El-Ayat to Cairo
This is definitely a place name that demonstrates how difficult it is to write Arabic words in English letters. There are nearly half a dozen ways of writing the town’s name, from el-ayat, aiyat, ayyat, ayyaat, al-‘ayat and so forth. The name is related to the word for tailor, which might give some clue about its past history.
The station itself is on the busy main railway line to Upper Egypt not far south of Cairo’s sprawling southern suburbs, and stands in the narrow strip of fertile countryside on the west bank of the River Nile.
The ticket itself is for a 3rd class day return from el-Ayat to Cairo and back. I bought it on 28th December 1994, although the date is actually illegible on the ticket. It is ticket number 1477 and the price is printed 30 qurush, but written EGP1.10.
This area is famed for its pyramids. The Giza pyramids are well-known, but there are numerous examples from different eras of ancient Egypt. Many of these types can be viewed from trains travelling up and down this stretch of railway line, including the ruins of the Saqqara and Dahshur pyramids, both UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Read more here.