Cairo - story and 14 imgages

Started Oct 21, 2004 | Discussions thread
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NorwegianViking Regular Member • Posts: 447
Cairo - story and 14 imgages

Cairo, one of the most exciting cities in the world. Probably also one of the most dusty, noisy and overwelming.
Every time I arrive there, I always find that I need a day or three to adjust.
It has so much to offer.

First of all there is the Nile. It floats lazily through Cairo and creates a lot of opportunities for pleasure. In the evening the Egyptians gathers on the shores of the Nile, bringing food and something to drink, to kind of wipe out the hot, dusty day. The Egyptians seem to always seek down to the Nile. Nile - the sole reason for life in Egypt. No wonder it has been worshipped for centuries.

Another very pleasent thing to do on the Nile, is a Felucca ride. Here you typically rent them for about one hour. Further up the Nile , where this picture is taken, you can get Felucca-rides for 2 or 3 days.

Beeing on the Nile in a felucca when the sun sets, is magnificent.

Cairo is a nice mix of old and new. You can buy anything that is available in the West. Along the Nile, you find the whole lot of international hotels. Sheraton, Marriot, Hilton to mention some. On the other side of the Nile there are hugh building-blocks, each housing 10-15.000 people. Cairo is one of the most densily populated cities in the world. Something like 20 million people live and work here.

In the old part of Cairo, there are magnificent Mosques and the big souk (market).

The market, called Khan Al-Khalil, is a fascinating experience, where you can buy all kinds of handicrafts.
The potters have their street, the goldsmiths theirs, and so on.

Along the streets are small coffe-shops, where the old men are biding their time, drinking tea, smaking water pipe, talking or playing backgammon.

In Khan Al-Khalil you will find a cafe called Al Fishawi, which haven't closed in 350 years.!! They are proud to tell that Naguib Mafouz, the Egyptian winner of the Nobel prize of literature, used to hang out here.

There are a lot of Mosques in Cairo, and I love it when the laudspeaker in all the minarets calls for prayer.

Next to Khan Al-Khalil is the Al Azhar Mosque, considered to be the most important Mosque outside Saudi Arabia. It it a place for religious study, and obviously also for relaxation.

Close to the Al Azhar Mosque, you normally find the "Whirvling Dervisjes" perform once a week. To many muslims, sufism is a part of their religion, which is less known to westerners. This is a kind of mystical/mythical approach to religion.

And the wirvling dervisjes is a part of this. The idea is to rotate, and rotate, and rotate, until a kind of trance is reached. Imagine your self rotating the same way, quite fast, for 20 minutes. I suppose anyone would come in contact with supernatural forces that way. There is also guys playing various intruments and drums.

Anyhow, it is a fascinating show, albeight getting more and more geared towards entertainment, rather than the original idea.
A few pictures:

Back in the center of the town, another "Must" is the Egyptian Museum.

Finally, Cairo's attraction number one is of course the pyramids on the Giza plateu. I have posted something on these in this tread: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1009&message=10621869

Cairo is generally safe - like any big city -, except for the traffic, and hassling is rather modest.

The Egyptians are poor, and for many it is a struggle to survive. I don't blame them for trying to get their share of tourist money.

Hope you enjoyed the images and the story.
Comments are appreciated.

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