If we find a little gem when we travel, we keep returning to it. This is one such gem.
When looking at a map, the district of Manchea is located at the western end of Alexandria, inside the curve of the port. There is little information on the net and it’s marked on few maps. Attempt to pronounce it with an Arabic twang and you’re sure to be pointed in the right direction.
Manchea is far from the shiny shopping centers that dot the eastern parts of this huge city. We had not read about it, we had not been told about it, we just happened to ‘bump into’ Manchea on one of our rambles across the city, each time during the late afternoon. We always hung around long into the evening, drinking tea, smoking naghila, eating and chatting with the men of the market stalls.
I think the photos convey the almost medieval feel of the place. It definitely didn’t feel like we were in a city of 6 or 7 million people.
We have been to ‘Alex’ on three separate occasions now and spent many happy hours in the Manchea district. One such visit to Alex involved a 4am landing into Cairo, a taxi straight to the train station and a ‘seat’ on the first lumbering train to Alex. For us, we could not wait. We had to get to our little gem. Coffee houses, tea houses, backgammon, a sea breeze, colourful markets and the call to prayer. Lovely.