Islamic Cairo – City of 1,000 Minarets – Egypt
Adult £180 / Child £175
Private 1 day Tour only – Ask Availability
Egyptian Visa Needed
Put on your walking shoes and get ready to see one of the ancient sides of Cairo.
Cairo itself is old and exists in the cradle of civilization – imagine going to the oldest part of this oldest city. The back alleys, the narrow, winding streets, the arches, the myriad old mosques. Walking through the narrow alleys of Old Cairo can truly take you back in time to the early middle ages. The sights and smells seem like something from the “One Thousand and One Nights” the architecture is unspoiled by insertions of modern glass facades, the bazaar merchants still display their wares and spices on the sidewalks, and goods are still delivered by carts hauled by horses or, more often, by donkeys.
Islamic Cairo is not more or less Islamic than the rest of the city, but it’s the area of the city which holds the most, the greatest and the most famous Islamic monuments. Many of these raised by the Fatimid caliphs who founded the city Cairo (preceded by Fustat or Old Cairo). and it is filled with Ottoman architecture, the Mohamed Ali Mosque. Shria El-Moez beside El-Hussein mosque is among the unique places in the world. This “open” museum street holds around 400 monuments from The Mamluk and Fatimid Islamic era. It’s hard to describe the grandeur of the Mosques – exquisite in detail! You will never see places like this in other parts of the world. Unlike Islamic quarters in other cities this neighborhood is something unique. It is part of an urban area that has been constantly inhabited for thousands of years and flourished 1000 years ago during Mamluk rule. it was the center of a Sultanate that was a super power in its time, people, often quite poor, continue to live by historic monuments and mosques. A huge, bustling center of worship, trade, shopping and commuting; enjoy the different culture – breath in and taste the Arabic lifestyle.
Mohammed Ali Mosque
Designed by Greek architect Yussuf Bushnaq, the Mohammad Ali (Alabaster) Mosque in the Citadel was begun in 1830 (finished in 1857) in the Ottoman style by Mohammad Ali Pasha, ruler of Egypt, and founder of the country’s last dynasty of Khedives and kings. The mosque is the Tomb of Mohammed Ali and is also known as the Alabaster Mosque because of the extensive use of this fine material from Beni Suef. It’s two slender 270 foot minarets are unusual for Cairo. From the arcade courtyard, visitors have a magnificent view across the city to the pyramids in Giza. Just off the courtyard is the vast prayer hall with an Ottoman style dome which is 170 feet above. The parapet to the southwest offers a good view of the Sultan Hassan and Ibn Tulun Mosques and of Cairo itself.
Khan el -Khalili market was built in 1382 by Emir Djaharks el-Khalili, it was originally a hub for travelling traders in the Fatimid era. Today, it’s the most visited tourist market in Egypt, almost any kind of souvenir can be bought here, but also quality produce is still to be found. Venture out of the tourist market and you’ll find bustling local trade, among other things you’ll find Islamic clothes, scarves, belly dancing equipment, furniture, water-pipes and of course gold, silver & jewels. Haggling is the rule of the day.
One should dress appropriately for sightseeing in Cairo. Appropriate clothing which will be acceptable in mosques, with little skin showing and particularly not legs & shoulders. Wear comfortable shoes that can easily be removed.