Religion in the Morning...History in the Afternoon

Trip Start Dec 18, 2010
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Trip End Jan 04, 2011


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Flag of Egypt  ,
Thursday, December 30, 2010

Our final day in Cairo. Up and had the usual great breakfast. Met our guide Heba in the lobby. We headed first to Coptic Cairo, the center of Christianity in Cairo. Didn't know there were many Christians in Cairo? Well me neither. Apparently all of Egypt was Christian from the first through the seventh century...I did not know that. They have a rich Christian tradition. They are proud that Mary and Joseph fled to Egypt from Israel when Herrod slaughtered the the infants of the Jews when he heard a powerful king had been born. Then the Apostle Mark came to Egypt to bring Christianity in 50 AD. The Egyptians were very receptive to Christianity. We visited what they call "The Hanging Church" dating back to the late 4th and early 5th centuries. It is called the Hanging Church because it was built 40 feet above ground on top of south gate of a former Roman fortress.

Then we went to the Church of St. Sergius where it is said to have been the cave where Jesus, Mary and Joseph stayed during their two-year exile in Egypt.

Next, we went to the oldest Jewish Synagogue in Egypt (now a museum) called Ben Ezra. Beautiful work inside. This was suppose to be the place where the Pharo's daughter found Moses in the reeds and where later, Mary drew water.

Then, it was on to The Citadel, (built in 1176) and home of the beautiful Alabaster Mosque built by Mohammed Ali (see, you thought he was just a boxer...sorry, different guy!) in 1830.

Took care of all three major religions in one morning!

Then we spent some time in the Khalili Bazar...boy, those guys bug you as you walk by. Ignore them, ignore them, ignore them! We did buy a few things.

The afternoon started with lunch in a recently opened cafe inside the Cairo Museum. Then we spent two and a half hours inside a museum that we were told if you looked for one minute at every item in the museum it would take you NINE months! Highlights were King Tut's mask, and everything else (that wasn't on loan) that was found by Howard Carter in 1922. Amazing what all he found. We also went into the mummy room and saw about a dozen mummies...very interesting. Heba took us from Old Kingdom to the Middle Kingdom and finally the New Kingdom...30 dynasties. What they did, how the did it and how much remains is simply incredible.

Did I tell you they have metal detectors at most tourist sites? Yep...been frisked twice! Forgot my cell phone once and the other was Blistex...they were nice about it.

We got dropped off near a restaurant Heba suggested, but they didn't have Koshari on the menu, and I wanted some, so we walked to Terek, a few blocks away...a place featured on Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" and only serves Koshari. Fun to watch them make it so fast! Very cool. Got it to go...got a few breakfast rolls for tomorrow...our guide will meet us at 2:30 am for a 4:30 am flight...are you kidding me? Very typical in Egypt. Walked back to the hotel and ate our Koshari with a beer and soft drinks in one of the bar/lounges and went to the room to blog and bed!

Cairo was great, but the traffic was scary as H-E-Double Hockey Sticks (as Radar would say)!

Dave
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