Museum, Pyramids, Mosque, Khan Al Khaili .. so much to see so little time!
We started our day by visiting the famous Egyptian Museum early in the morning. The museum is large with over 100 halls filled with artifacts of Pharaonic era covering 5,000 years of history from the prehistoric through the Roman periods.It’s almost difficult to see the whole museum and really appreciate in a day or two.
But within the limited time available the must see are King Tutankhamun gallery – which is filled with treasure including the iconic mask made in gold weighing approx.11kgs, golden coffin and many other treasures. The amount of wealth displayed is truly staggering. Next the Royal Mummies Hall – which has mummies of kings and queen. It is definitely something to see 5,000 year old mummies. I had all mixed up feelings inside me (makes you think, wonder, fear!!!). And on the ground floor just as you enter don’t forget to awe in wonder at the huge iconic statue of King and Queen.
• There are long lines at the entrance of the museum and at the gallery of Tutankhamun.
• There is additional admission ticket to the Royal Hall of Mummies.
• Photography is not allowed inside so it’s for your eyes only.
Next on the list was Cairo Mosque also known as Mosque of Muhammad Ali in Islamic Cairo. It is one of the touristic mosques meaning open to public. It is beautiful mosque built around 1830 by Turkish Architects for the then King Muhammad Ali. It sits on a high vantage point offering views of the Cairo city. It’s a huge mosque with embellished ceiling, large prayer halls, decorated corridors and hallways, which are impressive.
Then towards evening we went to Khan-al-khalil market, which is a major souk/ bazaar. Everything from souvenirs, antiques, jewellery, perfumes, gold, papyrus, egyptian art, belly dancing accessories etc is found here. There are many local eatery and street food vendors where locals and tourists sit down to enjoy evening shish /arabic coffee.
The bazar was colourful with all the displays but cluttered with narrow alleys & the bustling crowd. We entered the market walked around a few lanes but were overwhelmed with the constant chattering and pestering by the vendors asking us to buy things. We took a few clicks and left this place. Honestly, I could not judge if the vendors were asking for a fair price and haggling did not seem like a simple process so we left without shopping.
Then we were headed to Railway station to board a overnight train to Aswan but our last stop was a Papyrus Institute, where we took a tour of the place and shopped here. Some of the art displayed here was really brilliant.
• We stayed three nights and two days in Cairo at Cairo Pyramid Parks Hotel (which was good and reasonable).
• We visited the Giza pyramids (please read my blog entry 'Giza Pyramids & Sphinx' for review & 'From Step pyramid to Giza pyramid' for some philosophy .)
• On day 2 in Cairo we took half day trip to Memphis & Saqqara.
• We were always accompanied by a guide and went around the city in a private car. The guide even waited with us at the railway station and ensured we boarded the train etc. Only later did I realize that Egypt is a place where you need help, doing anything alone is not that safe (specially for women).
• Please read the latest travel & tourism advise issued on the country you want to travel to.
Crowded crosswords in Cairo
An ancient RED car