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How Many Miles to Babylon?Travels and Adventures to Egypt and Beyond, From 1300 to 1640$
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Anne Wolff

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780853236580

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846313295

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Cairo: ‘meeting place of comer and goer’

Cairo: ‘meeting place of comer and goer’

(p.112) Chapter 5 Cairo: ‘meeting place of comer and goer’
How Many Miles to Babylon?
Liverpool University Press

Incursions by the Mongols and the wars of the Crusades combined to ruin Syria, but not Cairo, which remained a peaceful place that made it the fabled cultural city of the Arab world. European travellers were amazed by the extravagance that they witnessed, along with the city's breath-taking skyline of minarets and domes. Under the Mamluks, Cairo was the backdrop for the fictional stories from the Arabian Nights, from its markets and houses to the streets. The Fatimids, who conquered Cairo in 969 and ruled until 1171, fortified the city with strong walls. The city's main canal, the Khalij al-Hakim, traversed the plain originating from the Nile and acted as a moat beneath the old brick fortifications. By the end of the sixteenth century, most of the old city walls were nonexistent. Coffee drinking was a pleasurable social pastime in Cairo during the early sixteenth century, with coffee houses sprouting everywhere. Camels plodded their way to and from the Nile, carrying people or their belongings and water.

Keywords:   Cairo, travellers, Fatimids, fortifications, walls, coffeehouses, camels, minarets, domes, canal

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