September 17th, 2014

Cairo – African with Asian eyes

Egypt's capital with a population of over 7 million people, which is considered the crossroads of two continents and two cultures – Asian and African. Africa's largest metropolis, rightly called the "city of a thousand minarets", "Gate of the East" and "Mother of the world." Retaining the old values and a tribute to the benefits of modern civilization, Cairo managed to become one of the most attractive tourist centers in the world.

James Aldridge wrote: "No measurements, which could be approached to Cairo as his own for himself measurement" – and anyone who has ever been in this town, is likely to agree with the words of the great Englishman. Indeed, it is difficult to measure the extraordinary appeal of Cairo, which makes him strive to people from around the world. And no one feels like a stranger in a tight interweaving of crooked streets and pearls of ancient architecture with high-speed highways and ultramodern skyscrapers. Guests of the loquacious, dressed in motley hoodie Cairo give something of themselves.

History of the city goes back to the VII century and associated with the name of the commander Amr ibn al-Asa, and plant new Egypt religion – Islam. In place of his tent camp where doves made a nest (it was considered a good omen for the army), about 642, was founded by a small mosque called Al-Fustat, which translated means "tent". Then she has acquired the Egyptian conventional buildings, and in the area of the former military camp formed a city which was the same name. Gradually it grew, and soon Big Fustat (only when Ahmed Ibn Tulun, he was identified with built near the capital Mizrah – "to shine" – and went into the medieval history under that name) became the economic and political center of Egypt. We now know that he was at the site of Babylon, Egypt, founded at Pharaoh Ramses II (1290-1224 gg. BC. E.), And the area now called Old Cairo.

The official date of foundation of Cairo is considered to be 969, when the rulers of the Fatimid dynasty founded north of Fustat Greater New City El Qahira ("Winner"). Soon came to the capital and the first merchants – Italians, who called it in his own way – Cairo. Long coexisted alongside both cities. During the reign of Cairo Mamluks (1250-1517 gg.) There appear many mausoleums, mosques, schools and palaces (the latter, alas, did not survive, unlike ten much more ancient Christian churches), but already in the XVII century had grown appreciably absorbed Cairo ancient Fustat. Since then the Egyptian capital conducts its autonomous history.

Modern Cairo – this is truly a conglomeration of past and present, a place where everything is concentrated: dotted with ancient hieroglyphics stones side by side with steel and glass, the traditional shirt-Galaba – with classic office clothes, five-star hotels can not oppress modest abode of ordinary Egyptians, and fashion boutiques – shops of artisans … All this and more – Cairo, life-giving Nile divided by two banks and two islands, surrounded by desert sands, forever young and the old city, where the past and the future are intertwined in an indissoluble tangle, hiding nothing from the life of the present, "the pearl of the Middle East."

But no matter how attractive crowded streets buzzing city, scorching rays of the sun sometimes its very difficult to stand (still in summer in the shade at least +36 C!). When it begins to spin bare head, and his ears ringing appears intrusive best to escape the shadow of some landmark. For example, in the majestic Citadel of Salah El Din, which is usually all the tourists and begin a fascinating journey through Cairo. It is the largest bastion created Muslim builders. His laid in the XII century Salah el Din (known to Europeans under the name Saladin), the commander whose forces defeated the Crusaders, and expelled them from Jerusalem. Citadel conceived so that its strong walls covered the entire city. Unfortunately, the full plan has not been completed, but, nevertheless, an irregular polygon fortress occupied territory of 18 hectares along the contours of the hill. Then at the Citadel were barracks and warehouses, palaces and of course the mosque. Now with them side by side museums: military, police, royal carriages and … physical evidence, which presents a considerable collection of antiquities confiscated from smugglers eager for antiques. And with a few on the walls of the Citadel of equipped lookouts wonderful panorama of Cairo, which glisten clear spots numerous minarets.

Overall, in more than 300 mosques. To see one of the most famous, do not even need to leave the Citadel. In the center of it is a huge mosque with a domed roof and two graceful minarets, ascends over Cairo. It was built in