Cairo, Egypt Travel - Guides
Egypt awaits you. Whether you cruise the fascinating region or stay in the exotic Red Sea holiday area a trip to Egypt proves to be unique. You can build your personal trip planning itinerary online and choose to explore the area on your own or take our travel theme tours that make it easy to experience travel as you like it.
Egypt Guide - to help with your travel planning, find valuable details on the area including local activities & attractions, recommended restaurants, favorite shopping areas, walking tours, suggested itineraries and events.
When the ancient Greek historian and explorer Herodotus visited this city in 500 B.C., some of the pyramids were already 2,000 years old, but it wasn't until more than 1,000 years later that Cairo -- Al Qahira (The Victorious) in Arabic -- was founded. The view of the valley from the Moqatam Hills was a little different back then -- a little quieter, a little cleaner, and certainly a lot less crowded -- and today the city sprawls almost 13km (8 miles) wide and is bursting at the seams with around 18 million people, making it one of the most populous cities in Africa. The last 2,000 years have seen occupation by the Romans, Syrians, Turks, North Africans, Gulf Arabs, French, and British, and each has left their own distinctive imprint on the city.
Built around A.D. 969, Cairo was originally a royal enclosure for the leaders of the new Fatimid occupation, who took over the country from the Syrian Umayyad rulers. They needed a safe place to live, so they built what amounted to a gated community close to the existing capital of Fustat. Administration of the country, meanwhile, continued to be carried out in Fustat, and it wasn't until a century later that Cairo took over these functions under threat of invasion by European Crusader forces.
Since then, Cairo has spread out, taking over the space previously occupied by older cities such as Fustat, and crossed the Nile to fill the valley all the way up to the once isolated Giza plateau, where the three famous pyramids tower over their surroundings. Sitting on the very edge of a vast desert, the site chosen by the ancient Egyptians for these monumental works of engineering lies right on the line between the verdant green farmland of the Nile Valley and a desert that reaches westward thousands of miles across Libya, Algeria, and Morocco.
It is only in the last 20 years that the city has begun to overcome this formidable obstacle to its expansion. Faced with overcrowding and the gradual collapse of neglected water, sewer, and electricity services, more and more of Cairo's residents are opting to move to new suburbs built in the desert. Serviced by massive water pipes and new electricity grids, these satellite developments offer escape from the increasingly unhealthy environment of what is becoming the new Old Cairo.
Despite this, the Cairo that is bound by the Nile Valley is a fascinating place to visit. From 5,000-year-old pyramids and temples to British colonial architecture, Cairo is an adventure in historical discovery.
Peopled by the ever-sociable Cairenes, this city is usually very safe, and though it may seem intimidating, dense, and crowded, it is one of the warmest and most welcoming places in the world.
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