. We will not give exact instructions to establishments, but only outline the main characteristics of such places:
- In a hotel. Where you live, they probably offer a hookah. Better to smoke it at the hotel. Firstly, the choice of tobacco is much more extensive. Secondly, you will be sure that they will bring you a normal pipe. Thirdly, in hotels they find fault with traditions less, and here it is already possible to smoke a hookah together or as a company. In other places, you simply will not be served a hookah for several people.
- Off the coast. A lot of establishments are located off the coast, and they value their reputation. Therefore, good hookahs are served here at a relatively low price. Always bargain if the Egyptians see that you are a tourist, they will definitely want to deceive you. Nevertheless, you can smoke a hookah for 30-150 rubles, bargain safely, but before you bring the device.
- Night clubs. It is also a good place for tourists where you can smoke a hookah. The cost will already be higher, but, as a rule, an assortment of tobaccos is provided, and the hookahs themselves are of high quality.
You can also try to order a hookah in any restaurant. But we do not recommend choosing markets, small cafes on the outskirts of the city or institutions on narrow streets. In such places, tourists will definitely want to cheat, and not the fact that they will serve a good hookah.
How much is a hookah in Egypt and where to buy it
Hookah in Egypt is inexpensive. The simplest models will cost you 10-20 dollars, good quality hookahs will cost up to 80 dollars. But here, unfortunately, you can fall for fakes. Passing off a hookah as a real Khalil Mamun, the seller can bring you a device from the master, who makes them around the corner in the barn. There will be an inscription, albeit a curve. But this is Mamun, everything is done manually.
Also, tourists are often offered hookahs that are not intended for smoking. Therefore, you do not need to buy devices in souvenir shops. Ideally, buy hookah in Egypt in the market, in stalls and large stores.
You can also buy Egyptian hookah without leaving home. Just open a catalog with real Egyptian hookahs on our website, add it to your basket and make an order.
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