If you are taking a leisurely cruise down the ancient and majestic Nile, your tour is sure to stop in the stunning city of Cairo. In this ancient city that is full of history and culture, it may be difficult to know what to explore first. There is much to be seen in Cairo, as the city is a combination of old and new to make a vibrant blend of unmissable sights. So, after hopping off your luxury river boat into the hustle and bustle of Cairo’s streets, it’s important you know exactly what you want to explore. Here are our top seven things to do in Cairo, to give you some ideas.
What better place to gain an enhanced understanding of Egyptian history and culture than at the Egyptian Museum. This gallery of artefacts is both stunning and overwhelming all at once. Many of the items are priceless and the sheer number of them is truly something to behold! There are mysterious mummies, dazzling jewels and many more artefacts from the ancient ages. Take a tour through the halls and experience a walk through history you will never forget.
Bab Zuweila Gate
Just beyond the Sayyidna al-Hussein Mosque is a bustling street market that is truly a masterpiece to behold. However, within the market is the Bab Zuweila. This is the only gate remaining from the southern wall that once bordered the old city. It is a truly majestic sight, with the twin towers of the gate towering above much of the surrounding scenery. The gate is a piece of Egyptain architecture that creates a paradox of old and new in one scene and acts as a reminder of the city’s ancient origins.
There’s no better place to create a unique sense of culture than in the market place. The Khan Ali-Khalili is Cairo’s biggest open-air market and features an endless array of stalls. Whilst roaming past numerous vendors, you are sure to fall in love with the chaos of market life, as well as many of the products. There is something for everyone at Khan Ali-Khalili. Jewellery, perfume, spices, clothes, ornaments and plenty of souvenirs can all be found here, so there is no need to return to your cruise ship empty handed.
If you want to see one of Cairo’s most beautiful cultural sights, then the Al-Hussein Mosque is certainly not to be missed. You can join the slow-walking pilgrims who circle the shrine to Hussein, whilst chanting their daily prayers. When stepping inside the mosque you will have the chance to appreciate the high vaulted ceilings adorned with hanging chandeliers. A place of peace and splendour, visiting the mosque is sure to be a profound experience.
Old Cairo has two important sites that really shouldn’t be missed on any trip to the city. First is the crypt of the Holy Family that is under St. Sergius Church and the Nunnery of St. George. There is also the Ben Ezra Synagogue, which is said to be the exact spot where baby Moses was found hidden among the reeds in the Bible’s Old Testament. This destinations are of great historical and religious importance to many and are a great place for quiet reflection, as well as a chance to explore the area.
When entering Old Cairo, you will pass through the impressive Babylon Fort. Once named Kheraha, the first Persian settlers built the fort to protect the city from potential Roman invasion. All that is left of the fort are the large towers that once guarded the entrance. The towers are truly stunning piece of architecture, with cyclical shapes and white washed walls. A photo opportunity you are sure not to want to miss.
Pyramids and the Sphinx
Naturally, we could not forget the Pyramids of Giza as a must-see sight when you visit Cairo. Seeing these ancient monuments in real life is truly unforgettable. The area is bound to be crowded with other tourists, but you are sure to not regret seeing these truly momentous architectural creations. Ensure that you bring enough water and sunscreen, as there is little escape from the strong heat in this area.
Photo Credit: Angelo Domini (Aesum)