No trip to Egypt is complete without Visit Cairo the Capital of Egypt .Cairo is one of the world's great megacities. As beautiful as it is crazy, and as rich in historic finery as it is half dilapidated, Cairo tends to be a city that travelers love and hate in equal measures.
There is probably no other city in the world where modern architecture is topped by such a magnificent 4,000-year-old complex of royal pyramids, temples and causeways.The Pyramids of Giza are Cairo's number one half-day trip and a must-do attraction on everyone's itinerary. Right on the edge of the city, on the Giza Plateau, these fourth dynasty funerary temples have been wowing travelers for centuries and continue to be one of the country's major highlights. Today they stand as an awe-inspiring tribute to the might, organisation and achievements of ancient Egypt.
One of Cairo's must-see attractions is the Great Sphinx, the world's oldest monumental sculpture. A short drive to the city side of the Giza plateau takes you to the feet of the Sphinx, another enigmatic symbol of ancient Egypt. An aged marvel, the reclining lion with a human head sits proudly on the Nile‘s west bank. For thousands of years, the mysterious Sphinx has been looming over Giza, guarding the only remaining of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. It has greatly inspired the imaginations of emperors, poets, artists, scholars and travelers for centuries, and remains a truly enigmatic feature of Cairo.
One of the world’s most important collections of ancient artefacts, the Egyptian Museum takes pride of place in Downtown Cairo, on the north side of Midan Tahrir. Inside the great domed, oddly pinkish building, the glittering treasures of Tutankhamun and other great pharaohs lie alongside the grave goods, mummies, jewellery, eating bowls and toys of Egyptians whose names are lost to history.Definitely a must-see while in town, the museum houses a unique collection of more than 160,000 pieces of ancient Egyptian history. Take the time to browse through the museum’s chambers, dedicated to some of Egypt’s most prosperous dynasties, and discover what life was like during the reign of the Pharaohs.
Stretched for one mile, this side of Cairo is the oldest place of settlement and religious worship in the region, combining Islamic, Christian and Jewish histories. Taking in the warren of narrow streets, you will find yourself at a cultural and religious crossroads. Discover the Amr Mosque, the first one to be built in Cairo, the Ben Ezra Synagogue, dating back to the 9th century, as well as some of the world’s oldest churches, such as the Church of St. Gergius, or the Hanging Church of the Virgin Mary, erected in the 4th century.
Khan el-Khalili is one of the world's great shopping experiences. This Middle Eastern souq (bazaar) is a labyrinthine collection of skinny alleyways established as a shopping district in AD 1400, which still rings with the clang of metal workers and silversmiths. The main streets have long ago given themselves over completely to the tourist trade (with plenty of cheap papyrus pictures and plastic pyramids on display), but divert off the main drag into the surrounding alleyways, and the tiny stores and cluttered workshops are some of the best places to pick up traditional products in Egypt. Here, you'll find everything from antiques and gorgeous metal lampshades to locally woven textiles.
One of the finest examples of Mamluk architecture in the world, Sultan Hassan Mosque is a vision of Arabic artistry with an abundance of stalactite detailing and intricate arabesque features. It was built in 1356-63 for the Sultan Hassan el-Nasir. The exterior, with its large areas of stone, is reminiscent of an ancient Egyptian temple. The massive main doorway at the north corner is almost 26 meters high, and the minaret at the south corner is the tallest in Cairo at 81.5 meters.
The northern section of Al-Muizz li-Din Allah Street is rimmed by fine Mamluk buildings, which have been painstakingly restored to their former glory. The Madrassa of as-Salih Ayyub, built in 1247, is a showcase of the tranquil simplicity of Islamic architecture. Directly across the road from the madrassa is the drop-dead gorgeous Madrassa of Qalaun, rightly considered one of the Mamluk period's greatest architectural triumphs. It was completed in 1293 by Qalaun's son, Muhammad al-Nasir, and has an interior packed to the brim with intricate tile work, fine marble, mother-of-pearl mosaics, and stained-glass windows. Qalaun's madrassa also functioned as a hospital when it first opened.
Al-Azhar Mosque is the finest building of Cairo's Fatimid era and one of the city's earliest surviving mosques, completed in AD 972. It's also one of the world's oldest universities — Caliph El-Aziz bestowed it with the status of university in AD 988 (the other university vying for "oldest" status is in Fes) and today, Al-Azhar University is still the leading theological center of the Islamic world.
In a commanding location at the foot of the Mokattam Hills, Cairo's citadel was built by Saladin in 1176. The original structure he laid out has long disappeared except for the eastern outer walls, but a legacy of rulers has made their own additions here. The Mosque of Muhammad Ali is the most famous monument and the main reason for visiting. Nicknamed the "Alabaster Mosque," its white stone and tall, disproportionately slender minarets are one of Cairo's great landmarks. The other big reason to come up here are the views across the city; head to the Gawhara Terrace for the best panorama in town.
The vast necropolis of Saqqara is home to the "other pyramids," and a day trip out here is just as rewarding as a trip to Giza's pyramids. The Step Pyramid is Saqqara's most popular sight, but the entire area is littered with gorgeously painted tombs, which are well worth spending a few hours exploring. Just down the road is Dahshur's Red Pyramid and Bent Pyramid, which should be added to a Saqqara itinerary if you have a full day spare