The new Pomegranate Art & Artisans of Cairo tour:
This is an engaging and out of the box tour for those interested in beautiful things, craftsmanship and art as medium for dialogue for otherwise hard to broach topics – which are plentiful in Egypt. Here are two of the highlights from our new experience…
Firstly, we bring together the past and the present by visiting an impossible-to-find-backstreets artisan of decorative inlay whose family has been in the trade for generations (pictured above). Standing in a rubbish strewn side alley on the wrong side of the Khan el Khalili bazaar he pulls out a myriad of forms of iridescent mother of pearl, variously shaded wood cuttings, and camel bone, and demonstrates how it is cut and formed into extraordinarily beautiful boxes and more (I must admit that our family is now the proud owner of a large and intricately decorated chess board).
Secondly, a visit to one of Cairo’s only truly independent art galleries which focuses on photography – keep in mind that the act of ‘recording’ is laden with nuance and far from neutral in Egypt. This extraordinary gallery allows artists the space to explore topics such as female and male identity, physicality and sexuality, and various power relationships discussion of which is usually outside of the public domain. The image below is titled ‘The Virgin Suicides’ and is by the female Egyptian artist Maria Saba.
Please ask about including this experience in your Pomegranate Egypt tour.
Cairo: Our Gateway to the Sahara
Venture West from Cairo, and you will rapidly find yourself in rural Egypt, a land of sugar cane farmers, age old social traditions, and pastoral poverty. Continue still further West and you will pass through the gateway to the great Saharan desert which stretches all the way to Libya and right across the African continent.
It is quite an experience to escape the hustle, bustle and downright pollution of Cairo and find yourself in the clear, dry air of the Saharan desert. This easy to access but out of the box region offers a surprising number of attractions well worth visiting.
These are the ones which top the list: the astonishing ecologically designed museum at the UNESCO world heritage site of Wadi El Hitan which demonstrates the working of evolution through fascinating prehistoric whale skeletons, including ones with limbs and hands (!); 4×4 adventure exploration of the wilderness to see the magic lake which emerges – well as if by magic – from the desert scenery. The lake is a stunning place to stop for Bedouin tea and an impromptu BBQ lunch which we enjoy in the wilderness before leaving the desert; and Tunis village, and the opportunity to buy some beautiful gifts, thanks to the endeavors of the committed Swiss philanthropist and potter Evelyn Porret who single handedly took it upon herself to train an entire village which is now packed full of self-sustaining artisan potters.
Time allowing we recommend overnighting in this region at Lazib Inn a Small Luxury Hotel – it is colourful and fun and with beautiful gardens, and gives a real sense of being in Africa.
Jewish Heritage Focus
Egypt has an incredibly ancient, long and rich Jewish heritage, and for those with an interest in the Jewish heritage of Egypt, there are fascinating places to visit – and wonderful people to meet! Although the Jewish community of Egypt now consists mostly of ex-pats, diplomats and a handful of elderly individuals in Cairo and Alexandria, we are in touch with a few fascinating individuals who are treasure troves of stories of a world which no longer exists. We can meet with some of these special people in the last active synagogue of Cairo, or even host a dinner in one of the synagogue’s rooms usually off limits to visitors but full of rare artefacts.
What’s coming next?
The two big Cairo openings we are all waiting for are the Grand Egyptian Museum which should be opening towards the end of this year – we have already received a spate of bookings for next year from those who want to visit what promises to be the world’s most extraordinary museum! And the historically important and visually stunning Ibn Ezra Synagogue which is currently being renovated. More on both sites soon …..
We look forward to hearing from you to start planning your next Egypt, Israel or Jordan experience!
Warning: count(): Parameter must be an array or an object that implements Countable in /home/customer/www/pomegranate-travel.com/public_html/wp-content/plugins/acf-code/functions.php on line 69
- Tailor made itineraries
- Deep local knowledge
- Expert guides
- Outstanding style & service