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Cairo, Egypt

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Bus Tour of Cairo

Bus Tour

 

Saturday, Sept. 12. I took a bus tour of Cairo organized by AUC. We met at Midan Victoria where the bus picked us up. Dr. John Swanson, of the history department at AUC, narrated the tour supplemented with maps he provided. It was fantastic. We started at Tahrir Square in Central Cairo, then went to Fustat, the original Shiite city founded in the 13th century, then onto the Citadel and beyond. Cairo is actually in the Nile valley, and so the Sahara desert is hundreds of feet above where we live. As such, the winds of the Sahara blow constantly over the desert, trapping the smog of Cairo in the Nile valley, exacerbating the pollution problem. We drove to Muqattam Hills, which was the first “exclusive” suburb of Cairo, located on the Sahara and not in the valley or on one of the terraces leading up to the Sahara. We could look out over all of Cairo—an amazing sight. It was a relatively clear day, so we could see west across the Nile and see the Giza pyramids standing sentry over the area. We could see the two islands in the Nile, Zamelek and Roda, and the major hotels and ministry buildings in downtown. Beyond the pyramids (which I had thought was the absolute edge of the Cairo metro area) was 6th of October City, a huge suburban development. We ended up driving over to 6th of October City, which is way out beyond the pyramids. It is a huge, exclusive suburb. One of the major gated developments there is called, amazingly, Dreamland!! There are also multiple 5-star hotels and resorts, golf courses (in the Western Sahara desert!). We drove by one huge mall building, and the symbol out front was a huge, 2 story shopping cart! This rivals any American symbol of crass commercialism. The tour gave this urban sociology professor lots to observe over the long 4 hour trip!

Here are some photos:

From Moqaddam Hills in the East, across the Nile, with Pyramids in distant West

From Moqaddam Hills in the East, across the Nile, with Pyramids in distant West

 

We also went far west of the Giza Pyramids to 6th of October City–a very wealthy suburb in Cairo. Here are some pictures:

This is a huge store called HyperOne, and you can see the huge shopping basket on the right.

This is a huge store called HyperOne, and you can see the huge shopping basket on the right.

 

Contrasting with this amazing image of consumerism in a wealthy suburb is this Coptic Church we passed in Nasser City:

Beautiful Coptic Church in Nasser City

Beautiful Coptic Church in Nasser City

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