Cairo – Egypt North Africa
Some visitors are satisfied with a tour of the Pyramids of Giza, but there is so much more to this city. If its ancient ruins that draw you to Egypt’s capital, carve out some time for Dahshur and Saqqara, two archeological sites that are peppered with pyramids and attract fewer tourists than Giza. For further insight into ancient Egypt, head to the Egyptian Antiquities Museum. Stepping into the winding streets of Islamic Cairo and Coptic Cairo whisks you back to the ancient world. And as dusk sets in over Cairo’s sandy terrain, witness the monuments glow in the orange light of the setting sun as you enjoy a ride on the Nile or a puff of hookah at one of Zamalek’s many lounges.
Top 6 Famous Attractions in Egypt
1. Old Cairo (Coptic 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. The narrow cobbled streets contain the Religious Compound, full of churches including the Hanging Church (dedicated to the Virgin Mary and still in use), the oldest synagogue in Egypt, the remains of the Roman fortress, and the Coptic Museum. Just northeast is the site of ancient Fustat which contains the oldest mosque, Amr Ibn al-Aas. The rest of the area is interesting for the Zabaleen, people who live in a shanty town and sift through Cairo’s huge amount of garbage to reuse and recycle it.
2. Giza Pyramids
Cairo’s most popular attraction, the Giza Pyramids draw thousands of visitors every year. As one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, these pyramids have stood the test of time, remaining intact for roughly 4,500 years. You’ll find three primary pyramids, the best known being the Great Pyramid of Cheops. This is the burial place of the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Khufu, who reigned between 2589 and 2566 B.C. Khafra, Khufu’s son, lies entombed in the nearby Pyramid of Chephren. The third structure, the Pyramid of Mycerinus, stands as the smallest of the Giza Pyramids and was constructed by Khafra’s successor to the throne, Menkaure. Resting atop the Giza Plateau, the Sphinx, a massive iconic statue with the head of a man and the body of a lion, also deserves your attention.
3. Al-Azhar Mosques
Founded in AD 970 as the centrepiece of the newly created Fatimid city, Al-Azhar is one of Cairo’s earlier mosques, and its sheikh is considered the highest theological authority for Egyptian Muslims.
The building is a harmonious blend of architectural styles, the result of numerous enlargements over a thousand years. The central courtyard is the earliest part, while from south to north the three minarets date from the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries; the latter, with its double finial, was added by Sultan al-Ghouri, whose mosque and mausoleum stand nearby. The tomb chamber, located through a doorway on the left just inside the entrance, has a beautiful mihrab (a niche indicating the direction of Mecca) and should not be missed.
4. Egyptian Antiquities Museum
The best way to follow up your trip to the pyramids is visiting the Egyptian Antiquities Museum. This massive facility contains more than 120,000 artifacts from ancient Egypt, including sarcophagi, jewelry, and pottery. It would take almost a year to explore the museum in its entirety. To save you some time, we recommend sticking to a few notable galleries. The main attraction here is Tutankhamun exhibit, which features treasures from King Tut’s tomb, including his golden funeral mask.
Get Around and Things to Do In Cairo Egypt
|Experience the Magnificent of Sphinx Pyramids and the Mixture of Modern and Ancient Cairo Egypt
4 stars & above
|only fr US$23