The Jewish cemetery of Cairo, Egypt

One of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the world is located in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. Before Israel was founded, Egypt had a flourishing Jewish community. Now the community is believed to consist of no more than 30 to 40 people, all of them living in Cairo and Alexandria. Each of these cities still has a working synagogue. Both of them are not publicly accessible, but opened on high Jewish holidays like Yom Kippur.

 

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The GPS location is 29°59’33″N 31°16’23″E.

 

Another trace of the former thriving Jewish life in Egypt is the Jewish cemetery in Cairo. It is located roughly in the south of Cairo, nearby locations are called El Hawamdya and El Badrasheen. The entrance is located in a tiny back alley where no taxis will ever be found, so take care of a transportation to leave this place. Officially, this cemetery is not open to the public, but if you follow the road to the left of the entry gate, you will find that large and vast parts of the surrounding walls have collapsed, making it easy to gain access. Be aware that this place has stray dogs that may not be very welcoming to intruding visitors. The same applies to the inhabitants of the slum right next to the cemetery. It is being used as a dump for garbage and these people do not like seeing foreign visitors running around with a camera. Keep a low profile when entering the place and try not to be seen.

The cemetery is home to the resting places of a couple of thousand Jews. From time to time, new graves are being set up, they are located right next to the collapsed walls from where you enter. The newest one is from early 2016. Unfortunately because of history, the relationship between Muslims and Jews in this country were never the best and you can easily encounter this when entering the cemetery. It is in a miserable condition and on almost every grave, the details on the ledger of the buried individual have been removed with tools. Some graves have been destroyed entirely. There are maybe three bigger mausoleums on the graveyard, all of them have been severely damaged, the roof of one has collapsed completely. One is intact from the outside, but from the inside you see very quickly it has been used as a cattle shed by a goat farmer. The only connection left to Judaism can be seen on the ceiling. Two stars of David are left, all the other details of art have been entirely removed through vandalism.

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This is the section with the new graves that are only a couple of years old.

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The most recent grave. January 25, 2016.

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Quite obvious on this image: The ledgers on almost all graves have been professionally destroyed with tools.

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One of the mausoleums on the graveyard is used as a cattle shelter by locals living in the slum next to the cemetery.

 

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The cemetery is also used as a garbage dump by locals.

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The entry gate to the cemetery can be easily overseen. It is closed, of course.