North Africa

Attractions in Cairo

Attractions in Cairo

Bab Zuwayla

The south gate of the Bab Zuwayla city wall is the only remnant of the Fatimid city of el-Qahira.

Executions took place here during the Mameluke period, but in the 19th century it gained a more favorable reputation when Saint Mitwalli, who was based here, performed miracles near the gate. To this day, people come here who hope for healing through divine help and nail curls or a piece of cloth to the gate.

The minarets of the el Muayyad Mosque rise above the gate, from the top of which you can enjoy one of the best panoramic views of Cairo. Inside the mosque is the mausoleum of Sultan el-Muayyad and his son, who started building the mosque around a shady courtyard in 1415.

Address: Sharia Darb el-Ahmar, Islamic Cairo,
entrance fee: Entrance fee for visiting the mosque, baksheesh for visiting the minarets.

Disabled access: No
UNESCO: No

Bayn al-Qasryn

In the Middle Ages, Bayn al-Qasryn, populated with market stalls and entertainers, was the most important public square in Cairo.

Today it is surrounded by three mameluke palace complexes that create a harmonious and impressive facade. The noblest and oldest is the Qalaun Madrasa and Mausoleum, completed in 1279.

The decorations of the mausoleum are breathtaking – a magnificent stucco arch with star and flower motifs, richly decorated coffered ceilings and colored glass. The mausoleum of an-Nasir Mohammed (1304) and the madrasa and khanqah of Sultan Barquq (1386) also combine sublime architecture and rich building decorations.

A madrasa is a theological school and a khanqah is a monastery.

Address: Sharia el-Muizz, Islamic Cairo,
entrance fee: No entry fee.

Disabled access: No
UNESCO: No

Bayt el-Suhaymi

Behind an inconspicuous facade is one of the most beautiful houses in Cairo – Bayt el-Suhaymi.

It dates from the time of the Ottomans and offers insights into the life of rich merchants during the 16th and 17th centuries. There are a confusing number of rooms on the different floors.

On the first floor there is a richly decorated harem with a mashrabiyya grille overlooking the garden, and an impressive reception hall where men are entertained with music and dance.

Address: 19 Haret Darb el-Asfar, Islamic Cairo,
website: http://www.egyptianmuseums.net/html/bayt_al-suhaymi.html
Entry fee: Yes.

Disabled access: No
UNESCO: No

Gayer Anderson House (Bayt el-Kritliya)

From 1935-1942 the Gayer-Anderson-Haus was the home of an English personal physician to the royal family. He restored two houses from the 16th century, connected them through an internal passage and filled them with exquisite decorative pieces, furniture and oriental objects.

From the gallery of women screened with mashrabiyya screens, you can see an enchanting reception hall, in the center of which is arguably the most beautiful fountain in Cairo.

Address: 4 Midan Ahmed Ibn Tulun, Islamic Cairo,
opening hours: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Website: http://www.sca-egypt.org
Entry fee: Yes.

Disabled access: No
UNESCO: No

Hanging Church (el-Muallaqa)

El-Muallaqa probably dates from the fourth century and is the oldest Christian memorial in Cairo.

It is called the “hanging church” because it was built over a Roman gate and can be reached by a staircase that leads into the courtyard. The beautiful interior features three corridors with barrel vaults, altar shrines with ivory and bone inlays and a fine marble pulpit supported by 13 columns that represent Christ and his disciples.

Address: Sharia Mari Girgis, Old Cairo,
website: http://www.coptic-cairo.com
Entry fee: Donations are welcome.

Disabled access: No
UNESCO: No

Ibn Tulun mosque

Not to be missed by any mosque in Cairo. It was completed in 879 and is the oldest intact mosque in Cairo.

The huge building made of adobe and wood covers 2.4 hectares and has a simple interior. In Cairo, it is a unique example of classic Islamic architecture based on the Iraqi model. It was built by Ibn Tulin, who was sent by the Caliph of Baghdad to rule Cairo. The pointed archways are the first of their kind, and the view from the top of the spiral minaret is outstanding.

Address: Sharia el-Salibah, Islamic Cairo,
opening times: Open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Entry fee: Yes.

Disabled access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Coptic Museum

The Coptic Museum, surrounded by a beautiful garden, is located in the former Roman fortress of Babylon and shows Coptic works of art from the Christian era (AD 300-1000).

Among the highlights are exquisite Coptic textiles, carved ivory, papyros with excerpts from the Gnostic gospels of Nag Hammadi and pictures of the Nubians from flooded villages on Lake Nassar.

The richly decorated rooms are equipped with beautiful mashrabiyya (carved wooden screens), fountains and painted ceilings.

Address: Sharia Mari Girgis, Old Cairo,
opening times: Daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Website: http://www.coptic-cairo.com
Entry fee: Yes.

Disabled access: No
UNESCO: No

Sultan Hassan’s Madrasa Mosque

The Madrasa Mosque is one of the largest in the world and covers 7906 m².

As one of the most important buildings of the early Mameluke period in Cairo, it was built between 1356 and 1363. The mosque includes a beautiful courtyard, four madrasas (theological schools) and a mausoleum flanked by huge doors. Visitors should come in the morning when the sun illuminates the dark mausoleum.

Address: Sharia el-Qal’a, Islamic Cairo,
entrance fee: Yes.

Disabled access: No
UNESCO: No

Museum of Islamic Art

This museum houses one of the largest and most exquisite collections of Islamic art from the seventh to the 19th centuries.

The rooms contain wood carving, columns, mosaic fountains, metalwork, and architectural exhibits that have been rescued from the ruins of mosques and mausoleums across Egypt. Some of the most wonderful pieces are in the central hall.

Address: Ahmed Maher (Bab el-Khalq), Port Said Street, Cairo
Phone: (02) 390 15 20.Opening
hours:

Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Entry fee: Yes.

Disabled access: No
UNESCO: No

Pyramids of Giza

The Giza pyramids are one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and Egypt’s main tourist attraction.

The first impression is sometimes that they appear smaller than expected. The longer the visit lasts, the more impressive the pyramids become.

The Great Pyramid of Cheops is the largest in Egypt and the oldest in Cairo and was founded around 2600 BC. Chr. Completed. It is 136.4 m high and consists of approximately 2.5 million limestone blocks. The pyramid for the sarcophagus was built by King Cheops (or Khufu, as his real Egyptian name is), but it is not known whether he was really buried here.

Nearby there are three smaller pyramids that were built for Cheops’ wives. A little further away are the two large pyramids Chephren and Mycerinus. Chephren was Cheop’s son, and there is a widespread belief that he had the idea of ​​building the Sphinx, which should be close to his and his father’s tomb. However, some archaeologists claim that this is not the case, and that the Sphinx may be around 2600 years older than the pyramids.

Address: Pyramid Road, 18 km southwest of Cairo’s city center., Cairo
Hours: Daily from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Website: http://www.egypt.travel
Entry fee: Yes.

Disabled access: No
UNESCO: Yes

Dead City

Some tourists may think of visiting the city of the dead, but many Cairo people visit it regularly and have a picnic at the graves of their relatives – an ancient tradition.

This necropolis has some of the most outstanding architectural works in the Islamic world and is divided into a southern and northern cemetery, between which there is a citadel.

The most beautiful monuments are in the northern cemetery. The mosque of the Mameluke ruler Qaitbey with its magnificently decorated interior has a peaceful courtyard and an elaborately designed dome – the most beautiful in the Muslim world.

For security reasons, visitors should only be on the main paths of the cemetery.

Address: Islamic Cairo
Entrance Fee: No. (Qaitbey Mosque: with entrance fee.)

Disabled access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Wikala al-Ghouri

A wikala, also known as caravanserai, is a medieval merchant hostel for traveling traders.

Their animals were housed in stalls on the ground floor, they slept in the rooms above, and they haggled with customers in the courtyard.

There are only a few wikalas left in Cairo and the one in al-Ghouri is the best preserved. Artists’ studios are now in the stables, while the courtyard is used for theater and concerts.

Just around the corner is the striped al-Ghouri building complex, which includes a mosque madrasa and a mausoleum. Part of the mausoleum now serves as a cultural center where Sufi dance performances take place twice a week.

Address: Sharia el-Azhar, Islamic Cairo,
entrance fee: Yes.

Disabled access: No
UNESCO: No

Citadel (el-Qal’a)

Nothing has survived from the original 12th century Salah ad-Din palace, but the mosques and palaces on the limestone ledge reflect 700 years of Cairo history.

The fortifications were originally built to protect against crusaders and did not become a sultan’s residence until the late 19th century. The Mohammed Ali Mosque with its huge central dome and the four smaller domes towers over the city. The al-Nasir mosque, the Yusuf spring and several small museums are also located on the fenced property. From the citadel you have a fantastic view of Cairo.

Address: Islamic Cairo,
opening times: Open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Entry fee: Yes.

Disabled access: No
UNESCO: No

Egyptian Museum

With more than 120,000 works of art covering Egyptian history from the earliest dynasties to the Roman era, the Egyptian Museum presents the largest collection of its kind in the world.

It would take months to view each exhibit, and it would take at least three to four hours to see the highlights alone. However, if you have enough time, the best way to appreciate the museum is on several consecutive half-day visits.

The collection was first compiled by the French archaeologist Auguste Mariette in 1858. The biggest attractions include the Tutankhamun Galleries, which showcase gold and jeweled grave masks and 1700 other treasures found in the young king’s grave.

Another highlight is the Royal Mummy Room, which houses 11 mummies of the most powerful Egyptian pharaohs, including that of Seti I and his son Ramses II.

In Room 27, exact models of life on the Nile at the time of the Middle Kingdom are exhibited, while in the Old Kingdom Rooms you can see beautiful portraits and death masks from Giza and Saqqara. The Akhenaten Room, the Jewelery Rooms and the animal mummies are also fascinating.

The children’s museum is specially tailored to the interests and needs of young visitors.

Address: Midan Tahrir, Cairo
Telephone: (02) (02) 25 78 22 48 or 25 78 24 52.
Opening hours: Daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Website: http://www.sca-egypt.org/eng/MUS_Egyptian_Museum.htm
Admission fee: Yes.

Disabled access: No
UNESCO: No

Tourist offices

Egyptian Tourist Authority

There are also offices in all of the airport’s terminals, at the Pyramids, Pyramids Street (Tel: (02) 33 83 88 23) and in the Giza and Ramses train stations.

There is no tourist office that specializes in Cairo. However, there is a tourist police hotline (Tel: 126) that provides information.

Address: 5 Sharia Adly, Midan Opera, Cairo
Telephone: (02) 23 91 34 54/55
Opening hours: Daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during Ramadan).

Website: http://www.egypt.travel

Visitor passes

Cairo does not have visitor passes with discounts for tourists.

Muhammad Ali Mosque, Cairo