The Egyptian city of Maghagha is perhaps one of the few cities in the country that still use horse-drawn carriages, also known as Hantour, for daily public transportation.
The city is famous for being the birthplace of the "Dean of Arabic Literature" Dr. Taha Hussein, where he wrote a number of novels, including his biography.
The city's streets are still quite with only a few number of private vehicles and motorcycles roaming it. Although it saw a number of new buildings over the the past period, however, modern public transportation didn't make its way to the city yet, including taxis and auto rickshaws “tuk-tuks” that haven't entered any of the city’s seven neighborhoods.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Hantour driver Sayed Ali said carriage drivers are well respected in the city, stressing that they are highly trusted by the people.
Another carriage owner, Salah Haseeb, points out that driving the Hantour still provides a decent living these days.
“It is the profession of my fathers and grandparents, I love it and do not know how to do any other job. I am not the only one, most of the other drivers inherited this profession from their fathers,” he added.
According to Haseeb, this profession is not exclusive to particular families in Maghagha, but is open for anyone interested in it, provided that he takes good care of the horse, noting that the Hantour should always be clean to keep customers pleased.
Remarkably, although In Maghagha residents use the Hantour for their daily transportation, however, in Cairo, Luxor and Aswan, horse-drawn carriages are used by tourists for entertainment.