Cairo, Much More Than a City



Cairo is the major governorate and the capital of Egypt located on the on the head of the Delta of the Nile River. Cairo and Giza and El Qalyoubiya governorates form what is known as Greater Cairo and this region is the most densely populated area in Egypt. Till 2008, 6th of October and Helwan were regarded as parts of Cairo but currently they are regarded as two separate governorates because of the increase of population of these regions. Greater Cairo, is the union of many cities and villages, some dating back to the prehistoric periods. The district of Maadi (Now in Helwan governorate) had an ancient civilization called Maadi Cluture, that dates back to aprox 3500 BC.

 

Heliopolis was a big city of the Lower Egypt Kingdom, before the unification of the country. Memphis, became the capital of the country in 3100 BC. Babylon, now in Old Cairo district with the military and administrative center of the Byzantine Empire. In the neigbourhood of Babylon, the Arabs, built Fustat, in 648 AD. Qatae and Askar were also built. It was in 969 AD, when Gawhar El Seqilly, General of the Fatimid Army, built the new city (Now in The area of El-Azhar, known as Islamic Cairo), to be the capital of the Fatimide Califate. He called it Al Qahira (The Victorious). The ayyubid fortified the city and the Mamluk enriched it with hundreds of Mosques, Madrasas (Shools), Khanqas (hospices), Maristans (Hospitals), Sabils (Fountains for the thirsts), Wikalas (Markets) and more.

In the Ottoman period the city declined, until the campaign of Napoleon, when the city suffered a great destruction. In the 19th century, Mohammed Ali and Khedive Ismail modernized the city with European and colonial style. Palaces, Parks, Bridges were built. As a result of 1952 revolution, the war, the abandon of many palaces of the Royal Family, the increase of the population, the process of constructing highly decorated buildings deteriorated. Nowadays, it is trying to recover and numerous Subways, bridges, tunnels, business centers, new districts are being built.

 

 

Tourists prefer starting their journey in Egypt from Cairo because it is supplied with Cairo International Airport and linked with all the surrounding governorates with a highly advanced railway and highway roads. It is also admired for enclosing wide range of monuments dating to various eras including Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic, and Islamic in addition to the various activities that can be practiced in it. Giza Plateau with its magnificent Pharaonic monuments is one of the places that any visitor of Cairo should pass by. There are numerous places to visit in Cairo, Activities to do like shopping in Cairo, and festivals and celebrations to enjoy in Cairo.

Cairo is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Middle East due to the memorable and unique Coptic and Islamic tourist sites on its land. It is blessed with magnificent weather but the best time for visiting it is in spring because it becomes very cool. Most of the tourists prefer starting their tour in Egypt from Cairo since it can be reached by air through Cairo International Airport and linked with the neighboring governorates with highways and railways that facilitate moving from it to any other place throughout Egypt.

El Muiz Street is the heart of Cairo that is renowned for the wide range of Islamic Monuments such as Sabil-Kuttab, Mosques, Khanqah, and Wikala since it was center of rule in the Fatimid Period. With its gracefully decorated Minarets, Marble inlaid open courtyard, and attractive Islamic decorations ornamenting its aisles, El Azhar Mosque is a landmark in El Muiz Street. Another mosque to stop at is El Muayyad Sheikh Mosque with its beautiful ablution in the center of its open courtyard and its Minarets over Bab Zuwayla with their unique Ottoman style of decoration. Most of the tourists prefer visiting El Muiz Street before leaving for seeing such fascinating Mamluk and Ottoman monuments and also shopping for souvenirs and handmade works in Khan El Khalil and Darb Saada.

Everywhere in this street one can find small stalls selling alabaster statues, papyrus papers, baskets, wall hangings, gold works and cotton products at good prices. In addition to that there are many alleys off El Muiz Street involving workshops for many historic handcrafts such as copper and brass plates and tent making. This makes the area of Khan El Khalili and El Muiz Street one of the most recommended places to be visited in Egypt. The Coptic Compound in Old Cairo with its gracefully decorated Coptic monuments and the large number of churches and synagogues is another remarkable tourist attraction in Cairo. On top of the places to be visited there comes the Hanging Church that is highly admired for the fascinating architectural style in addition to its great history and religious value. There are many other places such as Ben Ezra Synagogue and The Greco-Roman Museum.

 






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