A fine view over central Cairo and the Nile River from Cairo Tower on Gezira Island. Photo by flyvancity.
How to visit Cairo
Any visitor to Cairo with a spark of adventure needs to do some walking, to see the squalor, the chaos and the magnificence side by side and understand that this is not an ancient Pharonic city – that was Thebes (Luxor) or Memphis. Cairo was originally Africa’s Babylon, founded by Coptic Christians and captured by Arabs in 641.
Cairo city is packed with stunning old architecture, dirty, dishevelled and in desperate need of maintenance it’s true but still stunning stuff, if you can drag the eyes away from the kids playing in the noxious gutters, the crippled cats and the dead Fiats.
Cairo’s Khan-el-Khalili market district. Photo by Chris Schoenbaum.
Khan el Khalili bazaar is a tourist must-do, the best souq in Africa, but considering the narrow streets and individual interests, this is a must-do in pairs or very small groups.
This fascinating shopping area, arguably the world’s best souk (better than Fez or Marrakesh) is a large area of attractive old buildings filled with a huge range of wonderful goodies as well as terrible neo-Nefertiti trash. And no, it’s not dangerous. Some of the better items are: gold and silver jewellery, glassware, leather, rugs, lamps, cotton clothes and spices.