Touchdown - Cairo

SQ 428 DXB-CAI, 1st Feb 1999


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What’s on? Weather
Things to do Travel   Currency
Airline Fellowship Vacation
Church & Mission  

General Information
Co-ordinates Latt 030 00 N, Long 031 13 E
Phone code Country code 20, Cairo code 2, Exit code 00
Police 122, Fire 125, Ambulance 123
UTC offset + 2
Summer time +3, 24 April to 24 Sep
Measurements Metric
Electricity supply 220 V AC, plugs 2pin (per France) or 3 pin (per UK).
Weather highlights Mild winters: Feb min +13, max +25, hot summers.


What’s on?
Web sites Note: No local ISP in Egypt
Egypt Today Cultural listings for Egypt
Journeyman Explore Egypt on the net.
Touring Egypt Interesting travel diary.
St Georges Coptic Church Coptic (orthodox) Church of Egypt


A340  1st Feb 1999

A340 at the Pyramids

Today I am tapping away on my notebook computer with the sounds of Cairo wisping in through my open hotel balcony door. I am at the Marriott Hotel on Zamilik Island in the centre of the Nile. This morning's flight from Dubai was one of the most memorable of my career...

Inbound to Cairo, we crossed Saudi Arabia and picked up the Red Sea just south of Sinai ~ where it divides north-east to Jordon and Israel, and north-west to Egypt. We crossed Sinai with the warmth of the morning sun streaming into the cockpit and the sky cloudless ahead.

We overflew the area where the children of Israel wandered for 40 years, then over Mount Sinai where we believe Moses received the greatest and most succinct law ever written.... with Ethiopia just to our left - where there are those who believe the Ark of the Covenant remains guarded? Then we flew over the Suez canal to make our final approach into Cairo.

Radar vectors for runway 05 Right took us towards the Pyramids, just north-west of the city... where the sun glinted on their peaks. Then a right turn to fly down the Nile and pick up the descent beacon at Muqattam Hills. This is an incredibly interesting historical Christian site - and now the location of a Church of some 15,000 people - built on the Cairo rubbish dump (see below).

This was a flight to remember. Rather amazing that we were led to place an antique photo of the Vickers Vimmy flying past the Pyramids on the home page of Airborne a few months ago. Here we are today doing exactly that in our latest technology A340.

Tomorrow I am taking five of our crew members on a tour of some spiritual significance... First to "Old Cairo" where tradition has it that Moses studied as a youth... and also where Joseph and Mary brought the baby Jesus when they fled Herod and Israel. Then I will take them to Muqattam Hills to learn of the miracle of the raising of Mokattan Mountain.

But why should all this wonderful experience be kept to just one crew? Doesn't the web create a cyber venue where we can share such discoveries and encourage others to learn, to experience, and to grow in faith?

I would like to invite you to be a contributor to the "Touchdown" section of the web site... passing on to others encouragement's to faith that you may discover in accordance with our purposes and objectives.



Things to do

Touring Cairo
A reliable Taxi/tour driver who works with airline crews is Tarek Amrekany, Phn: 282-9475 (h) and mobile: 012 319-4263.  He will normally charge about 10.00 per person for a whole day tour for 3 to 6 people - more people by arrangement. Alternatively expect about 10.00 per hour solo use. Also recommended is Magdi Hafez on 291-7214.

The best way to see the Pyramids is by horse - about USD$5 for two hours plus tips.  Ask for Abdul as a tour guide and to get a good horse if you are a rider - if not, then a guide will lead your horse for a tip.

Besides Cairo Museum and the Pharonic Village, another great thing to do is visit the Old Cairo - about half hour taxi ride south of the Marriott - taxi cost about 30 for trip both ways and wait an hour at the site - negotiate price before leaving hotel and pay after trip from outside the cab.


At Old Cairo you will find many Coptic churches, Mosques and the oldest Synagogue in Egypt.  It was in this area that according to tradition Moses and Jeremiah used to worship.  The district hasn't changed much in 2000 years!  You can also find here the Church of St Sergius - where tradition has it that Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus stayed when they fled to Egypt. The Church is not easy to find. The entrance to the area is just east of the Mari Girgis Metro station. Follow the narrow walkway past the St Georges nun chapel, first right, then left and on the right there is a few steps going down to a doorway. Through the door is a small chapel, and in the back a flight of stairs down to a crypt where the holy family are believed to have stayed. It is now filled with water.

Also recommended is a visit to St Bishoi Monastry at Wadi Natrun - about 2.5 hrs drive from the Mariott in Cairo


Muqattam Hills
This is a special experience for Christians. The church of St Samaan the Tanner at Mokattam Mountain is carved into the cliffs of the hills... whose only access is via the Cairo rubbish dump at Muqattam Hills ~ about 1/2 hour drive from central Zamaluk island.

Brief History
As you make final approach to Cairo runway 05L, you will pass over Muqattam beacon.   This beacon is located on Mount Mokattam at Muqattam Hills where the rubbish dump was commenced in 1969 by decree of the governor of Cairo. There are some 30,000 + trash collectors who live on the dump, collecting the rubbish from all over Cairo then sorting and recycling it where they live.

In 1972 one of the trash collectors met a Christian minister, who shared the Gospel with him. This minister was then invited to start a mission on the rubbish dump. In 1974 this calling was confirmed by God in a number of clear ways, including divine reference to Acts 18:9-10 and Joshua 1:3. Nine people came to the first service on April 13, 1974.  Today (1999) the meetings number up to about 15,000 people.

However the real significance of Mokattam is its long history. About 1,000 years earlier, God used Samaan the Tanner as an instrument for performing the miracle of moving the mountain. This history is well documented and is recorded in the book "The Biography of Saint Samaan the Shoemaker" available in the bookshop on the mountain (phn: 202 512-3666, 512-4080 and fax: 512-6150).

This account should be read devoutly. This circumstances of this miracle was forced upon the church by persecution... when they were challenged to prove their faith by fulfilling Matt 17:20 ~ or else to see Christianity crushed in Egypt. After preparation by the church in prayer and fasting, God moved an earthquake on the mountain in accordance with specific worship. Full details are recorded in the booklet.

Today there is a worship service on Thursday evening at 6:30 pm ~ which lasts about 3 hours. The service is in Arabic, but if you ask around you should be able to find someone who will translate into English. While this is an orthodox service, the singing and preaching is Christ centred and empowered by the Holy Spirit.

This is a wonderful place to visit... with a contemplative spirit. The "paradise" of the Church contrasts with the "hell" of the rubbish dump... a spiritual metaphor of death in man, and life in Christ ~ God's heaven modelled along side of man's hell. In the same city are the pyramids... man's vain failure to make eternity for himself!  Explore the contrasts and meditate on the spiritual implications.  Spend some hours there in contemplation and personal reflection.

Muqattam is located on Cairo maps on the South Eastern extremity of the city. Most taxi drivers don't know the way, but Tarak knows. Otherwise you can enquire from Madam Insaf, who works at the Boulac Relief Centre below the Anglican Cathedral, next to the rear entrance of the Marriott Hotel. It's best to arrive at Muqattam with some reasonable time of daylight available - and note that it can be cool at night.


Hover your mouse over
the following images for descriptions

Entrance via the rubbish dump

Perspective of the Church area

Entrance to the main open air auditorium

Inside the main auditorium - seating for about 10,000



Airline Fellowship: Contacts
No known airline fellowship in Cairo


Church and Mission
Maadi Community Church
Latest update 28 Feb 98
Characteristics International and Interdenominational.
Address Meets at St John the Baptist Church, corner of Road 17 and Port Said.
Church Web site N/A
Contacts Pastor: Dave Petrescue, office: 351-2755
Service times Friday at 1100 hrs, Sunday at 1900.
Language of services English
Transport Taxi, about LE20 from Mariot Hotel.
Notes Office hours: 0930 to 1400 Wed and Thu, Sunday 0900 to 1500.


All Saints Cathedral
Latest update 28 Feb 98
Characteristics Traditional Anglican - friendly.  You have to ask to find out all that is happening.
Address Michael Lutfallah St, Zamalek, P.O. Box 87, 11211 Cairo.
Right behind the Marriott Hotel (near rear entrance).
Church Web site N/A
Contacts Office: 341-8391, and fax 340-8941.
The Provost or Dean of the Cathedral is Huw Thomas.
P.O. Box 87, Distribution Zamalek, 11211 Cairo.
Service times Sundays 0800, 1030 and 1930
Fridays 0930 and 1800
Saturday evening fellowship at 1815 ~ more lively
Tuesday: Bible study at the home of...
Mark and Anette Bennett
Phn: 20 2 341-8391 (b)
Language English
Transport Next door to the Marriott Hotel.
Notes Office hours: 0930 to 1400 Wed and Thu
Sunday 0900 to 1500.


Joint Relief Mission - Located at the Cathedral
Purposes There are some 2 million Sudanese refugees in Egypt, and the Church provides a wide range of services and assistance.
Can you help? There is a craft shop where goods can be purchased for the benefit of the refugees, in the basement below the Cathedral offices.  There is also a need for postage assistance through friends leaving Egypt.  There are also daily needs for volunteers.
Contacts Mark and Anette Bennett
Phn: 20 2 341-8391 (b)


Other Churches
Cairo Christian Fellowship Meets at St Andrews Church Hall Sun 1800
Heliopolis Community Church 10 Seti St, meets at St Michaels Church Fri 0930 and Sun at 1830.  Phn: 418-6828
St Andrews United 0930 Sun and Fri.  Phn: 575-9451, 360-3527
St Johns Trad Int. Anglican Sat 1830, Phn: 378-0087, 353-1453
There are also German and Korean Churches - check out listings that are usually available at hotel concierge.