Sunday, October 07, 2007

A walk from Khan El Khalili to the North Wall

I loved opening my mail this morning! Look what a good friend sent me!

With instructions - print, shred, and add milk!

print shred and add milk.jpg

I have been chuckling for hours!

We went for a walk yesterday. Cairo is cooling down now and it is bearable to walk longer distances, and pleasant to meander. Mind you - the temperature did not really stop me going out before, but there was a sense of girding up my loins and bracing myself as I walked into the wall of heat. There is nothing elegant about being sweaty and I hate it.

The papers, for some time, have been printing stories about 'Thoroughfare' - a walk which many of us have been doing for ages, but which Cairo has been putting real work into. the road has been dug up completely, new drains inserted, and repaved! Usually in Cairo these things get about halfway through and stay that way so for the next few years people are avoiding large mountains of earth which become the dumping ground for garbage.

Anyway, we took the morning to have a look. It was inferred that lots of things which have been closed all of the time I have been here are now open. Well - most of them weren't, though they are undoubtedly cleaner and clearer to look at the outside. I have been looking forward to such to the Textile Museum, but now it seems that there will be no hope - it is still firmly closed for reconstruction and when I complained that they had had three years the girl smiled and said "Maybe another two?"

Anyway - this is a photo essay! Long essay - longish walk and I could not decide what to cut out! I cannot believe I have not even talked about Libya and Tunisia either!

IMG_9063.JPGIt is early, and a Friday morning, and most of the shops are still closed in Ramadan at 9.30am

IMG_9058.JPGThis door was on an old Wikalat behind the little gold souk off to the side of the main walk. We were wandering down quiet alleys, delighting in the fact that people were few and those out still looked sleepy. These little doors inside a big one allowed camels to be kept inside and people to move in and out.

IMG_9065.JPGA junk shop was putting out is treasures, and I loved the little blue bedhead. Oddly enough we saw another one later.

IMG_9066.JPGI liked the pattern in this grill on the mosque at the beginning of the walk. I know swastikas have such unfortunate connotations now - but liked the way they reverse in this pattern. Note the name of Allah repeated in the centre.

IMG_9068.JPGAnother grill, with the bars plastic wrapped, Christo style!

IMG_9074.JPGAnd a really stunning door, brass clad. This mosque was closed. I have heard it is the most beautiful of all - the most spectacular internal space - so I have my fingers crossed that the two weeks they assured us was the opening date will not stretch into six months.


This is the minaret for the Mosque, madrasa and mausoleum mentioned above - Al-Nasir Mohamed (built 1304). The detail is the little bit to the right of the base - simply blown up from a shot I took from the other side of the road and about three storeys lower! It is stunning carved fret-work.


Door of the next mosque and a detail - to show the beautiful silver inlay

IMG_9083.JPG ...the shelter over the pool

IMG_9085.JPG .. and another beautiful door off the courtyard

IMG_9086.JPG...lamps and shadows

IMG_9090.JPG...the window over the door

IMG_9099.JPG...looking out from inside

IMG_9096.JPG...and up!

IMG_9103.JPG...lamps in the entrance


Tired, and Ramadan is hard - detail is just enlarged from the original

IMG_9106.JPGThe sabil-kuttub where the street divides - these beautiful buildings are distinctive for Old Islamic Cairo - the well below, the school for young children above. Mothers can bring their children and take water for the home, then return to collect them and another load of water.


Big door to a large wikalet, now mostly gone - and a detail



IMG_9168.JPG...home among the onions


Copper tips for minarets, and blood on the wall from the last Eid


Hessian bags from the supplier



IMG_9166.JPGThe tinsmiths


IMG_9172.JPGIMG_9173.JPG...people and produce


IMG_9191.JPG...sweet potato roaster and onions


and still more onions


A tiny gem of a Fatimid Mosque - note the curling grapes and leaves on the text, and these shapes are distinctive for Fatimids.


Because I liked the compositions


More junk


Sidecar in front of another sabil-khuttub and shadows on stone


Stacked cardboard boxes for shoes




Doors -and windows

That is it for now. In the interests of all of us I edited - a lot - from the 187 photos I took. It is so hard to take a bad photograph in Cairo. Well done if you made it this far.


Blogger Quilt Pixie said...

fascinating pics.... the way you capture people in everyday life is a real gift.

5:30 am  
Blogger Lazy Gal Tonya said...

absolutely gorgeous photos. I love the doors and ironwork in particular, and that last shot with blue... marvelous. Poor Bob, that man really is devoted to his breakfast cereal - bleck.

4:05 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jenny. Thank you very much for creating this blog. I am an avid reader and enjoy your stories and descriptions very much. Dorothy in Canberra.

7:02 pm  
Anonymous Lora said...

Thanks for sharing your photos of Cairo. I especially love the veggie vendors and the last three photos of boarded windows.
All best,
Santa Babara, CA

12:52 pm  
Blogger Lindi said...

Thank you, Jenny, for the latest posts. I love reading about your adventures and viewing your beautiful and interesting photos.
If you ever find a way to turn your blog into a book, perhaps you would consider publishing it. I'm sure lots of us would love to buy a copy!

2:22 pm  
Blogger Cairogal said...

Gorgeous shots, Jenny. I loved the Khan during Ramadan...getting in just before the crowds do.

4:35 am  
Blogger Granny Fran said...

Thank you for sharing your fantastic photos of Cairo. You have a great eye.

9:04 am  
Blogger Willa said...

Great photos and the WheatBix thing is a scream. They sound tasty but a big bug on the box would make me pass them by..ROFL. And my son in law is an entomologist!

8:48 am  
Blogger PQuilts said...

Amazing photos, Jenny. Thank you for posting them. I especially love [most of] the repetitious patterns on walls and gates.

I'll be taking the "Arabesque" class from you in Houston next month, and I'm looking forward to it even more after seeing your photos!

3:10 am  
Blogger Nefert-IviĀ® said...

I have just found your blog. I like your style!. Each detail is special cos it is not easy to catch them by natural. You know how to look!.
Your new spanish fan in Cairo,

6:52 pm  
Anonymous Hemalatha said...

Hi Jenny,
stumbled upon your page as i was trying to findout everything and anything of cairo.
few of my colleagues are egyptians but never got chance to find out on such subjects as you have posted.


5:14 pm  
Blogger rosemary said...

You are an artist with the camera, Jenny. Thanks for your generosity in posting so many wonderful photos. Rosemary Claus-Gray

10:38 am  
Blogger Lee said...

Hi Jenny, I really enjoyed your blog. i am a quilter (learner) from Shepparton Vic. and my husband and I are coming to Egypt and Jordan injanuary for a holiday. We have a ocuple of days on our own in Egypt - what do you suggest we see? I would be also interested in buying some fabric - can you suggest anywhere. Thanks and keep up the good work. Regards Lee

9:56 pm  
Blogger Nancy from PE said...

What wonderful photos. Can just imagine you on your walk, You seem to see a pattern in most things you see.

7:15 pm  
Blogger Jane said...

Loved the pictorial walk and your superb pictorial eye. What a wonderful age to live in when we can have digital results back so quickly.
I am salivating at the thought of that sweet potato roaster.
My Dentist is from Cairo originally.
aka Glenice

12:58 am  
Blogger Barb said...

totally cool shots!


10:58 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love reading this blog and looking at the photos. I recently holidayed in Egypt and really enjoyed my time spent there. A highlight was visiting the tentmakers bazaar and talking to the people-your name came up a lot. Are you bringing any of their out to Australia again?

9:15 pm  

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