Photographs from World-wide Photowalk day 2017, ( طريق آل البيت Photowalk), Cairo

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Turkish coffee and empty chairs on al Ashraf St, el Khalifa, Cairo

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Gas for domestic use is still transported by horse and cart in many areas of Cairo

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Baladi bread fresh from the oven

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Al Ashraf Street, Al Khalifa

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Baladi bread bakery

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Mashrabiya, a type of Oriel window, overlooking Sharia Khayamiya

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Koshary, an Egyptian dish originally made in the 19th century, made of ricemacaroni and lentils mixed together, topped with a spiced tomato sauce, and garlic vinegar; garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions.

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The dried crispy snacks that accompany Koshary

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The Street of The Tentmakers of Chareh El-Khiamiah ), Islamic Cairo 

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Ibn Tulun Mosque

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The Street of The Tentmakers of Chareh El-Khiamiah ), Islamic Cairo 

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Mohamed Ali Sabil

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The Street of The Tentmakers of Chareh El-Khiamiah ), Islamic Cairo 

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Northern end of Al Khayama, Islamic Cairo

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Northern end of Al Khayama, Islamic Cairo

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Ibn Tulun Mosque

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La Sayeda Nafeesah Mosque, Cairo

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City of the Dead – Cairo, December 2016.

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Called el’arafa by locals, the four mile long Islamic cemetery and necropolis lies below the Mokattam Hills in southeastern Cairo. But it is not only a home for the dead. Half a million or so of the living also inhabit the vast area where they reside among the tombs of their ancestors.

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Children playing in City of the Dead, Cairo (Qarafa, el-Arafa). Cairo, December, 2016

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A certain comfort is thought to be found for those living so close to their deceased ancestors though they are not always treated with respect by outsiders who fear both their perceived morbid desire to reside with the dead and the crime and drug taking that is believed to have increased since  the 25 January Revolution in 2011.

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Dating back to the Seventh century, many of the tombs are more akin to tiny dwellings occasionally surrounded by surprisingly lush ‘gardens’. On the outskirts of some areas concrete apartment blocks have also sprung up. No surprises there though. Egypt’s population of 95 million is rapidly expanding at a staggering rate of 33.3 percent. At least 20 million inhabit Cairo’s metropolitan area where the majority live in abject poverty in extremely crowded conditions so el’arafa offers some kind of replacement for the poor. Its residents now have a few schools, many shops, fruit and vegetable stalls, electricity, hot water, a medical centre, garages, a post office, madrasas, Sufi colleges, and of course, a plethora of mosques.

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(All photography by Tina Bexson)