EFEBy Sarah M. Qassem Cairo

Tucked away in a narrow alley crammed with pedestrians and vendors in one of Cairo’s stone-paved medieval streets, Nasser Abdel Basset gets behind what he claims to be a 600-year-old molding machine to craft his latest fez.

The 59-year-old is one of the few craftsmen left in Egypt who are still making the once traditional red headdress worn by almost all Egyptian men until the 1950s.

“I learned the art of making fezzes from skillful craftsmen back when I was just a boy,” Abdel Basset tells Efe.


Egyptians donning the fez dates back to the reign of Muhammad Ali Pasha, who was appointed by Ottoman sultan Selim III to govern Egypt in the 19th century.