At the age of 17, and after a lifetime in the city of Cairo, I had finally had the chance to witness the reality of its core; I had finally had the chance to connect to the heart of its soul. Greater Cairo, which combines the three governorates of Cairo, Giza and Qalyoubia, is home to more than one can fully uncover in a lifetime.
Throughout the first 17 years of my life, my knowledge of Cairo was solely defined in the districts of Nasr City and Heliopolis, where my family, my school, my friends and everything else took place. It wasn’t until I had to ‘travel’ halfway across Greater Cairo to study at Cairo University (a ride which lasts -at the best chance- an hour) that my geographical bubble finally burst.
On a daily basis, I was being introduced to new places and new faces as well. I was stunned at the magnitude of authenticity I was missing out on. I was stunned at how unaware I was of the depths and lengths of my hometown. At that point, it was inevitable to take a step deeper into Cairo.
I started planning weekly trips to different places within the city; places that marked our childhood but haven’t been to since then, and others we bypass on a daily basis but never take the endeavor of taking a peek inside. Some of those trips were to Islamic places in Cairo, others were to the zoo or the circus, but regardless of the place I visited, Cairo never seemed as interesting as when I started feeling the spirits keeping those places alive.
The beauty of history is that it binds the people of the city across time. An empty historical house has no beauty to it unless you shut your eyes and feel the lives that buzzed around that very same spot centuries ago. Those four walls then stand witness to a life long gone, but still marks a faded essence.
On the same scale, a crowded marketplace might be a painful experience (experienced and approved), but even a glance at the faces that fill the place can take one to a whole new level of wonder; what stories lie beyond those wrinkles, or what might a kid’s far-fetched look be seeing.
Now, I’m wrapping up my third year in college, and I give thanks to the very tiring one hour ride to university, for it made me see a whole new edge to my city; souls and walls. Have I come to witness it all? Not the slightest bit.I have been blessed to live in such an intriguing city, and I don’t just say so because it’s my hometown, but I honestly think Cairo is an all inclusive city; it has the hip, the ancient, the entertainment, the adventure, the culture, the history and the spiritual; it has the intellectual, the simple, the rich and the poor, the average and the outstanding, the kindness, and the smiles that brighten up the bleakest of times.
Rediscovering Cairo to me was more than visiting new places I’ve never been to; it was getting to understand a people I’ve seen faces of, but souls I’ve never touched.
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How Egyptolution has come to pace with Egyptian travel is an interesting story that was born as a result of Egypt after the Revolution of Jan25, 2011; and with the new rise of Egypt, a new partnership of travel novelty has taken place between Malak Mitch, Founder and Managing Director, and I (Christine Ghobrial, Managing Editor) where we have decided together to build a new threshold of communication ... Read More.