Cairo is rich in cultural heritage. El Moez street in Cairo, however, is a conglomerate of Heritage Sites and local specialties lined one after the other.
El-Moez Street is one of the oldest and amazing streets in Islamic Cairo. It dates back to the Fatimid dynasty. The street got its name from the 4th caliph in the Fatimid dynasty. It stretches from Bab Al-Futuh in the North to Bab Zuweila in the South of Cairo.
The street spans approximately one kilometre. El-Moez Street has the greatest concentration of medieval architectural treasures in the Islamic world.
In order to engage with the heritage of Cairo, a photo walk was planned in collaboration with the Rotaract Club of Nile Palace. The basic aim was to encourage culture and photography enthusiasts to learn more about the significance of the area and interact with the local culture in an innovative manner. We were able to visit an array of heritage sites during the visit.
The chosen theme for the Photo Walk was “Walk & Dine in Historic Cairo”. The idea was to go for a night walk around El-Moez Street and then dine at a restaurant serving local cuisine.
Walking through the street, we shared information about the area, as well as what it meant to us. During the course of the walk, we also interacted with the locals in the area to gain insights into their culture and daily life.
The Annual Festivities:
The visit was planned during an annual celebration called Mawlid Al-Hussein, which is the birthday of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. The celebration takes place at Al-Hussein Mosque in Historic Cairo, and is one of the most extravagant local festivities.
This religious celebration attracts several Muslims worshippers who come from all over the country. They flock to Cairo for a week to celebrate the Muled of Hussein. The celebration includes zikr (the remembrance of God), litanies, and traditional games.
Heritage Structures Found on the Street:
The northern part of the street extends from Bab Al-Futuh and Al-Hakim Mosque to the Spice Market at Al-Azhar Street. An array of shops can be found on the street, which sell antiques and handcrafted goods.
The Al-Aqmar Mosque, which is one of the few extant Fatimid mosques, can also be found here. The Qawalun Complex, built by Sultan Al- Nasir Muhammad in the late 1200’s, is one of the oldest structures on the street. It houses a madrasa, a mausoleum, as well as a hospital.
The southern part extends from the Ghuriya complex to the Bab Zuweila. The Bab Zuweila is one of the three remaining gates of Old Cairo. This part of the street includes the magnificent Tent Market in the Gamaliya district.
After strolling through the entirety of the street and checking out the heritage structures present, we dined at the Zeinab Khatoun Café, which is famous for its Ramadan specific dishes.
All in all, the participants of the walk were able to learn a lot from their experience. They not only experienced one of the main hubs within Cairo, but were also able to partake in the annual festivities. They even managed to experience and enjoy local food!