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Al Azhar Park – Haven of Tranquility in Cairo

Woke up this morning – no sunshine in Cairo!  This was the kind of day I had been waiting for, a day-trip to the jewel of Cairo that hardly any tourists know about – Al Azhar Park! 
In 1984 the Aga Khan decided to build a park for the people of Cairo.  The only suitable central location was a rubbish/rubble dump near the 15th century “City of the Dead”.  The site was transformed into what is today a most wonderfully designed relaxing space covering 74 acres.  It has water features, a lake, unique restaurants, hilltops, winding walk ways, exotic flowers, mature trees, a children’s play area, lots of seating in tranquil, intimate settings.  Al Azhar is a must-visit retreat for anyone with spare time in Cairo, especially if you want to get away from the noise and traffic.
Entry fee is only 5 LE.  I spent about 4 hours wandering around there today – only left because it started to rain!  Surrounded by the lush lawns, hills, trees and flowers I forgot I was in Cairo for those hours and could have been back home in Ireland.
Today it was full (I don’t mean over-crowded) of Egyptians enjoying it’s peace and tranquility – mostly young people,  (many obviously in love which added to the atmosphere!), a group of girls with cake boxes obviously having a little party there, married couples with young children and a few older couples.
It is only 15 minutes in a taxi from Tahrir Sq. (actually it would be a wonderful place to go after a visit to the museum and it is open until around 11pm I think – you can check the website above for more information.  I have been to Al Azhar Park once before – at night-time and it was even more wonderful then.  It is all light-up -you can have a romantic dinner on one of the hilltops and enjoy the view of Cairo below you – especially wonderful to sit and look at is Saladin’s Citadel and the surrounding mosques by night.
You can see Salahadin’s Citadel at the end of the avenue


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