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nitude of the town, its wonderful situation where the valley broadens to the Delta, and its wealth of slender towers and domes. Nothing else about the Citadel compares with the view to be had there, and even the view pales before the still broader prospect that will be had later when there is time to ascend the bare and ruddy cliffs behind. That, however, is a journey by itself. For the present be content with an inspection of the mosque of Mohammed Ali - and then go down to meet Cairo at close grips.
It is a showy mosque, built in a manner unlike that which most such edifices affect. Its surface is of a coarse-grained yellow alabaster so distinctive in tone as to give to the mosque its colloquial name - the Alabaster Mosque. A little knot of men squat at its narrow door, selling tickets of admission and tying on the necessary yellow shoes-- for never may one set trim Christian boots within the ground sacred to Allah. Mohammedans must go barefoot to the shrine, and further must lave themselves at the fountain in the midst of the open court. Once, I suppose, the Christian dogs had to unshoe themselves as well, but it has been discovered that Occidental curiosity is fully equal to paying a piastre for yellow overshoes that flap, and come untied, and get themselves mixed up in the mattings with which most mosques are floored.
Mohammed Ali's mosque was built by a Greek from Constantinople, and it was not finished until 1857, so that it comes honestly by its appearance of modernity. Poor old Mohammed Ali — founder of the present Egyptian dynasty, such as it is - did not live to see it completed, and lies buried in a magnificent tomb under one of the corner domes.
The first view of the edifice reveals a broad and sunlit court, arcaded all around, paved with stone, and provided with the customary fountain. The actual building lies entirely to the east — toward Mecca. The other three sides of the court are apparently of no great importance. Within, the building gives more the impression of a palace than a mosque. It is carpeted with thick rugs, and heavy curtains are hung all about. Great chandeliers depend from the roof, and daylight filters down from the huge Byzantine lantern high above the central dome. It is like an enormous state apartment, despite its lofty pulpit at one side. It is florid and gaudy. Tap one of the panels or pilasters surreptitiously, and you will discover that it is a shameless wooden imitation of the prevailing alabaster.
Nevertheless it is a handsome building in its decadent way; but one is almost certain to like it better from afar, as it soars gracefully toward the sky from its hoary height, flanked by its two slender, pencil
pointed minarets, and forming the culminating point of Cairo as viewed from river and plain. Let us leave it, then, scramble down the dusty footway to the square, and begin our acquaintance with Cairo at closer quarters. Let us go entirely across the town to the bank of the river, if you please, and then work backward, for thus we shall be afforded some illuminating contrasts between West and East.
One must travel something like a mile eastward from the river before reaching the distinctively Oriental portion of Cairo. The part of the city that lies close to the Nile, excepting only the hamlet of Boulac, is thoroughly Europeanized. Its streets are broad and are lined with great hotels, smart shops, churches, clubs, residences of the rich. Lebbakh trees — the most common trees of Cairo, quick-growing, shortrooted, liable to be blown down — cast a grateful shade. Bougainvillea clambers in purple magnificence over the porticoes. In all this there is nothing, save the dress of the passing natives, to recall the sights of our numerous World's Fairs, on whose reproductions of Oriental life most of us base our preconceptions of the streets of Cairo.
It is in the great highway that leads down past Shepheard's that one first meets the real East-an East that is largely on parade for the delectation of the sowaheen, to be sure, but genuine for all that.
Before the broad veranda of the famous hostelry passes a shouting and gesticulating throng of native hucksters with all sorts of wares — silver shawls of Assiut, beads, laces, scarabs, trinkets, and the omnipresent postcard. Dragomans in magnificent attire, some in rags and some in velvet gowns, solicit patronage right and left. A band of barbaric musicians accompanies the procession of one late returned from Mecca. A native funeral marches mournfully by, aged men wailing in front and black-veiled women carried in a cart behind. Tradition has even been mean enough to allege that Shepheard's has an arrangement with some local sheik whereby a satisfactory number of funerals and returning pilgrims may be guaranteed to pass every day!
For a first view of local life this does very well. Indeed, it accounts in some degree for the prestige of Shepheard's. To sit with all this motley world passing in review at one's feet is a delight. The bewildering variety of costumes — for your Egyptian is a born artist in effective color-schemes- enchants the eye. The street cries, the passing music, the wailing prayers of the funereal old men enthrall the ear.
For the real Cairo, the African Cairo, the Cairo that is living the simple life after its own interpretation of the same, you must cross the European zone that lies nearest the Nile running north and south,
dodge around the painfully modern bulk of the opera house, skirt the Ezbekiyeh Gardens, and cross the square where meet the various tram lines of the city. This marks the eastern boundary of Western civilization, Beyond that the city changes absolutely in its character. There are no more broad streets, no more fine buildings. It is one vast huddle of old structures, some of them rather fine examples of the architecture that prevailed in Cairo when the merchants were the kings. The mass of close-packed houses is threaded by a network of numberless alleys, deep and dark, yet as a rule surprisingly clean. One or two main thoroughfares cross through it — the famous Mouski, dear to the heart of all tourists, and the great artery named for Mohammed Ali, which, as we know, leads to the Citadel. But in the huge triangle that these two highways include there lies a tangle of labyrinthine by paths wherein one may be lost for hours if willing to give up to the delights of a ramble through the native quarter, surrounded on every hand by the unstudied life of the older town, jostled by donkeys, solicited by native merchants, delighted by the innumerable bits of ancient doorways, time-worn, latticed windows, dusky shops, wayside kitchens, venders of every sort and kind. Now and then a vista opens up-a vista down a gloomy alley lined with buildings that nearly meet overhead, but