Cairo at a
Cairo - the modern capital of an ancient land-is
magical, mystical, and mysterious.
It is itself a juxtaposition of the anachronistic and the modern. This
extraordinary city, the largest in Egypt, and indeed all of Africa, simply
cannot be missed. Islamic Cairo is truly a cultural and historical
highlight of the city.
Its minarets and domes, bazaars, and cobblestone streets are straight from
A Thousand and One Arabian Nights. But let Islamic Cairo be but a start to
your explorations here.
From Central Cairo with its fine 19th century architecture to the Citadel
of Saleh el-Din and the astonishing dome of the Alabaster Mosque to the
haunting echoes of the City of the Dead…Cairo beckons.
Giza and Heliopolis
Giza and Heliopolis are two
Cairo suburbs that are not only geographically opposed, they also
epitomize two extremes of Egypt's history. Giza, on the West Bank of Nile,
is famed for its ancient monuments.
The Sphinx, dating back to 2500 BC and the earliest-known monumental
sculpture, stands guard over the Great Pyramids at Giza and their
attendant Queens' pyramids, temples and tombs.
The Pyramids are the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World to
survive. Even the accompanying circus of camel and horse rides, souvenir
and soft drinks vendors and the nightly Sound and Light show do not
diminish their splendor. In the diagonally opposite suburb of Heliopolis,
history moves on to the late 19th century and Baron Edouard Empain, the
entrepreneur whose vision inspired his garden city in the desert.
Built in a mixture of European and Moorish styles, Heliopolis attracted
wealthy Egyptians to its leafy grandeur. Although it is no longer separate
from Cairo, visitors still come to enjoy its stylish architecture,
restaurants and nightlife.