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Things Tourists should not miss while in Cairo

With such a diverse collection of Pharaonic temples, pyramids, mosques, churches, monasteries, museums, historic houses, and different other structures, a tourist would be puzzled what to explore in Cairo; what should I never miss? What are the places in Cairo which are unique and can never be found anywhere else in the world?

1- Exploring the Pyramids of Giza

If a tourist has the chance to visit one historical site in the whole wide world, it would certainly be the Pyramids of Giza. It’s only about being constructed more than 4000 years ago or being one of the most popular monuments in the globe where many myths and legends were created throughout history concerning the magic and the method behinds its construction, it is also about the marvelous taste and atmosphere of this distinctive ancient necropolis.

The Pyramids of Giza mainly consists of the Great Pyramid of Cheops; constructed in 2558, the pyramid contains no less than two million blocks of stones with some of them at the base weighing around one and a half tons. The structure is 230 meters and until the 19th century, it was the tallest building in the world.

Until today many scientists and scholars are still researching how this massive structure was ever built. How did the Pharaohs, using the most primitive tools and equipment, were able to lift the stones placed in the higher positions in the pyramid? How did they ever manage to make the four sides of the pyramid exactly the same in length, only with 4 centimeters difference?

Other structures built in the area of the pyramids of Giza include the medium pyramid of Khafre, built around 30 years after the great pyramid and being 215 meters high, the pyramid of Menkaure, the smallest among the three famous pyramids of Egypt, and the Sphinx, this famous mysterious statue with the body of a lion and a face of a pharaoh, constructed in the reign of Khafre (2558 – 2532 BC) to be the loyal guard of this precious royal burial site.

Tourists should never miss the chance to explore the pyramids of Giza riding a camel, a horse, or simply wander around on their feet, to discover the secrets of one of the most astonishing achievements of ancient Egypt.

2- Viewing the Tut Ankh Amun Treasures in the Egyptian Museum

Beside Ramses II, the most famous builder in ancient Egypt, King Tut Ankh Amun would be the most well-known king of ancient Egypt.

He became the ruler of Egypt when he was only 9 years old, after the death of his father; King Semakhatre, King Tut remained as the king of Egypt less than 10 years. Many legends and stories were said concerning his death, or his murder, as many historians stated.

The only concrete fact we certainly know about King Tut is that he was buried in a hidden tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. This tomb was discovered intact in 1922 by Howard Carter as the most important archeological finding of the 20th century.

Tourists should never miss the opportunity to view the collection of King Tut displayed in the Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, which consists of more than 1700 items including his board games, hunting tools, couches, and most importantly his golden collection of belongings, especially the fabulous gold death mask and golden coffins.

3- Riding in one of the Dinner Nile Cruise Ships

Egypt is the gift of the Nile, as the great historians asserted. Until today, the River Nile gives Cairo a certain specific type of magic. Cairo hosts a large number of dinner Nile cruise ships which include Nile Crystal, the Pharaoh's boat, Nile Maxim, and Nile Peking.

Tourists going on for dinner on a Nile Cruise ship should expect to have the most delicious open buffet of Oriental, Egyptian, and international dishes, watching a wonderful performance of music band, a belly dancer, a Tanoora whirling dancer, and some shows for the children, and enjoying the marvelous ambience of riding in the river Nile watching the city of Cairo glitter at night.

4- Visiting the Saladin Citadel and the Mosque of Mohamed Ali

 

Constructed in the 12th century by the famous Arabian King and Army leader; Saladin, to protect Egypt against the attacks of the Crusaders, the Citadel of Saladin is one of the most elegant fortresses built in the Middle Ages.

The citadel remained as the residence of the kings of Egypt for quite a long period of time not less than 500 years. Many of the rulers of Egypt added their own structures to the citadel. It is the location where Mohamed Ali constructed his marvelous Mosque in the beginning of the 19th century with an attempt to exceed the brilliance of the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul which was the center of the Ottoman Empire at the time.

The mosque of Mohamed Ali is featured with its amazing alabaster walls and ornaments, the dome and half domes decorating the ceilings, the golden shrine of Mohamed Ai, two marvelously decorated Minibars, and its four pencil-shaped minarets.

5- Shopping in Khan El Khalili

Khan El Khalili is probably the most famous touristic market in the world. It is also among the most ancient surviving markets as it was established in 1382 by Garkas El Khalili, the Master of Horses in the reign of the Mamluk king Barqouq.

Tourists would enjoy buying gold, silver, brass, copper, wood, spices, oriental perfumes, musical instruments, Pharaonic replicas of statue belly dancing outfits, playing boards, Shisha, and many other souvenirs and gifts. Tourists would usually walk around the different Khans or stores and then rest on one of the famous cafes situated in Khan El Khalili like the Fishawy Café, established more than two decades ago, the café works 24 hours a day; seven days a week.   

6- Having a drink on an oriental café

Egypt is a country where almost all men, and some ladies as well, spend a lot of time enjoying themselves in oriental cafes. Tourists should never miss the chance to sense this wonderful aspect of the Egyptian culture and to enjoy having a juice, Turkish coffee, tea with mint, or Sahlab in one the many oriental cafes spread all over Cairo, and all the cities of Egypt in general.

Smokers would surely be enjoying having a Shisha; the oriental water pipe with many flavors with apple being the most popular in Egypt.