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Old Cairo - Day 3 Friday March 11

Egyptian Treasures...get ready for a barrage of photos!

View Egypt 03/2022 on Cybercsp's travel map.

We started our day with a tour of Old Cairo which, as the name suggests, is the oldest section of the city. We started in the Citadel, a medieval fortification built during the 12th Century to protect the city from Crusaders. The views were outstanding, and the sky was so clear that you could see the pyramids in Giza!


Old Cairo is one of the oldest Islamic centers in the world. Here are some photos of the Citadel's fortification walls. There are more than a dozen ancient places of worship within the Roman walls.


This plaque commemorates Muhammad Ali, who was an advocate for the Egyptians during his time in power and made many improvements that benefited the Egyptian economy and standard of living.


His palace within the Citadel is in disrepair, but is scheduled for renovation.


Yasser took a group photo when we arrived. (Greg is hiding in the background...what can you do?) In the background, you can see the very impressive Muhammad Ali Mosque, also known as the Alabaster Mosque. Built in the mid 1800’s, it is modeled after the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul.


Here are some exterior photos of the mosque and its courtyard.


There are a few buildings in the world that can take your breath away when you enter, and this is, in my opinion, one of them. It is stunning. Can you tell that I was impressed?


Muhammed Ali is buried within the mosque.


We had to take our shoes off to enter the mosque, and here is a group photo!


Our next stop was the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities.


The Museum of Antiquities was built in 1902 and is located on Tahrir Square, a major gathering space in downtown Cairo. You may recall that this area was the site of the demonstrations that led to the Egyptian Revolution in 2011, part of the "Arab Spring." The Egyptians have been building a much larger antiquities museum in Giza since 2012. Its initial projected completion date was 2015; when we booked our trip, it was scheduled to open in the Fall of 2021. Well, currently that date has been pushed to " late 2022." (It is Sagrada Familia all over again.) As a result, some of the treasures already have been moved, but we were certainly not disappointed with what we saw. Visiting the museum with our Egyptologist, Yasser, really enhanced the experience, as there is SO MUCH to see that it could easily become overwhelming. Please note that many of these pictures were taken through glass cases, so you will see some glare and lots of tourists.

This place is a veritable Who's Who of the powerful in Egyptian history.

Here are two of the four statues of Ramses II that greet guests at the museum’s entrance.0E06ACA3-9F4B-4F4D-8C38-23AF3D5FA7F0.jpeg

Here is Djoser, who is buried in the Step Pyramid.


This imposing pair are King Amemhotep II and Queen Ti. It speaks volumes about her power that for the first time in Egyptian art, a woman is depicted at the same size as the king.


Pharaoh Chephren is entombed within the second pyramid at Giza.


Meet Akhenaton. He started life as Amemhotep IV, but decided upon a name change.


Note the statues of Sneferu and Soris. Again, she is the same size as her partner. It took many years for women to achieve equity in Egyptian art. We saw their pyramids in Dahshur.


Behold beautiful Nefertiti.


And finally, Tutmoses III, who is referred to as the Napoleon of the East. That says all you need to know.


This statue of the scribe depicts a familiar sight at the Pharaoh's palace. The statue is notable for the cross-legged position of the scribe.


This wooden statuę is prized for its realistic eyes.


To think that the colors in this piece have survived for thousands of years is mind-blowing.


Here is a rather grand entrance.


We saw a number of decorated burial chambers.


Here, the deceased is depicted under the protection of the goddess of motherhood and love, Hathor, who will guide him to the afterlife.


The god Horus, the falcon protector, is quite literally sitting on the shoulders of the Pharaoh.


Here is an altar used for the sacrifice of animals.


Here are a few more sarcophagi. In the third one, pieces that were found on a crumbling sarcophagus were fused to glass so that they could be appreciated.


I just loved this piece of art. The sun god, Ra, is shining down his protection and approval to Nefertiti.


Fortunately, the "Treasures of Tutankhamen" exhibit is intact, displayed over two galleries. Photos are not allowed in the gallery containing the treasures from his tomb, including the iconic death mask. It was amazing to see what a king needs in the afterlife; clearly, he was not traveling light! Tut was buried in a multi-layered sarcophagi; here is an outer layer of his tomb. The colors remain magnificent!


These alabaster urns held Tut's vital organs so that he could be reunited with them in the afterlife.


Tut's golden throne was also on display.


It is a testament to the durability of papyrus that these scrolls still survive and are so vibrant.


Yasser pointed out that this tablet is significant as it is the only remaining mention of Israel, and suggests that Moses was accepted as a son by Ramses II.


Have you glazed over yet? A few final hieroglyphic shots, and we will end this visit.


OK, maybe just one sphinx...


Lunch today was a buffet at the InterContinental Hotel. The hotel is beautiful, and we had a view of the Nile.


Charlie was in heaven with his desert eclairs that were stuffed with chocolate.


After lunch, we visited two Coptic Christian churches. The first is St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church, which is also known as “The Hanging Church.” It is of the oldest churches in Egypt, dating from the third century.


The courtyard leading to the entrance showcased beautiful mosaics.


Here is the interior of the church.


The sides of the church were lined with glass cases containing relics from the saints that the faithful would touch to venerate.


The Hanging Church was built over remains of the Babylon Fortress, a citadel built by the Romans.


Our next stop was the Church of St. Sergius, built on the site where the Holy Family was believed to have lived when they fled Israel during the slaughter of the innocents. The area where they are believed to have lived is below the church.


This is the interior of the church.


Here are a few final photos from the area.


We made the obligatory stop to see how papyrus is made. The shop sold some beautiful artwork, which we were not allowed to photograph.


We were supposed to visit the Khan El Khalili bazaar, billed as the "premier souk in Cairo." For centuries, gold, jewelry, exotic spices, and rugs have been traded in this space. Because it was a holiday and late in the day, the souk was mobbed with people, and group consensus was that we would return to the hotel. I did take a few photos from the bus.


Photos are tagged Egypt, Cairo, Citadel, Coptic and Egyptian_Museum

Posted by Cybercsp 08:50 Archived in Egypt Tagged egypt cairo citadel coptic egyptian_museum

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