15 October 2008

Old stuff in Cairo!

Hey all! It's been awhile but I'm back with plenty of stories and pictures to share. There's so many, however, this'll have to be broken up into several posts. Let's start with Cairo. A city of 22 million people, it boasts a butt-load of history and was taken over by several Empires over the years including the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Turks, English etc etc. This means a vast amount of design variety all within the one town. On our first day we visited two Coptic churches and the world famous White Mosque (which is an exact replica of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, thanks to the Turkish invaders during the 19th century).

A chandelier in one of the Coptic churches

Door at the back of the church

A close up of the amazing inlay work on the door!

Fish carved into the pews. Here's something I bet you didn't know. Back in the day when the Romans were persecuting the Christians, a lot of them fled to Egypt (till Rome caught up with them of course). They decided to use a symbol to tell who was a fellow Christian and who wanted to kill them. They couldn't use the cross, for obvious reasons, so the fish became the Christian symbol.

Plastic-wrapped Jesuses at the gift-shop

Outside of the White Mosque

The lights inside the White Mosque. Quite possibly the most impressive chandelier I've ever seen. It's about 10 feet across and whenever a breeze blew in, it acted as a wind chime as well. This was given to the Mosque by the French in exchange for one of two obelisks outside Luxor Temple (but you'll see pictures of that later.

Under the chandelier

Unfortunately, the White Mosque is no longer a place of worship. It's now a place for school trips and tour groups like us. Still very beautiful though.


zee said...

Yay, welcome back! Gorgeous photos - I'm so jealous!

Rob said...

Thanks for your blog. And the great pictures of the White Mosque - can't wait to go some day. A little more info about the fish as a symbol of ancient Christians. It was an acronym -- the first letters of Jesus Christ Son of God (in the order it would be in Greek not English) spells out the Greek word for Fish.