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Cairo
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Cairo Egypt

Old meets new in Egypt's capital city. While the sprawling cityscape straddling the Nile river continues to grow, there's no ignoring the ancient monuments looming in the distance – a constant reminder of Egypt's origins. The dry desert climate helps protect Cairo's centuries-old pyramids in the Giza Necropolis, which include the only still-standing Wonder of the Ancient World. Nearby, the iconic Sphinx statue has been standing guard since 2,500 BCE. You'll find smaller pieces of history inside the Egyptian Museum, which contains one of the world's largest collections of Pharaonic antiquities.

Pharaohs aren't the only ones that left an indelible mark on Cairo. The medieval Cairo Citadel commands Islamic Cairo, a UNESCO-listed neighbourhood home to one of the densest concentrations of historic Islamic architecture anywhere. Al-Azhar Mosque and Al-Hussein Mosque, both built by Fatimid caliphs between the tenth and 12th centuries, are two highlights. Coptic Cairo, in contrast, remains a hub for Christianity with its churches and convents. The city's energy is most palpable in downtown Cairo, home to skyscrapers and street food stalls serving koshari – Egypt's national dish. At Cairo's heart is Tahrir Square, where political and social demonstrations continue to shape the modern city.

Head to the top of Cairo Tower for sweeping views of neighbourhoods old and new, where you might get to hear the call to prayer over the rooftops. You can also take a piece of Cairo home with you after a visit to the Khan el-Khalili bazaar, which sells everything from spices to perfumes.

 

 

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