Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Egypt 3: In and around Cairo

This day was spent looking at museums of various sorts, and then we went back to Giza to see the Sound and Light show.

So, the first place we went today was the Citadel of Salah al-Din, or Saladin. He built it to defend Cairo against Crusaders, between 1176 and 1183 CE. It remained the seat of Egypt's government until the 1860s. In the Citadel is the beautiful Alabaster Mosque of Mohammad Ali, the Ottoman-born founder of modern Egypt, whose dynasty ruled until the revolution of 1952. Our guide was very eloquent in his praise of this ruler and his accomplishments. He (Mohammad Ali, not our guide!) is buried in the mosque.

This is the word Allah in topiary

The dome and minarets of the Alabaster Mosque

A tiny adorable lion

Annie Emanuelli of Bucket List Travel - Egypt, our tour operator, and our wonderful guide, Yasser Omar

Maintenance is never ending

In the courtyard is a broken clock - in fact, it never ran - that was a gift from King Louis-Philippe of France in thanks for the Pharaonic obelisk that adorns the Place de la Concorde in Paris.

Yasser talking about Mohammad Ali

Inside the mosque, its central dome and stained glass

The main door

The largest pulpit in Egypt

The crypt where Mohammad Ali is entombed

The view over Cairo

After the Citadel we went to the Egyptian Museum. This building is being replaced by a grand new one in Giza, which is to open a bit later this spring. No pictures inside; I bought a set, of course.

The museum is wonderful. The exhibit of the gold from Tutankhamen's tomb is dazzling. Some of the group paid a little bit extra to look at the mummy exhibit; I don't care that much about mummies and I spent my time in the literature room looking at papyruses.

This cat was sitting in a perfect Bast-like pose. Being a cat, as soon as I pointed my camera at her she stood up. This young man was sitting nearby and jumped to ensure I got my photo.

Ha, she thinks; I didn't coil my tail around my paws this time!

Copies of this statue of Ra-Horakhty as a falcon-headed crocodile, were for sale in the gift shop. Kind of wish I'd bought one.

Next we went to see Coptic Cairo, as well as the oldest synagogue in the city.

And then a Roman-era fort.

This is a mosque that was built on the fort's site before they knew it was there.

And then, after supper, we went to see the Sound and Light show at the Giza Pyramid Complex. It was cold, the only time I was really cold the whole trip, but guys were renting warm blankets for a dollar, so we were comfortable. The show was amazing!

Back to the hotel for a good night's sleep. In the morning - Luxor and the Nile!

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