Official language: Arabic
Time zone: UTC +2
Currency: Egyptian pound (EGP)
The city got its name before the official establishment, in 966 in honour of Mars, a planet that was in zenith back then. In Arabic Mars is al-Kahira.
After the twilight, go for a walk alongside Al-Muizz street. Medieval buildings located by the road were restored and the level of the street was lowered to original one.
When the noise of horns and callings of street vendors would become intolerable, run away to Al-Azhar park, full of fountains and cafes.
Cairo was founded as another ancient city in that area, next to Memphis or Giza. With time some towns and villages were abandoned by citizens, other became part of a mighty city, that, with number of residents reaching 10 million, is considered as an informal capital of Arabic country.
Getting to know the city starts from a visit on a view tower built in its very centre, on an island Zamalek. The TV tower has 185 m height, and you can admire from there the whole city’s panorama. If you are hungry, you are in the right place – on a rounded platform there is a restaurant. But it is not considered as the cheapest one.
From almost each corner of the city you will be able to see a citadel located on the top of the hill Mukkatom. It was built in the second half of the 12th century by Saladyn. Rulers of Egypt used to live there. Nowadays it is one of the most popular monuments. You will find there also a mosque Muhammada Alego and other museums.
The oldest part of the city is the Coptic district, in which are preserved partially Babylonian and Roman buildings. Put aside a guide and a camera for a moment and just walk through narrow, cobbled streets, breathing in the air of the Christian district. Step to one of the temples. Entrances are below the level of street.
For souvenirs from Cairo go to a bazaar Khan al Khali, established in 1382. Almost every tourist gets there. If you really want to feel the vibe of Cairo bazaar-workshop, find the gate Bab Zuweil. This is where the Market of Tents is situated, the only preserved in the city roofed bazaar from the middle of the 17th century. Back in the day tents for caravans were sewed there, today focused on work men make coverlets, covers for pillows or tents for important events. You will certainly find there something for you.
Cairo cuisine is a mix of the best tastes of Arabic, Turkish and Mediterranean cuisines. You will eat tasty in places where many locals sit. A local titbit is hamam, a dish form grilled pigeon with wheat and rice. When you get hungry on the street, look for breads stuffed with bean and vegetables. They are sold on stalls.