Maarten Schäfer

After our visit to the bazaar we walk along Sharia Al-Muizz, a long pedestrian street in Cairo’s Islamic quarter that runs from the bazaars to the fortified gates at the northern edge of the medieval city.

As we stroll past mosques, water fountains and historic houses, our guide Eman tells us stories about medieval Cairo and its inhabitants. Soon enough, her words have carried us away and we are no longer walking through a street but wandering through One Thousand and One Nights.

On our right lies the Mausoleum of Sultan Ayyub, on our left we enter the 13thcentury Mausoleum of Sultan Qalaoun through an intricately decorated bronze door. The dark corridor behind it leads to the tomb itself, a tall space decorated with Koranic verses written in elegant calligraphy.

Eman leads us back out and through the maze of alleyways to the House of Uthman Katkhuda El-Qazdughly, Cairo’s chief emir in the 18th century. The house is a labyrinth…

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