A friendly Egyptian Professor of Architecture at the American University Cairo recently took us on a tour of Islamic Cairo, from Al Fotouh Gate to Ziweila Gate. Some of us had roamed those streets for hours, armed with maps and guide books and well-informed friends. But this all-encompassing, active architecture and history tour revealed much more fascinating facts and stories about the area and its urban fabric that won’t have you dragging your feet. Throw away your audio tapes, get your head out of the guide book and take a real tour with a local professional such as Professor Mostafa.
Mostafa’s passion for architecture is revealed within minutes, as the meeting point is the Al Fotouh gate (refer to the map below). He has a basic route to take you on from there, but he’s happy to divert to places that particularly interest you. He will run the tour for a minimum of 2 hours and up to 4 hours if you’re as keen and interested as him.
Some of the highlights include: Al Hakim and El Selhdar mosques, El Sehemy house, Qalwoon Complex, underground water tanks, views from minaret at Bab Ziweila, the tent and patchwork market, Khan el Khalili market and all the architectural characteristics of the urban area revealed to you. The El Sehemy house is particularly interesting, which is inconspicuously located off Haret Al Darb El Asfar laneway. Once you venture down the stairs and up into the internal courtyard, you’re amazed by the architectural detailing and greenery. Mostafa will show you through the passages and rooms of the entire place and reveal the stories of its creators and inhabitants over centuries.
You can choose to finish the tour of have a break at Khan el Khalili market, which you can meander through for some shopping, site-seeing and tea until you reach Al Azhar road where you can find a taxi home. If you choose to continue the tour, Mostafa will take you through the Tent and Patchwork Market and to the famous Bab Zuweila.
Professor Mostafa is not a professional tour guide but a professional architect and professor who is fascinated by the area. He therefore runs the tour free-of-charge. To organise a tour with Professor Mostafa or for any other details of the Islamic Cairo tour, please contact the Sweet Cairo team: email@example.com. There are many other tour options, and we suggest you select a local, recommended professional.
Cost per person: There is no entry fee into Islamic Cairo, the tour price depdends on the guide and entry into El Sehemy House is 35 LE