Cairo’s infamous “City of the Dead” is a centuries old cemetery that has become home to as many as a million Egyptians during the last decades. The buildings in the cemetery are like full-blown houses and the cemetery has long had mosques, school and markets. “The historic belief in Egypt is that the cemeteries are an active part of the community and not exclusively for the dead. Egyptians have not so much thought of cemeteries as a place of the dead, but rather a place where life begins.”
We recently visited The City of the Dead along with our friend and guide, Emil Shaker. In typical fashion, he gets into a “forbidden” area the tomb of the Imam of the Mosque.
This room serves several purposes: it’s the tomb of the Imam, a burial place for the newly dead, a cooling room for freshly baked date pies, a place to read the Koran, and, as Emil snickers toward the end of the clip: the place where the blind undertaker “hunts his wife!”
The man who lets us into the crypt is the blind sheikh and undertaker in the City of the Dead – there was a very famous Egyptian film made about him called “Kit Kat.”