Calm and Coffee in Darb al-Ahmer
Islamic Cairo has some great street cafes, from the iconic al-Fishawy in Khan al-Khalili to the numerous ahwas dotted among the incredibly beautiful medieval streets. However, one thing they often miss is greenery, a breeze and space.
There is one such space though. Hidden in the bustling and often exhausting Darb al-Ahmer an unusually leafy street next to the Al-Sayeda Fatima El-Nabaweya Mosque, there is a great little street cafe. While the cafe itself is nothing special, the regulars are welcoming and the calm atmosphere, which is rare for the neighbourhood, is exactly what's needed for long hot days exploring south of Bab Zueilla.
The adjacent mosque is named after and is the resting place of Al-Sayeda Fatima El-Nabaweya, great-granddaughter of the Prophet Mohamed and daughter of Imam Husayn ibn Ali, who was affectionately known as the "mother of the orphans" for her charitable work towards the less-fortunate. I was told that the mosque still holds festivities in her honour and that the inside of the mosque is incredibly beatiful, and that I have to come back and explore inside.
The ahwa is also next to the interesting Shrine of Sidi Abdullah al-Dessouky, whose Brother of Sidi Ibrahim al-Dessouky was the founder of the Dessouky Sufi order and was a contemporary of Tanta's Ahmed al-Badawi.