« HOMEEGYPTDiscover EgyptCairo

Discover Magical Cairo

Cairo is an all-out assault on the senses. Known as the 'Mother of the World', this vibrant, chaotic city is home to more than 16 million Egyptians, Arabs, Africans and sundry others. Noisy, polluted and totally unpredictable, the sheer intensity of Cairo can seduce or overwhelm.

Discover magical Cairo

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» Giza Plateau

Giza Plateau, Cairo

One of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Great Pyramids of Giza are located just outside the fringes of Cairo on the the Giza Plateau. This complex of ancient monuments includes not only the mysterious pyramids but a workers' village, plus the distinctive symbol of ancient Egypt, the Great Sphinx, which is situated at the base of the Giza Plateau. The Great Pyramid of Khufu is the grandest in the complex, with the two smaller structures, Khafre and Menkaure, nearby …

» Giza Pyramids

Giza Pyramids, Cairo

The sole survivor of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Pyramids of Giza still live up to more than 4,000 years of hype. Their extraordinary shape, geometry and age render them somehow alien constructions; they seem to rise out of the desert and pose the ever-fascinating question, 'How were we built, and why?' The oldest and biggest pyramid is that of Cheops, and you can go inside this one if you don't suffer from claustrophobia. Once they were covered in smooth white marble but that was taken for temples over the centuries …

» Hanging Church (El Muallaqa, Sitt Mariam, St Mary)

Hanging Church (El Muallaqa, Sitt Mariam, St Mary), Cairo

Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Hanging Church, which is still in use, is called the Hanging or Suspended Church as it is built on top of the Water Gate of Roman Babylon. Steep stairs lead from the forecourt to a 19th -century façade topped by twin bell towers. Beyond is a small inner courtyard, usually filled with sellers of taped liturgies and videos of the Coptic pope, Shenouda III. The interior of this 9th-century (some say 7th-century) church, renovated many times throughout the centuries, has three barrel-vaulted, wooden-roofed aisles …

» Islamic Cairo

Islamic Cairo, Cairo

Islamic architecture abounds in Cairo - after all, it is one of the world's oldest Muslim cities and also known as the City of a Thousand Minarets. The densest and oldest concentration of historic hammams, mosques, education centers or madrasas, mausoleums and fountains - some dating to the 10th century - comprise Islamic Cairo, a loosely defined bastion of old Cairo. Here, visitors can spend days winding through narrow streets, exploring mosques and markets, and feeling transported to a Cairo sans-McDonalds and shopping malls …

» Khan al-Khalili

Khan al-Khalili, Cairo

Jaundiced travelers often dismiss the Khan al-Khalili as a tourist trap; there's no ignoring the fact that it's a favored stop of tour buses and has all the associated annoyances (touts and tat) that come with them. But it's worth remembering that Cairenes have plied their trades here since the founding of the Khan in the 14th century - the buying and selling didn't begin with the arrival of the first tour group. Today the market still plays an important role in the day-to-day commercial life of thousands of locals …

» Memphis

Memphis, Cairo

The city of Memphis was the capital of ancient Egypt. It was the King's residence and the political and administrative centre until around 2,200 BC. It had impressive fortifications and temples, largely to Ptah, the god of creation and artworks. Estimates of population vary from 6,000 to 30,000 but either way, it was one of the larger, if not the largest, cities of its era. Archaeological digging in the area has uncovered a Temple of Ptah and sculptures, including a sphinx (smaller than the one at Giza but still impressive) …

» Mosque of Amr ibn al-As

Mosque of Amr ibn al-As, Cairo

Constructed in 642 AD under orders of the commander of the Muslim army that conquered Egypt, the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As was the first mosque to ever be built on Egyptian soil. Situated north of the Roman Fortress of Babylon, it sits on the edge of Fustat, the country's first capital, which was founded by Amr ibn al-As. The mosque is said to have been built on the site where the general pitched his tent, and the original structure was thought to consist of only palm trunks covered with leaves. It expanded to its current size in 827 AD …

» Mosque of Ibn Tulun

Mosque of Ibn Tulun, Cairo

Whether it's the oldest mosque in Cairo or not (there is some debate about this), the Mosque of Ibn Tulun is certainly the largest, and most definitely worthy of a visit while in Cairo. This huge, sprawling complex was built by Ahmad Ibn Tulun to accommodate all of his troops during Friday prayers. There's an inscription slab on-site that identifies the date of the mosque's completion as 879 AD. The mosque covers an area of more than six acres and features small outer courtyards, their galleries decorated with intricately carved stucco …

» Nile River

Nile River, Cairo

Measuring 4,150 miles (6,680 kilometers) from end to end, the Nile River is the world's longest and arguably the most important in the region. Egypt's some 83 million residents, living along the edge of the pitiless Sahara Desert, have always relied on the waters of the Nile for basic sustenance. More than 240 riverboats sail up and down the waters of the Nile River between Luxor and Aswan, and cruising on one of them tops many an Egyptian travel itinerary. Along the way, you'll make stops at a few of the countless temples dotting the shore …

» Old Cairo

Old Cairo, Cairo

Old Cairo is a relatively small area but it is rich with history. Also known as Coptic Cairo, Fustat (in reference to the first Muslim city established there), and Masr al-Qadima to the locals, it has been inhabited since the 6th century BC. It has been a Roman fort protecting trade routes, a Christian city from around the 5th century AD, a Muslim army camp from 641 AD, then Egypt's capital city until yet another conquest in the 10th century. The main interest these days is in its role as Coptic Cairo …

» Papyrus Institute

Papyrus Institute, Cairo

Papyrus is an important part of Egypt's history. The raw material used to make this ancient paper comes from the stalk of the Cyperus papyrus plant, which has a brittle interior and a tough exterior and grows in damp regions of the Nile Delta. Its method of production was a well-kept secret for many years, allowing the ancient Egyptians to have a monopoly over its production and distribution. The Papyrus Institute is a government-approved museum and shop not far from the Pyramids in Giza, where visitors can browse and buy …

» Pharaonic Village

Pharaonic Village, Cairo

Understanding Egypt's complex and mysterious history can seem as impossible as becoming fluent in hieroglyphics. However, once you've traveled through the time machine that is the Pharaonic Village, untangling the country's tale is simplified. Enter the Pharaonic Village and exit a few hours later with an entertaining education on Egypt from the period of the pharaohs up through modern politics. This painstakingly designed reproduction of ancient Egypt lies on Jacob's Island six miles outside of Cairo …

» Pyramid of Khafre

Pyramid of Khafre, Cairo

One of the oldest of the world's famous skylines, the Pyramids of Giza have had no trouble commanding attention throughout the centuries. Their mysterious history permeates the plateau from which they rise, and one of the three in particular, the Pyramid of Khafre, has its own tale to tell. Also known as Pyramid Chephren, this tomb was built under the direction of the fourth-dynasty Pharaoh Khafre. Its condition and elevation give it the appearance of the largest of the pyramids, although it is actually several feet shorter than the tallest pyramid of Giza …

» Pyramid of Menkaure

Pyramid of Menkaure, Cairo

A magnetic presence in the Egyptian desert, the Pyramid of Menkaure dates back to 2490 B.C. and stands as one of the three famous triangular monoliths comprising the Giza Plateau. At 213 feet in height, this is the smallest of the triad, but its history is no less fascinating. Made primarily of granite rather than limestone like its sister pyramids, Menkaure houses the tomb of the fourth dynasty's Pharaoh Menkaure, a benevolent and prosperous leader so focused on justice that Egyptians praised him more highly than any of their other monarchs …

» Ramses II Statue

Ramses II Statue, Cairo

Ramses II was a the longest serving pharaoh in Ancient Egypt, reigning from 1279 BC to 1213 BC, a total of 66 years and 2 months. This made him a very powerful and significant man in history and it's not surprising he left behind so many huge statues of himself. One of these is the freestanding red granite statue reaching 36 ft (11 m) in height discovered by Giovanni Battista Caviglia in 1820 in Memphis, the ruined ancient capital city. It was broken into 6 pieces but in 1955 Egyptian President Nasser had it restored and installed in Cairo at Ramses Square …

» Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church (Abu Serga)

Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church (Abu Serga), Cairo

Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church, also known as Abu Serga, in a Coptic Christian church situated in the Coptic Quarter of Cairo. Dedicated to the saints, Sergius and Bacchus, it is most famous due to the belief that it was built on the site where Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus resided during their time in Egypt. Abu Serga was thought to have been built in the 4th or 5th century and is one of the oldest Coptic churches in Egypt. One of its most interesting features is the crypt where the Holy Family were said to have rested. The crypt is 10 meters deep …

» Saqqara (Sakkara)

Saqqara (Sakkara), Cairo

Saqqara (or Sakkara) lies about 18 miles (30 km) south of Cairo and was the burial site for the ancient Egyptian capital Memphis, now in ruins. In the site of 4.4 by 0.9 miles (7 by 1.5 km) there is a sphinx, smaller than that at Giza at only 26ft by 13ft (8m by 4m), and several pyramids, the most famous of which is the stepped pyramid of Djoser dating from around 2,650 BC. This pyramid represented a major advance in building techniques being the first complete stone-hewn building in history. Previous to this, mudbrick and wood were used for tombs …

» Sphinx

Sphinx, Cairo

The Great Sphinx of Giza is the greatest monumental sculpture of the ancient world and measures a massive 240 ft (73 m) long by 66 ft (20 m) high. It is generally believed to have been built around 2,550 BC but may well be even older. Legends and superstitions abound about the Sphinx, and the mystery surrounding its long-forgotten purpose is almost as intriguing as its appearance. These days the Sphinx has been given a new role as part of a nightly Sound and Light show telling the history of Egypt with the Sphinx as narrator …

» Sultan Hassan Mosque

Sultan Hassan Mosque, Cairo

Egypt is home to some of the world's grandest mosques, with some of the most detailed and dazzling located in Cairo. The Sultan Hassan Mosque, situated near the city's famous and majestic Citadel, is one of Cairo's most impressive Islamic structures. Sultan Hassan bin Mohammed bin Qala'oun was only 13 years old when he first ascended to the throne. After being deposed and imprisoned for three years, he reclaimed power and built his eponymous mosque in 1256 A.D. The massive Sultan Hassan Mosque complex measures 26,000 square feet …

» Tahrir Square

Tahrir Square, Cairo

Tahrir Square, a modest and central circular plaza in downtown Cairo, wasn't on most tourists' radar at all until January 2011. Though it has long been an epicenter of political change in the city, the 2011 demonstrations and protests brought the square global fame as hundreds of thousands of people covered the area over the course of several weeks, coalescing the Arab Spring movement in Egypt and ultimately leading to the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak. Some 6,000 people were injured in clashes with police and security forces in the vicinity …

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« HOMEEGYPTDiscover EgyptCairo

Cairo Tours, Travel & Activities
Cairo Hotels & Accommodation

Magical Journeys to CairoCairo Travel,
Tours & Activities

Cairo Tours, Travel & Activities

Cairo's historic buildings are buried in age-old quarters of the city that have yet to be tamed and made tourist-friendly, so take a tour to get beneath the skin of this manmade wonder. While the Giza Pyramids are right on Cairo's doorstep, the city is also a great base for excursions to destinations further afield like Memphis or Alexandria, or why not customize your own private tour? …

» CAIRO Tours, Travel & Activities

Cairo HotelsCairo Hotels
& Accommodation

Cairo Hotels

Situated on the River Nile, Cairo is famous for its own history - preserved in the fabulous medieval Islamic city and in Old Cairo - and for the ancient, Pharaonic history of the country it represents. No trip to Cairo would be complete, for example, without a visit to the Giza Pyramids, to nearby Saqqara, or to the Egyptian Museum …

Cairo Hotels

» CAIRO Hotels & Accommodation

» Cairo Travel Guides

Cairo Travel Guides