Coptic Cairo

My Ramadan resolution this year is to see a new neighborhood of Cairo every weekend. Yesterday was Coptic Cairo’s turn, a minuscule walled clump of houses a little to the south of central Cairo that houses a Christian enclave.

The biggest draw there is the Coptic Museum, which had already closed when I arrived in the early afternoon, on account of Ramadan. (The guards are Muslim, and Cairo office hours tend to shorten during this month.) I’ll need to go see that next time there is a visitor. In the meantime, I went for a walk down the back alleys and the poorer end of the cemetery. As always, it’s where the tourists stop going that the (albeit decrepit) charm begins.

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Almost all the religious iconography revolves around St. George and the unfortunate dragon he slayed — each depiction tackier than the rest. He also seems to have been tortured rather gruesomely — how gruesomely exactly is driven home by an elaborate display of iron shoes with spikes pointing upwards and a rack, proudly displayed by the local church guardian.

The Orthodox cemetery was perhaps the place with the most character, a very serene place away from the typical Cairo bustle. But I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Also, see the path I took (and the photos) in Google Earth: Just download this file and open it in Google Earth; it contains all my georeferenced content for Cairo. (No Google Earth? See the content in Google Maps instead.)

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