After Greece we headed to Cairo. As will be the theme with all the posts from this winter break, we continued to see old stuff. Cairo is a pretty massive city and we had a limited amount of time, so I booked a driver and guide to show us around. The first day we spent checking out some mosques, the coptic quarter and the Khan el-Khalili souk(market). Our tour guide (Zeina) turned out to be awesome. She definitely knew her stuff and is in the process of finishing up her thesis on the role of Jewish women in Greek and Roman Cairo. It was nice to have her fill in our gaps of Egyptian history and to explain the cultural nuances you don’t get from a book. She also provided that added bonus of her perspective on modern day Egypt and life after the revolution.
While she took us around the Islamic area of old Cairo and the Coptic Quarter it was interesting to see how various religions have used the same sacred sites and converted them to serve their own purposes. One of the more interesting churches we visited claims to have been the house of Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus. This was a first for Caitlin and I as we both found it slightly surreal to think that Jesus had been there as a baby.
The second day we visited the pyramids in Giza, Dashur and Saqqara. It provided us a chance to see the different years that pyramids were built and how they changed throughout the course of history. One of the highlights was getting to go into the Great Pyramid of Giza. I have a vivid memory of my 3rd grade teacher telling me she had climbed inside the Pyramid, but as I planned this trip I had assumed that this was no longer open to the public. To my amazement it wasn’t as cramped as I feared it might be. While we had to bend over at times, there was no need to crawl.
I’ll let the pictures do the rest of the explaining. Each caption explains a bit more about our two days in Cairo so click on the images for more information.