Photographer's Note

This posting is part of my travelogue to Egypt and Israel.

The mosque of Ibn Tulun is one of the largest and oldest mosques in Egypt, completed in the year 879 AD. The mosque has a large courtyard with its fountain in the middle. A spiral minaret adjacent to the mosque is the highlight of the location, as visitors can climb the minaret and have excellent views of the city. This shot was taken on top of the minaret.

Visiting this mosque was a classic example of how tourists are treated in Egypt. First, to arrive at the mosque we had to negotiate a cab ride, that ended up being much more expensive than what a local would pay. The ride to the mosque from Saladin's Citadel was through some narrow streets that showcased some of the poverty in Cairo. As I mentioned in previous posts, it was a religious holiday when families sacrificed animals for the feast. In those narrow streets, we could see people butchering and cleaning the animals in front of the houses, and people drying hides for sale. Arriving at the mosque, we were told to wear shoe covers (instead of traditionally removing our shoes, which we tried but the people at the mosque insisted we use the shoe cover). For the shoe covers, they asked for donations to the mosque (I've heard this request before, but somehow imagine that the mosque only receives a small portion of such donation). After visiting the mosque, we decided to climb the minaret, and at the minaret a random person appeared telling us that the minaret was about to close, but he would allow us to go up. Naturally, he also asked for a tip after we climbed down the minaret.

It is sad that unemployment is high in Cairo, and the political situation doesn't help, but one has to wonder if that is justification for such behavior.

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Additional Photos by Alfredo Wang (alfhwa) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 34 W: 0 N: 31] (463)
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