Shopping Around in Egypt - Lehnert & Landrock

Volume I, Number 3 August 1st, 2000

Lehnert & Landrock

I always ask myself: Who is really responsible for all this rubbish which jam-packs souvenir shops the world over? The merchants, who try to sell cheap kitsch for making a quick profit, or rather the customers, that endless queue of tourists who purchase almost everything as long as it is as useless as possible or as tasteless as possible or even better, both ? Also, in Cairo it is not very easy to buy really unique things as a remembrance or as a gift for someone else.

For one of my next Shopping Around articles, I plan to write an extra issue How to buy special souvenirs in Egypt since it is not only a matter of where, but a matter of how, too! For this month I would like to release a special tip in advance.

Downtown Cairo, in the middle of traffic noise and dust, there is a nice little romantic bookshop, even if you enter it by accident you will feel caught up in its special atmosphere immediately. Books in English, Arabic, German, Italian, French, lots of cards, maps and, in a special room, a big number of beautiful historical black and white photos, probably some of the most fascinating black and white photos you have ever seen in your life. The name of the bookshop is Lehnert & Landrock. The gifted artist and photographer who created these marvelous photographs is the first of both: Rudolf Franz Lehnert, born 1878 in Saxony, Germany. In 1903 he travelled to Tunisia and was instantly attracted by the irresistible charm of North Africa.

Beginning with his initial visit, Lehnert tried to capture some of his feelings during this and the following trips through Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine, and again and again through Tunisia. In 1920 he meets in Leipzig, Germany with Ernst Heinrich Landrock and together establish the Orient Art Publishing House. In 1924 they move to Cairo, together with their families, wives and children, to open in Egypts capital the today still famous wholesale trade company and bookshop, Lehnert & Landrock. But Lehnert never grows accustomed to the big city. In 1930, he leaves all the copyrights of his art work to Landrock and returns to Tunisia, where he dies in 1948.

Some years ago, in 1995, a young man entered the bookshop downtown Cairo. He is Chris Langvet, Canadian photographer and very keen to contribute to the restoration of Lehnerts large old negative plates. The result, hidden for decades, is impressive. Pristine desert, fertile oases, old views of the Pyramids, Cairo street scenes and especially Lehnerts pictures of native, traditional Tunisian woman all of the photos seem to be unbelievably modern and have that special aura which usually is characteristic only for precious etchings and other graphics. Galleries organized exhibitions, European publishing houses printed luxurious art books with his work, and finally Lehnert has his place in the history of photography.

And the best: The bookshop in downtown Cairo sells original prints of the photos, high quality, plenty of pictures, all sizes, starting from 10 LE to more than 100 LE, a lot of them framed tastefully in black wood, preserved behind glass. For the framed pieces you have to pay at least 45 LE, but still, a bargain for a piece of North African history. You cant get a better gift for yourself or others which love historical pictures, the fascinating representation of the Arabic world a century ago or who simply love art!

Bookshop Lehnert & Landrock
44, Sherif St.
Cairo / EGYPT
Telephone: 3927606 or 3935324
Fax: 3934421

Working hours: MondayFriday 10:00 am2:00 pm, 4:00pm9:00pm, Saturday only 10:00 am2:00 pm, Sunday closed

Budget and Independent Travel to Egypt - Part II By Jimmy Dunn

Historical Hotels in Egypt - Part II By Jimmy Dunn

Recent Excavations in the Valley of the Kings by the Amarna Royal Tombs Project By Glen Parry

Editor's Commentary By Jimmy Dunn

Ancient Beauty Secrets By Judith Illes

Book Reviews Various Editors

Kid's Corner By Margo Wayman

Cooking with Tour Egypt By Mary K Radnich

Hotel Reviews By Juergen Stryjak

Egyptian Exhibitions By deTraci Regula

Nightlife Various Editors

Restaurant Reviews Various Editors

Shopping Around By Juergen Stryjak

Egyptian View-Point By Adel Murad

Medical Advice in Egypt By Omar Ragab.

Prior Issues

July 1st, 2000

June 1st, 2000

last updated: June 8th, 2011