Egypt is the land of pharaohs and pyramids, and home to the longest river the in world. You’ll find all this and more when you holiday in the thriving capital city of Cairo. One of the world’s most densely populated cities, Cairo is an exciting jumble of old and new. Medieval, Islamic and Coptic sites stand among modern streets packed with upmarket shops and business centres.
Cultural CairoCairo is overflowing with enigmatic mythology and world-famous cultural destination. Head to Old Cairo to explore the Coptic district, home to the Babylon Fortress, the Hanging Church and the Coptic Museum, as well as churches from the Christian period before the Islamic conquest. In the Citadel, a Medieval Islamic fort with grand designs and interesting architecture, there’s the Military Museum, the Carriage Museum and the nearby Sultan Hassan Mosque, one of the largest mosques in the world.
A little further out is Giza, where you’ll find the Great Pyramid – which stood as the world’s tallest structure for 4,000 years – and the Sphinx. To this day no one really knows how they were built, but there are many theories.
Family Days OutAside from cutting your teeth on Ancient Egyptian history in Coptic Cairo or strolling around in the dusty depths of a towering pyramid, you can enjoy all manner of activities in Cairo that prove both educational and entertaining.
Start your holiday to Cairo with a visit to the Egyptian Museum, which is chock-a-block with fascinating antiquities. Next, venture to the Museum of Islamic Art and the more contemporary Museum of Modern Art, which combine to give visitors a taste of Egyptian art over the centuries.
Take to the Nile aboard a traditional Egyptian felucca (wooden boat), a wonderful outing for all the family which can be taken by day or by sunset. Come evening, Cairo Opera House makes for a fabulous night out with its array of symphony orchestra recitals and special performances.
Shopping in CairoShopping might not be something you would associate with Egypt’s great city, but as you’ll see on a holiday to Cairo, this city is full of surprises.
Zamalek, an island in the Nile between downtown Cairo and Giza, is a fashionable upmarket district popular for its green spaces, fine restaurants and contemporary shopping in independent boutiques. There is also a number of large malls in the central areas of Cairo – City Stars in Heliopolis and Cairo Festival City Mall in New Cairo – which are perfect for escaping the Egyptian heat of the day.
If you’re after somewhere a little more atmospheric to shop, go browsing at Khan el-Khalili, one of the biggest and oldest bazaars in the Middle East. Here, merchants hawk everything from textiles, gold and semiprecious stones to spices and locally grown produce, with the stalls all crammed into a maze of courtyards and skinny alleys. Cairo locals and tourists alike proclaim that this is one of Cairo’s must-see sights.