Scotsabroad's Weblog

May 13, 2011

Finishing Line

Filed under: Cairo — scotsabroad @ 7:11 pm

We head towards our departure at quite an alarming rate. The list of what we would like to explore before the end of June is dwindling. Today we drove to Heliopolis with the intention of paying our respects at the Tomb and Mosque of Gamal Abd al-Nassar. Surrounded by military complexes, on the road out from Midan Roxy towards Ain Shams University, photography is forbidden. Parking too. We drove to Bagdad  Street, parked our car, then jumped in a taxi. Not much to it. The memorial, which includes Nasser’s tomb, a mosque and a school was deserted. The tomb’s surroundings were very subdued. Almost soul-less, considering his historical significance and the adoration he provoked. There was nothing to help a visitor connect to the man who rested there. His funeral procession in Cairo was the largest the country has ever seen.

On the way back, just past Roxy Square, I asked the taxi driver to stop so I could photograph the dilapidated grandstand of the Heliopolis Racecourse. It stands just back from the busy road and is surrounded on all sides by housing and retail outlets. What is left of the racecourse ground is now the Merryland Club on the other side of the street. I could just about imagine the horses galloping past the cheering crowd before getting back in the taxi to join the slow-moving traffic. I think it deserves to be restored and a purpose found for such a wonderful building. I could find no information on the racecourse but  an old photograph taken outside the ground shows better times.


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