Thursday, January 21, 2010

Learning How To Cross The Street: Cairo Style

Wow! Today was another great day! Not only were the compliments flying (see below post), I had a super-fun time exploring Cairo.

Today's tour started in Coptic Cairo. This area is slightly outside of downtown and is home to some very early Christian churches, one of the oldest mosques in Africa, a synagogue that was originally a church, along with pieces of the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, most of the churches have non-exciting exteriors so there aren't many photos to show. One church we went in has the distinction as being a place where the Jesus/Mary/Joseph family hid out during their time in Egypt. Here's a (crappy) interior photo of the church:

And here's a closer up view of the front of the church. The wood screens have tons of inlaid materials and really are amazing to see up close.

We left Coptic Cairo to go to the Citadel. This hilltop fortress is home to the Muhammad Ali mosque, which my guide assured my was NOT named after the famous boxer of the same name. The most striking features of this mosque are the cool minarets and the iron domes. Here's your favorite white guy outside the mosque:

And an inside shot of the Muhammad Ali; the first mosque I've ever been in:

On the way out of the Citadel complex, I took this photo of a Roman aqueduct. Also, if you saw my pyramids post, the site in this photo is one of the places where they quarried the stones for the pyramids.

We then headed to the Egyptian Museum where they house many of the artifacts that have been found. The two highlights of the museum are the mummified animal and King Tut exhibits. They don't allow photos inside (they make you check your camera in at the door) so here's one outside:

After the museum, it was off to a lunch of lamb. Yum! Not bahhhhhhd at all! :-) My guide humored me by stopping off for some sweets at a local bakery. Yum again! We then headed over to the gigantic outdoor market called Khan al-Khalili. Gigantic probably doesn't do it justice. It spreads over hundreds of downtown blocks and is full, full, full of people. One of the best photos I got in this area is of a guy pushing a cart through the crowd. He's selling baked sweet potatoes, which he cooks in the oven on his cart.

On the way back, my guide "treated" me to a ride on the Cairo subway, which, interestingly enough, is probably the cleanest place in the city. The subway cars are as crowded as Tokyo though. :-0

Thanks Shaimaa (my awesome guide) for teaching me how to really cross the street. I'll never be afraid to play in traffic again!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, your trip looks awesome!

    I am going to start taking your photos and photosphoping my face on and write a book called "Make Your Friends Travel For you!" LOL


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