Northern Cemetery

The Northern Cemetery of Islamic Cairo: A Living Legacy Amidst Ancient Tombs

The Northern Cemetery, forming one half of the vast Al-Qarafa, often known to travelers as the City of the Dead, is a place where history and modernity collide in an unexpected symphony. Contrary to its somber moniker, which evokes images of ghostly cities and silent tombs, the City of the Dead is a vibrant tapestry of life, bustling with the daily activities of its residents.

Far from being a desolate place of decay, this area is a lively community, akin to a slum, teeming with local inhabitants. The relative absence of cars lends a tranquil air to the cemetery, free from the cacophony of honking horns and engine roars that typify much of Cairo. Interspersed among the living quarters are striking monuments from the Mamluk era, their historical grandeur adding a unique aesthetic to the neighborhood.

Reaching the Northern Cemetery is an adventure in itself. A recommended route is trekking eastward from Midan al-Hussein along Sharia al-Azhar, with a crossing made possible via the overpass at Sharia Salah Salem. Within this historical enclave, three major monuments stand out, testaments to the area’s rich past. While there are additional structures, these three have been better preserved and reconstructed, offering a glimpse into the architectural marvels of a bygone era.

In the Northern Cemetery, every alleyway and monument tells a story, blending the echoes of the past with the vibrant pulse of contemporary life, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking to experience Cairo’s multifaceted soul.

Created On May 4, 2020

Updated On January 26, 2024

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