The Egyptian capital is one of the largest – and oldest – urban habitations in the world. Its distinct characteristics, Old World charm, chaos and its close proximity with practically all Pyramids, ancient temples, tombs, Christian churches, magnificent monuments, abundance of antiquities museums, tempting shopping opportunities, and exciting leisure and nightlife activities have made it a favorite tourist destination for centuries.
Besides being an ancient city, Cairo also displays its modern flavors with some superb accommodations and restaurants in the world, like the Four Seasons and the Cairo Marriott.
Cairo is a veritable shopper’s paradise. There are many boutiques displaying the latest fashions. Try some popular street markets selling their wares for over a thousand years. Visit Wekala al-Balaq for Egyptian cotton fabrics, and the Tentmakers Bazaar for applique work, Mohammed Ali Street for ethnic musical instruments. There are plenty of little shops selling spices, perfumes, gold, silver brass and copperware, leatherwork, carpets, ceramics and pseudo antiques.
Cairo generously offers something for making your visit an enjoyable and memorable experience. You can escape from the city life and indulge in a game of golf at the course overlooking – what else – the Pyramids, or watch the horse racing at the Gezira Club. You can even hire a horse and make the beast trot on its back from the eerie Giza Pyramids to Sakkara. There are many options to keep you happily engaged, like a trip on the Nile in a country boat propelled by oars or sails. If you fancy a panoramic view of this magnificent city, go the top of the 187 meter high Cairo Tower that has a rotating restaurant.
The Old or Coptic section of Cairo is perhaps as old as Babylon and the Romans era. Some of the oldest Christian Churches in the world are located here and are popular tourist destinations.
Don’t miss the massive Egyptian Antiquities Museum and see the treasures extracted from Tutankhamun’s tomb that include the boy-king’s golden facemask. But Cairo is not only about history and antiquities. The city becomes exciting at night and the best time to shop and savor delicious Middle Eastern cuisine in a restaurant or in a floating bistro on the Nile. Another enjoyable nocturnal experience is to watch the Sound and Light show at the Pyramids recounting – what else – the story of the dead Pharaohs!
You can truly echo what Ben Jonson said about London four centuries ago – One who is tired of Cairo is tired of life!