egypt
Cairo
Egyptian Museum - The Egyptian Museum is a big noisy dusty place and you'll run into groups of Egyptian school kids. (Don't be surprised if the Egyptian school kids want to ask your kids lots of questions.) A definite "must see" in Cairo, even kids who aren't big museum-goers will be totally bowled over by the Egyptian Museum.
In its own special gallery, 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" from the collection.
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.
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 "Pharonic 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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