A few days ago, we decided to visit Al Azhar Mosque, and Al Azhar Park.
They are “near” each other and near the Khan Al Khalili.
We took a taxi to the Mosque. This is a rather important mosque, in that it is attached to the Al Azhar University. This is, basically, the head of Sharia Law in Egypt (and most of the Sunni Islamic world.) It claims to be the oldest operating university in the world.
Anyway, we walked around the outside of the mosque as well as inside.
We instantly attracted an unofficial “guide”. He wanted to show us around. Which consists of pointing at things and saying “look. big” or “see, very old”. For this he wanted to extract payment. This kind of thing happens in many places in Egypt. A few rounds of “La, Shokrun” eventually will get him to go away.
We then headed off to Al Azhar Park. This park is just outside the old walks of the city. The site of the park used to be an unofficial trash dump. It was where people dumped their trash and refuse. It was reclaimed and built up in layers over the old dump site. It is the largest green space in Cairo. It is truly a beautiful and incongruous place in the midst of the sprawl.
The park, on the map, looked like it was right next to the Mosque. And in fact it is. Except there is only one official entrance.
We ended up walking almost exactly half way around the park to get it. It was hot and sunny that day. We were rather warm by the time we made it.
Luckily we were able to lounge about by the fountains and pools in the shade to cool off.
We wandered around the park. It is built in layers, and there are fountains and pools and walkways that go up and down the different levels.
When it was time to go, we walked down the backside of the park, that faces the city and out a “back door” of the park through a construction site and back to the noise and chaos of the city.
It was a gorgeous break from the noise.
All the photos are available here.