Cairo

Cairo is big: just how big you'll see on the drive in from the airport, which sometimes takes so long you'll think you're driving to Aswan. And what you see on the way into town, amazingly, is only half of it—Cairo's west-bank sister city, Giza, stretches to the Pyramids, miles from Downtown. But if you are the sort of person who instinctively navigates by compass points, exploring Cairo will be a breeze because the Nile works like a giant north–south needle running through the center of the city. If not, you might find the city bewildering at first.

Taxi drivers generally know only major streets and landmarks, and often pedestrians are unsure of the name of the street they stand on—when they do know, it's as often by the old names as the postindependence ones—but they'll gladly steer you in the wrong direction in an effort to be helpful. Just go with the flow and try to think of every wrong turn as a chance for discovery.

Thankfully, too, you don't have to conquer all of Cairo to get the most out of it. Much of the city was built in the 1960s, and the new areas hold relatively little historical or cultural interest. The older districts, with the exception of Giza's pyramids, are all on the east bank and easily accessible by taxi or Metro. These districts become relatively straightforward targets for a day's exploration on foot.

Old Cairo, on the east bank a couple miles south of most of current-day Cairo, was the city's first district. Just north of it is Fustat, the site of the 7th-century Arab settlement. East of that is the Citadel. North of the Citadel is the medieval walled district of al-Qahira that gave the city its name. It is better known as Islamic Cairo. West of that is the colonial district. Known as Downtown, it is one of several—including Ma'adi, Garden City, Heliopolis, and Zamalek—laid out by Europeans in the 19th and 20th centuries. (The west-bank districts of Mohandiseen and Doqqi, by comparison, have only sprouted up since the revolution in 1952.) The most interesting sights are in the older districts; the newer ones have the highest concentrations of hotels, restaurants, and shops.

Sort by: 14 Recommendations {{numTotalPoiResults}} {{ (numTotalPoiResults===1)?'Recommendation':'Recommendations' }} 0 Recommendations
CLEAR ALL Area Search CLEAR ALL
Loading...
Loading...
  • 1. Great Sphinx

    Giza | Archaeological Site/Ruins

    Carved from the living rock of the pyramids plateau during the 4th Dynasty, the enigmatic limestone Sphinx is attached to Pharaoh Khafre's funerary...Read More

  • 2. Pyramid Plateau

    Giza | Archaeological Site/Ruins

    Three 4th-Dynasty pyramids dominate the skyline of the desert plateau to the southwest of Cairo. The largest is that of Pharaoh Khufu (Greek...Read More

  • 3. Step Pyramid

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    The pyramid complex was built in the 3rd Dynasty (2649–2575 BC) for the pharaoh Djoser by his architect Imhotep, and it has been undergoing...Read More

  • 4. Abu Sir

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    Abu Sir is the site of four pyramids—three of which are obvious, the fourth one less so—all dating to the 5th Dynasty (2465–2323 BC), as well...Read More

  • 5. Dahshur

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    Named for the pinkish limestone of which it is made, the Red (North) Pyramid belonged to the 4th-Dynasty pharaoh Sneferu (2575–2551 BC), father...Read More

    View Tours and Activities
  • 6. Kom Aushim

    Museum/Gallery

    The Greco-Roman town site of Karanis is on the desert road on the way into the Fayyum, and it feels like a ghost town. It includes a temple...Read More

  • 7. Mastaba of Kagemni

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    This tomb adjoins the mastaba of Mereruka and is also well decorated. Presumably the artist or atelier responsible for decorating the mastabas...Read More

  • 8. Mastaba of Mereruka

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    Shared by Mereruka's son and his wife, this is the largest mastaba tomb in Saqqara. It dates to the 6th Dynasty (2323–2150 BC) and shows some...Read More

  • 9. Mastaba of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    This tomb is considered one of the "new tombs" that have been excavated in Saqqara since the late 1990s and shares a separate admission with...Read More

  • 10. Mastaba of Ti

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    This tomb is architecturally different from the mastabas of Mereruka and Kagemni in that it has a large courtyard that contains a stairway leading...Read More

  • 11. Memphis

    Museum/Gallery

    Little is visible of the grandeur of ancient Memphis, save for what is found in the museum and some excavated areas (not open to the public...Read More

  • 12. Pyramid of Teti

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    This pyramid measures 257 feet square and originally rose to 172 feet. Recognizing this as a pyramid is quite difficult, because the casing...Read More

  • 13. Pyramid of Unas

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    The last pyramid built in the 5th Dynasty was the first to contain a burial chamber decorated with the pyramid texts, a set of spells to ensure...Read More

    View Tours and Activities
  • 14. Serapeum

    Archaeological Site/Ruins

    This is site of the burials of the Apis Bulls. The Apis was a bull that was regarded as a manifestation of Ptah, a creator god. During its lifetime...Read More

No sights Results

Please try a broader search, or expore these popular suggestions:

There are no results for {{ strDestName }} Sights in the searched map area with the above filters. Please try a different area on the map, or broaden your search with these popular suggestions:

Around the Web