Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Israel/Egypt/Jordan 2023 - Day #7 - Cairo Citadel & Egyptian Museum

Cairo Citadel & Egyptian Museum

An Imposing Fortress and Ancient Treasures

Enjoy a fascinating overview of Egypt’s capital city and vast history.

Drive to the Citadel of Salah el Din (Citadel of the Mountain), perched on a rocky hill. Its great dome and towering minarets dominate the Cairo skyline. Home to 60 mosques spanning the centuries, its most notable is the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, sometimes called the Alabaster Mosque for its gleaming interiors. Later, take a short drive with your guide to the remarkable Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. Built in 1897 and opened in 1902, the museum’s 107 exhibit halls hold over 120,000 items dating from the prehistoric to Greco-Roman periods. Its most celebrated collection, in the Tutankhamen Gallery, contains the famous gold mask and other artifacts. Please note: There is an additional fee for entry to the Mummy Room. Photography is not permitted in the Egyptian Museum. At the mosque, shoes must be removed, modest dress is required, and only non-flash photography is permitted.
When the alarm went off at 6:00 am, I was sound asleep. Scrambling a little, we made it down to breakfast in the hotel just after 7:30 am. The Larkins and Leclaires were already there with the Gainsleys.

After breakfast, we went to a briefing for our VIking tour for the next ten days. Isreal was a pre-tour. We are also doing a post-tour in Jordan.

Loading the bus just before 9 am, the first stop was the The Citadel of Saladin. It is a medieval Islamic-era fortification in Cairo, Egypt, built by Salah ad-Din (Saladin) and further developed by subsequent Egyptian rulers. It was the seat of government in Egypt and the residence of its rulers for nearly 700 years from the 13th to the 19th centuries. Its location on a promontory of the Mokattam hills near the center of Cairo commands a strategic position overlooking the city and dominating its skyline.

We toured the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, also known as the Alabaster Mosque. It is a mosque located in the Citadel of Saladin. It was built by Muhammad Ali Pasha between 1830 and 1848 in memory of his eldest son, Tusun Pasha.

The mosque is known for its distinctive alabaster facade, which is made up of over 20,000 alabaster slabs. The interior of the mosque is also decorated with alabaster, as well as marble, stucco, and mosaics.

The mosque is a beautiful example of Ottoman architecture. It is a large and imposing building, with a central dome and two minarets. The mosque is also notable for its large courtyard, which is surrounded by arcades.

The second stop was the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. Also known as the Egyptian Museum, is the largest collection of Egyptian antiquities. We spent several hours with our Viking guide touring the museum.

Back at the hotel, we had a very late lunch with the Gainsleys, Larkins and Leclaires in the lobby. I had a very bland turkey sandwich.

With very little sleep, Sharon and I crashed in the room and took a nap.

Sharon and I had dinner with Gainsleys and Larkins at Giannini's New York Italian Restaurant in the hotel. The Leclaires went on a evening excursion to the bazaar and dinner. I had Spinach Risotto with Dutch Veal Strips [Risotto, baby spinach and sautéed Dutch veal strips with lemon, pine nuts and grated parmesan], while Sharon had Dutch Veal Ossobuco Con Risotto Alla Milanese [Slow cooked veal ossobuco, risotto and gremolata]. The food was good. The meal was very inexpensive!

While Sharon went back to the room, I finished the day with a nightcap with Larkin and the Gainsleys.

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