Before I set off to see Egypt, I might have not set any expectations but I had a vision, a dream: I saw a city that wasn’t like any other, a city that possessed elements of beauty that no other Egyptian city could rival, a city that would truly surprise me and make me wish I had visited ages ago. It was just a vision, I couldn’t set an expectations on such a far fetched dream. The more cities I visited the more it really became more vivid.
On the 22nd day of this trip, after completing more than two thirds of my journey and just when I thought I was moving further from realizing my vision, I was there. It was subtle at first, simple signs but nothing substantial. One conversation after the other, one street after the next, things started to become clear; I had found what I once wished for. A city that was authentic, still retaining its original architecture, and with streets city wide that are as clean as any modern city in Europe.
How could it be, that a city mentioned so little, be so beautiful, a small place on the map between much larger cities, be so exceptional. Before arriving several strangers had advised me to visit Qena but non of them gave me any hint it would be like this. Even the people of Qena don’t realize the mini paradise they populate. One of the rare cities with clean breathable air city wide, a city that it swept clean every morning by workers, and a city that houses some of the kindest hearted people of Upper Egypt.
During my first few hours in Qena, I instantly made new friends and was lucky enough to have them help me see Qena for what it really is. The Nile in Qena is amazing, the streets are green and filled with trees that create a cool shade and freshening scent. The people of Qena are extremely kind to strangers, I have been asked to join people for Iftar countless times.
I can’t stress enough on the level of cleanliness here, since its one of the things I clearly look for and tend to enjoy more than others when its available. Walking around without snapping pictures all the time is impossible its like an open urban art gallery with master pieces left and right. Even the weather despite being significantly warmer than northern Egyptian cities but the scattered clouds disperse the sunlight and create some beautiful lighting that is yet scattered again by all the trees and palms that fill the streets.
I couldn’t he happier to have discovered Qena, it certainly feels like a discovery and definitely needs more love. The sunset sky in Qena is one the most spectacular ones I’ve seen throughout this trip, and I’m sure there is yet more to experience. For the time being Qena is the almost perfect of Egyptian cities.