Cairo, Egypt – Free PDF Travel Guide Book
On the Nile river, Cairo is the historical capital of Egypt, the pride of the world that houses the Pyramids of Giza. Cairo is without a doubt a city that takes pride on its own history and firmly attached to the past, however, it also has a very modern and vibrant society that is every bit as attractive as its history. Cairo origins dated back to AD 969, it was founded by the Islamic Fatimid dynasty over the ruins of previous Islamic and Roman settlements. Despite the long history of Cairo, it is actually considered as a modern capital in terms of Egypt standard, much of the infrastructure from the ancient Cairo is well preserved until today: the gates of Bab Al- Futuh, Bab an-Nasr still standing proudly and the great university and mosque of Al-Azhar are still acting as important Islamic resource centres.
Modern Cairo is a city with well over 17 million inhabitants, skyscrapers and restaurants can be found along with world heritage monuments. On the eastern bank, the modern Downtown of Cairo is built under the influence of French architecture, you may find lots of historical Islamic sights as well as business buildings and shops. On the other hand, the western bank of Cairo is the home of lots of modern concrete and business, but it also houses the great Giza pyramids, and Saqqara and Memphis if you travel further to the south. Travelling around Cairo may not be easy, but you would definitely discover more pleasures as you dig deeper and find out the hidden gems of the city.
You can get around Cairo through various modes of transportation, including the metro, taxi, and bus. The metro system in Cairo is fully functioning and cover most areas that tourist wish to visit, the flat rate fare costs 1 LE per trip, making it a good bargain. Besides the metro, you can also find taxis and uses quite easily on the streets of Cairo, therefore, travelling around Cairo shouldn’t be a huge problem. However, it is probably better if you could book taxis via your hotel for major trips (such as paying the visit to the great pyramids), although this could cost you more, taxis that are affiliated with the hotel are generally more professional and have better drivers.
Cairo is chaotic, charming and alive in every sense of the words. With over 20 million residents and tens of thousands of travellers present at any one time, this thriving metropolis has much to offer people of any taste, interest and desire. The Egyptian capital is bursting with culture and all of Egyptís history is there for the viewing for travellers. From the famous Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, to the Pharaonic Village and of course, the grand Egyptian Museum that allows you to view famous historic artefacts. That’s just the tip of the iceberg though when it comes to experiencing the history and culture of Egypt.
Other things to do include riding a felucca on the River Nile, visiting the Cairo Botanical Gardens, and going to the theme parks of Dream Park and Magic Land. These activities are fun for children too. Those who enjoy shopping can experience the Citystars mall which is quite westernized, or for a local taste, frequent the Souks which are outdoor markets where you can haggle for the best prices.
A few editors choice and absolutely must see
Egyptian Musuem is also a place that tourists shouldn’t miss, located at the Midan Tahrir area, it is the home of the world’s premier and most extensive collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts. It owns over 120,000 artifacts and many of it are on display, the most attractive displays in the museum are arguably the mummies, the Royal Mummy Room displays about 9 mummies and one of the nine is the newly discovered- mummy of Queen Hatshepsut. Aside from the mummies, the museum also displays a great variety of important artifacts of ancient Egyptian history, and a great number of treasures of King Tutankhamun.
Not all items are on display, with much of it stored away safely out of view of the public. But there is more than enough on display to satisfy even the most keen Egypt history buff.
Also of great interest are the items from the tombs of some of the Pharaohs including Thutmosis III and Thutmosis IV and Hatshepsut. These are located on the first floor of the museum.
Of course, the famous Gold Mask of Tutankhamen is a stand out display and one of the most recognisable history pieces on the planet.
Visit to the pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx is definitely a must! A travel to Egypt without visiting the Pyramids of Giza is never complete, the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx is the only Seven Monuments of the Ancient World that remains until today and it represents the quintessential of ancient Egyptian civilization.
The Pyramids of Giza is the most iconic image of Egypt and one of the premier attractions of the world, making it a spot that you wouldn’t want to miss. You may travel around the pyramids by foot or by riding on horses or camels, however, you would have to be cautions as the whole area is amazingly up and down.
The Giza Pyramids in Egypt are easy to get to from Cairo and are certainly Egypt’s most famous attraction. One of the oldest preserved monuments on the planet. the ancient pyramids of Giza evoke curiosity and awe on first sighting. The entry tickets for the pyramids are expensive, but I would say that there are definitely worth it, the opportunity to witness the interior of the pyramids is definitely priceless and gives an even deeper appreciation towards the genius and tremendous achievement of the builders of these pyramids. Along with the famous Sphinx, the Giza Pyramids are the vision that virtually everyone has of ancient Egypt.
It is possible to take a self guided tour of the pyramids, or to travel with a tour guide who can provide in depth information as you proceed through the site.
The Giza Pyramids are made up of a number of pyramids including the Pyramid of Khafre, which is almost as large as the Great Pyramid of Khufu which is just under 140 meters in height. It is possible to venture inside some the pyramids too. but not all will have internal access available due to safety reasons.
Worth visiting in the area is also the excellent Solar Boat Museum located on the south of the Great Pyramid.
Khan el-Khalili bazaar
Khan el-Khalili is another major attraction in Cairo, the chaos and the crowd of the bazaar is simply fascinating and you will find many merchants selling spices, gold, perfume and Egyptian hand craft. There are so many perfume merchants that you will find that the smell of different kind of perfumes is kind of overwhelming, vendors around the bazaar will try their very best to pursuit you to go into their shops and lure you to buy something, keep it in mind that you would have to bargain a lot as Egyptian merchants have a notorious reputation of charging tourist at high or even unreasonable prices, try to compare prices across shops before purchasing something to ensure you are buying something at a fair price.
A few hours drive from Cairo you find Egypt’s largest temple, the Karnak Temple. It took an astounding 1300 years to build the temple. In the past this was an important place of worship, and it is actually several temples as well as several obelisks and kiosks which make up this large temple complex. The three main temples in the complex are Mut, Montu and Amun. Brick walls that are 20 meters high surround them and inside this enclosure is the Temple of Ptah. Additionally, there are some small temples such as the Temple of Opet.
Also worth seeing in the complex is the Open Air Museum which is just across from the Sacred Lake.
Outside the walls is the Temple of Muth which is well worth a visit if time permits. Visitors can also enjoy an amazing Sound and Light show at the Temple of Karnak. On most nights there are three shows throughout the night, starting at 8pm.