Cairo is the capital of Egypt, the largest city in Africa and one of the most populous cities in the world. Cairo is often called Arab Rome for its large number of ancient monuments, around which there are always crowds of tourists who want to touch ancient history. If you plan to visit not only Cairo, but also its surroundings, we recommend that you rent a car - in the heat this is the best way to get around.
Cairo International Airport ( Cairo International, Airport then ) - download scheme
IATA code: the CAI
Location: 24 km north-east of Cairo
Official website: www.cairo-airport.com
Reference: +202 265 33 08
At Cairo Airport, car rental services are provided by international rental companies: Hertz, Europcar, Avis, Enterprise, Alamo, Budget, Thrifty, Dollar, Sixt, Inter Rent and others. Local companies such as Elite, King Rent, and Edel & Stark also work. Thanks to the convenient navigation system, you will quickly find the Rent-a-car zone and choose the right car. At the main terminal of the airport there are three multi-storey car parks (P1, P2 and P3), there are also places for short-term and long-term parking, which are located near the airport.
Midan al-Tahrir, Downtown Cairo
1500 years of the history of Egypt and about 155 thousand exhibits - you can walk endlessly in the museum, looking at sarcophagi, mummies, figurines, papyrus scrolls and rich jewelry of Egyptian queens. The main exhibit is the golden mask of Tutankhamun, which everyone remembers from school history lessons. It is best to go on an excursion to the museum in the afternoon, when there are fewer tourists. If you are interested in history and want to slowly wander through the halls of the museum, we recommend that you allocate 2 days for this, since the collection of ancient artifacts is huge, and in one day you can hardly cover at least half of the exposition.
Gameaa Al Azhar, Al-Darb al-Ahmar
The famous mosque, built at the end of the 10th century during the time of the Fatimids, a dynasty of Muslim caliphs who consider themselves the descendants of the daughter of Muhammad Fatima. “Al-Azhar” is a superlative degree from the adjective “zahra” (brilliant, bright), which was used in relation to Fatima. In 988, the mosque turned into a university, where religious disciplines, mathematics, geography, astronomy, and natural sciences were taught. Today, Al-Azhar is considered a prestigious Muslim university, in which students from more than 100 countries study.
Kom Ghorab, Misr Al Qadimah
The Copts are Egyptian Christians who lived in one of the areas of Old Cairo, which in ancient times was known as Babylon of Egypt. The museum contains the largest collection of Coptic art, combining elements of ancient Egyptian and Greco-Roman cultures. The exhibits presented here date back to the heyday of the Coptic Church from the 3rd to 11th centuries. For a tour of the museum, we recommend hiring a guide to help you decipher the meaning of each subject that interests you.
A park inspired by the famous Alhambra gardens in Granada. Walking along the alleys of the park, you will see how harmoniously the elements of Eastern and European architecture are combined here. Due to the large number of shady courtyards and small fountains, here you can hide from the heat and rest after a walk around the city. Be sure to check out the Patio de los Leones, where the wonderful Moorish-style fountain is located.
The Khan al-Khalili bazaar is more than annoying merchants trying to promote a naive tourist to buy some kind of carpet-plane or a golden bowl, from which Ramses II himself allegedly drank. This is a place with a rich history that began in the XIV century, when the market was founded by the emir Dajahr al-Khalili. For a long time he was known as one of the Turkish bazaars of the Ottoman Empire. Here, the medieval atmosphere is excellently preserved, which is reinforced by the ragged stone walls and opening views of old mosques and the tops of minarets. Most of the shops are two-story, the most interesting things are hidden precisely on the second floors, where all the antique knick-knacks are piled in one big pile. Be sure to drop in at a local cafe for a cup of strong coffee or mint tea, and in the evening we advise you to come here to smoke a hookah.
Only 20 minutes on a rented car - and you will find yourself on the western outskirts of Cairo, in the city of Giza, which is known, of course, for its complex of pyramids of Cheops, Chefren and Mykerin. Although there are always a lot of tourists, and local merchants are able to get even the most patient person out of themselves, it’s worth to come here and remember how in childhood these great pyramids and the Great Sphinx seemed something fantastic. If you arrive at the pyramids in the evening, you can see a light show, accompanied by a story about the history of Ancient Egypt.
In the southern part of Cairo is the island of Roda, which is worth a visit in order to see Nilomer - the oldest well of the 9th century, designed to measure the water level in the Nile. In the time of the Pharaohs, the level of well-being of the people was determined from this level: if the mark was below 7 m, this meant hunger and drought. Also, according to the water level in the river, the Arabs calculated the amount of tax that had to be paid for the crop. If you have free time, we advise you to go to the Munasterli Palace, where the Center for Fine Arts is located.
Having rented a car, go to the ancient city of Memphis, founded around 3000 BC. e. For a long time it was the capital of the Ancient Kingdom, merchants and pilgrims came here from all over Africa and Asia. However, after the advent of Alexandria, the city fell into decay and began to gradually collapse. Now in place of Memphis there is an open-air museum where you can see the giant statue of Ramses II, preserved from ancient times.
100 km south of Cairo you will find the Meidum Pyramid, which many tourists consider more impressive than the Cheops Pyramid. Its shape is unusual: it consists of seven steps, of which only three are visible. The pyramid rises on a hill in the middle of a smooth desert, there are no settlements in the area, there are practically no tourists here - it is so quiet and calm that it even becomes a little uneasy. Next to this mighty pyramid, which neither nature, nor time, nor history could defeat, you feel how defenseless and vulnerable a person is.
In the vicinity of the city of El Fayyum, the famous "Valley of the Whales" is located - the fossilized remains of ancient whales, included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Samples of extinct animals are so well preserved that paleontologists even managed to detect the contents of the stomachs of some whales. Ancient fossils once again prove that whales came from animals that lived on land. Wadi al-Khitan is worth it to drive a little more than a hundred kilometers on a rented car - believe me, what you see will not disappoint.
Khan al-Khalili, El-Fishawi Alley
The old Cairo coffee house, founded in 1773. They say that Napoleon himself came here for a cup of coffee - even if this is a fairy tale for tourists, then you willingly begin to believe in it when you go to a cafe. Massive doors with patterns, old staggering furniture, large chandeliers in oriental style, mirrors in carved frames - it seems that the interior of El Fishawy has not changed in any way since the opening, and the coffee house itself has repeatedly witnessed important historical events for Cairo. Be sure to try the Egyptian coffee, brewed in the sand, and Sahlab - a sweet milk drink with nuts.
16 Maarouf Street
Koshari is a traditional Egyptian dish, it is prepared from rice, pasta and lentils with the addition of tomato-vinegar sauce. Koshari can be ordered at any restaurant in Cairo, this is the most popular dish among locals - it is cheap, easy to prepare and very hearty. One of the best places to cook koshari is the Koshary Abou Tarek eatery chain, which serves several types of this Egyptian fast food. The portions are large, one dish is enough for two of you. If you do not like spicy, we advise you to immediately tell the waiter about this, since koshari usually add a lot of spicy seasonings.
3 Cleopatra Street www.sachirestaurant.com
Americana Plaza, Sheikh Zayed
Quiet and cozy Greek restaurant with a small but very decent menu. It is great to come here for lunch, order, for example, a Greek salad and something from seafood, and for dessert take a chocolate-caramel cake decorated with strawberries and a sprig of mint. The restaurant's interior is made in a Mediterranean style in white and blue tones, evoking associations with the sea, soft sand and warm wind. Relaxing music plays in the background, which sounds like a lullaby after the noise of Cairo's streets.
26th of July Street, Zamalek
Even if you recently ate a large plate of koshari, and it seems to you that the food is finished for today, you still can not pass by the bright turquoise door leading to the Zooba cafe. The cafe resembles the workshop of an eccentric artist or architect, who was too lazy to finish the repair, and so he decided to leave such a creative mess. Zooba not only did a great job on the design, but also created an interesting menu with oriental dishes. We advise you to try omelet with jerky, falafel in pita and rice pudding. When you leave, do not forget to grab a bottle of freshly squeezed juice - it tastes just like homemade.
Road 13, Villa 61, Maadi
+20 2 2358 0265 www.villabelleepoque.com double room - from $ 302
The hotel is located 12 km from the center of Cairo in the Maadi district. From the windows of the rooms a wonderful view of the Nile and the lemon, mango and guava trees surrounding the snow-white villa opens. All rooms have balconies or shady patios, and the suites also have a living room with a fireplace and a large soft sofa. We advise you to look at the library, where you will find design magazines and books about the art of Egypt. There is a mosque near the hotel, so be prepared for the fact that your morning in Cairo will begin with an early awakening (at 5.30-6.00) from singing the muezzin.
El Tesseen Street, Fifth Settlement, New Cairo
+20 2 2614 0000 www.dusit.com double room - from $ 230
This hotel has its own tropical garden, large pool and jacuzzi. The center of the Old Town is only half an hour, so you can quickly get to the main attractions of Cairo. The interior of the rooms is made in soft brown and beige shades, soft carpets are on the floor, each room has a balcony with comfortable wooden furniture. We advise you to go to the local Thai restaurant Ruen Thai and try chicken with chili and cashew. For a cocktail, it is best to drop by the Blue Rose Bar, where live music is played in the evenings.
12 Ahmed Ragheb Street
+20 2 2798 0000 www.kempinski.com double room - from $ 140
Spa hotel next to the Egyptian Museum and Cairo Opera House. The rooms and lobby of the hotel display paintings and sculptures by modern Egyptian artists. The price includes a sauna and a hot tub. The hotel has a rooftop pool with views of the fashionable Garden City area. We recommend that you try yogurt soup with mint in the Turkish restaurant Osmanly, and granola with yogurt and honey in the Chocolate Lounge. If you are traveling in a rented car, you can leave it in a paid parking lot at the hotel.
65 Abd El Hamid Badawi Street, Heliopolis
+20 2 2180 0500 www.concorde-cairo.com double room - from $ 115
The hotel is ten minutes drive from the airport. In addition to the standard range of amenities, Concorde El Salam offers guests riding facilities - the hotel has its own equestrian center. You can also use the spa facilities here. The rooms have balconies overlooking the large pool and the picturesque garden. The hotel has 9 restaurants with Italian, Egyptian, Lebanese and Japanese cuisines.
21 Ismail Mohamed Street, Zamalekbr /> +20 2 2735 2311 12 www.hotellongchamps.com double room - from $ 106
In the central district of Cairo - Zamalek - you will find the cozy Hotel Longchamps with a slightly old-fashioned but cute design. A vintage elevator will take you to the top floor, where there are two terraces equipped with rattan furniture. The rooms are small but very comfortable, there are rooms with small balconies. If what you're looking for is a conveniently located hotel in Longchamps, look no further than Longchamps.
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© Ellina Rudenko, 2015