Our sojourn in Egypt drew to a close today with visits to Cairo's Citadel, featuring the great Mosque of Mohammed Ali (pictured above), with its needle like minarets, then several further mosques before enjoying an excellent lunch at Mena House Hotel.Here's another image of the Citadel (taken with a proper camera rather than with the Blackberry 'phone), begun in C12th and used as a fortified royal residence. More recently it was associated with one Mohammed Ali, who in 1811 feasted 470 leading Mamlukes in the palace, bade them farewell with honours, and had them ambushed nearby. Only one Mamluke survived...by not attending the feast.
This ornate clock, in the Mohammed Ali Mosque, was given by France's King Louis Philippe, in exchange for the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde. It has never worked.
Here's some typically ornate moulding from one of the mosques - there are rather a lot around here, but by now we were becoming a little 'mosqued out'!
The Mena House Hotel has a fine view to the famed Pyramids of Giza - Cheops and Chephren - which we proceeded to visit. Down an ancient causeway lies the (small in comparison but still most impressive) Sphinx, a few metres beyond which a Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet marks the start of the vast city of Cairo. Here's the Sphinx, with the Pyramid of Chephren behind, here clearly sporting its rare intact summit. Its base originally covered 215 square metres, and its weight is estimated at 4,883,000 tons.
It didn't take long to walk around the left hand side of the Pyramid of Chephren, from where, with the sun now behind us, there was a fine view of this pyramid, with the Great Pyramid of Cheops and the city of Cairo behind.
I've not mentioned the propensity of the Egyptians to hassle us into buying things. We expected that sort of hassle and we were not 'disappointed'. We put up with it, smiling at and shaking hands with people before firmly telling them to "Go Away". The Pyramids of Giza site was the worst place to visit in this respect, but I did manage this snap of a retreating camel man after he had been duly banished from hassling us.
The congested streets led, as always, back to Maadi and a nice restaurant at which to celebrate David's birthday. Despite David's absence due to 'Cairo Belly' the rest of us enjoyed the occasion, and we were provided with birthday cake and music to enjoy the moment. Just as well that nobody asked us "which one of you is David, then?"
We returned to base for on-line check-ins and other essential holiday admin. We return home tomorrow, whilst Bill, Alison, Ruth and David have a cruise on the Nile to go to. It's just not fair!
We'll put a few proper photos together for the next posting.... now done - on 4 May 2009! Doesn't time fly!