The 20 million inhabitants metropolis Cairo is the capital of Egypt and in terms of inhabitants the largest city in Africa and the political region of the Middle East. For a large part of the people who make a tour through Egypt, Cairo is the place where the tour starts or at least an important part of the trip through Egypt. Cairo consists of two governorates: Cairo and Giza (internationally: Giza or Gizah). Those who visit Cairo will have to take into account fairly long travel times within the city due to its enormous size and busy traffic.
Cairo ‘s Top 10 Things to Do
#1. Pyramids of Giza
Without a doubt the main attraction of Cairo are the Pyramids of Giza: the Pyramid of Cheops, the Pyramid of Chephren, the Pyramid of Mycerinus and the three smaller “queen” pyramids. The complex is located right on the edge of the city. Access to the site is for a fee, on the complex you will be confronted by camel drivers who will let you explore the complex on a camel for a (hefty) fee.
#2. Egyptian Museum
According to Constructmaterials, located in the center of Cairo, the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is the largest Egyptology museum in the world. Finds from archaeological sites all over Egypt have found their place here. This has led to a collection of over a hundred thousand objects including mummies, statues, thrones and the tomb of pharaoh Tutankhamun. A very popular artifact is the golden death mask of Tutankhamun, which is often depicted in travel guides and websites about Egypt.
#3. Cairo Tower
Burj Cairo, referred to in English as Cairo Tower, is the city’s television tower and is centrally located in Cairo on Gezira Island. The 187-meter high tower features an open-air observation deck, which offers a 360-degree view of the city. The viewpoint can be visited for a fee between 9 a.m. and 12 noon. Keep in mind that the platform is often crowded around sunset. If you’re lucky and there isn’t a thick layer of smog over the city, you can see the pyramids of Giza to the west.
#4. The Nile
The thousands of kilometers long river The Nile is the main lifeline of Egypt and Cairo. Thanks to the Nile, life in the desert and the city is possible. The river is also a recreational spot in Cairo. Especially in the evening, brightly lit tour boats with lots of music pull up the Nile. You can eat, drink and smoke sisha (water pipe) at the permanent floating palaces along the shores of Gezira Island.
#5. Coptic quarter
The presence of the Romans has ensured that a relatively large number of Catholics (about ten percent) live in mainly Muslim Egypt. In Cairo, these Copts, as the Catholic movement in Egypt is called, can mainly be found in the Coptic quarter, or Old Cairo (Masr Al-Qadimah). Here you will find the most beautiful churches in Cairo and also one of the very first mosques in the country, the Amr Ibn Al-‘As mosque. Another attraction in the Coptic quarter is the Coptic Museum, where you can view the only remains of the former Fort Babylon, among other things.
#6. Khan El-Khalili
This largest bazaar in the country has both a tourist function and an important commercial role in the daily life of the local residents. Bazaar Khan el Khalili is the largest souk in the Arab world and offers visitors a very wide range of all kinds of merchandise. For tourists there are the well-known souvenirs such as pharaoh statues, perfumes and water pipes. In the many streets and alleys you can also buy plenty of herbs, vegetables, clothing and other basic necessities.
#7. Mena House Oberoi
This 5-star luxury hotel is located on the outskirts of Cairo, almost at the foot of the Pyramid of Cheops. The hotel that regularly hosts famous politicians and celebrities is especially unique because of the view of the pyramids. Furthermore, the hotel offers excellent spa facilities and houses one of the few golf courses in Cairo.
The Citadel is a building that has its origins in the twelfth century. This fortress, which was largely destroyed in 1824, now consists of a combination of fortress walls, palaces, mosques and a prison. You will also find a number of museums here, such as the Al-Gawhara Palace Museum and the National Military Museum. Because the Citadel is built on a hill, you have a beautiful view of the city from here.
#9. Stars Center
The modern Stars Center shopping center is located in the Heliopolis district, less than a ten-minute drive from Cairo International Airport. This ultra-modern shopping center is a stark contrast to Cairo’s poor neighborhoods, bustling bazaars in polluted and noisy streets and everyday life in the city. The seven-storey complex is a mecca for shoppers. The luxurious InterContinental hotel is located right next to the shopping mall.
Spread across Cairo you will find almost a thousand mosques, ranging from small mosques that hardly stand out from the street to beautiful buildings with minarets that challenge photographers to capture them as beautifully as possible. If you visit Cairo then you should at least make a slogan from the most beautiful mosques in the city and see at least one inside. This can be done outside of prayer hours. The more than eleven centuries old Ibn Tulun Mosque is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful mosques in the world and the largest mosque in the city in terms of area. Other beautiful mosques are the Ibrahim Agha Mustahfizan Mosque (the Blue Mosque), the Al Azhar Mosque and the Sultan Hassan Mosque.