Cairo—Guarding the Treasures of Antiquity

written by | Posted on September 28th, 2011

It’s still an awesome site, these monuments to antiquity, which were for more than 4,000 years, the tallest buildings in the world until the advent of the modern era ushered in multi-storied buildings. It’s astounding when you think that some of these blocks of stone that comprise these huge tombs weigh as much as 16 tons, all manhandled into place by hundreds of workmen. Some of the shows, though, are outside the pyramid complex, where the fearless Bedouin camel drivers and horse jockeys ambush the taxis entering the complex by jumping on them and pulling them over so they can pitch the passengers ahead of their competition inside the complex itself.

The final stop on this trip is the Citadel, built by Salidin in the 12th century as much as a showplace as a fortress, where it offered the most efficient cooling breeze in the city and where even today, it commands a dazzling view over the city and provides a significant presence against Cairo’s exciting skyline. Round towers flank its walls and inside is the famous Mohammed Ali Mosque, a beautiful structure with its imposing round domes and its impossibly tall minarets reaching into the heavens where its been calling the faithful to prayer since the beginning of the 19th century.

Inside the mosque courtyard is an intricately designed ablutions fountain where mosque-goers clean their hands and feet before going inside for prayer. And directly behind the center of the far courtyard wall is a tall clock tower, a gift of the French government, which unfortunately has never worked. But it looks good. Outside is a small market with souvenirs for sale and again, resplendent views of Cairo itself.

Once again, we have to point out that there is no better time to enjoy this magnificent capital city, home to countless treasures of antiquity and where you can enjoy safety and security like no other capital city in the world and where hospitality is not only a tradition, but a way of life.

Next, we head off to the Red Sea resort town of Hurghada.

For more on travel to Egypt, visit the Egyptian Tourism Authority website at egypt.travel.