About Cairo

As on introduction to Egypt, it’s possible that mad, bustling, breathless cairo will deflate your enthusiasm for the journey. There are people everywhere (20 million and still counting). As an indian, you have seen it all before. The crowds, souks, poverty, traffic jams, beggars, hagglers, all of it.

1. Khan-al-Khalili, on of the oldest souks in Egypt. Traders opened shops at the Khan in the 14th Century and though today its somewhat of a tourist show, it’s a very interesting walk through. You get everything here, from basic kitchen utensils to rows and rows of souvenirs to sheeshas and fake papyrus paintings
Alerts: Beware of “Only 1 EGP for items on sale”; it turns out it’s 1 EGP just to look at them.
2. El Fishawi the oldest Running Coffee shop in Egypt. It has been serving customers for 200 years now. The paintings on the wall, the beautiful antiques that line the walls but you keep getting distracted by vendors who come to our table to sell us necklaces, tiny pyramids. History lies all around you, but is used as a venue to sell.
3. The Giza Pyramids are everything you have been told about and then some more. These massive burial chambers have been talked about for centuries. Pyramids are Very Big & Very Old. As you drive closer to Giza you will find small mounds appearing in distance. Its quite natural in getting mistakened them with Pyramids. But.. they are just sand dunes. Suddenly you will see massive triangles reaching the sky. You can visit Khofu Pyramids; Red Pyramid, The step Pyramid (at Saqqara, the earliest stone monument of the World, buit for Zoser). Khofu is the largest one about 146 m in height and 46 centuries old. The pyramids of Khafre and Menkaure and the Sphinx are all equally magnificient.
4. The Citadel: If sprawling gardens, mosques and old military museums seel like a good way to spend a few hours, head to the Citadel, which housed Egypt rulers for 700-odd years. The most popular draw is the Mosque of Mohammed Ali, but don’t miss the smaller but gorgeous mosque of An-Nasir Mohammed. Women need to wear a Hijab to go into the mosques; you can get one at the entrance. There are smaller museums to visit; the Police Musuem, Carriage Musuem and the National Millitary Museum.
5. Al Zahar Mosque: One of the oldest mosques and surviving universities in Cairo (founded in AD 970), the Al Azhar Mosque is a beautiful building rising above the busy streets of Islamic Cairo. The courtyard is a peaceful square where students come with their books to study religion. The minarest and the doorway to the tomb chamber have beautiful, intricate work.
6. Coptic Cairo: The Church of St Serfius is built over a cave that Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus supposedly took shelter in to escape from King Herod. Coptic Cairo is a major religious destination for Christians and the hanging Church and the Ben Ezra Synagogue are both centered here, done up beautifully in ancient styles.

Suggestion:
 Travel Early in the morning to Giza when the tourist population is still tucked in bed. You will be happy to have reached before the madness starts.
 For getting inside the pyramids. If you are claustrophobic, I’d suggest you don’t try. It is a long, narrow, dark tunnel and when there is a two way traffic – which is always – it’s a pretty tight squeeze. Try the Red pyramids instead. It is less crowded much smaller.
 Save some Cairo for the end. On the first day in Egypt, you do not want to be boggled by the Egyptian Museum. Come back to Cairo after your journey down the Nile and you will appreciate the significance, the enormity of what the museum houses.
Travel Facts:
If you want to go inside the Burial chambers of pyramids, there is an extra charge that you will need to pay.

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