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 Egyptian Cities
Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest Egyptian cities in Africa in terms of area and population. A cosmopolitan city that blends charm of the east with a Mediterranean flavor which accommodates 26%of Egyptian population. Cairo, the “city of the thousand spires”, has a wealth of monuments, mosques, tombs, churches, forts, palaces, and hotels representing over fifty centuries of civilization.
It is a melting pot where antiquities of pharaonic dynasties, Greco Roman civilization, Christian and Islamic landmarks co-exists. A dynastic city proud of its warm and friendly people known for their traditional hospitality.

What mainly attracts the visitor in Cairo is that vital blend of a majestic past and a glorious present at top of the Mokattam hills extending on the eastern bank of the Nile, where rises the Citadel of Salah El Din El Ayoubi, towering and impressive. On the western bank of the Nile and on top of Giza plateau rise the colossal pyramids and the mysterious Sphinx, the greatest tribute to Pharaonic art and thought and the vast necropolis of Memphis and Sakkara.

Between the Pyramids and the Citadel, there is modern Cairo with its network of roads, squares, gardens, clubs, amusement parks, luxurious hotels, skyscrapers and Cairo
Tower rising 187 meters high.
One of the impressive places in Cairo is the Egyptian
Museum, the largest of Egyptian antiquities museums all over the world.

In the heart of Cairo, the eternal River Nile flows gently from south to north. A Cairo visitor cannot miss sailing in a Nile felucca at sunset.

Cairo invites you to come and enjoy its beautiful all-year weather and visits the immortal monuments and relics, especially the ancient's pyramids in Giza.
 places to go

Cairo tower


Over 180 meters high, it is the most outstanding attraction of modern Cairo.
The first of the top two storeys has a rotating restaurant and cafeteria
Visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of Cairo from the observation platform.

The Citadel
The Citadel is the natural focus of a visit to Islamic Cairo. It represents the most dramatic feature of Cairo’s skyline: a centuries-old bastion crowned by the needle-like minarets of the Great Mosque of Mohamed Ali, This fortified complex was begun by Salah El- Din, the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. Slah El-Din reign (1171-93) saw much fortification of the city, though it was his nephew, Al-Kamil , who developed the Citadel as a royal residence, later to be replaced by the palaces of Sultan Al Nasir.

The main features of the Citadel as it is today, however , are associated with Mohammd Ali, a worthy successor to the Mamlukes and Turks. In 1811 he feasted 470 leading Mamluks in the Citadel palace, bade them farewell with honours, and then had them ambushed in the sloping lane behind the Bab al-Azab, the locked gate opposite to the Akhur Mosque. Nowadays the main entrance to the Citadel is at a higher level, closer to the centre of the complex. There is superb view of the entire city from the Citadel’s terrace
Mohammed Ali’s Mosque
Designed by the Greek architect Yussuf Bushnaq, The Mohammad Ali (Alabaster) Mosque in the Citadel was begun in 1830 (finished in 1857) in the Ottoman style by Mohammad Ali Pasha, ruler of Egypt, and founder of the Country's last dynasty of Khedives and Kings.
The mosque is the Tomb of Mohammad Ali and is also known as the alabaster Mosque because of the extensive use of this fine material from Beni Suef. Its two slender 270 foot minarets are unusual for Cairo. From the arcaded courtyard, visitors have a magnificent view across the city to the Pyramids in Giza. Just off the courtyard is the vast prayer hall with an Ottoman style dome which is 170 feet above. The parapet to the southwest offers a good view of the Sultan Hassan and Ibn Tulun Mosques and of Cairo itself. Perhaps because of its location, it is one of the most frequented Mosques by tourists.


Pyramids of Giza


The Pyramids & The Sphinx

On the west bank of the Nile facing Cairo and on top of Giza plateau rise the three pyramids erected by Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus, guarded by the mysterious Sphinx, which is a mythical statue with the body of a lion and a human head. The three pyramids and the Sphinx are considered one of the seven wonders of the World and the most important tourist site in Egypt.
The ancient Egyptian’s aim in building the pyramids was that they should serve as sepulchers for their Pharaohs to preserve their bodies, for they believed in resurrection and immortality.

The Great Pyramid of Cheops

King Khufu, who is also known by the Greek name "Cheops," was the father of pyramid building at Giza. He ruled from 2589 - 2566 B.C. and was the son of King Sneferu and Queen Hetpeheres.
The pyramid was built in 2589-2566 B.C. and consists of 2,300,000 limestone and granite blocks of stone. The base is 13 square acres, 568,500 square feet. The length of each side of the base is now 745 feet but used to be 754 feet. Total weight of this pyramid is 6.5 million tons. The average weight of an individual block of stone is 2.5 tons. The height of Cheops was originally 146 meters, but has now become 137 meters after the erosion of its summit. Going inside the pyramid, there is two corridors, one ascending and the other descending. The latter leading to an unfinished chamber below the pyramid. The ascending corridor leads to another two corridors. The horizontal one takes us to the semi-finished limestone Queen’s chamber. The ascending one drives us through the Great Gallery to the King’s chamber. Until recently the pyramid was thought to contain only these three chambers, however in 1993, a German team accidentally discovered a door which handles supposedly enclosing a fourth chamber.Close to the eastern flank of the pyramid lie three small pyramids dedicated either to his wives or family member, each with a small chapel attached.

The Pyramid of Chephren
Sited on higher ground, with an intact summit and steeper sites, the middle or the Second Pyramid seems taller than Khufu’s. It is Built by his son King Khafre , who is also known by the Greek name "Chephren”. He ruled from 2520 until 2494 B.C. This pyramid was built of red granite and limestone in 2558-2532 B.C. The base is 704 feet on each side and covers an area of 11 acres. The average weight of each stone is 2.5 tons, some of the larger blocks weight as much as 7 tons. The height is 446 feet and the angle of incline is 53 degrees. Its interior is simple with two entrances on the north side. It contains two chambers. It had an exterior covering of fine-grain limestone. Now, only a small part of this covering remains.
Khafre may be best known for his statues, and most famous among them is, of course, the Sphinx.
This complex includes not only the Sphinx, but also a Mortuary Temple and a Valley Temple.

The Pyramid of Mycerinus
Sited on a gradual slope into undulating desert, the smallest of the Giza Pyramids speaks of waning power and commitment. Though started by Chephren’s successor and Khufu's grandson, Menkaure, called Mycerinus by the Greeks, who ruled from 2490 - 2472 B.C, it was finished with unseemly haste by his son Shepsaskaf, who seemingly enjoyed less power than his predecessors and depended on the priesthood.
The structure is estimated to contain 200,000 blocks. The lower wall of the pyramid is encased in a layer of granite. The base is 344 feet on each side and it is 203 feet in height with an angle incline of 51 degrees. The interior is unusual in having its unfinished chamber in the superstructure and the final burial chamber underground.
The complex also features three subsidiary pyramids, a relatively intact funerary temple and a cause-way to the now-buried valley temple.

The Sphinx
This legendary monument is carved from an outcrop of soft limestone. It depicts the body of a lion and a human face, which the scholars believe that it closely resembles that of Chephren. The exact date of building the Sphinx is unknown. The base is 187 feet in length and the width of the face is 20 feet. The total height is 66 feet. The sphinx faces the rising sun with a temple to the front which resembles the sun temples which were built later by the kings of the 5th Dynasty.
 In the 1980's, a carefully planned restoration of the Sphinx was in progress. Over 6 years, more than 2,000 limestone blocks were added to the body of the sphinx and chemicals were injected. This treatment did not work and specialists are studying how to prevent the crumbling of the magnificent monument.


Dahshur forms the southernmost area of the Memphis Necropolis and contains a number of pyramid complexes and monuments. It is most noteworthy for being the site that best demonstrates the change from the "step" pyramid to the "true" pyramid that occurred during the Third and Fourth Dynasties.Located in South Saqqara stand the pyramids of Dhashur (Dahshur).

Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid are about 2 km south of the Mastaba Faraoun. The constructor of these pyramids is thought to have been Snofru (2575 - 2551 BC), who was the first ruler of the 4th Dynasty. Snofru built these two pyramids and is thought to have built the pyramid at Maidoun. His son was Cheops who continued his constructive tendencies.

The Red Pyramid is thought to be older and is the only one that can be entered at this time. The Bent Pyramid was built out of limestone which was quarried locally. The casing was of polished Turah limestone. This pyramid is also known as the Southern Shining Pyramid. The casing blocks are very stable and very difficult to remove because they slope inwards. The base of the pyramid is 188.6m and is 105m high. Because of the bend in construction, the original angle would have made it 128.5m high.

The Bent Pyramid is unique for two reasons. The first is the angle change. There are two theories for this change. The first is that the builders may have gotten tired and wanted to reduce the volume and to finish faster. Another is that when the pyramid at Maidoun collapsed, the architect lost his nerve and changed the angle. The angle at Maidoun was 52 degrees as is the base of the Bent Pyramid. At the bend, the angle is changed to 43.5 degrees up to the peak.

The second reason is that it has two entrances. The first is in the middle of the northern side and is about 12m above the ground. It leads to the upper chamber. The second entrance is on the western side and is just above the ground. It leads to the lower chamber. The floors of both chambers were built 4m deep with small stone blocks.

About a mile from the Bent Pyramid, but not approachable is the Pyramid of Amenemhet III. Originally, it was 341 feet square by 266 feet high, but as a mud brick pyramid lined with limestone, it has deteriorated badly

Egyptian museum

It is located at Al-Tahrir square in the heart of Cairo built in 1897.
It is the largest of Egyptian antiquities museums all over the world.
It allows the visitor to become acquainted with the antiquities of Egypt ’s Pharaonic periods.
It consists of 107 halls and houses around 250,000 antique pieces covering the whole history of ancient Egypt, which extends over the past five thousand years.
The exhibits of this museum is famous for their historical and artistic value.

The most important among which are:

• A limestone statue of King Zoser
• The Palette of Narmar records the unification of the two lands Upper and Lower Egypt (ca 3100 BC) by a ruler called Narmer or Menes.

Old Kingdom Galleries:
• A superb statue of Chephren, his head embraced by Horus carved from black diorite.
• Life-size seated statues of Prince Rahotep and Princes Nefert.
• The tableaux of the dwarf Seneb and his family.

Middle Kingdom Galleries:
• The burial chamber of "Monthotep Neb Hotep Raa" from Deir El Bahari
• Ten limestone statues of Senusert from his pyramids complex at Lisht
• The unique double statue of Amenhat III personified as the Nile God bringing his people fish and trays

 New Kingdom Galleries:
• A grey schist statue of Tuthmosis III
• Two statues of a man named Amenhotep portray him as a young scribe of humble birth and as an octogenarian priest.
• Relief on a block from Ramses II’s temple at Memphis, which shows him subjugating Egypt’s foes.
• Many of the ancient coins bearing the head of Alexander the great
The Amarna Gallery:
• A Stele of the Royal Family portrays: Akhenaton dandling his eldest daughter, while Nefertiti cradles her sisters.
 • The carnelian, gold and glass inlaid coffin usually ascribed to Semenkhkare.
Tutankhamun Gallery:

(Separate Entrance Fees)
• Tutankhamun’s chests, statues, preceding furniture, shrines, gold appurtenances
• Shrine of Anubis, ebony and ivory gaming set, shabti figures
• Statues of Tutankhamun hunting with a harpoon, his thrones and chairs
• Tutankhamun’s mummiform coffin, scores of amulets, pair of golden sandals
• The Jewellery room: a VI dynasty golden head of a falcon, crown and necklaces of Princess Khnumyt, diadem and pectorals of Princess Set-Hathor, amethyst belt and anklet of Mereret, axe of Ahmosis
• Furniture of Queen Hetephers and Treasure of Tanis
Mummies Hall:
(Separate Entrance Fees)
• Mummified animals and birds
• Royal mummies
Other Galleries:
• Heart Scarabs, canopic chests and coffins
• Model of funerary complex, leather funerary tent

• Fayoum portraits, statues of deities, manuscripts, miscellaneous and everyday objects

The Coptic Museum
The Coptic Museum is one of the Highlights of Old Cairo. It is founded in 1908. Its peerless collection of Coptic artifacts is enhanced by the beautiful carved ceilings, beams and stained-glass domes inside its mashrabiya’d wings, which enclose peaceful gardens. With artifact from Old Cairo, Upper Egypt and the desert monasteries, the museum traces the evolution of Coptic art from Greco Roman times into the Islamic era (300-1000 AD).

The Coptic museum consists of 2 wings: The new Wing built in 1937 and the Old Wing.

The Old Wing contains an original fourth-century altar, a Fatimid era dome, Nubian wall paintings, wooden works, several mummy portrait panels, friezes of hunting scenes, pottery, Pilgrims’ flasks and finally a small collection of glassware.

A panel depicting Christ’s entry into Jerusalem, taken from the Hanging Church is one of the high points in this wing.

The New Wing contains pagan reliefs and statues of figures from classical mythology, pharaonic ankhs transmuted into looped crosses, stone carvings and frescoes from Bawit Monastery, near Assyut, objects from the monastery of St. Jeremiah at Saqqara, biblical scenes, friezes of animals, several papyrus sheets from the Gnostic Gospels of Nagaa Hamadi, a 1600-year-old towel presaging a host of textiles, ivory work and icons from Old Cairo, Aswan and Kharga Oasis, lots of metal-works and finally an exhibition of Nubian paintings .

One of the nicest collections of this wing is the splendid apse niche depicting Christ enthroned between the creatures of the Apocalypse and the moon and the sun; below, the Virgin and the Child consort with Apostles. Another one is the tenth-century panel from Fayoum depicting Adam and Eve before and after the fall for which he blames her in the latter scene.

Islamic museum

The Museum of Islamic Arts
The Museum of Islamic Arts, dating from 1903, owns an extensive collection of craft-work, artifacts, manuscripts, and textiles covering the entire Islamic period in Egypt. Today the museum contains about 80,000 items and is one of the finest Islamic collections in the world. The collection was started in 1880 by Tawfiq, who was Muhammad Ali's grandson.

He also had some help from two historians, Herz and Creswell. Soon the collection had over 7,000 items and continued to grow through donations, excavations and purchases. Originally the pieces were kept in al-Hakim's mosque until 1902.

The museum is located at Bab El-Khalq Square. In the museum, they have gathered the masterpieces into two easily accessible areas, Halls 2 and 13. In Hall 2, you can find Umayyad objects which date from the 7th and 8th century. In Hall 13 there are representations of various types of pottery and the casket of al-Nasir Muhammad. In the other rooms there are objects of woodworking, metalworking, armory, ceramics, glass, books and textiles.

Here, Mohammad Ali waited while his forces trapped, and put an end to the Mamluk beys by massacring most of their leaders as they were leaving the Citadel. The Kasr (Qasr) El-Gawhara or Jewel
Palace, originally Mohammad Ali Pasha's headquarters, is now open to the public as an example of the best early 19th Century Ottoman decoration and architecture.

It collection includes 19th century royal portraits, costumes and furnishings. Constructed in 1814, it includes a small garden leading to a mosque with one of the more interesting eccentricities being the Watch Hall where the shape of a watch has been used to decorate the walls

Khan El Khalili


Khan el-Khalili, once known as the Turkish bazaar during the Ottoman period, is now usually just called the 'Khan'. The market was built in 1382 by the Emir Djaharks el-Khalili in the heart of the Fatimid City. Together with the al-Muski market to the west, they comprise one of Cairo's most important shopping areas. But more than that, they represent the market tradition

which established Cairo as a major center of trade, and at the Khan, one will still find foreign merchants. Perhaps, this vary market was involved in the spice monopoly controlled by the Mamluks, which encouraged the Europeans to search for new routes to the East and led Columbus, indirectly, to discover the Americas.During its early period, the market was also a center for subversive groups, often subject to raids before the Sultan Ghawri rebuilt much of the area in the early 16th century. Regardless, it was trade which caused Cairo's early wealth, even from the time of the Babylon fort which was often a settlement of traders.
This market is situated at one corner of a triangle of markets that go south to Bab Zuwayla and west to Azbakiyyah. The Khan is bordered on the south by al-Azhar Street and on the west by the Muski Market. One of the old original gates guards the entrance to the original courtyard which lies midway down Sikkit al-Badistan (street). On a narrow street leading off al-Badistand, one will find the El-Fishawi Cafe, or Cafe of Mirrors, which was once a meeting place for local artists, and is still frequented by the Nobel Award winning Naguib Mahfouz, one of Egypt's most well known authors. There are any number of canvas covered streets such as the one pictured to the right.
Old Cairo Churches

Old Cairo is the historic link between Egypt’s pharaonic and Islamic civilizations. Here, the fortress-town of Babylon, where the Holy Family is thought to have taken refuge, developed into a power house of native Christianity which today remains the heart of Cairo’s Coptic community.Old Cairo is also known as the district of the seven churches, which are the Church of Abu Serga (Church of St Sergius), the Hanging Church (Al Mo’allaqa Church), The Church of St Barbara, The monastery of St George , The Greek Orthodox Church of St George,The Church of St George (Church of Mari Guirguis) and the Church of the Virgin .
Nestled between the Hanging Church and the Roman towers of Babylon, The Coptic Museum is one of the highlights of Old Cairo, which houses a rare collection of Christian antiquities.

The Church of Abu Serga

The church is dedicated to Sergius and Bacchus, who were soldier-saints that were martyred during the 4th century in Syria by Maximilan. The original building was probably built in the 5th century. It burnt down during the fire of Fustat around 750 AD. It was restored during the 8th century, and has been rebuilt and restored constantly since medieval times. It is said to be an ideal model of the early Coptic churches. The Church of Abu Serga retains the basilical form typical of early Coptic churches. The low ceiling and the antique columns topped with Corinthian capitals support the women’s gallery, where you can inspect its thirteenth-century haikal screen and bits of frescoes and mosaics in the central apse. It has 12 unique columns decorated with paintings of the Apostles. This church resembles religious structures in Constantinople and Rome. The main attraction is the Steps to the right of the altar descending into a crypt which contains the remains of the original church where the Holy Family are believed to have stayed.
The Church of St Barbara
It is one of the most beautiful Coptic Churches. The eleven-century Church of St Barbara replaced an earlier Church of SS. Cyrus and John, which was razed during Al-Hakim’s assault on Fustat. Unlike others in the quarter, its wooden-vaulted roof is lofty, with skylights and windows illuminating a nave flanked by Arabic arches with Fatimid tie beams. The same goes for its minbaresque pulpit and inlaid haikal. The right-hand wall relates the life of Jesus in colorful tableaux, while the western sanctuary contains the relics of St Barbara. Tradition holds that she was the daughter of a pagan merchant who was murdered for preaching Christianity in the third century.

• The Hanging Church
It was built over the remains of the southern gate of the Roman Fortress of “Babylon”. Therefore it was called “the Hanging Church” or Al Mu’allaqah.
The church was first built, in Basilcan style, in the 3rd or 4th century. The main church is thought to have been built between the 5th and 6th centuries with the southeastern section called the "upper church" being added later. The church was destroyed in the 9th century. It was rebuilt in the 11th century and became the seat of the Coptic patriarch until the 14th century. It became known to travelers during the 14th and 15th centuries as the "staircase church" because of the twenty-nine steps that lead to the entrance.
 The main nave – whose ceiling is ribbed like an upturned boat or Ark- is separated from its side aisles by sixteen pillars, formerly painted with images of saints. Behind the marbel pulpit, beautifully carved screens hide three haikals (altar areas) from the congregation. Their star patterns are accentuated by inlaid bone and ivory.
Among its relics, the Church owns an olive stone chewed by the Virgin Mary , to whom El-Mu’allaqah is dedicated.

• The Monastery of St George
The monastery of St George is now the seat of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Alexandria. The main building of the monastery is closed to visitors. But you can walk down into a lofty hall once belonged to a Fatimid mansion and into the Chapel beyond, with its tall, narrow wooden doors, which boasts a cedar wood casket containing relics of St George. To the left of this building is a small room for the “chain-wrapping ritual”, sympolizing the saint’s persecution by the Romans.

• The Greek Orthodox Church of St George
This Church is the only one in Egypt with round dome, its dark interior is perfumed with incense and pierced by sunbeams filtered through stained glass. A (barred) flight of steps descends into the bowels of the Roman Tower. The present church was built in 1904 after a fire destroyed the original tenth-century structure

• The Church of St George
This church is founded in 681 by Athanasius the scribe. From the original foundation only the Hall of Nuptials survived a conflagration in the mid-nineteenth century, after which the current structure was erected.

• The Church of the Virgin,
This church is also identified by its alternative name of Qasriet Al-Rihan (Basil Pot) after the favorite herb of the Orthodox Church. Because Al-Hakim’s mother was of that faith , the church was given to the Greek community for the duration of his reign, but later returned to the Copts. Largely rebuilt in the eighteenth century, it’s chiefly notable for several icons painted by John the Armenian in 1778

Opera House


The new 7 -story opera house at the Gezira Exhibition Grounds was inaugurated on October, 3, 1988.
Designed by a team of Japanese and Egyptian architects, it is an architectural masterpiece of Islamic design.                                         It is equipped with the most sophisticated audio-visual system and comprises:

1.The Main Theater, a closed hall comprising 1200 seats, is used for opera, ballet, and classic music performance.                                              2.The Second Theater is also a closed hall comprising 500 seats and is used for various purposes, including film festivals and conferences.
3.The Third Theater is open and comprises 1000 seats.
There are other halls, some of which are used for training and rehearsals. In addition, the Museum and the Library contain references pertaining to the most significant artistic works.



Sakkara is one section of the great necropolis of Memphis, the Old Kingdom capital and the kings of the 1st Dynasty as well as that of the 2nd Dynasty. are mostly buried in this section of the Memphis necropolis. It has been of constant interest to Egyptologists.

5th Dynasty kings such as Userkaf (pyramid) and Djedkare-Izezi built their pyramids at Sakkara. The last king of 5th Dynasty, Unas, decorated his burial chamber with the famous 'Pyramid Texts', spells written to help the king ascend to the heavens and descend again, which reveal the relationship of the king to the gods. 6th Dynasty kings such as Pepi I, Merenre and Pepi II built their pyramids to the south of Sakkara.Sakkara is also famous for its private Old Kingdom tombs, which contain beautiful and revealing scenes men force- feeding geese, cattle crossing a canal, men dragging a statue on a sled to the tomb. The best-known tombs are those of Ti, Kagemni, the 'Two Brothers', and Ptahhotep; the most famous is that of Meruruka.

The Step Pyramid of Djoser (Zoser)
Sakkara is best known for the Step Pyramid, the oldest known of Egypt's 97 pyramids. It was built for King Djoser of the 3rd Dynasty by the architect and genius Imhotep, who designed it and its surrounding complex to be as grand as it was unique and revolutionary. Imhotep was the first to build stone tombs in honor of the king's majesty..On the Pyramid, most of the outer casing is gone. In some places the core masonry has disappeared as well. The original structure was an underground burial chamber with a vertical shaft leading to it.
The entrance was sealed with a 3 ton piece of granite. The face of the mastaba was a fine Tura limestone. It was then enlarged to make the square mastaba rectangular. Afterwards, the process to make it a true step pyramid was begun to make it into the six-tiered pyramid which is there today. A Tura limestone face was added on. On the northern side of the pyramid, a few blocks of the casing remain.

The Pyramid of Unas (Unis)
Unas (Unis)(c. 2356 - 2323 BC) was the last king of the Fifth Dynasty. The pyramid dedicated to this king lies to the south of the Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara.
 The Pyramid of Unas (Unis) is in poor condition however, the burial chambers are worth the visit.In this chamber, you will find the earliest Egyptian funerary texts carved into the walls and filled with a blue pigment. These are referred to as the Pyramid Texts.
They are the rituals and hymns that were said during the burial . They were intended to help the pharaoh's soul in the afterworld to find Re, the sun god. Before this time, nothing was engraved in the walls of the pyramids. The pyramid, when it was complete stood about 62 ft (18.5 m). The core of the pyramid was loose blocks and rubble and the casing was of limestone

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