I could also have called this photo "In the city of the dead". This is from one of the two large old cemeteries in Cairo where thousands of poor people are living in or beside the mausoleums and crypts, or have built their homes on top of the graves. There is one such large cemetery not so far from the central parts of the city, another one further south, on the outskirts of old Cairo.
This photo is from the southern cemetery, in an area containing the tombs of the ancient rulers of the Mamluke dynasty (1250–1517). The Mamlukes were of a mixed Arabic, Kurdish and Turkish origin and ruled Egypt as a military dictatorship (already in those days!) before the Ottoman empire. They were the descendants of slave-owners and former slaves who had grown steadily more influential as soldiers until they were strong enough to take the political power.
I remember seeing this man with a donkey knocking on the door, so obviously people were living in this house which was probably built beside or above a crypt. Maybe the actual grave was in their sitting-room.
I didn't feel particularly unsafe in this rather slummy area or in the even worse northern City of the dead. I imagine that visitors today should be rather more careful.
Here is a larger version.
As a workshop I will show a photo taken just around the corner from here. Another workshop shows a street of Cairo somewhere closer to the centre of the city.
All these photos from 1983 were scanned from Kodachromes slides.
Critiques | Translate
snunney (107523) 2016-09-16 1:48
The colour contrasts and the well rendered textures are quite delightful. The image is well framed whilst the man and his donkey nicely round out the composition. I was in Cairo on business a couple of years before you were there. I remember seeing these cities of the dead from afar though I never actually ventured in. They look like a photographer's delight, though perhaps not these days as you hint at.
ikeharel (79317) 2016-09-16 3:01
You have an endless "spring" of well kept old photos, Gert, I am impressed on each one all-over-again.
Almost a digital texture, wonderful colors and distinct the sky from the old neighborhood houses. The figure with the donkey is a nice bonus to the moment taken.
jhm (161079) 2016-09-16 3:16
More than thirty years ago but Egypt is maybe in different places not changed.
Your picture is very clear and sharp with the old buildings.
The white donkey and the woman is nice to look at.
An excellent composition lovely presentation too.
Very well done, TFS.
Fis2 (107596) 2016-09-16 4:46
A very interesting view.
Good POV and super colors.
I like this daily life shot.
Silvio1953 (154291) 2016-09-16 4:54
Coao Gert, great view of characteristic corner, lovely composition with woman and donkey, fine details, excellent clarity, splendid light and wonderful colors, very well done, my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio
Nicou (152204) 2016-09-16 5:00
Merveilleuse vue quel rendu sur ces façades de maisons quelle pierre ce rouge des fenêtre et de la porte et ce personnage avec son a^ne cet ancien balcon de bois ce minaret quei ressort merveilleux.
Bravo et amitié
lousat (98389) 2016-09-16 5:12
Hi Gert,your archive is a fantastic mine and today i can see 3 new lovely examples. A magnificent and rich composition from the dead city but a nice different view in the 1st WS too. I like the daily life that i can see in the 2nd WS,it seems passed a lot of years and not just 32...great digitalizing PP too,well done! Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano
pajaran (66424) 2016-09-16 5:37
Lepe fotografije i secanje.
Interesantan i dobar tekst.
Dobar rad sa lepim fotografijama u radionici, dobro skeniranje slajda, lepo prikazana stara arhitektura, lepo uhvacen trenutak.
Lepo popodne i sve najbolje za vikend, srecno.
Beautiful photography and memory.
Interesting and good text.
Good work with beautiful photographs in the workshop, well scanning slides, displayed a nice old architecture, beautifully captured moment.
Nice afternoon and all the best for the weekend, good luck.
Sergiom (89387) 2016-09-16 5:50
Très belle scène de la vie quotidienne dans cette partie du monde où la propreté dans la rue ne semble pas la priorité.Beau point de vue bas qui donne de l'ampleur. Belles textures.
alvaraalto (20704) 2016-09-16 6:59
Another interest series of the streets of Cairo in 1983. Your beautiful pictures show me the city if I had imagined. Probably memories old publication and reportage of this town.
No need to say that the scanning is excellent again. The scene is fascinating with the variety of the buildings.
sacimar (29067) 2016-09-16 7:43
I like the atmosphere of that time, the old buildings and the presence of the man and tha donkey creates an interesting image, well seen,
ourania (51103) 2016-09-16 7:43
this is one of your most fascinating series, in my opinion. All of your pictures include human presence and daily chores, but this time the coexistence and the contradiction between lived in neighbourhoods and the necropolis is stunning. Your pictures have marvellous definition and colours, they look so exotic and so real at the same time. Your note makes the question of what lies behind those walls so challenging and mesmerizing. Congratulations and thank you!
All the best, have a lovely weekend,
papagolf21 (110520) 2016-09-16 7:56
Bonjour, cher Gert,
C'est le genre d'image que j'aime, tous les ingrédients sont réunis (sujet, historique, etc.).
Bravo pour la numérisation excellente.
ChrisJ (119085) 2016-09-16 10:03
I really didn't like Cairo at all. I would advise anyone to get in and out as quickly as possible. Alexandria, Luxor eg. But I love your photo. Good sharpness and an exotic scene well captured with the dilapidated cemetery exterior and crumbling walls adding interest. Tfs!
cornejo (47350) 2016-09-16 10:07
Hello Gert, very good picture of this interesting composition, very well captured in this beautiful image with good sharpness, light, color and quality. Very good and interesting work perfectly realized, my congratulations my friend. Thanks for sharing this beautiful work.
Good night and happy weekend.
Best wishes from southern Spain.
ktanska (29477) 2016-09-16 10:57
A well framed view of this cemetery. I couldn't have guessed that. You always do good job on showing places I have not seen and if I went there probably wouldn't look the same anymore. Also the quality of the slide is superb.
GyurMaster (7651) 2016-09-16 11:36
This reminds me to an article I read about the north Manila-cemetery, where probably thousands of poor people live among the tombs, in even more severe conditions.
The photo it self is well-executed: the chosen POV and the framing of the building is excellent and the man with the donkey is just in the right place. Kodachrome slides still have a nice colour-rendition, which I really like.
Have a nice weekend!
Tue (43948) 2016-09-16 12:48
Such an interesting impression of Cairo and a really interesting note to accompany it too. Such a strange thought that this neighbourhood was built on top of a cemetery. The colours are really pleasant here. Good composition and the inclusion of the person in front of the house is perfect.
emka (107925) 2016-09-16 14:12
Hello Gert, Nice three pictures and I am sure it was difficult to decide what to choose. I like donkeys and the carts, but probably I would choose these minarets. But here the story is more important. I have heard about the city of the dead and that maybe a few millions of people lived there, nobody knew how many. But I was not so brave to go there even if I was curious. Fascinating place but rather creepy.
WArm regrad s Malgo
carlo62 (55852) 2016-09-16 14:13
uno strano modo di vivere ai nostri occhi, ma nei secoli sono state spesso trasformate architetture funebri in case o fortezze o templi.
Si tratta di fotografie molto interessanti e storiche, come dici tu, oggi sarebbe molto difficile ottenere queste foto.
pierrefonds (71783) 2016-09-16 16:17
The presence of the person is animating the scene. The point of view is showing the details of the buildings near the cemetery. The good luminosity is enhancingt the colours. Have a nice day.
abmdsudi (58336) 2016-09-16 23:20
Superb capture of this old dwelling place with jumble of shapes, colours and textures but just loved the old world charm of this 'ancient' buildings. There is so much detail around buy fortunately the donkey and the owner help the eye to settle bringing the place to life of such a natural image. An insight into their backyard and the essence of that time! helping us to appreciate the photo even better. A pleasure to view, Congrats
BennyV (20767) 2016-09-17 2:13
Another gem from Gert's vaults! Always a pleasure to find your oldies in the gallery here, Gert. This certainly is another beauty. It's a bit like time travelling. Thanks for your work here!
tyro (26142) 2016-09-17 4:34
As always, you have given us a fascinating note and now three fine photographs showing some poor parts of the city of Cairo where the poorest people live and take advantage even of ancient crypts as living quarters.
These are all excellent photographs, well scanned, and the slight graininess of the images somehow very well complements the poverty of the areas and enhances the appearance of decay and the presence of random detritus.
It was nice that you felt safe in this poor part of the city though 33 years later it might not be quite so congenial to foreign tourists.
PaulVDV (32799) 2016-09-17 12:24
I've visited this cemetery but had no camera with me. In my transition time between slides and digital photos I've made a few journeys without camera. Now I regret I have not one picture of Egypt.
Three wonderful combinations of daily life, simple homes and magnificent architecture.
Best regards, Paul
mohammad_H (10126) 2016-09-17 13:09
interesting view of the architecture and the cemetery, with a blue background, eye-catching and attractive, your uploads, are pleasant, have a good night
PiotrF (23138) 2016-09-17 14:02
Another nice picture from your archive.
I like very much beautiful photo in WS, view of central Cairo.
Very well done.
macjake (73063) 2016-09-18 0:44
I'm certainly no expert on Egypt or Cairo, but man, when I think of Cairo, the image you have posted as your main isn't exactly what comes to me mind :)
and yeah, that was my next question, as to how it is here today, but you kind of mentioned that in your note.
this scene here is fantastic, it hardly even looks real - in the sense that it's hard to believe a family or person lives here. but this is true like I suppose isn't it.
wonderful subjects all around, and the atmosphere/mood of the place comes through strongly
adramad (50038) 2016-09-18 11:10
Fantastic image; showing us a view of this authentically old corner of the city, curious contrast between the different buildings, with the minaret hovering above; the donkey puts a nice touch to the picture.
Very nice colorful in tones, very attractive.
Good management brightness and superb sharpness.
Very well done. My congratulations.
All the best and have a good start to the week.
ricardomattos (8361) 2016-09-18 12:05
Almost biblical times you got with this picture. Very well done . Nice and interesting details.
rychem (43462) 2016-09-18 21:38
Amazing place to live. I admire how sharp and clear are your scanned photos from the past, excellent detailed photo
danos (103216) 2016-09-18 23:35
nice the view of all these photos from the old Cairo,with thousands of poor people are living near the graves.When visiting Egypt some years ago unfortunately i did not go there to see the place.Excellent the snapshot full of light and colours.
gervaso (16867) 2016-09-19 3:50
It's sad to see people living like that, but it's a beautiful and interesting photo, and so is the note about the place! There is a great contrast between this humble architecture and the imposing tower in the background! Wonderful job!
willperrett (11918) 2016-09-19 3:56
As with so many of your old photographs, I'm made to wonder what the place must look like now. As far as I can see, this shot is genuinely timeless: there aren't even any TV aerials or electricity wires, let alone cars or any "street furniture" (traffic signs and so on). So, very picturesque, but as your note takes care to point out, also very poverty-stricken.
saxo042 (37968) 2016-09-19 9:12
Intressant bild och en likaledes intressant text. Nu har jag äntligen fått tillbaka min PC, nästan allt fungerar (inte ljudet) men nu har jag mycket som skall tas igen, så det blir kortfattat ändå.
Royaldevon (43985) 2016-09-19 14:37
What an interesting series of photographs!
Your notes were a great addition!
I just cannot imagine living amongst or above graves!
In modern cities, people sometimes worry about living near a cemetery! But, to have the grave in your house ... possible disease! Though, of course, Egypt is so dry it might not be as much of a problem.
For such old photographs, the colours and the sharpness of the details are remarkable. They are like reading a diary which has original illustrations for confirmation of the content!
I find your photographs and recollections quite fascinating.
What stories may be contained within these walls!
My warm regards,
mcmtanyel (29806) 2016-09-24 21:29
I love these ancient buildings. The colors and textures have been preserved very well through the years and the scanning has digitized the image quite successfully. I love the inclusion of the beast of burden in the frame.
Cricri (126846) 2016-10-01 11:17
Trois belles présentations, excellent rendu des détails , des couleurs,
belle et intéressantes images
jmdias (69340) 2016-10-06 6:58
I guess your experience in this place was similar that I had in the mausoleum in ahmedabad in india, anyway I guess in cairo it is an event in large scale.
very nice details of the daily life and some monumental touches mixed with the misery of the people. TFS.
yes, sometimes democracy isn't the best way for some countries. we are building our one during decades..