North Africa

Cairo Travel Guide

Cairo City Overview

Cairo, proudly called “Mother of all cities” by the Egyptians, attracts visitors primarily because of the Giza pyramids, the treasures of Tutankhamun’s tomb and the treasures of the Egyptian Museum.

The largest metropolis in Africa stretches 40 km from north to south along the Nile. Most of the city is on the eastern bank of the river, where new satellite cities penetrate into the eastern desert, while the western foothills abruptly end at the pyramids.

When visiting Cairo, there is sometimes a cultural shock, but the fact is, “If you haven’t seen Cairo, you haven’t seen the world” ( Arabian Nights) . Do n’t be put off by pollution, noise, crowds and Baksheesh’s constant craving . Since it is a local custom to pay Baksheesh, you should give something quite often, but always little.

Because orientation in Cairo is not always easy, visitors feel quite comfortable in the clearer, western-style inner-city district around Midan Tahrir (Liberation Square). This is also where the public transport hub and the main attraction of the city center, the Egyptian Museum, are located. Many international hotels in Cairo have also been built here.

Opposite the inner city district are the Nile Islands Gezira and just south of it Roda. The Giza pyramids are located on the western bank of the river, about 18 km from the center. The oldest part of Cairo is south of the city center. Islamic Cairo occupies a large area in the east.

Most people visit the “City of 1000 Minarets” to admire its archaeological treasures, but also to shop on the extensive Khan-al-Khalili market or go on a Nile cruise. There are dozens of mosques, Coptic churches, smaller museums and winding streets to explore.

Important facts

Area code: (0) 2

Population: 20,900,604 (2020)

Latitude: 30.064742

Longitude: 31.249509

Cairo weather

Spring (March to April) and autumn (mid-September to October), when the daytime temperatures are around 30 ° C, are the most pleasant travel times. During the summer, temperatures in Cairo can rise to 38 degrees Celsius, but luckily the humidity is low. In the winter months (December to January) the temperatures are a pleasant 20 ° C. Occasional downpours can occur in January and February, while in March and April the Khamseen, a violent dry-hot desert wind, occurs periodically.

During the fasting month of Ramadan, which shifts by 10 days from year to year, many restaurants and cafes are only open in the evening, and some bars are even completely closed. The city is wonderfully lit and traditional music is played in Islamic Cairo. There are many locals on the Eid ul fitr and Eid ul Adha holidays, so flights, trains and buses should be booked in advance.

City History of Cairo

Although Cairo is now the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the country with 16 million inhabitants, it has only recently achieved a significant position in Egypt’s long history.

Cairo did not exist when the pyramids of Giza were built. At the time of the Pharaohs, the city of Memphis, 24 km south, was the capital. Cairo was only founded in AD AD 116 when the Romans rebuilt an old Persian fort on the Nile, which was named Babylon in Egypt. was known, the oldest district of the city today.

From the end of the 9th century, a succession of Arab rulers left their mark on the city: Ibn Tulun built his royal city el-Qatai and the Fatimids the walled city el-Qahira, from which Cairo gets its name.

In the 13th century the Mameluks came to power, a caste of Turkish soldier slaves, then the Ottomans ruled, the French under Napoleon, and finally the British. The various rulers promoted the establishment of the Jewish, Christian and Islamic religions.

Muhammad Ali Pasha was considered the founder of modern Egypt, with social and economic reforms in the early 19th century. His grandson Ismail Pascha continued the modernization process. Modern Cairo was born in 1863 when ruler Ismail expanded the city along the Nile in the style of major European cities, especially inspired by the broad boulevards of Paris. His legacy can still be seen in today’s city center of Cairo.

Debt led to the British occupation that continued well into the 20th century. Large demonstrations led to Egypt’s independence in 1922 and Sultan Ahmad Fuad became King Fuad I. His son King Farouk I later married Queen Farida Zulficar.

After the fall of the king in 1952, the northern part of the country became the Republic of Egypt, the southern part in 1956 the Republic of Sudan. From then on, Cairo became the capital of the Arab world. The large and rapidly growing population has made Cairo the largest city in Africa and the Muslim world.

Pyramids of Giza, Cairo