Sunday, January 24, 2010

The Son of Tulun

Yesterday, a group of us decided to visit the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, located in Islamic Cairo. It's the oldest mosque in Cairo that is still used regularly for religious services. It's also important because there's a drawing of it on the Egyptian five pound note:

Not my hand.

After asking people for directions several times, we eventually made it to the mosque. At least, we thought we did. We were actually at the mosque right next to Ibn Tulun. None of us had a clue and we all admired its architecture and sat in the space for an hour just... being there.

It was nice. At the time, it was nicer. Because we thought it was Ibn Tulun.

Me holding the five pound note after exclaiming how similar the drawing looks to the mosque we were sitting in.

A bunch of cats ran into the mosque and began playing so we watched them for a while.

Two of the cats were playing a little too much...

I can only assume this cat was about to wash itself so it could pray.

As I was taking a picture of the mosque from outside, this boy asked if he could be in it.

After we left the mosque, feeling accomplished, we walked by a long, large wall that looked old, historic, and important. Further down, we saw a security checkpoint and a Tourism Police booth. At that point, I think we all realized that we had just spent an hour in the wrong mosque. Five minutes later, we were in the real Ibn Tulun which was closing in an hour. This one actually looked like the five pound note.

We climbed the minaret to get some nice views.

The first mosque we entered. Totally not Ibn Tulun.

After a juice stop outside of the mosque, we were on our way back home--this time feeling very accomplished. I love juice.

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