Visiting Cairo means stepping into an authentic world of intrigue, mystery and adventure. But while travelling as part of a Nile cruise is the perfect way to enjoy your stay, sometimes you just want time to soak in the beauty of nature as part of your trip.
Luckily, Al-Azhar Park has you more than covered.
A jade jewel in the middle of a bustling urban area, the construction of Al-Azhar was literally a rubbish-to-riches story. Originally a landfill site, construction on the now-verdant park was begun in 1984 at the request of Prince Aga Khan III after seeing the undeniable potential of the area. Over $30m was quickly set aside to renovate the space and begin the process of landscaping – seeing over a million and a half tonnes of waste material moved during round-the-clock excavations.
But their digging in the dirt soon revealed a diamond.
While working to clear the perimeter of the park, the team chanced upon a perfectly preserved historic wall underneath the rubble. Miraculously, the antique structure was broadly intact and fully complete with fortifications and rooms, which quickly became integrated into the overall design of the park. Adding this to the build inarguably helped the park retain its authenticity and led to adjustments to the remainder of the design.
Inspired by classic Islamic architecture and design practice, the modern gardens manage to keep one foot in past while still honouring the vibrancy of the present. The area enjoys a wealth of trees to rest under, a glass-blue lake, and multiple paths to help stretch your legs after a day spent on your River Nile cruise. The site is also famous for its multiple waterways, letting the serenity of the river follow you as you stroll around the glorious breadth of this modern masterpiece.
Though – of course – it wouldn’t be Cairo without some concessions for food and drink. The park has a number of perfectly placed cafes from which to take in the stunning vista over a cup of hot sahlab, or why not dine in the park’s famous five-star restaurant.