Old Cairo, Cairo
I think it’s better to get acquainted with Old Cairo before visiting Islamic Cairo and modern city. We began our journey into Cairo from Old Cairo or Christian Cairo. It has such a name because it is considered to be the oldest part of Cairo. In fact, it predates what we know now as Cairo. Later it became a Christian stronghold, with about 20 churches built within an area of three square kilometers. Nowadays there are only six Coptic and Greek Churches, the Orthodox Convent and the Synagogue remaining.
There is much of interest to see in the southern district of Old Cairo, on the right bank of the Nile opposite the south end of the island of Roda. The Qasr el-Shama quarter, mainly inhabited by Christians is situated there. It lies within the walls (still partly preserved) of the so-called Roman fortress of Babylon.
I advise you to visit the Hanging Church, St. George Church of the Greek Orthodox Convent, St Barbara Church, Church of St. George and Abu Serga, the Church of the Holy Virgin, Ben Ezra Synagogue and the Coptic Museum.
At the fifth pic you may see Old Cairo from the Google Earth
There are a couple of buildings in Old Cairo which really look very old. I cannot help but think if these were built more than 100 years ago.
Two of my photos have signs of a bazaar, a museum, papyrus, and perfume. I took the pictures when I was in the city of Giza touring the pyramids and sphinx. These buildings catches my attention and took a shot. Are they still operational, I asked? No one heard me. Maybe you know if it does. Let me know! Well, I can see clothesline on the rooftop so I concluded people lives there.
The other three photos were taken when I was waiting for our tour guide outside the Cairo Museum in front of a Souvenir Shop. I took notice of the highrise buildings just on the other side of the fence. Curious, curious, curious.
Can't help but think of checking all these buildings next time I visit Cairo. Why not? Could already be part of the Egyptian history!
Just to the south of the modern city's location are the ruins of Memphis, which was the capital of Ancient Egypt and was founded in around 3100 BC by Menes of Tanis after he had united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt. The first settlement on the location of modern Cairo was a Roman fort, known as Babylon Fort, built about AD 150, built near the settlement known as Babylon-in-Egypt. A small town mostly of Coptic Christians slowly grew around the fort. Arab invaders, lead by Amr Ibn-el-As, took the fort town in 642 and also established their army in the location, rebuilding its defenses. The settlement grew into a small city. The North African Shiite Fatimid Dynasty conquered Egypt in 972 and built a new capital, Al-Mansureya, north of the old settlement. Their leader, Al-Muez Ledin-Ellah, renamed the city Al-Qahirah . The Al-Azhar mosque was founded the same year, and along with its accompanying university it made Cairo a centre of learning and philosophy. The school remains a major center for Islamic study today. The Seljuks captured Cairo in the mid 1100s, and Saladin and his successors expanded the city further, including the construction of its massive citadel. It is believed that Cairo was the largest city in the world from 1315 to 1348. But power was shifting from the Arab world north to the Turks and Europeans. The city was taken by the Ottoman Empire under Selim I in 1517, but in the 17th and 18th centuries the ruling Mameluks returned to power as nominal vassals to the Ottoman Sultan. Napoleon conquered Egypt in 1798, and Cairo was quickly surrendered to him by its Mameluk rulers. Napoleon left Egypt after his fleet was destroyed at the Battle of Aboukir Bay in August 1798, leaving General Kléber in charge. Kléber was assassinated in 1800 and the three-year French occupation had little lasting effect.
Fondest memory: Today, Greater Cairo encompasses various historic towns and modern districts into one of the largest metropoles in the world. A journey through Cairo is a virtual time travel: from the Pyramids, Saladin's Citadel, the Virgin Mary's Tree, the Sphinx, and Ancient Heliopolis, to Al-Azhar, the Mosque of Amr, Saqqara, the Hanging Church, and the Cairo Tower.She is the capital of Egypt, and indeed her history is carefully intertwinted with that of the country.
THE COPTIC MUSEUM
Located in Old Cairo, surrounded by narrow old streets (and shady too!!), near Mar Girgis metro station. Open 9a.m.-4p.m. Entrance fee LE16 for tourists.
Located within the old Roman Fortress of Babylon, this museum holds an impressive collections of artifacts dating back to the early Christian times (1st - 7th centuries). Step outside to admire and visit the nearby churches.
Favorite thing: A significant minority in Egypt belongs to the Coptic Church. They have several churches and they get vandalized on occasion. You can spot a Coptic Christian by the small tatoo of a cross on the wrist.