Day 3 Cairo (7 Nov 2010)
We woke up 6am in the morning and go for a swim at the beautiful Mediterranean Sea. There is nothing to shout about the Alexandria, but the sea itself sets the perfect place for holiday.
Qaitbay’s Fort looks like one of the Disneyland castle, this is the place where one of the ancient wonders of the world, the Pharos lighthouse once stood. The lighthouse was ruined by earthquakes and Qaitbay used its debris in the construction of his fort.
This is just a photo shoot stop, we didn’t go into the fort, but we bought some souvenirs from the stalls nearby (and it turn out to be the cheapest and nicest souvenir of all time!!). We saw a bunch of people fishing at the sea side and their fishing rod is looooooooooong..
Pompey’s Pillar has nothing to do with Pompey, it was initially a temple and the granite pillar is actually dedicated to Roman Emperor Diocletain. There was a famine after Diocletian besieged the city, the Emperor ordered some medicine to be given to the people of Alexandria. He exempted them from paying taxes during these hard times. For that they erected, in his honour, this memorial column.
Pompey is some Roman general that some believed, mistakenly, that his ashes, or the remains were in a pot at the top of the column. Thus today it is called “Pompey’s Pillar”.
Another photo shoot stop, land mark wo..
Catacomb was discovered when the people were trying to save a monkey that fell down into a hole. Again no photos were allowed. It is a family tomb lie 35 meter underground. In the centre of the 99 steps spiral stairways is the shaft through which the deceased were lowered by means of rope.
It has 3 different sections: 1 for the tomb of the family, 1 for dining room where the relatives feast (lots of broken table ware and wine jugs were found) and 1 for the burial chamber. It is believed that it started as a family crypt and later expanded to become big enough to accommodate 300 tombs altogether.
Tour guide told us the journey to Cairo is 2 hours, but the jam inside Cairo could be 2 hours as well, yes the traffic started in the long stretch of desert road and we see many new developments along the road. Some city are called 6th of October, because it is the last war with Israel, some street are called 26th of July, because that is their revolution day where they started to be a republic country.