Tahrir Square Is Already Becoming a Tourist Destination


The U.S. State Department still has a travel warning stamped on Egypt, a country that just overthrew its leader after weeks of chaotic protests and 40 years of dictatorship, but that's not stopping some tourists from checking out the newly democratic country. In a world where hotels are considered hipper if they're still under construction, is it any surprise the New York Times' Jennifer Conlin is already on the scene:

Many tourist sites around Cairo are open again ... but these days the most sought-after photo is not one of Tutankhamen’s mask but of Tahrir Square, a mammoth traffic circle the world had stared at for three weeks on television ... and a top destination for many of the Western tourists who have begun trickling into Egypt in recent days.

Aart Blijdorp, a civil servant from the Netherlands ... had flown in a few days earlier to attend the seven-day anniversary of Mubarak’s resignation, a gathering on Tahrir Square that the protesters hope will become a weekly Friday event. "So far, Tahrir is my favorite place,” said Mr. Blijdorp, who had visited the Pyramids the day before. As Rick Zeolla, general manager of the Cairo Marriott, put it: “Right now Egypt is like having a fast pass at Disney. People should come over.”

Historical landmarks turned into tourist draws? Fun-sounding "weekly Friday events?" Democracy in action, here.

Tahrir Square, Egypt’s Newest Tourist Draw [NYT]