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Cairo: A Travel Guide for History and Food Lovers

Cairo: A Travel Guide for History and Food Lovers

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In Cairo, the “City of thousand Minarets,” the individual towers soar skyward amidst fashionable high-rises, whereas the grand pyramids loom within the close to distance like giant geometric colossi. Traffic snarls down Parisian avenues and around fantastically manicured maidans, pedestrians swarm labyrinthine facet streets and souks, and calls to prayer fill the air from above. A population of roughly twenty million inhabitants breathe vitality into the controlled chaos that’s modern Cairo, the capital of Egypt droning with the vim and vigor of Middle Eastern life.


If you’re here as a student of history, your work is cut out for you: few cities on the world supply such prepared and constant exposure to the vestiges of times long gone. Cairo may be a living deposit of its close to and distant past, with some remnants reclining in stoic ruin, et al still in regular use when many centuries of service.


And as a food lover on one in every of our Egypt best tours in 2019, you’re in luck. when a relative drought of the many years, Egypt’s food scene has undergone a maturation within the wake of the Arab Spring, with thousands of recent restaurants budding up in streets of the active metropolis since 2011. several are born of the inspiration of world tastes – but others have looked to their roots, delivery Egypt’s preparation heritage to center stage in reverent homages and innovative expressions.


Al Azhar house of God


Cairo provides an amazing teemingness of experiences to decide on from – we’re happy to produce a a lot of manageable choice of things to feature to your itinerary, some plucked directly from the favored experiences on our luxury Egypt tours.


A photo History of Cairo


Cairo’s history may be a tale of conquest and perseverance – appropriately so, as its name carries the means of “the triumphant” or “the conqueror.” It was not the primary or solely settlement to command the river delta, however. The antediluvian capital of ancient Egypt, town of Memphis, reigned first at constant spot for nearly 3,000 years, eventually attenuation upon the arrival of the Byzantine Empire. competitive Muslim factions conquered and were themselves conquered again, raising and razing settlements, cities, and fortresses over the following centuries, till the Fatimids established their new caliphate in al-Mansuriyyah in 968 A.D. Shortly renamed al-Qahiratu, “The Victorious,” it absolutely was another 200 years before this young Cairo was created capital, following the defeat of the incursive Crusaders.

although not spared from its ravaging waves, Cairo survived the bubonic plague higher than several of its European contemporaries. It thrived as a hub of the spice trade, excelled in low and textiles, and established itself as a extremely revered vessel of bookish research, spiritual thought, and technological advance. Later shifts in rulers – Mamluk, Ottoman, French, British, and eventually the Egyptians themselves – did not shake Cairo’s grasp on the land, exploit the capital’s reign uninterrupted to the current day.


Saint Mark church


The Sights


Cairo wears its history openly – to walk town streets is to steer through centuries of changing culture. additional abroad at town limits, even deeper journeys into the past expect your curiosity. because the young city grew round the flip of the primary millennium, Cairo subsumed the standing remains of the old capitals it succeeded. The venerable Coptic churches and fortresses of the Byzantine empire, the traditional mosques and madrassas of former Fustat, al-Askar, and al-Qatta’i – all became the neighborhood of recent Cairo, itself currently comprising Coptic Cairo and Islamic Cairo, with monuments of every chapter of its storied history still standing all about.


In Coptic Cairo, the Hanging Church of the 4th-century Romans remains in blessedly smart shape, and still holds regular prayer services some seventeen centuries later. The late-9th-century house of God of Ibn Tulun in Islamic Cairo is that the oldest mosque within the town remaining in its original form, and may be a attractive example of rare Abbasid architecture. The university (and associated mosque) of al-Azhar will be found here as well, and is noted for elevating Cairo to a revered center of educational aspiration since its origin in the tenth century.


The city advanced


shortly from downtown Cairo in the Giza district rest the long-lasting and enormous monuments that are substitutable with town and Egypt at large: the nice Pyramids and also the nice Sphinx.


the foremost notable of the various pyramids, the nice Pyramid of Khufu, hoists its weather-beaten sedimentary rock bulk to a height of over 480 feet, and reigned because the tallest construction within the world for four millennia when its completion in the twenty seventh century B.C. it’s the sole marvel of the traditional World that has survived to the fashionable era, intact except for the polished casing stones that will once have created the pyramid a shining beacon below the desert sun.

Standing – or maybe laying – in thereforelemn guard below the pyramids is that the enigmatic nice Sphinx. With the body of a lion and also the conventionalized head of 4th-dynasty ruler Khafre, the limestone-hewn monument is the largest sculpture of its kind, and faces E to greet the rising sun.


The proud Sphinx is Khafre’s dominant and lasting legacy – while his imposing pyramid could appear at a look to rise over the pyramid of his father, Khufu, it solely seems so by standing on the tip-toes of elevated bedrock.


The terribly definition of a must-see sight, the city advanced may be a stop on all of our Egypt non-public tours.


A artiodactyl mammal by city Pyramids




a brief journey south on the river brings you to the ruins of town of Memphis, the capital of the recent Kingdom of Egypt for eight consecutive dynasties. supported over 5 thousand years ago, the main points of its origin are renowned solely through legend. The stone foundations associate degreed scattered relics of its temples—the most distinguished dedicated to the craftsman-god Ptah – are nearly all that stay of the once-mighty city, currently an expansive alfresco museum. Some statuary and sphinxes remain on site, however others can be seen within the deposit of Antiquities downtown.




Established originally as a royal burial site for Memphis, the necropolis of Saqarra remained in use for thousands of years for voters of varied status. The immense advanced is that the site of the many tombs and pyramids, most significantly the stepped Pyramid of Djoser. The oldest large-scale stone building all told of Egypt, the Step Pyramid dates to the twenty seventh century B.C., and is believed to be the archetypal structure for the pyramids of resultant dynasties.


continuing excavations in the space have delivered to light-weight many interesting finds in recent years, together with the terribly recent discoveries of 2 antecedently unknown 4,000-year-old tombs.


Egyptian deposit


The deposit of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo homes some 120,000 artifacts of Egypt’s former kingdoms, and also the largest assortment of ruler relics within the world. Royal statuary abounds; the non-public effects of ancient Egyptians each notable and unidentified adorn the halls and show cases. this state of the museum is sort of dynamic, with several things being moved to the much-anticipated Grand Egyptian Museum, and alternative displays out-of-date by evolving theories of Egyptology as new proof is unearthed and pieced together. however if you’re when the simplest inspect a huge assortment of ancient Egyptian history, there’s merely no higher place within the world than the deposit of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo.


The Grand Egyptian deposit p Photo: Reddit


Khan al Khalili


the colourful market square of Khan al-Khalili has been a delight to traders close to and much since its origin in the ordinal century. when 200 years of organic growth round the Cairo Citadel, a serious reconstruction in the sixteenth century gave the commerce outpost the a lot of permanent structure and regular layout still in use today. many merchants hawk product of all kinds, from ornate trinkets and complicated lamps to daring spices and teas. whereas souvenirs abound—especially within the a lot of central areas – the Khan is additionally a go-to for everyday Cairene shopping. create your thanks to the outskirts, ideally with a non-public guide, for more specialised and authentic goods.


The Bites


The Egyptian food scene has entered into a renaissance in Cairo, with ancient culinary art obtaining each fashionable updates and heavy treatments. Here are a couple of of the simplest places to prevent for a style of Cairo.


Kabab WA kofta


Naguib Mahfouz restaurant 


If you haven’t over-stuffed yourself on bazaar snacks in Khan al-Khalili, this is often the calm oasis to step into before you discover your resolution of the city’s active souk. Named for the Nobel-awarded Egyptian writer, the Naguib Mahfouz restaurant serves up authentic Egyptian food & absorb well informal atmosphere. Partake of kalian and mint tea, and nibble on ta’ameya – Egypt’s fava bean falafel – or slide into the adjacent building for heartier fare. The relaxed however active ambience (and the free Wi-Fi) makes this a superb mid-day respite from your adventures.


Fasahet Somaya


although it’s got rid of its hidden-alley beginnings and on to a less by-passable street, this bon vivant gem still thrives on limitation. Sporting only some of tables, open for under a couple of hours most nights, and while not a group menu (owner and cook Somaya picks over the daily markets and cooks up the choicest finds), Fasahet Somaya still teases Cairenes with the simplest of old-school Egyptian home cooking. return early and are available hungry—it will be exhausting to snag a seat when opening, and you would possibly be chided for not finishing your mulukhiyah.




Founders Chris Khalifa and Moustafa El Refaey opened their 1st Zooba in Zamalek in 2011 and ne’er got the prospect to seem back. Taking classic Egyptian street food to ensuing level, Zooba may be a fast-casual hit spreading throughout Cairo – and, soon, to the big apple City. Classic mezze are served fast and recent daily aboard bowls of creamy Peul and burly baladi sandwiches filled with hawawshi. Zooba is additionally a food-quality pioneer, adhering strictly to domestically mature and additive-free ingredients.


Koshary Abou Tarek


You can’t dine in Egypt while not a minimum of a couple of bowls of koshary, and this is often the place with the name for the best. The hearty national dish of Egypt contains a flavor-packed {mishmash|odds associate degreed ends|oddments|melange|farrago|ragbag|hodgepodge|mingle-mangle|hotchpotch|omnium-gatherum|assortment|mixture|mixed bag|miscellany|miscellanea|variety|salmagundi|smorgasbord|potpourri|motley} of spiced lentils, savory rice, chickpeas, deep-fried onions, and – oddly enough for an Egyptian street-food staple – macaroni. lidded with a sour tomato sauce, the dish begs for the addition of shatta, an assertive sauce to dare your tastebuds with. Abou Tarek, currently a four-story restaurant, began as a food cart, the sole quite place that served koshari for years. If you can’t break down the native chatter on the lower floors, be to the fourth story, wherever you’ll notice ex-pats and tourists stuffing themselves on a budget with the assistance of English-speaking waiters.




The Nights


when long days of adventure, sightseeing, and rib-sticking Egyptian fare, there’s nothing higher to seem forward to than Egypt’s world-famous welcome within the best luxury edifices of Cairo. Here are a couple of places to best rest your bones – and to pack a touch a lot of meat on them, if you’d like.


Marriott Mena House


Once a in private closely-held and royal searching lodge, the updated and dilated Marriott Mena House hotel has hosted a braggable share of dignitaries in its lifetime – Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill, among others – owing each to its superb name and its desirable position beside the pyramids of Giza. Expect majestic service and accommodations, also as gorgeous views of the pyramids right from your room. The building itself may be a marvelous combination of arabesque design and 19th-century English details, jactitation exquisite and singular antiques among its amenities. It also premiered Egypt’s 1st swimming pool, that created a splash in 1890. Worry not – the pool has also been updated.


Marriott Mena House edifice


Four Seasons river Plaza


located on the bank of the Nile within the somewhat-quieter neighborhood of Garden City, the high-rise Four Seasons Cairo at river Plaza offers luxurious accommodations with sweeping views of town and pyramids alike. It’s additionally a lucky alternative permanently eating – the acclaimed Zitouni, serving upmarket and authentic Egyptian fare, is however one in every of many in-house feeding options.

Kempinski Nile edifice Garden town Cairo

A frequent feature in our Egypt tour packages, the Kempinski Nile edifice in Garden town is absolutely placed for simple access to several of Cairo’s main attractions, just like the close deposit of Antiquities and also the Khan al-Khalili souk. except for its excellent mix of recent comforts and ancient charm, the hotel is especially noted for its top-tier service associate degreed attentive staff. The on-site building Osmanly is well-known for its outstanding Turkish cuisine, and what is more for its signature dish with 17th-century Ottoman roots: Hünkar Beğendi.


Kempinski river edifice Garden town


Intercontinental Cairo Semiramis


If you’re searching for spectacular, five-star accommodations within the heart of downtown Cairo with an array of top-rated feeding choices on-site, you would like look no additional than the intercontinental Cairo Semiramis. one in every of the tallest buildings in Cairo, the IC Cairo stands on the positioning of the previous Semiramis hotel, the primary hotel to be engineered on the Nile in Cairo back in 1907. up to date} incarnation may be a gourmand’s dream: restaurants The Grill, The Birdcage, and Panne Vino – featuring modern French, Thai, and contemporary Italian culinary art respectively – all create regular appearances on Cairo’s best-of-dining lists.


We glance forward to you connexion United States shortly on any of our Egypt luxury tours to Cairo and beyond. does one just like the guide, or have a suggestion on one thing we have a tendency to missed? Please leave a comment, or connect with us on Facebook or Instagram.


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