Inolvidable Cairo

A compilation of tales, thoughts and images from the never-ending adventures...Click on any of the images for a blown-up version. Thanks for visiting.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Islamic Cairo

One of the most mesmerizing experiences in all of Egypt is the continual buzz of Cairo's Islamic sections, most reflected in the constant whirr of the Khan El Khalili shopping district near the Al Azhar Mosque. Al Azhar represents the bastion of conservative Sunni Islam, and every single Koran that is published in Egypt is reviewed by special readers from this mosque to ensure that 100% of all the grammar and the wording is entirely correct. They take this very serious, and they have for about 10 centuries now...

The area was most heavily populated and used suring the Mamluk era, from roughly the end of the 1100s to the middle of the 1500s, and it is the region that holds the bazaar which delights so many tourists. The one fantastic difference between this bazaar and most of all the other "old" markets in the Middle East, is that this one is still frequented daily by more than one million Cairenes. The sights, sounds and smells of this area are absolutely intoxicating...and I'm not referring to the exhaust fumes from the cars stuck in traffic bumper-to-bumper with donkey carts and pedestrians. Plenty of fun, haggle-rich shopping and good Arabic coffee to be had...

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