09 March, 2013

Souq al-Gamaal

The Birqash Camel Market

I was told it used to be held
in down town Cairo,
and I can only imagine how crazy,
 messy and wild it must have been..

This market is held every Friday,
dawn to dusk,
and has been, for ages...

It is not for the sensitive.
It is mainly a meat market,
and hundreds of camels are being sold,
 bargained for, bought or swapped here.

I was told this is the largest market 
of its kind, in the world.

In all respect for traditions,
it is pretty wild and not very organized.
At least seen with the eyes of us "first-timers",
probably not understanding
how difficult it must be to hold these long-legged,
fast moving creatures in line.

Camels and herders are seemingly running 
in all directions.

And the herders come in all ages,
tradition taught from one generation to the next.

Some of these beautiful "ships of the desert" 
are brought in from Libya,
Sudan, Somalia and Aswan.

For some their last trip
is in the back of a truck.

Drawing the connections to the beef,
sheep and chicken industry
in other countries,
I would put this in the same category.

Some humans eat meat,
some also eat camel meat...

07 March, 2013

Nadim furniture factory

...and so much more!
What a treat to get to visit this place.

I expected a small furniture making business
and found instead a large factory

where workers are not yet
 replaced by machinery.

Workers with years and years of practice
in the art of traditional, 
beautiful hand-carving and inlay wood work.

Today, 350 workers total, a bit down from 2008
when the same factory had over 900 employees.
My guess is that the revolution
might be to blame, but I do not know for sure...

This man works on a tiny piece of wood,
this again will be cut into even smaller pieces.

See the small piece between the finger tips?
This piece will be joined with yet other pieces
to make this intricate Mashrabiya latticework. 

Just fabulous work!

They build chairs and tables, screens etc.
with to most intricate details...

Nadim factory also contribute to the protection of
a special embroidery technique called Tally,
traditionally practiced by women from
 from Upper Egypt (south).
This by extending the usage to furniture accessories, 
like pillows and pictures.

They also contribute to teach the art
to younger females
in order to keep the tradition "alive".

This is a special kind of embroidery
using metal threads on solid color fabric or net material.
A technique that dates back to the 18th century.
Beautiful work!

And in Cairo you will find cats everywhere,
this place is no exception!

Have a nice day,
hope you enjoy the trip!

05 March, 2013

Cats in Cairo

You will see them everywhere.
Some enjoying the shade...

some a little shy,
and a bit scared...

some cuter than others,
some friendlier and more curious...

Like this one.

Not shy at all.

Crawled up in my lap
without an invitation...

..uh.... I guess that's not exactly true,
but I didn't have to ask twice...