The marvelous city that never sleeps, the city full of history, every part of it tells a different story, all blended together in one capital, Cairo, “the vanquisher.” Cairo is the capital of Egypt, its largest city, and one of the largest cities in Africa. It was founded during the Fatimid dynasty in 969 AD.
Where is Cairo located?
Cairo is located in the North of Egypt, which is known as Lower Egypt; it is considered the gateway to Nile Delta. If you wonder why it is called Lower Egypt while it lies on the North of it, let me tell you why. Since the river Nile flow comes from the south to the North, so the North is considered the lower part of Egypt, that make sense?
What is the meaning of Cairo?
In Arabic, Cairo is called “Al Qahira,” which literally means the vanquisher or the conqueror. Cairo is as well the name of other cities, not just in Egypt; some people even call their kids by that name. However, most Egyptians refer to Cairo as “Misr,” which is the Arabic name for Egypt since it is the capital.
Cairo Districts Map
The beautiful thing about Cairo is that is a splendid blend of different eras and architectural styles. It merges them within its streets with harmony that makes it a beautiful piece of art.
Ancient Egypt Cairo
Old Cairo is the place where Amr in el Ass, the Arabic General, built the first capital when Arabs came to Egypt and began the Islamic era on 640AC. This area became the “Religions complex” as you will find there the most ancient: Jewish Synagogue, Christian Church, and Moslem Mosque.
Taking the time machine to a different era and arrive at El Azhar and El Hussein quarters, you’ll be walking in streets with a different taste; the old houses with the “Mashrabia” and the historical monuments are outstanding.
Cairo is called “The city of a thousand minarets” due to the considerable number of mosques presenting different architectural styles starting from the seventh century. It is terrific! You can find the Ottoman style, the Fatimid style, Mamluk, Ayyubid, and others. Walking in Moaz street is enough to see the majority of these monuments. Also, the churches of Egypt are so unique in style; over two thousand years, many churches and monasteries have been built in Cairo in different styles, like the Greco-Roman, Byzantine, and Western European styles.
Moving forward in time to the 19th century, when Egypt became a Kingdom under the reign of the Mohamed Ali Pasha family. The number of palaces and the styles of the streets were insane at that time. In downtown, for example, which is a district built by Khedive Ismail, was called “Paris on the Nile,” as the Pasha aimed to make Egypt like a part of Europe. Of course, these districts were a bit ruined by time, but the government is currently renovating the area to relive the fragrance of history.
Cairo’s top attractions
It is so hard to pick top attractions from a very long list of outstanding monuments, museums, and ancient sites; we can go by the most famous.
-Khan El Khalili
-The Egyptian Museum
-Salah El Den Citadel
-Ibn Tulun Mosque -El Moazz Street -The hanging church
The list is too long, really; I can do this all day!
Things to do in Cairo
Cairo is known as the city that never sleeps, so you probably won’t run out of things to do all day long. Besides the attractions, palaces, museums, mosques, churches and many other things, you can also enjoy more fun things that aren’t so historical.
Different activities in Cairo
You can just enjoy wanderlust and city dust and walk around different districts of Cairo, maybe have a felucca on the Nile from Zamalek Island, if you are into sports then you should try Kayaking. On the other hand, if you are a shopaholic, then Khan El Khalili is ideal for cultural shopping, then you can sit on “Feshawy” café, it is a traditional one that you’ll really like and continue with a walk-in Moazz street.
Cairo also has many shopping malls, cafes, and restaurants; Egyptian Food
is a must-try, and the options are plenty in Cairo. If you are a night owl, no worries, the nightlife of Cairo will keep you busy at night.
Cairo is the kind of city you miss as soon as you leave it, so use your time there wisely and try to take from it as much as you can, but I promise you will want to come back anyway. There is always more to see.