Cairo is Crazy: Exposed in 18 Photo Scenes

By Mark Wiens 42 Comments

Initial impressions of Cairo, Egypt can lead to overwhelming emotions of confusion, attempting to sort out the jumble of energy and life that surges in Egypt’s capital.  Like in most mega-cities, being aggressive is mandatory and taking the micro-advantages over others is common.

However, even in the hustle of chaos, individuals enact their Egyptian hospitality, often willing to go the extra mile to ensure a foreign visitors safety and satisfaction in Egypt. Though main streets are usually occupied with raging traffic and temper flaming motorist’s, within minutes one can escape into a back street for a couple cups of tea or bite to eat.  A day of navigating Cairo is crazy and exhausting, yet rewarding.

cairo-egypt-ramses

From the Citadel, one can view a hazy panorama of Cairo’s skyline.  During sunset the great Pyramids of Giza loom in the distance, caressed in dramatic warm colors of the sun’s rays piercing Cairo’s pollution.

cairo-skyline

donkey-cart-cairo

cairobuildings

cairo-people

Kushari, a mix of starches, beans and tomato sauce, is a hungry man’s companion throughout Cairo.

koshari-egypt

Extremely sweet honey filled desserts give a boost of energy to the weary.

cairo-desserts

Islamic Cairo bursts with ancient buildings and cluttered streets.

cairo-muhammad-ali

muhammadali

This particular grilling meat cart, permanently situated near Ramses Station, is among my favorites!

meat-bakery

Arabic bread rests in the sunlight to dry out all over the streets.

arabic-bread-cairo

Cats and other creatures find shelter in heaps of street side messes.

cat-trash

These Egyptian men (as well as myself) found great laughter in offering a cigarette to a lamb head and having me take a photo, at a steetfood stall in downtown Cairo.

cairo-lamb-head

Even in the center of bloody street butchers, men find moments to puff on water pipes or sip on a hot cup of tea or ahwa coffee.

sheesha-smoking

sheesha-cairo

ahwa

“The more you can expose your goods onto the street, the more sales you will make.”  Some vendors even just throw their makeshift store onto the side of the street as cars swerve around it.

cairoshopping

Fruits are intricately displayed in amusing sculptures and served in choice cocktails and blends or juices.

cairofruit

coctel-cairo

cairo-vegetables

The Great Pyramids are 1 of Cairo’s biggest attractions.  All of a sudden the modern city comes to an abrupt halt as the burial structures of a few of the greatest Pharaoh’s begin.

cairo-giza-pyramids

Where there are people, there will be food, and men in Cairo like to eat!

cairo-fuul

khanalkhalili

cairo-nile-bridge

When darkness falls, it’s nice to take a sailboat (felucca) ride on the Nile River, listening to the backdrop of chaos and ever present honking of horns in a jumbled melody as the soothing calmness of the Nile rejuvenates and refreshes.

Cairo is chaotic, but it is that chaos and appearance of disorder that give the city it’s intense charisma and provides everlasting entertainment.

42 comments. I'd love to hear from you!

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  • جمال

    6 years ago

    جمال من الجزائر. احب مصر و اتمنى زيارتها يوما ما

  • Edi

    8 years ago

    Foi muito legal visitar o Egito, e voltaría outra vez.

  • ! Border Breaker !

    9 years ago

    wow, you actually took some great pictures.

  • Lorna – the roamantics

    9 years ago

    amazing photos! i’m dying to go to egypt in 2011 and this seals the deal- going to cairo! thanks mark 🙂

  • Cairo travel

    9 years ago

    Wow so nice this picture, I like this site. Thanks a lot…

  • crazy sexy fun traveler

    9 years ago

    I’ve been to Cairo, Giza and Hurghada, too. And I was shocked by Cairo mess, dirty streets and especially food markets, when I saw an Egyptian sitting with bare dirty feet on a table in between the ‘fresh’ meat and vegetable. Good for a diet 😀

  • Shayna Koback

    9 years ago

    I’m still learning from you, but I’m improving myself. I definitely love reading all that is posted on your blog.Keep the information coming. I loved it

  • Marion

    9 years ago

    Great shots! Really looks like a crazy city!

  • Lois

    9 years ago

    I’ve never been to Cairo but it already feels like I did – through your photos. Thanks Mark!

  • adventureswithben

    9 years ago

    These are fantastic photos. Cairo is on my list, but I’ve never seen pictures of it. Thanks for sharing.

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      @Ben: Thanks for checking my pictures out! Imagine a continual flow of noise and interesting smells and you are already prepared for a trip to Cairo! Hope you have a chance to go soon!

      @Lois: Thanks for looking!

  • Mark Wiens

    9 years ago

    @Robin: Thanks Robin, it is an incredible city to visit!

    @A. Jung: Cairo had some of the coolest fruit displays I’ve ever seen, on the streets!

    @Inka: I do love the crazy!

  • inka

    9 years ago

    I can see that you love that crazy, crazy city and you have such an eye for the exceptional scenes. Thanks for sharing this.

  • A Jung

    9 years ago

    Hi Mark,
    Great photos, good eye! Loved your cool description of the fruit display as “amusing sculpture”. Hope to talk to you soon. Love, A Jung

  • Robin

    9 years ago

    Possibly my favourite city to visit and ery well depicted in these shots

  • Mark Wiens

    9 years ago

    @Zablon: Hehe, everything is possible!

    @Rowan: Thanks for taking a look Rowan! This is the thing when I was in Cairo, we would walk around all day, never seeing another tourist until arriving somewhere famous where there would be hordes of tourists. It just seems like many people hop from site to site in their ac buses, missing out on all the local street side scenes, scenes that are reality for most of Cairo. You know this first hand, living in Egypt for a while now. Great to meet you too, let me know when you are coming to Thailand! Hope to see you!

  • Rowan Mundhenk

    9 years ago

    Hey Mark,

    You did a really great job with the pictures and the comments. As someone who has lived in Egypt and Cairo now for awhile, it’s great to see someone posting all the different sides of Cairo that normally don’t get seen by outsiders. For the majority of people here it’s their everyday reality. Love it, keep up the great work and it was nice meeting you out here. Hope to see you in Thailand within the next year or so.

    Peace,

    Rowan

  • Zablon Mukuba

    9 years ago

    the smoking goat photo is very funny, your next post should have more animals smoking

  • Mark Wiens

    9 years ago

    @Ryan: Wow man! Sounds like you’ve put together a great itinerary. Those will be some fascinating places to visit, looking forward to seeing what you do there! Hope to meet you in Bangkok in a couple months!

    @Norbert: Thanks! Most tourist in Cairo tend to hit only a few tourist hotspots, missing a lot of local scenes!

    @Jamie: You still need to get those smells to go with the pictures!! Yes, when you go, you need to try to fruit coctel, simply amazing, mango, guava, pomegranate and bananas.

    @Cathy: Thanks Cathy, these pictures paired with an overdose of sounds (honking, yelling) and some good and bad smells, makes Cairo a crazy interesting city to visit. Hope you have a chance to visit!

    @NVR Guys: Wow, Kauai is 1 of my favorite places in the world. My Mother is from Hawaii so I visit quite frequently. Hope you guys are having an awesome time!

    @Kelly: Crazy fun indeed!

    @Michael: Thanks for checking it out!

    @Bessie: No problem, thanks for looking!

    @Greg: That was a pretty crazy scene, all of a sudden the hazy skyline stops and makes way for the Pyramids grounds.

    @Sarah: Thanks Sarah!

  • Sarah Wu

    9 years ago

    I love your beautiful photo essay. I feel like I was just walking through the streets of Cairo with you by looking at these shots. Love that Orange sky picture a lot. Thank you for posting these up!

  • greg urbano

    9 years ago

    wow ! some fabulous and interesting photos, love the one with the pyramids in the dusky background

  • Bessie

    9 years ago

    I enjoyed that thoroughly – thanks for sharing!

  • Michael Figueiredo

    9 years ago

    Wow! Those are some beautiful, colorful photos! You really capture the chaotic essence of Cairo. I really hope to visit there someday…

  • Kelly

    9 years ago

    Wow, Cairo IS crazy! Looks like crazy fun though!

  • The NVR Guys

    9 years ago

    Great photos. I have to be honest, Cairo is not at the top of our list. I know it would be an amazing experience, it just does not resonate with me (right now). Having said that, we used to say that we would never go to Hawaii because it was too touristy. Well, I am writing this from Kauai (it’s our 4th time to Hawaii).

    BTW – that smoking animal skull is repulsive!

  • Cathy Sweeney

    9 years ago

    Your photos are wonderful and so different from any I’ve seen of Cairo before. It’s long been on my list of places to visit as an exotic destination, but I really didn’t know much about what to expect if I went there. This has added so much to my ideas about what Cairo is like.

  • jamie

    9 years ago

    well, no need to head to Cairo now, ive seen everything here!
    i love markets, and those look great. that fruit drink looks delicious too.
    great work on the photos, keep em coming.
    cheers, jamie from cloudpeopleadventures.com

  • Norbert

    9 years ago

    Wow! I haven’t been there yet, but you have so many great pictures of the other side of Cairo I had never seen. Great photo blog.

  • Ryan

    9 years ago

    Hey Mark, Never fancied Egypt myself but these pics are making me reconsider! Looks amazing! btw my travel plans have changed massively since I was last in touch. I’m still heading to Bangkok eventually but stopping off in Istanbul, Sharjah, Kathmandu and then most likley a few stops in India. Counting the days now!!

  • Kelly Harmon @hiptraveler

    9 years ago

    Wow, fantastic images of the chaos and charm of Cairo. Egypt was the country where I fell in love with traveling. Thanks for sharing your photo essay of daily life in Egypt. Can’t wait to go back!

    ~cheers, @hiptraveler

  • Adam

    9 years ago

    Wow, some incredible pictures here. This is an area of the world we have never been, but it’s firmly on our tourist radar. Your pictures are really amazing, and it really makes me want to put Egypt up near the top. Great job!

    • Mark Wiens

      9 years ago

      @Adam: Great Adam, thanks for checking it out. Egypt is an incredible country to visit and Cairo is a city that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I’m sure you will get a chance to visit in the future!

      @Kelly: Awesome that you fell in love with travel in Egypt! It is a great place, even Cairo though chaotic, is just teeming with interesting sights and sounds!