Cairo means “The Conqueror” and it is the capital of Egypt. Aside from being the largest city in Egypt, it is also the the largest in the Arab world and Africa. IT has a desert climate with high humidity, and Saharan dust storms are common in the months of March and April.
What to See:
The Giza Pyramids – The only survivor of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Great Pyramids of Khafre and Menkaure are Cairo’s most outstanding attraction. Its sheer size, the ancient burial structures and its famous guardian Sphinx are among the world’s most enduring travel icons.
City of the Dead (Northern Cemetery) – A home to ancient tombstones as well as Mamluk burials, this important cemetery is located beneath the Citadel. Despite its eerie sounding name, this is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city of Cairo. A hostel for homeless was built here by Sultan Quaitbey in 1481, and it’s been used for that purpose ever since.
Khan Al-Khalili – Situated in the heart of Islamic Cairo, this market exists since the Middle Ages. Nowadays, tourists as well as the locals bargain here and shop for a diverse range of goods from unusual local spices to exotic jewellery. For women going shopping here, be sure to cover your neck, arms and legs, as per Islamic tradition.
Saqqara Pryramids (Sakkara) – A burial site for kings from the first dynasty and it is formerly the capital of the old kingdom. Other attractions include the recently discovered tombs of an ancient queen and the son of a king.
Coptic Church of St. George (Mari Girgis) – The Greek Church of St. George is one of the few round churches in the East. It has a long set of steps that lead up to the church where visitors will find a relief of St George and the dragon wrapped around the outer brickwork of the tower. The St George Church’s beautiful wedding hall, (Qaat el Irsan) is the most famous attraction. The Moulid of Mari Girgis, a large Coptic festival celebrating St George, is celebrated at the church each April.
Egyptian Museum of Antiquities – It has over 100,000 artifacts in 107 halls. There are treasures from ancient Egypt like priceless finery taken from ancient royal tombs with its statue of Khafre (Chephren) that is one of the museum’s masterpieces. The famous attraction is the Tutankhamun Gallery where wonderful treasures from the tomb of the iconic Boy King are displayed, including the famous solid gold death mask. Another top attraction is the Royal Mummy Room containing mummies of some of the most powerful Pharaohs in Egypt dating from the 18th to the 20th dynasties. It also has the collections of artifacts including coins, papyrus scrolls, scarabs and sarcophagi.
Ramses II Statue – The statue of Pharaoh Ramses II was cut into six pieces in the 1950s and moved to Ramses Square in central Cairo where it stood for a further 50 years, it was discovered in 1882 during excavations. In 2006 the statue moved to a new home near the Pyramids and the Museum of Antiquities, as there were growing concerns that heavy pollution was damaging the 3,200-year-old statue, which weighs 83 ton and stands 36 feet (11 metres) high. Ramses II, who ruled Egypt for more than 60 years during the 19th dynasty of pharaohs, was one of ancient Egypt’s most prolific builders.
Despite its hot and dusty nature, Cairo’s fascinating ancient history makes it one of the most exotic destinations in the world.