80° BY THE SEA
Looking for a beach vacation? Let us help you find the right spot.More
The view of the huge silver domes and needle-thin minarets of the Muhammad 'Ali Mosque against the stark backdrop of the desert cliffs of the Muquattam is one of Cairo's most striking visual icons. The mosque is just one feature of the Citadel, an immense fortified enclosure that housed the local power brokers from Salah al-Din, its 12th-century founder, to Napoléon in the 18th century
and the British colonial governors and troops until their withdrawal in 1946. It served as the base of operations for Mamluk slave kings as well as for a series of sultans and pashas with their colorful retinues, including al-Nasir Muhammad's 1,200-concubine-strong harem.
The Citadel commands wonderful views of the city—smog permitting. From there, you can visit some impressive monuments, including the amazing Mosque and Madrasa of Sultan Hasan, one of the largest such structures in the world, and the remarkably calm, austere Mosque of Ibn Tulun, one of Cairo's oldest buildings.
The area known as Mari Girgis (Saint George) is centuries older than the Islamic city of Cairo. But even calling it Coptic Cairo isn't entirely...
In the middle of the 19th century, the slavishly Francophile khedive Isma'il laid out this district on a Parisian plan across the old canal...