Sunday, January 25, 2009

Fatimid Walk

It was such a pleasure to be able to attend a PTP walk again (Its been over a year since I could last attend a walk) yesterday.

As added bonus, my husband was able to come along too and he too got to see the beauty and history of Islamic Cairo through Camel's eyes.

We started at Bab Zuwayla (entry 15LE for foreigners, 1LE for Egyptians) where the gate itself was built by the Fatimids, but the minarets were added about 300 years later. We climbed up the gate and some PTPians even climbed up the minarets. The view from here is lovely. Unfortunately today was not a very clear day, so it was hard to take long range pictures of the skyline.

Our next stop was at the Fakhahini mosque where we heard the stories behind Al Hakim the "eccentric" 3rd Caliph in Egypt.

We then crossed the road to reach the Mausoleum of Al Saleh Nagm ad Din Ayyub which is built on the site of a Fatimid palace - Beit Al Qasreen (which lent its name to one of the books from the Naguib Mahfouz trilogy).

Most PTPians then headed back for some refreshments, but since my husband had come to the area after so long, the 2 of us decided to carry on walking down Sharia al Muizz ud Din towards the Northern Gates.

We looked for some of the other Fatimid monuments that were mentioned during the presentation. We identified the Al Aqmar mosque and Al Hakim mosque before arriving at the Northern wall.


We also wandered into the Beit al Sihaymi which is a beautiful Ottoman house (actually 2 houses), not as well furnished as the Gayer Anderson museum, but some rooms are semi furnished.
We had a wonderful time. The weather was comfortable for walking, the pace relaxed, we met old friends, made new ones, learned a lot, ate roasted batatas, some wonderful local bread stuffed with dates(boreik - sometimes also stuffed with cheese) and some interesting pink and white sweets (moz halawa) and fell in love all over again with Islamic Cairo.

On another note, I would also recommend that you visit the Bein Al Qasreen area in the evening when it is all lit up. It transforms into something mystical in its beauty.

1 comment:

Amy said...

I was just there last week...its magical isnt it!

where is Bein Al Qasreen though?

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