Tourists who went there said that Cairo is overwhelming, why so? I believe it is not just because it is the Arab world’s most accessible political and cultural centre or as Africa’s largest city, or a magnet for the agricultural poor, but the amazing antiquities of the Egyptian, Coptic and Islamic civilizations that can be seen here sure add another dimension to Cairo’s vibrant, chaotic, noisy, multitudinous, multi-racial feel to this tourist attractions. You may want to know that the Roman name for Cairo is Babylon, and Egyptians often call it Misr. Also if I am right, the meaning for Cairo is ‘the triumphant’!
In fact, Cairo is truly a reflection of collection for different districts divided only by the Nile, which flows sedately through it. Grab a taxi, you will have the chance to visit the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, i.e. the Pyramids of Giza. Although the Giza was built over 4,600 years ago, your first sight of them rising from the desert, I believe will be awe-inspiring. However, before you visit any of the monuments at Giza, do take a commanding view of the entire site, i.e. nine pyramids for one view, usually the camel drivers will tell you about this. Also you may want to try the son-et-lumière one night for a mind-blowing experience.
What are the must not miss places to see, places to visit and places of interest if you are in Cairo? I suggest you to take a guided tour unless you have got months to be there!
- The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities – holds more than just the fantastic Tutankhamun exhibition.
- Coptic Cairo – a peaceful area of cobbled alleys, convents, churches and synagogues. Don’t forget to visit the Coptic Museum for its many treasures and its particularly fine textiles. Do visit The Hanging Church and Ben Ezra Synagogue while in Coptic Cairo.
- Heliopolis – a relaxed residential district with Art Deco ‘Europe-meets Arabia’ architecture.
- The Saladin Citadel – one of the most popular tourist attractions of Cairo. The Citadel also contains Al-Gawhara Palace, the National Military Museum and the Police Museum.
- The City of the Dead – a huge area of domed, carved, palatial mausoleums that has its own monasteries and schools. A city that is inhabited by many of the homeless.
- Bayt al-Suhaymi – the finest medieval house in the city.
Other interesting places and tourist attractions shall include: The Khan al-Khalili bazaar, Sultan Hassan Mosque, and The Northern walls and gates.
But you have to beware that most of the antiquities the people try to sell you are forgeries, even those very good ones. Also the customs there do not allow you to take anything with more than 100 years old out from Egypt, and this apply to items like carpets, paintings and books.