Scotsabroad's Weblog

December 10, 2008

City of Ruins

Filed under: Cairo — scotsabroad @ 4:59 pm


Cairo and I had a walk around the site of Cairo’s first Moslem city -Al-Fustat. Watching the (often questionable) transformation of many historical sites in the city, even in the last eighteen months, it was reassuring to be exploring  surrounded by rubbish tips, flooded scrub-land, wild dogs and their excrement and shantytown hovels. But, there are plans to develop the site as Fustat (meaning ‘tent’) is a significant part of the city’s past.  


Founded in 640 it was originally an encampment of tribal tents of the victorious Moslem army that became a city of multi-storey buildings with piped water and sewage system unequalled in Europe until the 18th century.  Some buildings were as tall as fourteen floors  and up to 300 people could live in a single building.  Was this Cairo’s Gorbals? In 1168 a decision was made to burn it rather than let it fall in to the hands of a Crusader army. After it was emptied of people twenty thousand pots of naphtha and ten thousand torches were used to set the city on fire. Al- Fustat burned for fifty-four days.   We saw what remained of the sewage system and a lot of broken pottery.


The very clear picture of the river is taken from the rooftop of the Nile Hilton. Eid, it seems,  improves the air quality as factories shut down and traffic is significantly reduced on the roads. The blanket of pollutants smothering  Cairo is raised for a few days. The flag is not from the site but seen flying beside some army tents pitched on an island in the middle of the Nile.


1 Comment »

  1. i see you all are very busy doing stuff out there,Well done Andy for finishing your second run,Me and lewis looking at pictures of the football crowd it look awesome
    hope you are all well
    Willie,Heather,Lewis,Hollie MacLennan

    Comment by willie,heather,lewis,hollie — March 3, 2009 @ 7:43 pm | Reply

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