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Interesting Facts about Cairo

There is something so incredibly fascinating about Cairo - the capital city of Egypt.  No other city in Africa compares itself to this resplendent magnet city that stands in its ubiquitous grandeur, along the languid tides of Nile. Indeed, the city commands the attention of many travellers from around the world. These interesting facts about Cairo would help enrich your travel experience, so, let's do a quick check on some exciting facts about Cairo.

Cairo City, Egypt

Read more about 9 Most Popular Places to Visit in Cairo

Modern Facts about Cairo

•  Cairo is one of the biggest cities in the continent of Africa. 22,000,000 people live in the city that measures around 500 square kilometres.

•  The roads in Cairo are perpetually crowded with vehicles, owing to the huge population. It can be said that at this minute there are 4.5 million cars staggered on the city road. People have higher affordability with reasonably good per capita income.

•  River Nile, the longest river in the world, flows through the city of Cairo. Cairo lies on the east bank of the river and includes two islands within the river.

River Nile
River Nile

•  Cairo has an exclusive food court, with lots of restaurants, cafes all in the same place. It is a modern establishment aptly named - The Oasis. There are 25 different spreads on an everyday basis and people can stretch around as they eat the food and watch children play in the play area.

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•  Another well-known monument is the Cairo Tower 187 metres (614 feet high). This was, at one time, considered the most important landmarks after the pyramids of Giza. Dominating North Africa for its height it is a 50 years old structure, built in 1971. It is taller than the Hillbrow tower in South Africa. It stands on the Gezira Island on the River Nile in downtown Cairo.

•  The oldest and the largest film industry of the Middle East is in Cairo.

•  Cairo Metro is the second to be found in Africa. It is considered the 15th busiest metro in the world carrying over 1 billion passengers annually.

•  There is a Metro network devoted completely to women in Cairo.

Ancient Facts about Cairo

•  Human settlement in Cairo dates to thousands of years 969 AD, however, the city architecture is young compared to many other cities in the world.

•  Since its ancient times, Cairo has been a very strategic city due to its location. A centerport point it had trade relationships with the Ottoman Empire, The Romans, British and most ancient civilisations.

•  Cairo has the oldest University in the world. It has been the center of the region's political and cultural life from ancient times.

•  The existence of Cairo can be traced to its ancient settlement in Memphis around 24 kilometres south of the city founded in 3rd century BCE by King Menes. The Romans had built the fortress of Babylon along the Nile in the 1st century and this is said to be the oldest structure of the times. The city of Cairo, as we know it, finally came into existence under Fatimids in 969 AD and was called Al Fustat.

Memphis, Cairo

•  Coptic Cairo was a very important seat for Christianity in the post-Islamic times in Egypt. The Babylon Fortress, Hanging Church, Greek Church, St. George, other public churches are believed to be a significant symbol of the Christian tradition. Christian families used to visit Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church in the pre-Islamic era. However, most of the Coptic churches were built post the Islamic era in the 7th century.

Literal Facts about Cairo

•  The Giza pyramids were built even before the modern calendars came into existence. The Great Pyramid is 146.7 metres high.

•  In Arabic Cairo means ‘victorious’, al- Qahirah. Egypt is called ‘Masr’in Arabic.

•  The architecture in Cairo was way ahead of its time and this place is locally called as ‘the mother of the world’, or Umm al-Dunya in Arabic.

•  Cairo’s museum is said to be the biggest in the continent. It is called the Egyptian museum and many relics trace the magnificent past of Egypt. With more than 120,000 varieties that tell you everything that you want to know about ancient Egypt.

Egyptian Museum, Cairo
Egyptian Museum, Cairo

•  The British ruled Egypt from the late 19 century till World War 1 (1914-18) and Cairo was their capital city.

•  The Salah ad-Din or the Citadel of Cairo, has been the home for ancient Egyptian rulers for nearly 700 years from the 13th to the 19th century. This is a significant establishment on the Mokattam Hills close to the main centre of Cairo. This commanding building outlines Cairo’s skyline and is a symbol of dominance that the army commanded over the city. The fortification also includes a mosque and a museum.

If you can imagine the old Arabic bazaars that sold ornate middle east wares and ornaments, then visit Khan El -Khalili for a splendid shopping experience in Cairo. Meandering lanes and alleys approach the shopping district that dates back to 1400AD. Now the metal workers and silversmiths devote themselves completely to the tourism trade. Displaying cheap papyrus paintings and models of plastic pyramids, you can find some very beautiful takeaways like metal lampshades and locally woven textiles. This is one place that you must visit to take back both souvenirs and memories with you.

Although you don't need a reason to visit Cairo, the place holds several treasures that curious travellers can uncover for themselves. While you are here, bask in the glory of this fertile and awe-inspiring vastness. I am sure there is much more that you will discover while you are here.

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