Cairo (Al-Qahira, the Victorious, Misr in Egyptian) is the capital of Egypt, its official population is about 17,5 million inhabitants, but including its agglomeration it would count more than 25 millions.
This immense city, sometimes infernal because of impossible circulation and pollution, is very active and rich of life, with its numerous districts, monuments, mosques and souks.
It is located on the southern edges of the delta of the Nile, in the north of Egypt. The city with its agglomeration includes moreover three other minor centers: Imbaba, Heliopolis and Giza.
Westward, is Giza (see Pyramids of Giza) and its ancient necropolis of Memphis, with the sphinx and its three great pyramids where the Khufu one is the last surviving of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Southward of Memphis, are the necropolis of Saqqara. These two sites being two ancient sites of settlement of the area.
More southward, Dahshur, with its pyramids.
In Cairo, there is the most important Egyptian Museum of the world. It is impossible to circumvent, in spite of the a little anarchistic stacking of the objects and the panels of information which seems to have several decades.
Districts of Cairo
The ancient Cairo (Copt' district)
It is the oldest district of the city. The Romans built there the fortress of Babylon, which became a Christian and Jewish enclave thereafter.
One finds there the synagogue Ben Ezra, founded in 1115, and there remains five churches among its the suspended church devoted to the Virgin (IVth century), the Saint-Serge church (end of IVth) and the Sainte-Barbara church.
Under the Fatimids domination, many mosques were built. Then, under the Mamelukes, the city increases considerably, becoming the capital of the Moslem world. They continued to embellish the city with splendid mosques and many Koranic schools.
To see : The citadel of Saladin.
Khan el-Khalili is an old souk about 600 years old, it was known as Turkish market under the Ottomans.
Like the market Al-Muski just westward, many important craftsmen are installed there, its lanes are filled of craftsmen, goldsmiths, salesmen of spices and perfumes.
The centre town includes the islands of Ground and Gezira, and in the south-east, Mounira.
A large lake was drained in 1837, the sector was built under the instructions of the Khedive, with vast boulevards and gardens.
It extends from the Ataba square, towards the mosque Al-Fath at north, the Ramesses square in front of the station built in 1856, district "Bab el-Hadid".
The island of Gezira remained uninhabited until the middle of the XIXth century, has now palates, and the island of Rhoda which was always occupied.
See also : photographs and paints of Cairo