Cairo, Egypt

Perched along the banks of the mighty Nile River in Lower Egypt, Cairo is an idyllic destination for history buffs and casual vacationers alike. The juxtaposition of rich, well-preserved historical sites and bustling modern attractions creates a unique, Egypt holidays all-in-one experience that is difficult to find anywhere else in the world. UNESCO World Heritage Sites lie next to upscale restaurants and shopping malls, reflecting the spirit of Cairo’s illustrious past as well as its burgeoning future.

Along the Nile River, Cairo, EgyptCairo is the sixteenth largest metropolitan area in the world, and the largest in Africa. Nearly seven million people call the city home, with more than nineteen million scattered throughout the 33,000 square mile metropolitan area. Officially founded in 969 A.D., the area that is now modern Cairo has been home to a number of important historical settlements, including the former Egyptian capital cities of Fustat and Memphis. Because of its central location, Cairo flourished during the Middle Ages as a major center of Islamic scholarship and a key part of the lucrative spice trade. After a period of stagnation, the 1800s saw the beginning of a policy of modernization that continues to today.

Today’s Cairo testifies to the success of this modernization policy, with glimmering high-rise buildings and luxurious hotels towering along the banks of the Nile. The city also features several high-profile shopping centers, a number of parks, including Cairo Botanical Gardens, and Giza Zoo, fittingly one of the oldest zoos in the world. Cairo is also home to two large theme parks, Dream Park and Magic Land, providing entertainment for the whole family. Beautiful Mena House Golf Course also provides entertainment for scratch golfers and weekend warriors alike, with the Pyramids of Giza providing a backdrop for many holes. Feluccas, small traditional sailboats, are available along the Nile River for those seeking more leisurely activities.

Of course the biggest draw in Cairo, as it has nearly always been, is the rich and diverse history. There are more than 600 classified monuments in and around the city, dating back as far as the seventh century. Monuments and artifacts from Ancient Egypt, among the earliest and most successful civilizations, still dot the landscape. The Sphinx stands watch over the Pyramids at Giza just outside the city. The Great Pyramid, the last of the Seven Wonders of the World left standing, is perhaps the most awe-inspiring of Cairo’s many monuments. History lovers will also enjoy a trip to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, where countless ancient artifacts are displayed for the public. The Cairo Tower, at 610 feet high, offers a spectacular uninterrupted 360-degree view of the city, with the pyramids and other monuments visible in the distance.

Few locations on Earth can provide the sheer variety that Cairo offer, and even fewer can claim such historical importance. For many, the pyramids and other monuments alone make the visit worthwhile, but Cairo is sure to hold something for everyone. From the energetic, ultra-modern entertainment and night life of Downtown, to the nearly unchanged links to the past at Giza, Cairo is undoubtedly a can’t miss destination.


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