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Cairo, The Capital of Egypt

Cairo is the capital of Egypt and home for 7 million people who live on an area of 1881 sq km. Cairo was built during the reign of the Fatimid’s in 969 by Jawhar Al Seqelly. Some parts of Cairo have been built on the remains of older capitals of Egypt, mainly Al Fustat. Al Askar and Al Qatae’. It’s also associated with Memphis, the ancient city due to its proximity.

Cairo was nicknamed “The city of 1000 minarets” due to the large number of mosques around the city.
Cairo is located on the east coast of the Nile river with a populous area of only 155 sq km out of the total area of 1881 sq km. Cairo is the largest cities in Africa and one of the largest in the world.

Cairo has many things for visitors to see and do while being on a holiday as the city contains both historic sights and modern tourists attractions for all tourists types to enjoy. Cairo is a modern city with a historic touch that you feel when you walk on the streets. When you plan your holiday put Cairo on top of your travel destination list.

The Egyptian museum

History

Romans built a fortress during the 4th century called Babylon on the east bank of the Nile where its remains is situated in the heart of the old Coptic area of current day Cairo. When Muslims conquered Egypt in 641, the Arabian army leader Amr Ibn Al A’as built a city north of Babylon and called it Al Fustat which means “the tent” and moved the Egyptian capital from Alexandria to the new city.

In 750 Abbasids who defeated the Umayyad established a new capital of Egypt just north of Al Fustat and called it Al Askar until 886 when the Tulunids moved the capital further north to a new city which was called Al Qatae’ which was destroyed by the Abbasids in 905 who moved the capital back to Al Fustat.

In 969 Gawhar Al Siqilly, under instructions of the Fatimid Caliphate Al Mu’ezz Le Din-ellah laid the foundation of a new capital of Egypt north east of Al Fustat. The new capital was first named Al Mansuriyah then later was called Cairo (Al Qahira). It took 4 years for the city to be finished during which the mosque of Al Azhar was also built which served as a learning institute and then later became a large university till current day.

Muhammad Ali who ruled Egypt during the 19th century initiated a plan to modernize Egypt but the real effect was seen during the reign of Khedive Ismail whose reforms cost drowned the country in dept and paved the way to the European control over Egypt which ended in the British occupation in 1882. Egypt remained under occupation till 1956, 4 years after the 23rd July revolution.

Cairo Touristic Sights

Throughout the history Although Cairo has witnessed thousands of years of civilization in and around the city most of the monuments in Cairo dates back to the Roman, Coptic and Islamic eras. Today there are many sights in Cairo preferred by the tourists like the Egyptian museum, Khan El Khalili, famous mosques, the Citadel and Cairo tower. The following list contains the most loved tourists attractions in Cairo:

The Pyramids and Sphinx

Although the pyramids and Sphinx are located in Giza which a governorate in Egypt, it is part of the Greater Cairo which includes Cairo, Giza and Kalyoubia governorates according to the administration organization. The Pyramids are a one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and the most visited tourists destination in Egypt as they stand witness to thousands of years of civilization.

The Nile

The longest river in the world runs west of Cairo where a cornice was built for people to enjoy walking alongside its bank. Tourists can ride a felucca (or felika) which is a small ship to sail the Nile in Cairo or they can enjoy cruising the Nile in one of the luxurious passenger ships in a journey from Cairo to Luxor and Aswan.

The Egyptian museum

The official name of the Egyptian museum is “The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities” which hosts more than 136,000 exhibits with thousands more stored away from tourists’ eyes.

Khan El Khalili

Well known shopping area near Al Hussein mosque with thousands of small shops and bazaars selling imitations of ancient Egyptian and Islamic items handmade in the workshops in the same area. The area is mostly visited by tourists seeking Egyptian crafts and souvenirs or just enjoying the old city.

Mosques:

There are many old mosques in Cairo that dates back to the Islamic conquest of Egypt in 641 and later times. Some of the most famous mosque in Cairo are:

  • Amr Ibn Al A’as mosque
  • Al Azhar mosque
  • Sultan Hassan mosque
  • Hussein mosque
  • Al Sayeda Zeinab mosque
  • Al Sayeda Nafisa mosque

Cairo Tower

A 187m tower built during the period from 1956-1961 stands on Zamalek island in the Nile river shaped like a lotus flower. The tower overlooks Cairo with a rotating restaurant on top and observation telescopes for visitors to see far places in Cairo.

Muhammad Ali Citadel mosque

The mosque of Muhammad Ali was built on top of the Cairo citadel 1830-1848 is one of the featured landmarks in Cairo. A must see monument for tourists to enjoy.
There are many more sights to see in Cairo which you should visit when you come to Egypt like:

  • The hanging church
  • Cairo Coptic museum
  • Museum of Islamic Art
  • The Papyrus museum

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