Writer: Marwan Mohammed
Ramadan is the month where we fast, get religious, eat a lot and too little at the same time, and grow closer to our families and friends. We have fun and make great memories, just like that one time where your cousin swapped your “tamrhendy” with “3er2sous” and how your grandmother never fails to embarrass everyone in the room by talking about all their embarrassing stories.
Ramadan won’t be ‘Ramadan’ without the night outs we call “Ramadan nights” and group gatherings where you can’t even listen to your own thoughts because of how loud everybody is laughing. The places we visit during normal days aren’t the same during Ramadan, though. So, I’ve decided to put together a list of my favorite places to visit during Ramadan mainly because I want you all to have the perfect Islamic Cairo experience.
1. Al-Hakim Bi Amr Allah Mosque
The mosque was built as an enclosure for Jawhar al-Siqilli. It is located in El-Muizz street just by the Futuh gate. the mosque is mostly a vast open area with amazing decorations. Inscriptions and writings surround its gate and walls along with two ancient minarets.
Personally, I love being there by day, the calmness over there and the quietness accompanied with the gentle breeze of air combined together makes you sense the peace surrounding the ancient place and enjoy being in the calmest mood you’ll ever be in.
2. Mosque of Ibn Tulun
Continuing with our Islamic Cairo theme, the mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun is one of my favorite historic places. It was built around the year 879. It’s constructed around a courtyard, with a minaret with an outer spiral staircase; this place will steal your breath away from the moment your foot steps in.
The scale of the place will shock you, and believe me when I say that the photos don’t do it any justice. If you can tolerate going up the spiral staircase of the marinate, you will be mesmerized with the view from the top. You will be able to see all of old Cairo.
I honestly can’t find words to describe the view, it’s one of those you have to see for yourself. Also, you can access the Gayer-Anderson Museum from the backyard of the mosque, so, you can consider it as a two in one outing.
3. El-Muizz Street
You can’t be experiencing Islamic Cairo without walking through El-Muizz street. You won’t be bored in El-Muizz street and that’s something I can guarantee. Your walk along the street will consist of beautiful ancient houses and places to go into and explore from the fatimid era.
If you stay till after iftar you definitely should consider continuing your night in El-Lord café. It is one of my favorite cafes in El-Muizz street for sure.
4. Khan el-Khalili
If you want to truly experience the old/Islamic Cairo you can not end your day without having a walk in Khan el-Khalili street, even if you won’t buy anything! Constructed by Jaharkas al-Khalili, the street used to be a marketplace for merchants from all over the world to sell their goods. Today Khan el-Khalili is occupied by local shop owners, who sell mainly gifts and antiques. You can’t help but admire the beauty in the randomness of this street.
5. El Fishawy Café
This one is a classic and a must on this list. El Fishway Café is one of the oldest cafes in Egypt, it was founded all the way back in 1797. The café was founded mainly as a place for the customers of Khan el-Khalili to rest at, but today it is the most famous café in Cairo. The café is mainly famous because of its usual famous customers like Najeeb Mahfouz, Mohamed Abdou, Ahmed Zewail, Nour El-Sherif and the list goes on and on. The café packs a nice warming atmosphere, and is the go-to place to have the real classical Egyptian café experience
And this wraps this list up! These are my favorite places to enjoy old Islamic Cairo, as they have a very different warming atmosphere during Ramadan. Hopefully you guys will have a day well spent.