On Saturday the 13th, our tour guide Mohammed took us to the Egyptian Museum, followed up by a trip to Sultan Hassan Mosque and Khan al-Khalili Market Bazaar.
We arrived at the Egyptian Museum around 9:30 am, just after it opened, and there were already hundreds of people waiting outside. It was a great idea to go with our tour guide as we soon found out inside that most items are not well marked in English and there isn't a map to guide you through. The museum holds over 120,000 items on display, most notably Tutankhamen's tomb. We zig zagged through the tour groups and made our way quickly through the ground floor and upstairs to the really interesting stuff. While there are kings who are known for accomplishing more during their reign than Tutankhamen, finding his tomb intact has made him the most famous Egyptian Pharaoh. There are more than 1700 artifacts of his in the museum; his tomb, couches, throne, coffins, and of course, the fabulous golden death mask.
We stayed at the museum for close to 2 hours and after seeing many mummies (both people AND animal), sarcophagi, pottery, pictures, columns, and knick knacks, it was time to go. We then went to visit one of the oldest mosques in Egypt, the mosque of Sultan Hassan. I was expecting to see something similar to the Great Mosque in Oman, but I was sadly disappointed. While the dimensions of this massive structure are truly grandiose, that's about it. The carpets inside are disgusting and it's in need of a major renovation AND cleaning! It probably hasn't had much work done to it since it was built in the late 1300's. I was also surprised that neither men or women were required to dress modestly while entering the mosque. While we were all conservatively dressed we saw many people walking around in shorts and t-shirts.
We finished our tour with a quick trip to Khan al-Khalili, the outside market bazaar. We went during the first day of Eid, so unfortunately many of the vendors weren't there. However, I think that's probably a blessing as I don't know if I could have handled any more nagging, begging, and haggling with the shop keepers. I was prepared to buy something interesting if it caught my eye, but nothing jumped out. Instead we bought a just a few t-shirts.