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: 8 Recommendations {{numTotalPoiResults}} {{ (numTotalPoiResults===1)?'Recommendation':'Recommendations' }} 0 Recommendations
CLEAR ALL Area Search CLEAR ALL
Loading...
Loading...
  • 1. Coptic Museum

    Old Cairo | Museum/Gallery

    Housing the world's largest collection of Coptic Christian artwork, this museum provides a link between ancient and Islamic Egypt. Remember...Read More

    View Tours and Activities
  • 2. The Citadel

    The Citadel | Castle/Palace

    Until Salah al-Din al-Ayyubi arrived in Cairo in 1168, local rulers had overlooked the strategic value of the hill above the city. Within a...Read More

  • 3. The Egyptian Antiquities Museum

    Downtown | Museum/Gallery

    On the north end of Maydan Tahrir, this huge neoclassical building is home to the world's largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts....Read More

  • 4. Gayer-Anderson Museum

    The Citadel | Historic Home

    Also known as Bayt al-Kiritliya, the museum consists of two Ottoman houses joined together, restored, and furnished by Major Gayer-Anderson...Read More

  • 5. Imhotep Museum

    Museum/Gallery

    One of the best places to really feel the energy of the pyramid-building era, the Imhotep Museum brings together a collection of artifacts and...Read More

  • 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. 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

  • 8. Museum of Islamic Arts

    Islamic Cairo South | Museum/Gallery

    Too often overlooked, this is one of the finest museums in Cairo, with a rare and extensive collection of Islamic art. After a major restoration...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