|Best Time to Visit:
||October to February (with hot &
||The Pyramids of Giza, Old Cairo, El-Muallaqa
Church (the 'Hanging Church'), Bab Zuwayla, Bayn al-Qasryn, Bayt
el-Suhaymi, Citadel (el-Qal'a), Alabaster Sphinx, Temple of Ptah &
|Major Entertainment Centers:
||The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, Coptic
Museum, Islamic Art Museum, Mukhtar Museum, Museum of Islamic Ceramics &
Taha Hussein Museum
||Khan al-Khalili, Kasr el Nil Street, Talat Harb
Street, Khaled Sarwat Street & Baghdad Street
|Near by Places (Excursions):
||Luxor, Alexandria, Memphis and Saqqara &
Western Desert Oases
|Famous Food & Beverages (Gourmet's Delight
||Koshray, Hibiscus, Karakare & Helba
|Foreign Embassies & Consulates:
||Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, China, Czech
Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan,
Malaysia, Mauritius, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore,
Sweden, UAE, UK, US & Vietnam
|History & Evolution
The presence of Pyramids in the city leads many to believe that Cairo is a
Pharaonic city, though it is not. Formerly known as Al-Qahira, the citys
core foundations were laid in 969 by the Fatimids, an early Islamic dynasty
from North Africa.
There also had been earlier settlements, especially the Romans and Arabs
(Fustat) but the Fatimids established the core of Cairo as it is today. The
mosques and university built by them is still Egypt's main center of Islamic
study, while the three great gates of Bab an-Nasr, Bab al-Futuh and Bab
Zuweila continue to straddle two of Old Cairo's main thoroughfares.
Under the rule of subsequent dynasties Cairo swelled and burst its walls,
but at heart it remained a medieval city for 900 years. Starting from 1171,
it was conquered by Saladin and ruled by Ayyubids and remained an important
center of Muslim world. The slave soldiers or Mamluks also ruled the city
from 1250 to 1517 when the Ottomans defeated them. Eventually after the
brief occupation of Napoleon, an Ottoman officer named Muhammad Ali made
Cairo the capital of an independent empire that lasted from 1801 to 1882. It
was not until the reign of Ismail, grandson of Mohammed Ali that in the
mid-19th century, Cairo started to change in any significant way.
Soon the city came under British control and this 70year British occupation
came to an abrupt halt with the Revolution of 1952. Since then, the city has
grown spectacularly in population and urban development. However, the
changes, fall well short of keeping pace with overcrowding, collapsing
infrastructure, poverty and pollution. Nevertheless, in recent times the
numbers of tourists in Cairo have been at an all-time high and hotel prices
at a similar peak due to its rich glorious history and its iconic Pyramids
and Islamic monuments.
Cairo is the unique remainder of the oldest civilization of the planet and
therefore, old-world charm here is palpable and well worth soaking in.
With its innumerable layers of history and dozens of streets, you could
spend months in the city and still not manage to see all of its mosques,
minarets, Coptic churches, souks, small museums and other places of
Pyramids of Giza:
Pyramids of Giza without a doubt are Egypt's prime tourist attraction. One
of the seven wonders of the ancient and modern world, the pyramid leaves a
life time impacts on the minds of the visitors.
The oldest on the site and largest in Egypt are the Great Pyramid of Cheops
(aka Khufu) which were completed in about 2600BC and stands 136.4m (447.5ft)
high. Nearby lies three smaller pyramids built for the king's queens and
beyond are two other large pyramids, those of Chephren and Mycerinus.
Surrounding the pyramids is the Solar Boat Museum, which houses a superbly
preserved wooden boat found near the Great Pyramid.
Pyramid Road, Southwest of Central Cairo
The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities:
With its 107 halls containing over 120,000 artifacts, one needs atleast a
month to explore the museum. The museum is rich in treasures from ancient
Egypt, including priceless finery taken from ancient royal tombs.
One of the masterpieces is the statue of Khafre (Chephren) while the
Tutankhamun Gallery where exquisite treasures from the tomb of the Boy King
are displayed including the famous solid gold death mask is the most popular
attraction of the museum.
Another top class attraction is the Royal Mummy Room containing mummies of
some of the most powerful Pharaohs in Egypt dating from 18th-20th Dynasties,
while the Akhenaten Room, Jewellery Rooms and animal mummies are also
Mariette Pasha Street, Tahrir Square
El-Muallaqa Church (the Hanging Church):
Dating back to 4th century, el-Muallaqa is the oldest Christian place of
worship in Cairo. It is a Coptic Church within the old Babylon fortress
which is called the 'Hanging Church' because it is built on top of a Roman
gate and reached by a stairway that leads to the courtyard.
Destroyed in the 9th century, the church was rebuilt in 11th century whose
beautiful interior features three barrel-vaulted aisles, altar screens of
inlaid ivory & bone and an exquisite, carved marble pulpit supported by
13 pillars representing Christ and his disciples. Apart from these, there is
also an incredible collection of over hundred icons within this church
dating back to 8th century.
Sharia Mari Girgis, Old Cairo
Originally the fort was Salah ad-Din's palace built in 12th century. The
fortifications were first built to repel the Crusaders but later in the 19th
century became the royal residence for sultans.
Today this limestone complex contains mosques and palaces reflecting 700
years of Cairo history. The most famous of enclosure is the Mohammed Ali
Mosque having huge central dome and four semi-domes towering over the city
while the Mosque of al-Nasir, Yusuf's Well and several small museums are
other fascinating sites. Besides one can also have outstanding views of
Cairo from the Citadel.
Khan el-Khalili is the most entertaining part of Cairo and the most
interesting bazaars, not only in Egypt, but also in the whole Middle East.
This ancient shopping area is named after Prince Jaharkas Al-Khalili of 14th
The suq (the Arabic name for market) dates back to 1382 when el-Khalili
built a big caravanserai right here which was a sort of hotel for traders
and usually the focal point for economic activity for any surrounding area.
This caravanserai is still there which a narrow street of Sikka Khan
el-Khalili and Badestan.
This traditional market is famous for its unusual, typically oriental
souvenirs and handmade crafts while some of the shops have also their own
little factories or workshops.
Besides giving glimpses of medieval times, the market also has contemporary
cafes, restaurants, shops and large number of vendors and buyers.
Al Hussien District