Cairo, Egypt’s capital, is a fast, furious,
filthy and fascinating city. Home to the Pyramids at Giza
and the Sphinx. Cairo also has an array of streets and
suqs worth visiting to gain a sense of the history of the city.
Cairo is known to locals as Umm al-Dunya, or
“Mother of the World.” The Cairo International Airport has recently been
upgraded and 2011 expects to see the opening of the 550 million US dollar Grand
Egyptian Museum near the pyramids.
Travel facts: Cairo’s attractions are
spread out among the different neighborhoods, but taxis are cheap, so don’t
bother with buses. Leave plenty of time to get around, because the traffic
can be brutal. In summer temperatures can head past 40 degrees Celsius,
but you still need to dress moderately and respectfully, especially when
visiting mosques. Shoulders and knees must be covered for both men and
women. Tourists are often more hassled by sellers in Cairo than anywhere
else on earth.
Sights and Activities
- Pyramids of Giza & the Great
Sphinx – No one should leave Cairo without visiting the Pyramids of
Giza which were built about 4,600 years ago, and their enigmatic guardian, the
- Egyptian Museum – Visit the mummies
at the museum. Many people suggest going twice, the second time you’ll
absorb more as you’ll be used to the crowds.
- Visit the suqs – Stroll the suqs and
the array of products on offer. Expect to get hassled. Khan el
Khalili is Cairo’s most famous bazaar. The Friday market at Suq al-Goma
is the most raucous; an enormous flea market that sprawls into the City of the
- Shisha time – Take a break and smoke
the sweet, fruit-scented tobacco in the Shisha, or water pipe. Enjoyed
by men and women, it’s more pleasant that you might think.
- Sunset – Cairo is at it’s most
magical at sunset. The pollution filters the fading sunlight into pinks
and oranges. Enjoy it best by renting a felucca and floating down the
Nile, or settle with a cocktail at the El Mojito on the roof of the Nile
- Traditional dance – The lusty art
of Middle Eastern dance is alive and well, catch a show in the city.
- Food – Try koshary, a
combination of macaroni, rice, lentils, fried onions and tomato sauce. Go to
the Abou Tarek, the three story koshary emporium at Champollion Street fills
up with families and couples gathering around shiny metal