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Cairo the Capital of Egypt - information and tips

Cairo street map
Cairo street map

Cairo has been the capital of Egypt since its construction one thousand years ago. It was built by the Fatimate leader Jawhar Al Sekelly on the orders of Al Moez Le'Deen El Allah the caliph who wanted to have a protected capital to the jewel of his crown Egypt. Since that time Cairo has been expanded considerably until it has become the largest capital in the Arab world and Africa with a population of about 20 million comprising nearly the third of Egypt population.

One of the famous names of Cairo has been "The Capital of one thousand minarets"  although this name is not accurate since there are more than ten times this number of mosques in Cairo today.

Cairo has the Islamic characteristics of Egypt while the Pharaonic features are part of the character of its neighboring city Giza. Every body knows that the famous Egyptian pyramids are in Giza while few people know that Giza is one of three cities that comprise Greater Cairo. These cities or governorates according to the Egyptian administration system are Cairo, Giza and Kalyobia. Each of these three governorates has a governor appointed by Egypt president.

Places you should visit in Cairo

When you are in Cairo don't forget to visit these places and take you camera with you to keep memories of your trip. These are not all the places you can visit in Cairo, in fact you can never visit all of Cairo in several days or even years but they are the most important places you can visit.

  • Egyptian pyramids of Giza
    Although the pyramids and Sphinx are in Giza which is another city than Cairo, it is considered part of the greater Cairo. If you like to be close to the Pyramids you can stay in a hotel near the Giza desert where you can feel the tranquility of the desert.
  •  The Citadel
  • Al Azhar mosque
  • Khan El Khalili
  • The Pharaonic village
  • Cairo Tower
  • Cruise in the Nile

Tips for you when you visit Cairo

  1. The best time to be in Cairo is winter because the weather is fine and you can enjoy the warm sun walking on the corniche of the Nile. 
  2. If you go to Cairo in summer don't forget to wear a cap or a hat as a precaution of the sun although it is not hot as other places in Egypt, but be careful just as well.
  3. If you would like to take a cab to any where in Cairo better ask at the hotel for the taxi fare because taxi drivers tend to charge foreign passengers more than the fare suggested by the law. You can also enquire from people in the street for the fare if you intend to go to a specific place.
  4. When you buy souvenirs go alone to the shops don't take a local guide he will not help you get a low price as you might expect and visit more than one shop to take a look at the merchandise and to know the local prices and be sure to ask for products made in Egypt because there have been some items imported from the far east countries sold alongside Egyptian hand made souvenirs. If you go alone ask the salesman for the Egyptian products and he will give you a good price. 
  5. Prices of food are low in Egypt and every thing is available so don't take canned food or drinks from your country when you come to Egypt. If you go to any supermarket or local food store you will find what you desire of soft drinks, canned food and even junk food. a tip for you, food items prices are much lower in shops than in hotel.
  6. If you sit at a cafe and smoke a shisha be careful because it is much stronger than cigarette ! exhale a little amount first to know the feeling.
  7. Tip or Baksheesh as Egyptians call it is very common for hotel servants that carry your bags or serving food so be prepared with change of pounds with you.
  8. If you are lost don't be embarrassed  to ask for directions. Better ask at shops because they tend to know the area they work in. Write the name of the hotel on a piece of paper and take it with you in case you don't pronounce it  clearly. Better ask more than one person to be sure.
  9. Learn a few words in Arabic to use when you talk to Egyptians they are friendly people who like to know their language is respected by guests to their country. one the most famous words you should know is "Shoukran" which means "Thank you"

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