The 10 best places to visit in Cairo

 

Built at the end of the 11th century as part of the wall that surrounded the old city of Cairo, Bab Zuweila was the southern gate of this wall, one of only three gates to remain intact to this day. Its twin minarets can be accessed via a steep climb, offering visitors the best view over the old part of the city.

10. Bab Zuweila

 

Constructed in the 1980's just outside the walls of the old city is the Al-Azhar Park, built on the site of an earlier garden dating from the 10th century. Having been a rubbish dump for over 500 years it is today a verdant green area of plants, water fountains and man made lakes. its elevated location allows visitors one of the best views over modern Cairo.

9. Al-Azhar Park

 

Built in 1901 is the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Cairo Museum or Egyptian Museum, home to a vast collection of priceless ancient Egyptian artifacts. Considered one of the finest museums on the planet, it holds the treasures of Tutankhamun and other great Pharaohs.

8. Egyptian Museum

 

Dating from the 12th century, sitting on Mokattam Hill in the centre of the city is the medieval Islamic fortification known as the Saladin Citadel, mostly referred to as the Cairo Citadel. Within the walls of citadel are three main mosques, the newest and most impressive being the Great Mosque Of Muhammad Ali. Built in the mid 19th century this huge Ottoman mosque sits at the summit of the citadel, it is one of the most visible landmarks in Cairo. Today as a preserved historic site, the mosques and museums of the citadel are part of the Islamic Cairo UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Pictured is the Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali.

7. Cairo Citadel

 

Completed in 1359 AD just outside the walls of the Cairo Citadel within the historic old city is the Mosque Madrassa Of Sultan Hassan, one of the largest mosques in the world. Built in 3 years without a single days break in work, at the time of completion it was considered a masterpiece of engineering, remarkable for both its size and architectural components. Today as part of Islamic Cairo it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

6. The Mosque Madrassa Of Sultan Hassan

 

Built in the 27th century BC during the Third Dynasty, located on what is now the southern edge of the city of Cairo, is the Pyramid Of Djoser, sometimes known as the Step Pyramid. Constructed for the burial of the Pharaoh Djoser, this archaeological remain in the Saggara Necropolis is the earliest colossal stone building in Egypt. The pyramid sits at the centre of a huge mortuary complex within an enormous courtyard surrounded by ceremonial structures. Standing a mere 62.5 metres (205 ft) tall, as part of Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

5. Pyramid Of Djoser

 

Built around 2,600 BC under the Old Kingdom Pharaoh Sneferu, located at the royal necropolis of Dahshur in the extreme south of the cities limits is the Bent Pyramid. Its name derives from the extreme change in angle halfway up the structure, with suggestions that the original angle was too steep to continue, forcing the builders to adopt a shallower angle as to avert any collapse. Among the 90 pyramids found in Egypt, the Bent Pyramid is unique in that its original polished limestone outer casting remains largely intact. Standing 105 metres (344 ft) high and representing the transition between step sided and smooth sided pyramids, as part of the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4. Bent Pyramid

 

Constructed immediately after the completion of the Bent Pyramid, under orders from the Old Kingdom Pharaoh Sneferu, is the site of the Red Pyramid, the largest of the three major pyramids located at the Dahshur Necropolis, and the third largest Egyptian pyramid after those at Giza. Named for the rusty reddish colour of its red limestone stones, it is believed to be Egypt's first successful attempt at constructing a truly smooth sided pyramid. Noticeably shallow in angle, it stands 105 metres (344 ft) high, the same as the nearby Bent Pyramid. As part of the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur, it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

3. Red Pyramid

 

To the west of Cairo's centre, within the Giza Necropolis on the Giza Plateau is one of the most iconic and most little understood structures on Earth, the Great Sphinx. Known in Arabic as Abu Al-Haul, the 'Terifying One', literally 'Father Of Dread', the limestone statue depicts a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a man. Measuring 20 metres (66 ft) high and 73 metres (241 ft) in length it is the largest monolithic statue in the world.

The construction date and the builders of the Great Sphinx is unknown. The disproportion of the head and body is believed by some to be due to the fact it was once a complete lion statue facing the constellation of Leo in the night sky. For this to be true, and to account for the water erosion on the structures body, it would pre-date the Great Pyramids by 12,000 years. This would change everything we think we know about the history of mankind.

The question nobody knows is, did the Pharaohs build it, or did they just find it in the desert and carve a new head. We may never know...

2. Great Sphinx Of Giza

 

To the west of Cairo's centre, within the Giza Necropolis on the Giza Plateau is one of Earths most iconic sights, the Pyramids Of Giza. The Pyramid of Menkaure, standing 65 metres (213 ft) high is the smallest of the three. Next is the Pyramid Of Khafre at 136 metres (448 ft) high. The Pyramid Of Khufu, also known as the Great Pyramid is the oldest and largest, constructed in 2580 BC it stands 146 metres (481 ft) high, and stood as the tallest man made structure on Earth for more than 3,800 years. Thought to have been built over a twenty year period, the Great Pyramid is considered an impossible architectural feat of its time, having baffled the world as to how ancient man could carve or move such enormous stones, placing them with such perfection to such heights. The iconic emblem of Egypt, the Great Pyramid is the oldest and last remaining of the Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World. Easily one of mankinds greatest achievements, it holds the strongest claim to be the single greatest.

1. Pyramids Of Giza

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