Saturday, February 6, 2010

A Stroll Through Old Cairo

Yesterday, I travelled on the metro, through downtown, past the sea of swirly-twirly gum drops, and arrived in Old Cairo. My friends Sherif and Karim invited me along on a tour of what is also referred to as Islamic Cairo and we walked and walked and then walked around some more!

We started out in Khan al Khalili, the famous marketplace, and made our way to the original walls of Cairo. We saw mosques, theatres, grain houses, and cisterns. The Al Azhar mosque was quite large and very beautiful. Since it was Friday, we had to wait a bit to enter until the afternoon prayer had concluded.

We finished our tour at one of the doors to the city, aptly named Bab Zuela (Bab means door in Arabic, don’t ask me what Zuela means). We climbed to the top of the walls surrounding the entrance and were treated to a magnificent panorama of the city. The next call to prayer sounded while were were up there and the attached video shows what I saw and heard from that vantage point.

We also decided it was a grand idea to climb the tiny, narrow staircase of the minaret tower to get an even higher view. I’ll admit there were times when I thought that the really old tower would collapse on me and I’d be stuck forever, but we soldiered on and made it out unscathed, alhamdullilah!

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