Nestling along the banks of River Nile, Egypt’s sprawling capital is not only a historian and an archaeologist’s dream but also a culture lover’s haven. Site to several world-famous attractions that remain unmatched in grandeur, taking a trip to Cairo is like travelling back to the cradle of civilisation. Since there’s a lot you can explore here, don’t forget visiting these top attractions, especially if it’s your first time in the city:
The Pyramids of Giza
Believed to have brought the whole of Egypt together for their construction at one point of time in history, the Pyramids of Giza are archaeological wonders needing no introduction. Archaeologists and historians are still grappling to understand the exact process of their construction, lending them an air of mystery. The three pyramids- the Great Pyramid of Pharaoh Khufu, the sphinx pyramid of Pharaoh Khafre and the pyramid of Pharaoh Menkaure must be explored on separate days for an elaborate tour of their individual palaces, temples, solar boat pits and other features.
The Egyptian Museum is quite literally the treasure trove of some of the world’s most fascinating arts and artefacts. From over 1, 20,000 precious artefacts housed at the museum, one can gain insights into the Egyptian history spanning over several centuries. Do check out mummies, sarcophagi, pottery, jewellery amongst a range of other valued art pieces but do not, under any circumstance, miss boy-King Tutankhamen’s treasures, including the gold death-masks discovered in his tomb.
Mohamed Ali Mosque
Decorating the stunning citadel of Salah el-Din, the Mohamed Ali Mosque stands out because of its favourable location, its 52 metres high dome and 84 metres tall minarets as well as the prominent use of Alabaster stone. The mosque took a period of around 18 years, from 1830-1848, to be completed; the ornate interiors and exteriors vouch for the fact.
Nilometer refers to the Turkish-style pencil dome located inside the Monastirli Palace compound. The tomb was used to check the water levels of the river during different period of a harvest cycle, thereby predicting disasters and floods as well as fertile harvests in advance, cause of a big celebration. When you visit this architectural marvel from AD 861, don’t miss out descending the steps below the measuring column, leading right below the level of River Nile.
The mighty Cairo Citadel is your best bet for panoramic views of the city. From a few terraces of the Citadel, it is even possible to see the Pyramids of Giza. If you would like a slice of history to go with beautiful sightings, a tour of the citadel will reveal that these buildings served as fortifications to protect the rulers of Egypt for over 700 years. You can get details on each of the rulers and other historical facts from your knowledgeable guide.
Cairo Opera House
Search for the finest performing art events in Cairo will lead you to the Cairo Opera House, part of Cairo’s National Cultural Centre. The building, including two opera halls and an open-air theatre, is shared by both the Cairo Ballet Company and the Cairo Opera Company. Visit here for witnessing some of the best music and dance performances in the city. It’s also possible to attend art exhibitions here. Do check the schedule before you go.
The New Camel Market
Travel about 35 kilometres northwest of Cairo to arrive at the New Camel Market, the largest camel market in the whole of Egypt. The scene here is pretty vibrant albeit crowded as hundreds of camel owners bring their animals here for trade of an everyday basis. It is advisable to visit the market on Friday for most action. Try to reach there between 7am-11am.