Sunday, July 29, 2007

The Citadel

Mosque of Sulayman Pasha courtyard

Muhammed Ali Mosque central courtyard (below)

Helmet from the Police Museum

Saturday we went to the Citadel for our first visit. Arriving just before 10:00 AM there were buses, but no real crowds. About 15 minutes after arriving, the sweat started to pour down drenching pretty much every piece of clothing. Water and other drinks, including non-alcoholic beer, are available from kiosks situated near the various sights. Fortunately someone thought of also strategically setting up trash containers and ashtrays.

We each took a camera and I packed several bandannas. I had read there was a surcharge for cameras - no, at least, not on this day. The cost was 120 Egyptian Pounds for three people. As usual security requires you go through pretty much the same steps you do when flying, i.e. scanned bags and metal detector entrances.

The Citadel is what I would call enormous. You could spend a whole day there, or at least a good part of the day, depending on weather. The prison cells were open, contrary to another post I read on a travel site. Had it not been so hot, we might have stayed longer, but when we arrived home around 1:00 PM or so, the digital thermometer on our back porch registered at 98 degrees, in the shade. Sure enough, as the guidebooks say, there is a wonderful breeze at the Citadel, but it took several hours for my hair to dry after I returned home.

Numerous sites exist inside the compound, including the Muhammed Ali Mosque and the Mosque of Sulayman Pasha, a Police Museum, Military Museum, jail cells, a view of Cairo, which would've been great if it had not been so smoggy. And while you could spend a great deal of time in amazement at a few sites, some are hardly worth the bother. Strangely enough, several of the workers must have been bored. A policeman toured us through the police museum in the little English he knew and the doorman at the Mosque of Sulayman Pasha was extremely informative and helpful, taking us to the best photo areas of the central courtyard and telling us all about the Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders topping off the columns of varietal stones. Truly amazing and given his little knowledge of English, he knew exactly what to say to catch our interest. This smallish mosque is amazing - all the detail, cultures and time periods that went into building it, are a story alone. Needless to say, he spotted us a mile away!

I'd like to return to spend some more time at both the mosques and go to the Military Museum, which we decided to skip, since we were literally drenched and exhausted. Several buildings were undergoing renovation and new tiles were being laid around the Mosque of Muhammed Ali.

Next stop, Giza - again!

As usual trash and junk persist to dominate the sites. An Italian restaurant, food and drink kiosks, souvenir shops abound. Actually the souvenir shop in this photo is situated in an excellent place to sit, and put your shoes back on after visiting the Muhammed Ali Mosque.

Lady in the photo on the left is dressed "inappropriately" and would have to don one of the green Abayas seen in the photo on the right (she walked right in front of my beautiful photo, mucking it up with her ass).

Let me add, that the Citadel is quite liberal in this respect. The man in the photo on the right (wearing shorts) would've gotten bitch slapped by the monks at
Meteora for attempting to go into the monastery in such attire. Photo on the left is outside the Muhammed Ali Mosque and the photo on the right is inside the central courtyard of the mosque.

Airplane from the Military Museum, outdoor exhibit.

More pics here.

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