egypt
Cairo
Egyptian Museum - This historic museum in downtown Cairo is filled with the treasures of ancient Egypt. A new huge archaeological museum, Grand Egyptian Museum, is being built in Giza to house the collection. Grand Egyptian Museum is scheduled to open in 2020. Although the Egyptian Museum is open, some artifacts may not be on display.
The Tutankhamun collection is boggling, all that gold. Aside from the big pieces, the funerary jewelry is to die for. We all wanted cobra earrings or other mummy accessories.
Once you've looked at the Tutankhamun stuff, cruise over to the royal mummies. In this exhibit, more than a dozen mummies have been unwrapped so you can see their faces. The royal mummies are amazing - your kids may be enthralled or scared, or both.
Don't miss the gallery with statues of our favorite lady pharaoh, Hatshepsut, with lovely face, almond-shaped eyes and fascinating smile.
Islamic Cairo - Cairo is much more than the ancient antiquities. It is a great capital of Islamic culture. Hop a taxi to the Khan al Khalili bazaar. This area is touristy but the teeming bazaar is a lot of fun. At the Khan al Khalili you can buy lovely gold and silver jewelry.
If you are more adventurous, from the Khan al Khalili, take a walk down the Sharia al-Muizz to the Bab Zwayla gate. Walking down the Sharia al-Muizz, the life of the bazaar is timeless, especially as light filters through the the covered roof over what what once the Silk Bazaar. Today the street is crowded with small trucks, horse carts, school kids in blue and white uniforms, ladies dressed in black from head to toe, vendors selling all kinds of textiles, fruits, vegetables, spices, household goods etc.
Take an excursion to the Citadel, the magnificent but crumbling fortress founded by Saladin. Within the walls, visit the extravagant Mohammed Ali Mosque - the chandelier was the biggest I've ever seen - and don't miss the clock in the courtyard. Mohammed Ali traded the obelisk from Luxor (which now stands in the Place de Concorde in Paris) for this clock that never worked.
Take a river taxi - Get out on the Nile in a river taxi. You can pick them up from the Maspero dock. Take a short hop north towards Roda Island and Coptic Cairo.
Or, for a great day trip, take the 1 ½ hour ride south to Qanatar. Qanatar is an island in the Nile with picnicking Cairenes, small amusement parks with bumper cars and ferris wheels and some amazing Victorian stone bridges and locks. To return to Cairo, hop on a taxi or take a minibus.
Coptic Cairo (Old Cairo) – This neighborhood is famous for its ancient Coptic Christian churches.
According to the Bible, after the birth of Jesus, Joseph had a dream, to leave Bethlehem and go to Egypt to escape King Herod. The Holy Family is said to have rested in Old Cairo while in Egypt.
The Hanging Church (St. Mary's Church) – One of the oldest churches in Egypt, before the entrance to the church are mosaics portraying the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt.
Inside, the church is a beautifully carved screen inlaid with precious woods and ivory, on the walls are icons, some over a 1,000 years old, in the high rounded ceiling, exposed wooden timbers look like a giant upside down boat (kids' description).
Tip: The name "Hanging Church" comes from the fact the ancient 3rd century church was built, "suspended," over an existing Roman fortress – you climb up stairs to go inside the church.
Coptic Museum – The museum has an interesting collection of ancient artifacts from daily life, such as a litter for transporting a bride, textiles with mythical creatures, bronze helmets, household pots from the 3rd century.
Cairo Tower - The Cairo Tower, a tall 60ties concrete tower with a revolving restaurant, is like the Space Needle in Seattle. You ride up the elevator, jammed in with other Egyptian families riding to the top. From the observation deck and revolving restaurant, the view of the Nile and Cairo extends over the medieval city to the east and the desert to the west.
As a bonus, a young man in ancient Egyptian dress came by our table and used his computer program to produce a "Pharaonic Personal Analysis" for each of us. For a small fee, we received a sheet of imitation papyrus with each name in Egyptian hieroglyphics and a personality analysis in English and Arabic.

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