"City of the dead (Qarafa)" Qarafa, City of the Dead Tip by June.b
Qarafa, City of the Dead, Cairo: 8 reviews and 17 photos
We attempted for 3 times (3 days) to go to Alexandria --- first attempt, ticket was expensive at 9am, 1st class only at EGP50, the following day, no available seats (eid holidays) until the 2pm train which is too late and we wanted to do Alex on a full day only. So we bought a ticket for the next morning at 8:15am which costs cheap at EGP25 each of us 3. We were early and we bide the time taking pictures arouond the very grand Ramsis Station and out. We went back inside the station to find that our train is starting to move and people are running after it, we did too but the door won't open, so we thought, we were not really meant to go to Alex, maybe it's blessing in disguise, maybe something bad might happen if we insist -- well, we've got to devise some sour-grapings to make us feel fine after losing EGP75 for the tickets.
Anyways, the train left and we've got to go somewhere and we decided to go to the city of the dead, it was actually dead and the living. We took a taxi, costs us EGP12 ftrom ramsis to there. The taxi driver was wondering and asked us what are we going to do there? Tour, I said.
It's a huge necropolis of more than 6kms. of tombs and mausoleums, places for the dead and so are the living. If you're a photographer, the place is an excellent location for photo-op..
Several flower vendors around the entrances of the cemetery, the street is not very well paved, it's dusty and dirty but it's quite interesting just meandering along the small alleys in between tombs as you go deeper. There's also a very interesting old mosque - or maybe mausoleum - am not sure actually but the guy sitting beside it says it's opening at 11:00am and we were early.
We walked around the interior of the cemetery and chance upon a nice chap who is supervising a prayer for one of the tomb. He insisted on giving us a mini tour of the area, took us inside a huge mausoleum of a very prominent history figure whose name I forgot, but am sure the guy must be rich and extremely important -- having a lavish structure. He took the key from the caretaker, everybody know him in the area and somewhat respected at such a very young age - 18. He said, their family own some hectare on the necropolis and even invited us for a tea at his brother's house inside there, which we declined as we didn't have much time. He even walked us until the nearby AlAzhar Park.
The city of the dead is located just below the Mokattam Hills and the citadel.
Entry is free, but you'll find some beggars and if you start handing alm to one, others will follow -- so avoid. But don't forget to greet the people around with "Salam Alaikum" as a sign of respect, esp. those who are holding big bunch of keys - they're caretakers.
People say it's a dangerous place - well I didn't know - nothing happened to us, maybe at dusk to night time, it would be.
Address: Salah Salem Road, Cairo
Directions: 10-15 minutes walk to and from Al-Azhar Park
Phone: +20 2 285 4509
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