Saturday, April 5, 2008

Egypt. Day 8: Cairo

Finally, we arrived at our final destination in Egypt: Cairo. After 6 hours by bus we got there from Hurghada. The bus trip had been tormenting and we could barely get any sleep... our seats were in the last row and there was a broken compartment from which the heat of the engine came into the cabin, and I was sitting just over that! and one guy was watching a movie at top volume... In Egyptian buses, each person choses the volume for the loudspeakers on top of your head. This guy chose to set them to the maximum volumen. Everybody complained but nothing changed...

Well, as I said, we were back to Cairo and the first thing we did was checking in our hotel. After that, we chilled down for an hour in the hotel lobby (sleeping, checking internet...) and headed for the Egyptian museum. Our hotel was in one of the main streets in Cairo, Talaat Harb street, and on our way to the museum we passed by Talaat Harb Square. This is a nice example of what Cairo looks like.

The Egyptian museum was crowded with people and artifacts! In fact, there were too many things exhibitted!! The most interesting things, Tuttankhamon's funerary chamber artifacts, including the burial masks and sarcophage! Or these two big statues in the main hall:

After some hours, we arrived to our endurance limit and decided to go to the hotel and sleep. From the hotel room, the Citadel, in Islamic Cairo could be easily seen. We wanted to visit it, but we needed to sleep. In the end, it closed very early and we could not visit it. Anyway, the mosques in Istanbul are supposed to be cooler!

When we woke up, we decided to go to Coptic Cairo. Coptic is the name given to Egyptian christians. Coptic christianity developed in the times of the Roman empire and it is very old. This part of Cairo was interesting, in the sense that churches can be found in a very islamic country!

This is the Church of St George:

The main site in Old Cairo (Coptic Cairo) was the Hanging Church. This was the entrance:

This is the church itself:

And this is the beautiful interior.

After a while, we moved to Islamic Cairo. There, it was extremely crowded with locals. We had dinner and moved to Khan Al-Khalili, a huge bazar.

Around the bazar, there were some mosques, some of which were very sacred for muslims. This one was called Al-Azhar and was one of the oldest in the city. It was built in AD 970!

Finally, we visited the Al-Ghouri complex and climbed to the top of the minaret there for a tip. This was the guy who brought us there ;-) This photo is inside that mosque.

Afterwards, we had dinner in a ship in the Nile river and went to sleep. Next morning, we went to the airport at 7 in the morning and took a plane back to Amsterdam. Like that, holidays arrived to an end! It had been 8 fantastic days and 10 fantastic nights in Egypt! Maybe this has been my coolest trip in a long time! possibly the coolest in my life!

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