A Day to Remember in Egypt 1.9 - Cairo

After a day to ourselves, we geared up for a day of sightseeing with our private tour guide.  Our first stop took us to the Saladin Citadel which surrounds the Mosque of Muhammad Ali.  This proved to be a fitting start to the day as the hilltop views from the mosque allowed us to take in Cairo's urban expanse all at once.  

As they were built upon a sizable hilltop, the Saladin Citadel and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali are imposing figures along the Cairo skyline.  Made in part with alabaster, the mosque gave off an almost pearly luster in the morning sunlight.    

After admiring our fill of Turkish architecture and aerial views of the city, we came down to the Khan al-Khalili Souq again.  Except this morning, we found the market streets mostly deserted, save a few school girls and boys.  Ambling through the streets, we looked down endless alleys and admired the intricately decorated buildings along the way.   

We stopped for a quick run through the Egyptian Textile Museum, which was just as interesting and far more extensive than I had hoped.  With such a tight schedule, we couldn't spend as much time there as I would have liked but promised myself to visit again someday.  We then did a little more shopping within the souq and enjoyed a very Egyptian lunch before hurrying off to our next destination.

In the afternoon, we explored "Coptic Cairo" where we visited a number of famous Coptic churches and historical sites.  Among them, we peered down into the Babylon Fortress and admired the colorful mosaics outside of the Hanging Church.

In the late afternoon we said goodbye to Coptic Cairo and hurried over to the famous Egyptian Museum.  This is quite possibly the only museum I've found to be more overwhelming than the Met in NYC.  As one can expect, the sheer volume of artifacts held within and around this museum is mind blowing... and it appears as though the museum is having trouble keeping up, as many of the sites are poorly labeled and displayed (if at all), giving the museum more of a warehouse feel.  Nevertheless, this is not to say that the artifacts themselves are any less enthralling.  Highlights of our visit included the Royal Mummies Hall and the Tutankhamun Galleries.  I was particularly taken with the jewelry extracted from King Tut's tomb and am woeful that cameras weren't allowed.  Though I'm pretty convinced that no amount of my photographic prowess would do justice to how spectacular each piece looks in person.  There's just no substitute to being there in person!    


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