May 3, 2012

Cairo Egypt is Mother of Cities

Mother of Cities, 1326
Ibn Battuta

I arrived at length at the city of Misr, mother of cities and seat of Pharaoh the tyrant, mistress of broad provinces and fruitful lands, boundless in multitude of buildings, peerless in beauty and splendour, the meeting-place of comer and goer, the halting-place of feeble and strong, whose throngs surge as the waves of the sea, and can scarce be contained in her for all her size and capacity. . . .
Mother of Cities
It is said that in Cairo there are twelve thousand water carriers who transport water on camels, and thirty thousand hirers of mules and donkeys, and that on the Nile there are thirty-six thousand vessels belonging to the Sultan and his subjects, which sail upstream to Upper Egypt and downstream to Alexandria and Damietta, laden with goods and profitable merchandise of all kinds. On the bank of the Nile opposite Old Cairo is the place known as The Garden (now the island of Roda), which is a pleasure park and promenade, containing many beautiful gardens, for the people of Cairo are given to pleasure and amusements.

Rudyard Kipling’s powerful skill with words painted Cairo’s variety, its sounds, and the spirit of place.

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