Cairo Travel Blog

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Cairo (Arabic: Al-Qāhirah), which means "the Victorious" or "the Triumphant", is the capital and largest city of Egypt. It is the Arab World and Africa's most populous city.While Al-Qahirah is the official name of the city, in Egyptian Arabic it is called by the dialect's name for the country, transliteration: Masr. Within Egypt, residents of Cairo are called Masraweya rather than Masri.


Cairo was founded by the Fatimid caliphs as a royal enclosure. It replaced Fustat as the seat of the government. It later came under the Mamluks, was ruled by the Ottomans 1517 to 1798, and briefly occupied by Napoleon.

Muhammad Ali of Egypt made Cairo the capital of his independent empire from 1805 to 1882, after which the British took control of it until Egypt attained independence in 1922.


Cairo has a population of about 6.8 million people, according to the 2006 population census.The number of inhabitants was about a million higher at the time of the census, but this was adjusted downwards on the 17th of April 2008 when the new governorate of Helwan was created from parts of a.o. Cairo governorate. Cairo's metropolitan area has a population of about 17.3 million people.Cairo is the sixteenth most populous metropolitan area in the world. It is also the most populous metropolitan area in Africa.


Today, Greater Cairo encompasses various historic towns and modern districts.

A journey through Cairo is virtual time travel: from the Pyramids, Saladin's Citadel, the Virgin Mary's Tree, the Sphinx, and Heliopolis, to Al-Azhar, the Mosque of Amr ibn al-A'as, Saqqara, the Hanging Church, and the Cairo Tower. It is the Capital of Egypt, and its history is intertwined with that of the country. Today, Cairo's official name is Al-Qahira (Cairo), although the name informally used by most Egyptians is "Masr" (Egyptian Arabic name for Egypt), from the original name of Egypt's first Arab capital Fustat, Misr al-Fustat, "City of the Tents." It is also titled as "The city of a thousand Mazan ( tower in a mosque , i.e. 1000 mosques).




Cairo is located on the banks and islands of the Nile River in the north of Egypt, immediately south of the point where the river leaves its desert-bound valley and breaks into two branches into the low-lying Nile Delta region.


Referring to Cairo often means Greater Cairo, which is composed of Cairo governate, part of Giza and Qaluobyia governates. Since May 2008 Greater Cairo has been divided into 4 new governates: Cairo, Helwan, Giza and 6th of October. Cairo University is in Giza governate, while Cairo governate has the Ain Shams University.


The oldest part of the city is east of the river. The city gradually spreads west, engulfing the agricultural lands next to the Nile. These western areas, built on the model of Paris by Khedive Ismail in the mid-19th century, are marked by wide boulevards, public gardens, and open spaces. The older eastern section of the city is very different: having grown up haphazardly over the centuries, it is filled with small lanes and crowded tenements.

boat ride on the nile river
While western Cairo is dominated by tater government buildings and modern architecture, the eastern half is filled with hundreds of ancient mosques.


Extensive water systems have also allowed the city to expand east into the desert. Bridges link the Nile islands of Gezira and Roda, where many government buildings are located and government officials live. Bridges also cross the Nile attaching the city to the suburbs of Giza and Imbabah (part of the Cairo conurbation).


West of Giza, in the desert, is part of the ancient necropolis of Memphis on the Giza plateau, with its three large pyramids, including the Great Pyramid of Giza. Approximately 11 miles (18 km) to the south of modern Cairo is the site of the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis and adjoining necropolis of Saqqara.

These cities were Cairo's ancient predecessors, when Cairo was still in this approximate geographical location.


In Cairo, and along the Nile River Valley, the climate is hot desert (BWh) according to the Köppen climate classification system, but often with high humidity due to the river valley's effects. Wind storms can be frequent, bringing Saharan dust into the city during the months of March and April. High temperatures in winter range from the 15°C to the low 20s, while nighttime lows drop to below 10°C, often to 5°C. In Summer, the highs often surpass 40°C, and lows drop to about 20°C. Rainfall is sparse, but sudden showers do cause flooding.

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boat ride on the nile river
boat ride on the nile river
hmmmm fresh pita
hmmmm fresh pita
White domes of Mohammed Ali Mosque
White domes of Mohammed Ali Mosque
inside White domes of Mohammed Ali…
inside White domes of Mohammed Al…
Anwar Sadat memorial monument
Anwar Sadat memorial monument
photo by: vulindlela