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Dating back 5,000 years, Cairo has – at various times – been called Memphis, Babylon-in-Egypt, Heliopolis, El-Fustat and, most recently, Al-Qahira (The Conqueror). With a population of 18 million sprawling on either side of the Nile, it is Africa’s largest city, where past and present meet in a glorious diversity of cultures.
Imbued with ancient mystique, Cairo encompasses some of the most celebrated monuments in the world, including the pyramids, the Citadel, early Christian monasteries and churches, and the mosques of the Mamluk and Ottoman sultans. Modern Cairo is an architectural fusion of old and new, where skyscrapers and ancient monuments stand side by side. Although the city’s immensity and diversity are little short of staggering, the pulse of modern action-packed Cairo is balanced by the serene flow of the Nile.
- Discover ancient Egyptian history, and experience their life by visiting the Pyramids, the Sphinx and the Antiquities museum, followed by lunch on a Nile cruise. After that you can go to Khan El Khalili bazaar, where you can find hundreds of shops that sell jewelry and hand made products.
- Complete your day with a visit to Old Cairo and the Citadel, where you can see Churches and mosques, from the Roman, Fatimid, Mamlouk and Othman eras.
- Cairo Book Fair – a must for all bookworms. Considered the largest event of its kind in the Middle East, this fair is held at the Nasr City International Fair Grounds, usually in late January. Millions of books covering every conceivable topic are featured and many are sold at substantial discounts. Most books are in Arabic, but there are also pavilions featuring English, French and Italian titles, as well as computer software. The fair also features lectures by prominent Arab writers and thinkers.
- Twice a year, on February 22 and October 22, thousands gather to watch as the sun passes over the face of the Ramsis II statue at the Pharaonic temples of Abu Simbel.
Whether you need to know local public holidays or highlights through the seasons, we hope you will find the facts gathered below useful tools for your travel planning.
GMT +2 hours
Arabic is the official language of Egypt. However, the dialect spoken on the streets of Cairo is barely recognizable as standard Arabic. English and French are widely spoken.
Local voltage is 220 to 240 volts AC. Adapters available; please request through the Concierge.
Monday to Sunday 10:00 am to 10:00 pm
Closed between 12:00 noon and 2:00 pm on Fridays for prayer time.
9:00 am to 5:00 pm
Closed Friday and Saturday (private sector)
Closed Thursday and Friday (government sector)