Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Mummy, Mummy


Before I begin today's recap, I'd like to answer a question about the structure on top of the Great Pyramid. No, it is not a cell tower. According to Ash, it is a steel structure put there in the 1800's by a Scotsman astronomer, who wanted to study how the pyramid was built in relation to the stars.

Now, it  is 6:30 pm and we are stuck in a downtown Cairo traffic jam after having to wait over an hour for our bus to come pick us up at the bazaar. As usual, we have the vehicle with mechanical problems. What else is new? We will be getting dinner sent to the room. Hope we make it there before the food does.

We started the day with the Egyptian Museum. Spending half a day there and we still didn't see everything. The highlights are the contents of King Tutankhamen's tomb and his two sarcophagi  - one fits inside the other like Chinese boxes. Also his burial mask -- a lot of gold.

Another highlight is the mummy room. Greek and Roman mummies as well as Egyptian. They are still not sure to this day exactly what oil they put on he body to protect it from bacteria, before the mummification.
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or Museum of Cairo, in Cairo, Egypt, is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities. It has 120,000 items, with a representative amount on display, the remainder in storerooms. As of October 2015, it is open to the public.
Ash explained the Egyptian statues and some of the hieroglyphics. If the beard is straight down and the left leg is forward - this is a living pharaoh. If the beard is curled and the legs are together - then he was dead.

Time for lunch, then it was off to Mohammad Ali's Mosque built  inside the citadel.  But first we had to get the bus started again. This is not the first trip that this has happened. Apparently, we are mechanically cursed. This mosque is built in Turkish fashion, the inside is quite different. It is covered in alabaster and the graphics are painted - not tiled.
The great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha or Alabaster Mosque (Arabic: مسجد محمد علي, Turkish: Mehmet Ali Paşa Camii) is a mosque situated in the Citadel of Cairo in Egypt and commissioned by Muhammad Ali Pasha between 1830 and 1848.
Situated on the summit of the citadel, this Ottoman mosque, the largest to be built in the first half of the 19th century, is, with its animated silhouette and twin minarets, the most visible mosque in Cairo. The mosque was built in memory of Tusun Pasha,Muhammad Ali's oldest son, who died in 1816.
This great mosque, along with the citadel, is one of the landmarks and tourist attractions of Cairo and is one of the first features to be seen when approaching the city from no matter which side. 
There is a brass clock tower in the middle of the northwestern riwak, which was presented to Muhammad Ali by King Louis Philippe of France in 1845. The clock was reciprocated with the obelisk of Luxor now standing in Place de la Concorde in Paris.
Our last stop was the open air bazaar. Our driver let us off up the hill from the bazaar so that we could walk by. We ran into the funeral of a very famous writer. As we got closer to the bazaar, we saw the crowds and tv crews surrounding the mosque with the funeral.
Heikal authored some 40 books, including a very famous one about Sadat’s turbulent years in office, entitled “Autumn of Fury, The Assassination of Sadat.” Another notable book in Arabic, “Mubarak and His Age,” which came one year after the former Egyptian president was toppled in a popular uprising in 2011, reflected Heikal’s sharply critical view of Mubarak and his long rule over Egypt.
We watched for a while before entering the close streets of the bazaar. Lots of people, sights, sounds, and smells. Ash treated us to a cup of Egyptian coffee in one of the oldest cafe's in Cairo. We sat and chatted not realizing it was getting late. That's when we found out that the bus was going to be late.
The Khan el-Khalili today is mainly occupied by Egyptian rather than foreign merchants and shopholders, but is significantly geared towards tourists. Shops typically sell souvenirs, antiques and jewellery, but many traditional workshops continue to operate in the surrounding area and the goldsmiths' souq, for example, is still important for locals.
In addition to shops, there are several coffeehouses (مقهى maqha ), restaurants, and street food vendors distributed throughout the market. The coffee shops are generally small and quite traditional, serving Arabic coffee and usually offering shisha. One of the oldest and most famous coffeehouses is Fishawi's, established in 1773.
It will be an early night -- flying to Luxor tomorrow and need to get up at 4am. This will be the beginning of our Nile cruise. Ash is coming with us, but he will be taking the over-night train and meeting us in Luxor. Let's hope we all get there when we are supposed to.

Dinner arrived about 10 minutes after we got into our room. Good timing. Ash also sent over a portable wifi router for us to take on the cruise. The blog will continue!

Next time ... Cruisin' the Nile


1 comment:

  1. One of my favorite monsters...the mummy. I first saw the movie "The Mummy" with you Sue on 41road late Sat nights on Zacherley. Always thought mummies were kept in the Pyramids, learn something everyday.

    To Bad about Heikal, saw him interviewed several times during the "Egyptian Spring".

    So far it all looks and sounds very interesting.....keep havin fun.