Two Weeks in Egypt - October 2012

Day Four: The old Citadel and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali

Today we had some time in Cairo to negotiate the clogged roads. We drove across the city to visit the Egyptian Museum and its priceless collection of artifacts (no cameras allowed), and then up to the high point of the Saladin Citadel and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. Later in the day we headed north to the coast and Alexandria.

With all this driving across Cairo we gained a good impression of the city, its people and its chaos. Despite the recent uprising and interim government, most people were still going about their business - whatever that was! There is a separate page showing life in Cairo as seen from the windows of our tour bus.

The Medieval Saladin Citadel and the Mosque of Mohammed Ali

High on the highest hill over Cairo lies the Citadel, built to defend Cairo from the Crusades in 1176-1183 AD. Inside the Citadel lies the large Mosque of Mohammed Ali, built between 1828 and 1848.

The mosque and Citadel in the distance
Negotiating the traffic
The entrance to the Citadel
Tour buses in the car park
The walls built around the natural rock outcrop
More of the wall
and the round towers.
Another of the towers
The mosque within the walls,
getting closer within the Citadel
The entrance to the Mosque.
The green dome on an adjacent mosque.
Calcite nodules in the limestone on the steps
Lions surrounding the fountain outside the mosque.
Looking out towards Cairo.
Palm trees and towers
The colonnade along the side of the mosque
Inside the columns.
The columns along the side of the courtyard.
The courtyard.
Staircase and pulpit inside the mosque.
Another staircase.
View inside the mosque
One of the lights.
Lights and columns inside
Looking through the door of the courtyard
Panorama taken from the terrace overlooking Cairo.

Off to Alexandria

From the Citadel we headed north to Alexandria. It took over 3 hours, including a stop for refreshments at the half way point. At one point, the bus was stopped at a "checkpoint" where men in police uniforms told the driver he had been speeding and would need to pay a fine of about $US200. After some animated discussion, and resigned looks from our guide, the money was paid and off we went. I asked later about the speed limit for buses on that road - 100 kph. No wonder the driver was annoyed. I had been tracking our progress using a GPS app on my iPad and it showed we had been doing exactly 98 kph for some time! Even the Police here are not being paid regularly, so have to resort to other means of income.

Soon the sun dropped from the sky and we had another brilliant, if hazy sunset.

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Cairo as seen from the bus