Cairo or Al-Qahira (the victorious) city in the Arabic language and The City of Thousand Minarets is the capital of charming Egypt. It is the largest city in the Arab world, the Middle East and Africa. Cairo's location to the northeast of the country and on the eastern shore of the Nile River creates its unique magic.
It is associated with Ancient Egypt as the famous Giza Pyramids and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area. For its universal importance; the pyramids area, Memphis and Historic Cairo are all inscribed on the UNESCO world heritage sites' list.
In the course of its thousand-year history, Cairo has been the capital of Ancient Egypt during Middle Kingdom, the center of the Islamic ages and a British colonial territory. It is definitely a city of monuments; however it doesn't live in the past!
Cairo is a bustling city, full of life & one of the most important cultural capitals in the Middle East. Nowadays, the city is one of the world's highest population, but still a major center for tourism, trade, education, business and manufacturing.
The Nile River is considered the longest river in the world with approximately 6650 kilometers long. It flows from south to north through eastern Africa. The Nile River is often linked to Egypt, but it is interesting to know that it flows through another 11 countries which are; Tanzania, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Eritrea, South Sudan, Sudan and finally Egypt.
The Nile River has always been the source of life in Egypt; it has been the source of food, water, transportation and agriculture to the Ancient Egyptian Civilization 5,000 years ago.
Located on Giza plateau are the three iconic pyramids of Egypt belonging to the kings of the fourth dynasty. The three pyramid complexes including those of Khufu, Khafra, and Menkawre. The pyramids are surrounded by groups of Mastaba tombs, in which members of the royal family and high officials were buried. Starting with the one and only standing monument among the seven wonders of the ancient world, The Great Pyramid of Khufu which was called Horizon of Khufu. While being one of the oldest structures on earth, many architects and engineers who studied the pyramid's structure assure that, with all our technological ability, we could not build a similar structure today. Its size along with the interior design and the so called "Grand Gallery" are the main reasons why the Great pyramid was selected to be the utmost man-made building all over the world. The second chief monument on the Giza plateau is The Pyramid of Kharfa. The top of the pyramid is still encased with white limestone that once decorated the whole body of the three pyramids. The so called valley temple and the Great Sphinx are considered parts of Khafra's well-preserved pyramid complex. The third and smallest building in the plateau is The Pyramid of Menkawra which served as the burial place of king Menkawra of the fourth dynasty.
It is located 20 km to the south west of Giza pyramids, and is considered the 1st capital of Ancient Egypt. Memphis was founded around 3000 BC by King Menes who united Upper and Lower Egypt. The ancient city hosts a number of breathtaking sculptures gathered in the nowadays open-air Museum in Mit Rahina. The alabaster sphinx and the great statue of Ramases II are considered the most prominent monuments displayed there. Memphis is a must-see for the fans of Ancient Egyptian history as it embraces archeological remains reflecting how Ancient Egyptians life looked like
Sakkara served as the necropolis of the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. The area encompasses number of tombs and monuments, the most prominent of which is the stepped pyramid built by King Djoser of Old Kingdom. The step pyramid complex at Sakkara is considered the first monument in the history of Egyptian civilization to be built completely out of stone. Despite the fact that Sakkara isn't as famous as the pyramids of Giza, but it is so significant to witness the evolution of pyramids construction throughout the history.
It is a famous bazaar in the historic center of Cairo. The ancient market is as old as the 14th century, and is characterized by the manufacture of a unique handicrafts and souvenirs made by the Egyptian talented artisans. Walking between the alleys of Khan El-Khalili and enjoying the unique architectural design of the old bazaar is a must during your tour in Cairo!
It is constructed by the legendary army leader Saladin during the 13th century as a fortification against the Crusaders. The citadel area encompasses several mosques, palaces, monuments and museums from different eras such as: the breathtaking alabaster Mosque of Mohamed Ali, the Royal Carriage Museum and Al-Gawhara Palace. A couple of spacious terraces with splendid Cairo views are the most charming spots inside the citadel, so don't miss taking photo of you with this magnificent view!
Also known as Coptic Cairo or the Center of Religions, Old Cairo is situated at the location of ancient Babylon fortress dating back to the 6th century BC. The area is known to be the shelter place of the Holy Family during their flight to Egypt seeking refugee from the Roman king Herod who wanted to kill Jesus the baby. Nowadays the area encompasses number of Coptic Religious buildings which are: The Hanging Church, the Greek Church of St. George, the cemetery of the Greeks, the Monastery of St. George, the Wedding Hall of St. George, the Church of Abu Serga, the Church of St. Barbara, the Tomb of Ibrahim Al-Gohary, the Church of the Virgin -Qasriyet Al-Rayhan-, and the Coptic Museum. In addition to the Coptic monuments, there are the synagogue of Ben Ezra and the Mosque of Amr Ibn Al-Aas very near to the complex.
The Mosque was founded in 642 AD by the Arab commander who introduced Islam to Egypt, Amr Ibn Al-Aas. The mosque acted as the center of his newly founded Egyptian capital, Al-Fustat. It is located near to the Coptic complex in the heart of Old Cairo. Despite the fact that most of its original structure has been renovated, the historical significance of the building as the first mosque on the continent of Africa still fascinates lots of tourists from all over the world!
Built by Prince Mohamed Ali between 1901 and 1929 on Rhoda Island, the palace is located in El-Manial district to the south of Cairo. Despite the fact that El-Manial palace is not as famous as many sightseeing attractions in Cairo, yet it is considered one of the most fascinating historic house museums in Egypt. The interior design combines several Islamic architectural decorations vary between Ottoman, Persian, Moorish and Fatimid styles. Beside the Reception Saray, Accommodation Saray, Throne Saray and The Golden Hall, the palace area contains historical gardens, forested nature park and hunting museum. To conclude, the palace is considered a master piece of art and it is definitely worth the visit!
Located approximately two kilometers from Giza pyramids, the GEM is a planned museum of the most precious ancient Egyptian artefacts. It is still under construction and is scheduled to open in 2020. The museum is described as the largest archaeological museum in the world! The estimated floor area is 480,000 square meters. It is planned that the museum will include the latest interpretation technologies comprising virtual reality. It will embrace conference center, children's museum, training center and workshops similar to the Ancient Egyptian places. Stay Tuned for the opening ceremony!
In 1999, Wadi Degla was announced to be a desert land protected area by the Egyptian Environmental Affairs Agency. It covers an area of about 60 kilometers and situated just 10 kilometers away from Cairo. The protectorate passes through the limestone rocks remains from the marine environment during the Eocene Epoch 60 million years ago; this is why the vicinity is full of fossils. The valley around the high rocks has a group of animals including mammals and if you are lucky you will pass by some of them during your tour. Visiting Wadi Degla Protectorate as part of your vacation in Cairo is special in all ways! It offers a unique experience where you will enjoy the silence of nature and the beauty of rocks.
It is tricky to imagine how the location of today's Al-Azhar park was once a mountain of debris! A tremendous effort was done by Aga Khan Trust for Culture Network aiming at creating a great public space in the heart of Cairo. A total of 30 million dollars was assigned to this project. Qualified local architects and urban development offices participated in inventing this amazing transformation. Make sure to take some time and dine in one of the nice restaurants with the astonishing view of Cairo and Saladin Citadel just in front of you!
Baron Empain, was a Belgian millionaire who visited Egypt in 1906; it was when he made his decision to spend the rest of his life in Egypt and established a new city in the middle of the desert (the current city of Heliopolis or the city of the sun). I will not overstate when I say that Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis is one of the must-see architectural masterpieces to visit in Cairo. The palace was designed by the French architect Alexander Marcel and decorated by Georges Louis Claude. The design of this exceptional palace was inspired by the Hindu Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia. It is embellished by ivory from inside out, balconies are ornamented with elephant statues, and windows are stimulated by the Islamic style & decorated with Hindu and Buddhist statues. It is said that the Palace once had an old watch which can only be compared with the watch in Buckingham Palace, precisely showing the time in minutes, hours, days, months, years, moon phases and temperature. The Palace is also characterized by the spacious garden where rare plants were planted for the Baron. It is a place where history meets mystery! There are a lot of fairy tales related to the palace. One of the legends is that palace's tower used to spin 360 degrees every hour, and it suddenly stopped after Baroness Helena, the Baron’s sister died after slipping off from the second floor, others say Baron Empain felt guilty for his sister’s death and stayed inside the palace until his death in 1929.
Overlooking Ain El-Seira Lake, the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization is located on El-Fustat archaeological site in Old Cairo. The NMEC is known to be the first authentic museum of civilization in Egypt. 50,000 artefacts from the dawn of civilization to the present day are going to be displayed in the museum's six main galleries. The project forms part of UNESCO's efforts for safeguarding and preserving Egypt's cultural heritage. For this reason, the UNESCO is providing support to the NMEC in training, exhibition development and other areas. It is expected that the project will allow greater number of people to be educated more about the Egyptian civilization and serve as a forum for open dialogue, debate and exchange of ideas. In addition, the museum is planned to include an auditorium, an education & research center and an exhibition on the expansion of the modern city of Cairo. It will act as a venue which highlights Egypt's tangible and intangible heritage. In February 2017, the museum was partly opened and the first exhibition under the name "Crafts and Industries through the Ages" was displayed to the public. Using modern techniques and multimedia electronic guides, the exhibition brings back to life the development of four gorgeous Egyptian crafts which are: clay, jewelry, textiles and wood. As it is still not completely opened, it is highly recommended to explore the NMEC in a guided tour!
Today's extraordinary historic Abdeen museum in Cairo used to be a royal palace and one of the official presidential workplaces. Owned by Abdeen Bey, the palace was built in 1863 by the French architect Rousseau on a 24 feddans area in the eastern downtown Cairo. It used to be the seat of the government between 1872 and 1952. Through its history, the palace witnessed unforgettable events which definitely affected Egypt's modern and contemporary history. The palace is known for its marvelous architecture, beautiful paintings and mixed ornaments from the Egyptian, French, Italian and Turkish styles. In 1921, Sultan Fuad I added the palace's garden on a 20 feddans area. The museum today embraces the Arms Museum, Silver Museum, Royal Family Museum and the Presidential Gifts Museum. The place is definitely worth the visit as an integral part of Egypt's heritage