Cairo
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Cairo


Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa. It has long served as the cultural, political and social capital of the Middle East. Home to one of the oldest and richest civilizations in the world, Cairo is unique with its ancient monuments and historical landmarks that date back thousands of years, from the Great Pyramids to Al Azhar University and the Hanging Church.

Cairo is a vibrant, exhilarating, exotic, fascinating and welcoming city. This city is where you never know what incredible. You can enjoy the Nile view from your hotel room balcony, visit the capital's medieval markets by Khan El-Khalili, or walk down the Nile promenade. There are also plenty of cinemas, theatres and modern malls. Go for an opera or enjoy oriental music dance shows. Good for short breaks and long stays; you’ll get to see the thousands of ancient artifacts in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, no trip to Cairo would be complete without a visit to the Giza Pyramids, and to the nearby Saqqara Pyramid Complex where visitors will see Egypt's first step pyramid built by the architect Imhotep for the third dynasty pharaoh Djoser.

Cairo Highlights

- Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx Constructed between 2589 BC and 2504 BC, the Egyptian pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure, built in that order, are a testament to ancient planning and engineering. How these pyramids were built is a source of speculation and debate, with a general consensus that ramps of some form, and a tremendous amount of brute human labor, were used. When they were completed the pyramids were encased in white limestone, most of which is lost today. The Sphinx, an enigmatic monument usually associated with king Khafre, stands watch near his valley temple. In addition, tombs sprawling to the east and west of Khufu’s pyramid contain the remains of officials, royal relatives and others who had the privilege to be buried there. All three of Giza’s pyramids had mortuary temples connecting to valley temples through a causeway. However, in the case of Khafre’s pyramid, his valley temple also has an enigmatic monument nearby known as the Sphinx with an uncompleted temple dedicated to it. The Sphinx was a mythical creature seen in art throughout the ancient Middle East as well as India and Greece. The face of the giant example at Giza may have been based on that of Khafre. Efforts at conserving and restoring the Sphinx go back at least as far as 3,400 years. To the south of the Sphinx is the “Wall of the Crow,” which is a 656 feet (200 meter) long and 32 feet (10 meters) thick. South of it is a place known, in the words of the excavators, as “the lost city” that housed at least some of the pyramid builders.

- Saqqara is a very large and ancient site. Dominated by the step pyramid of Netjerykhet Djoser, the first monumental stone structure in human history. There are 16 known pyramids at Saqqara, the most of any site in Egypt. Pyramids from 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th dynasties can be found here. It would take several days to even see a part of the area. 3 days are a minimum. King Djosers' step pyramid can be seen from as far north as Giza and south Dashur. It is very imposing and sets to mood for the whole Saqqara necropolis. We owe most of what we see today at the Step Pyramid to Jean-Philippe Lauer, who spent more than 70 years here reconstructing the site. Personally this was the first ancient site that I visited in 1992 when I visited Egypt for the first time. And it truly captivated me and still inspires to this day. There are several old kingdom mastabas here of extraordinary beauty that would make to trip Egypt worthwhile all by themselves. In addition the to Sarapeum (bull galleries), the monastery of St-Jerimiah, the tomb of Horemheb, and the 1st and 2nd mastabas to list just a few points of interest. Saqqara is traditionally divided in 3 areas by the Egyptologist. The north sector, includes the pyramid of Teti, the mastabas of Mereruka and Kagemni, the 1st/2nd dynasty mastabas and the baboon galleries. The central sector includes the 3rd dynasty step pyramid of Djoser, the 5th dynasty pyramids of Unas and Userkaf, the 3rd dynasty pyramid of Sekhemkhet, the Sarapeum the mastabas of Niankh-khum. Akhethotep, Irukaptah, Khenut, Nebet, Khenu, Mehu, Seshesehet, Neferherenptah and the Gisr el-Mudir a mysterious structure just west of the pyramid Unas. It is in the burial vault of the pyramid of Unas that we bear witness to the oldest religious text in the world. The southern sector includes the 6th dynasty pyramid of Pepi II, Merenre, Pepi I, the fifth dynasty pyramid Djedkare-Isesi, the 4th dynasty pyramid of Shepseskaf and the 7th dynasty pyramid of Ibi.

- Egyptian Museum in Cairo contains the world's most extensive collection of pharaonic antiquities; no visit to Egypt is complete without a trip through its galleries. The original collection was established in the late 19th century under Auguste Mariette and housed in Boulaq. The objects were moved in 1891 to the palace of Ismil Pasha in Giza before being transferred in 1902 to the current building at Tahrir Square, which is the first purpose-built museum edifice in the world. Designed in the Neoclassical style by Marcel Dourgnon, the Egyptian Museum boasts 107 halls filled with artifacts dating from the prehistoric through the Roman periods, with the majority of the collection focused on the pharaonic era. The museum houses approximately 160,000 objects covering 5,000 years of Egypt's past. The ground floor takes the visitor on a chronological tour through the collections, while the objects on the upper floor are grouped according to tomb or category; exhibits here include the treasures of Tutankhamun, wooden models of daily life, statuettes of divinities, and a rare group of Faiyum Portraits. On display on the second floor are also many of the New Kingdom royal mummies.

- Citadel and Mosque of Mohamed Ali Pasha certainly not one of the most ancient mosques in Cairo, nor even one of the most historic, because of its grandeur and its location in the Citadel, the Mosque of  Muhammad Ali is the most popular Islamic mosque among tourists. This mosque is also sometimes referred to as the Alabaster Mosque due to its extensive use of that stone on some of the exterior walls and other surfaces. Sometimes it is popularly known as al-qal'a, meaning citadel, and thus confused with the fortress in which it is located.

- Old Cairo is a part of Cairo- Egypt, that contains the remnants of those cities which were capitals before Cairo, such as Fustat, as well as some other elements from the city's varied history. For example, it encompasses Coptic Cairo and its many old churches and ruins of Roman fortifications. Modern tourists visit locations such as the Coptic Museum, the Babylon Fortress, the Hanging Church and other Coptic churches, the Ben Ezra Synagogue and the Mosque of 'Amr ibn al-'As. Fort Babylon is a Roman fortress around which many of the Egyptian Christians' oldest churches were built.

- The Cairo Tower was inaugurated in 1961 by the late president Gamal Abdel Nasser and it underwent a complete refurbishment and reopened in 2009. The Tower is a landmark in Egypt, a masterpiece of structural art, constructed using styles from classic antiquity. The 187 meters tall building imitates a lotus plant in its shape and is situated on Gezira Island (Zamalek), with the River Nile flowing serenely alongside. It is illuminated with different shades of color in the evening. At its very top is a panorama with telescopes, an open air experience of Cairo where one can enjoy a breath taking view of the pyramids of Giza and Sakkara, as well as the museum, the Citadel and the entire city. The Tower’s restaurants and coffee shops have all been renovated and refurbished. The revolving gourmet restaurant at the summit serves a distinctive menu of international and oriental cuisine.

- Khan El Khalili in Cairo, Egypt was named and built by the Emir Djaharks El Khalili in the heart of the Fatimid City. This area was known for its Caravansary. The Caravansary is a rest house with storage rooms that surround a courtyard for horses and camels and the merchants slept upstairs. The Caravansary is still standing on Sikka Khan El Khalili and Badestan. The market was built in 1382 and quickly became a major trade center. The famous main gate of Khan El Khalili is still standing today. This entrance opens to the original courtyard which is in the center of Badestan St. In this same area is the famous El Fishawi Café. This famous café is a must see on a visit to Cairo. The El Fishawi Café is frequented by artists and area celebrities. One of the café's most famous regulars was the Nobel Prize winning Naguib Mahfouz. Khan El Khalili market is filled with intriguing alleys and streets.  There many areas specializing in just one craft.  There is the brass area, a jewelry neighborhood, spice market, vendors, and so much more.  Whether its history that draws you or the more than 900 shops, Khan El Khalili is the destination.

- Pharaonic Village is Egypt's historic park. It's a unique place where Egypt's entire history is explained in 2 to 3 hours including our ancient history as well as our modern history. Visiting The Pharaonic Village is recommended to be at the beginning of the trip to Egypt. It is located on an island in the Nile, just 3 miles south of the center of Cairo. In this village you are transported by floating amphitheaters, and a hundred actors and actresses demonstrate scenes from ancient Egypt (Papyrus making, sculpting, home building….etc.). In addition, the village has a complete replica of king Tutankhamun's tomb with all its treasures as well as 12 new museums, 4 related to ancient Egypt (mummification and medicine, pyramids building, arts and beliefs, ancient Egyptian boats) and 5 museums related to other periods in Egyptian history (Cleopatra's museum, Coptic history, Islamic civilization, Napoleon's expedition to Egypt, Egypt's modern history museum). There are also 3 museums related to our late three presidents, Mohamed Naguib, Nasser and Sadat.

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Whether you are visiting Egypt for the first time, or like so many travelers before you, you are returning once again, we at Egypt Adventure would like to extend to you our warmest welcome and look forward to introducing you to our Egypt......

 

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