Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cairo beyond the Pharoahs

"It’s a great oddity. Millions of tourists go to Cairo, and almost all of them take the same route, visiting only the ancient relics at Giza and in the Egyptian Museum. But Cairo was not a city of the ancient Egyptians. The city was founded by the Copts as Babylon — one theory holds that its name has nothing to do with the biblical city, but rather Bab il-On, the Gate of On. After the Arab conquest in 641, it became perhaps the greatest Islamic city in the world.
Its mosques and monuments are preserved as far back as the flood-recording Nilometer of 861 and the mosque of Ibn Tulun, built in 879. There are architectural treasures from almost every historical period since then, including a supreme run of Mamluk architecture, the dynasty which ruled between 1250 and 1517. It’s a cornucopia that compares with treasures from the Roman Baroque, or the Florentine Renaissance."
See the above page for the full story

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