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Things to see in Cairo

Tourist Offices

Egyptian Tourist Authority

Address: Midan Opera, As Sarayat, Al Waili, Cairo, 11566
Telephone: +20 2 24849399
Opening times:

Daily 0830-2000 (0900-1700 during Ramadan).

Website: http://www.egypt.travel/

Attractions

The Hanging Church

Dating back to the seventh century, the Hanging Church replaced another church here that was at least 300 years older. This makes it the oldest Christian place of worship in Cairo, and one of the oldest in the world. It takes its name from being suspended over the southern gate of a Roman fortress. Reached by a stairway that leads to the courtyard, the church’s beautiful interior features three barrel-vaulted aisles, altar screens of inlaid ivory and bone and an exquisite carved marble pulpit supported by 13 pillars representing Christ and his disciples.

Address: Coptic Cairo, Mar Girgis Street, Cairo, 11511
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1700.

Website: http://www.coptic-cairo.com
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: Yes

Coptic Museum

Situated in a lovely garden within the former Roman fortress of Babylon-in-Egypt, the Coptic Museum features Coptic art from the Christian era (AD300-1000). Among the highlights are the exquisite Coptic textiles, carved ivories, papyri (ancient paper) with text from the Gnostic gospels of Nag Hammadi, and Nubian paintings from the flooded villages of Lake Nassar. The ornate rooms are decorated with beautiful mashrabiyya (carved wood) screens, fountains and painted ceilings.

Address: Coptic Cairo, Mar Girgis Street, Cairo, 11511
Telephone: (02) 2362 8766.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-2100.

Website: http://www.sca-egypt.org/eng/MUS_Coptic_Museum.htm
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Pyramids of Giza

Egypt's main tourist attraction has long been the Giza Necropolis on the edge of Cairo. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid is the oldest here, dating back to around 2550BC and the reign of Khufu. It is also the largest pyramid, originally standing 146m (479ft) high. Nearby are the pyramids of Khafre (Khufu's son) and the considerably smaller Menkaure's (his grandson). Meanwhile, the Great Sphinx watches over all. Once crowded with tourists, the site has been eerily quiet since the first revolution. A visit now brings with it the unusual privilege of having the pyramids practically to yourself.

Address: Giza, Al Ahram, Cairo,
Telephone: (02) 2391 3454.
Opening times:

Daily 0700-1700.

Website: http://www.egypt.travel
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: Yes

Egyptian Museum of Antiquities

It’s necessary to venture close to the revolutionary hotbed of Tahrir Square in order to see one of the jewels in Cairo’s crown: the Egyptian Museum. Inside there are some 120,000 artefacts from the birth of Egypt, culminating in the Greco-Roman phase, and it’ll take the best part of a day to cover the whole museum. The highlight has to be the near-intact tomb of Tutankhamun, regarded as perhaps the most significant archaeological discovery in history. It’s full to brimming with intricate jewellery, and includes the stunning gold and gem-inlaid funerary mask.

Address: , Midan Al-Tahrir, Cairo, 11511
Telephone: +20 2 578 2448
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1900.

Website: http://www.sca-egypt.org/eng/MUS_Egyptian_Museum.htm
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan

Covering 7,900 sq m (85,000 sq ft), this is one of the largest mosques in the world and the finest early Mamluk structure in Cairo. It was built between 1356 and 1363 and encompasses a stunning courtyard, four madrassas (theology schools) and a mausoleum flanked by huge doors. Visitors should go in the morning when the sun lights up the dark mausoleum.

Address: Islamic Cairo, El-Darb El-Ahmar, Cairo, 11511
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 0800-1700.

Website:
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Ibn Tulun Mosque

Of all the mosques in Cairo, this one is unmissable. Completed in 879 AD, it is the oldest intact mosque in the city. The huge structure, built of mud-brick and wood, covers 2.4 hectares (6 acres). Its elegance is in its simplicity, with pointed arches the first of their kind. It is a unique example in Cairo of classical Islamic architecture inspired by Iraqi models, having been built by Ibn Tulin, who was sent to rule Cairo by the caliph of Baghdad. The views from the top of the spiral minaret are magnificent and don’t forget to tip the attendant who allows access.

Address: Islamic Cairo, Ibn Tulun Street, Cairo, 11511
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily 0800-1600.

Website:
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Tahrir Square

Ringed by an important thoroughfare in the heart of downtown, Midan Al-Tahrir or ‘Liberation Square’ has been a symbol of protest since the Egyptian Revolution of 1919. Though tourists came here in the past largely for the Egyptian Museum, it’s now recognised across the world as the birthplace of Egypt’s 2011 revolution against Hosni Mubarak’s 30-year rule. It is now relatively quiet, though the situation can change quickly and it’s a good idea to keep abreast of the news if considering a visit. Though caution is advised and demonstrations should be avoided, the square is compelling for its graffiti, eclectic visitors from almost all walks of Egyptian life, and festival atmosphere on many afternoons.

Address: Downtown Cairo, Midan Al-Tahrir, Cairo, 11511
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

The Citadel of Cairo

Little remains of Salah Al-Din's original 12th-century palace but the mosques and palaces atop this limestone outcrop reflect 700 years of Cairo history. The fortifications were first built to repel the Crusaders and became the royal residence for sultans well into the 19th century. The Mohammed Ali Mosque, with its huge central dome and four semi-domes, towers over the city. The enclosure also contains the Mosque of al-Nasir, Yusuf's Well and several small museums. The views over Cairo from the Citadel are outstanding.

Address: Islamic Cairo, Midan al-Qal'a, Cairo, 11511
Telephone: (02) 2512 1735.
Opening times:

Sat-Thurs 0800-1700.

Website: http://www.sca-egypt.org/eng/SITE_CITADEL.htm
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: Yes

Al-Azhar

Some of the most impressive architecture of the Fatimid period can be found in Al-Azhar. The district is demarked by colossal gates and square towers – remnants of the old enclosure walls. Beyond them are five important mosques, including the Mosque of Al-Hakim and the Mosque of Al-Azhar. The latter was erected in AD970 as the crowning achievement of the new Fatimid city, and its madrassa is regarded as one of the world’s oldest educational institutions, drawing learners from across the Islamic world. It finds an interesting counterpoint in the severe, military style of Al-Hakim, which was completed in 1013.

Address: , Al Azhar, Cairo, 11511
Telephone: (02) 2391 3454.
Opening times:

Daily.

Website: http://www.egypt.travel
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

City of the Dead

This huge necropolis is divided into the northern and southern cemetery on either side of the Citadel and contains some outstanding Islamic architecture. The finest monuments are in the northern cemetery. The Mosque of Qaytbey, a Mamluk ruler, has an intricately carved dome, the finest in the Muslim world, while the splendidly decorated interior surrounds a peaceful courtyard. An ancient tradition sees Cairenes come to visit and often picnic at the graves of their relatives, while dozens of ‘tomb squatters’ have made this their home. It’s a fascinating sight, but visitors are advised to stick to the main streets in daylight hours, and not to visit alone.

Address: Islamic Cairo, , Cairo, 11511
Telephone:
Opening times:

Daily.

Website:
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

Islamic Art Museum

Reopened in 2010 after a seven-year closure for vital refurbishment, this museum houses one of the world's finest collections of Islamic art, dating from the seventh to the 19th centuries. The rooms contain carved woodwork and columns, mosaic fountains, metalwork and other architectural exhibits salvaged from crumbling mosques and mausoleums throughout Egypt.

Address: Bab Al-Khalq, Port Said Street, Cairo, 11638
Telephone: (02) 2390 1520.
Opening times:

Daily 0900-1700.

Website: http://www.miaegypt.org/
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Bab Zuweila

The ancient gate of Bab Zuwayla is all that remains of the Fatimid city of Al-Qahira’s southern frontier. Executions took place here in Mameluke times but in the 19th century it acquired a happier reputation when a local saint, Mitwalli, performed miracles near the gate. To this day, people seeking healing nail a lock of hair or piece of clothing to the gate in hopes of receiving divine aid. Rising above the gate are the minarets of the Mosque of Al-Muayyad, which offer some of the finest panoramic views in Cairo from the top. The mosque contains a shady courtyard and the mausoleum of the Sultan Al-Muayyad and his son, who began building the mosque in 1415.

Address: Darb Al-Ahmar, Al-Muizz li-Din Allah, Cairo,
Telephone: (02) 2391 3454.
Opening times:

Daily 0800-1700.

Website: http://www.egypt.travel
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: Yes

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