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Inside One of Downtown Cairo’s Oldest Shoe Factories: Babel

Having crafted leather shoes since 1952, Babel also serves as a school for the disappearing craft.

Farah Desouky

Inside One of Downtown Cairo’s Oldest Shoe Factories: Babel

One of Downtown Cairo’s oldest shoe factories, Babel preserves the artistry of a disappearing craft: handmade leather shoes. Having stood strong in Adly Street since 1952, Babel grew to become a shoe-making school with curious learners seeking to master the trade.

The name ‘Babel’ was initially derived from the famed Swiss brand ‘Bally’, which Babel’s owners aspired to compete with, raising its standards to meet theirs. The space maintains its commitment to artisanship, one that is validated by loyal customers who choose to maintain their vintage pieces and customize their designs over the decades.

Babel is still open, and while they’ve incorporated a ready-to-wear line into their production, they still maintain a dedication to handmade shoes and hope to pass on the craft to younger generations.

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