Siwa’s rich culture is well represented by the abundance of traditional crafts that are still made for local use as well as for tourists. There are lots of shops around Siwa Town selling very similar items, so browse around a bit before you buy.
Siwan women love to adorn themselves with heavy silver jewellery and you should be able to find some interesting pieces around town. Local wedding dresses are famous for their red, orange, green and black embroidery, often embellished with shells and beads. Look for black silk asherah nazitaf and white cotton asherah namilal dresses.
A variety of baskets are woven from date-palm fronds. You can spot old baskets by their finer artisanship and the use of silk or leather instead of vinyl and polyester. The tarkamt, a woven plate that features a red leather centre, is traditionally used for serving sweets, the larger tghara is used for storing bread. Smaller baskets include the aqarush and the red-and-green silk-tasselled nedibash. You’ll also find pottery coloured with pigment from Gebel Dakrur, used locally as water jugs, drinking cups and incense burners.
Siwa is also known for its dates and olives, found in every other shop around the main square. Ask to taste a few different varieties; you really can’t go wrong.