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Where to go in Egypt

Updated: Nov 2, 2019


Places you should visit in Egypt.

Part 1- Cairo & Giza

When people hear the word "Egypt", they think of the Pyramids, the Sphinx, and the Nile.

However, for more than 7,000 years of unique history, heritage and culture, there are many other fantastic attractions in Egypt to visit.

Here are 21 attraction places you should visit or know about...


Cairo

Cairo Opera House

The Cairo Opera House or "Egyptian Opera House", part of Cairo's National Cultural Centre, is the main performing arts venue in the Egyptian capital.The opera house was inaugurated on 10 October 1988.It was the first time for Japan to stage a Kabuki show, (a traditional popular drama with singing and dancing), in Africa or the Arab World.The London Royal Philharmonic Orchestra chose it as a venue for their first performance in the Middle East and Africa in January 2007.

The Egyptian Museum

Located in Al Tahrir square in the down town Cairo.

It is known to be one of the oldest, largest and most famous museums in the world.

It was established in 1902.

The museum consists of two floors.

The Ground floor consists of coffins and statues, and it organized by the historical periods;

The Old Kingdom, the Intermediate Period, the New Kingdom, the Late Period, and the Greek Roman Period, each period leading to the next one.

The second floor has delicate items such as papyrus papers, jewelry, gadgets and tools,

It also displays Tut Ankh Amun tomb and his golden mask which composed of 11 kilograms of solid gold,

and also the mummy of Queen Hatshepsut and other royal mummy rooms for an additional fee.

Opening Hours :Daily from 9:00 AM-7:00 PM.

Cairo Tower

From its 187 meters, the Cairo tower offers the most amazing panoramic views of Cairo.
It is a free-standing concrete tower in Cairo, located on Gezira Island in River Nile ,Zamalik District.
It has been the tallest structure in Egypt and north Africa for many years.
It considered one of the major tourist attraction in Cairo.
Built from 1954 to 1961, and was designed by the Egyptian architect Naoum Shebib.
It's design looks like the pharaonic lotus plant,
The tower is crowned by a circular observation deck and a rotating restaurant with a view over greater Cairo. One rotation takes approximately 70 minutes.
The Tower and its various restaurants were fully renovated in 2009.

Opening Hours: From 8:00 am to midnight.

Cairo Citadel

Built by ruler Salah Al-din Al Ayouby between 1176 and 1183 ,The Citadel has witnessed numerous historical events throughout Egyptian history.

For many centuries, it was the seat of the king and his government in Egypt.

Many dynasties including the Ayyubids, the Mamluks, and even some Ottomans had a turn ruling over Egypt from the citadel.

The Citadel has defended Egypt against many violent attacks throughout time.

And the reason for the Citadel’s construction was the risk posed to Cairo by the crusaders.

The citadel includes the marvelous Mosque of Mohamed Ali, which is truly the best example of the Ottoman architecture in Egypt.

Also it includes, the Mamluk Mosque of El Nasser Mohamed, and the small charming Mosque of Suleiman Pasha El Khadim.

Besides the mosques, the citadel hosts four more interesting museums:

The Military Museum,

The Police Museum,

The Royal Carriages Museum,

and Qaser El Gawhara Museum.

In 1976, it was listed by UNESCO as a part of the World Heritage Site Historic Cairo (Islamic Cairo).

Opening Hours: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM.

Khan Al Khalily

Khan El-Khalily souk is Cairo's biggest open-air market was built since 1382.
Khan El-Khalily is today the heart of Islamic Cairo, found to the west of the El Hussien square.
This bazaar is famous for it's unusual souvenirs and handmade crafts.
The bazaar has beautiful cafes, restaurants, shops, plus a large number of vendors and buyers.
The most famous cafe there is Al Fishawi Cafe.

In its narrow streets you can buy anything from spices, food, lamps, gold, silver and copper goods and souvenirs as shoes ,clothes, chess sets, cushions, ceramics, rugs and fabrics.

Opening Hours: Daily from 10:00 am to 11:00 pm

Al Moez Street

It is one of the oldest streets in Cairo, it's long is approximately one kilometer long.

The street is named for Al-Moez li-Din Allah, the fourth caliph of the Fatimid dynasty.

It stretches from Bab Al-Futuh in the north to Bab Zuweila in the south.

The northern part of the street extends from the Al-Hakim Mosque in the north to the Spice Market at Al-Azhar Street and includes the antiques markets section, Al-Aqmar Mosque (one of the few extant Fatimid mosques), the Qalawun complex, and several well preserved medieval mansions and palaces.

Beit Al suheymi

It is an old Ottoman house museum in Cairo.

It was originally built in 1648 by Abdel Wahab el Tablawy and in 1796 it was purchased by Sheikh Ahmed as-Suheymi whose family held it for several generations.

The Sheikh greatly extended the house from its original through incorporating neighbouring houses into its structure.

A family mansion famous for its unique mashrabiyya—wooden-lattice screens.

The house is built around a courtyard in the centre of which there is a small garden with plants and palm trees.

Today the house is a museum you can find the beautiful marble floor work, wooden furniture, and ceiling decor is still intact.

Opening Hours: 09:00 am to 05:00 pm.

Baron Empain Palace

The Baron Empain Palace‎, "Qasr el Baron", is a historic and luxurious palace inspired by Indian architecture built by the Belgian millionaire

Baron decided to establish a palace, which was a legendary palace, and it was designed as that all the rooms and the lobbies don't miss the sun.

The palace was designed by French architect Alexandre Marcel and decorated by Georges-Louis Claude. Inspired by the Hindu temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, it was built between 1907 and 1911, in reinforced concrete.

Abdeen Palace

Abdeen Palace is a magnificent and historical architectural piece located on Al Kasr Al Ainy Street in Cairo.

It was constructed in 1863 by Khedive Ismail Pasha.

It is featuring Italian, Oriental, Turkish and French architectural designs and decorations, in addition to unique rare paintings.

It was used as a center of governance from 1872 to 1952.

Over time, a number of additions were constructed, King Ahmed Fouad made part of the palace as a museum for the Royal Family’s belongings, and then King Farouk widened the museum to display a number of Royal Family’s weapons and medals. It carries a number of reception places to receive diplomatic delegations, kings and senior visitors.

It is consisted of 500 rooms and different royal suites, including the Belgian suite. It also has five different halls for ceremonies.

The Hall of Throne is the most important hall due to its oriental design and ceiling paintings.

Currently, the palace includes five museums: 1 - War Museum (Arms Museum) It displays different weaponry collections, including a number of Egyptian guns that belonged to King Farouk and a number of light weapons. 2 - Peace Museum (Presidential Gifts museum) It shows a number of presidential gifts and Mubarak family belongings. In addition, it contains a number of royal honoree medals. 3 - Royal Museum It contains a big number of Royal Family belongings.

It shows a number of objects, plates and eating instruments made from colored glass, gold and silver.

4 - Historical Documents Museum 5 - Silverware Museum It was added to the Abdeen Palace museums in 1998. It contains a number of silverware antiques that belonged to Mohamed Ali’s family.

Opening hours: From 09:00 am to 03:00 Pm.

Closed on Fridays.

Manial Palace & Museum

Prince Mohamed Ali Palace in Manial, or Manial Palace Museum is one of the royal palaces in Egypt.

The construction of the palace began in 1901, and is located on the island of Manial al-Rawda in Cairo.

The Palace is a unique architectural masterpiece that includes various Islamic art styles between Fatmi, Mamluk, Ottoman, Andalusian, Farsi and Shami.

The palace includes: three palaces (Sarayat) : Residence Saray, Reception Saray , Throne Saray, Mosque, Private Museum, Hunting Museum, Clock Tower, It has a wall in the style of medieval fortresses, surrounded by gardens with a rare collection of trees and plants, and the palace is now used as a museum.

Opening Hours: 09:00 am to 04:00 pm.

Old Cairo

(Islamic & Coptic Cairo)

Al-Azhar Mosque

Al-Azhar Mosque in Cairo it Founded in 970 AD and completed in 972 AD.
After 972, and with the hiring by mosque authorities of 35 scholars in 989, the mosque slowly developed into what is today the second oldest continuously university in the world.
Al-Azhar University has long been regarded as the first institution in the Islamic world for the study of sharia, or "Islamic law".

From the courtyard, three of the mosque’s minarets are visible.

Visitors are allowed to enter the prayer hall, which is home to a very fine mihrab, the semi-circular niche carved into the wall of every mosque in order to indicate the direction of Mecca.

Much of the mosque is closed to tourists, including its magnificent library, which houses volumes dating back to the 8th century.

Mohamed Ali Mosque

Built between 1830 and 1848, the Citadel of Salah El din is the largest mosque constructed in the 19th century and the most visible mosque in Cairo.

The spacious building, constructed in Ottoman style using limestone and alabaster, has a central dome which is 21 metres in diameter and stands 51 metres high.

It is decorated with gold, hanging globe lamps and a number of small stained glass windows, and is surrounded by four semi-circular domes and four smaller corner domes.

Opening Hours: Daily from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. Closed on Fridays

Ibn Tulun Mosque

The second oldest mosque still standing in Cairo, Ibn Tulun Mosque, was built between AD 876 and 879 and modeled on the Kaaba in Mecca (Saudi Arabia).

At the time it was built, it was the largest mosque in existence.

It was commissioned by Ahmad ibn Tulun, Founder of the Tulunian state.

The mosque was constructed around a courtyard, with one covered hall on each of the four sides.

The minaret, which features a helical outer staircase similar to that of the famous minaret in Samarra.

Parts of the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me were filmed at the Mosque of Ibn Tulun.

Sultan Hassan Mosque

It was built between 1356 and 1363 by the Sultan Hassan.
The mosque considered to be one of the largest mosques in the world, it covers a space of 7,906 square meters.
It consists of a mosque as well as an educational institution, one of the finest piece of Mamluk architecture era in Cairo and in the world.

Sultan Hassan's madrassa-mosque was built out of huge blocks of stone.

Amr Ibn Al Aas Mosque

Amr Ibn Al A'as mosque also called the Mosque of Amr, was originally built in 641642 AD, as the center of the newly founded capital of Egypt, Fustat.

It was the first mosque built in both Egypt and Africa.

Due to extensive reconstruction over the centuries, nothing of the original building remains, but the rebuilt Mosque is a outstanding landmark.

It is an active mosque till now, when prayers are not taking place, it is open to visitors and tourist.

The mosque of Amr Ibn Al 'As is part of what is commonly known today as the "Multi-Religious Compound" in Cairo, an area that is home to very old places of worship attaching to the three religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

Coptic Museum

The Coptic Museum is a museum in Coptic Cairo, with the largest collection of Egyptian Christian artifacts in the world.

It was founded by Marcus Simaika in 1908 to house Coptic antiquities.

The museum traces the history of Egypt from its beginnings to the present day.

It was built on 8,000 square meter land offered by the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, under the guardianship of Pope Cyril V.

Hanging Church

Founded in the 3rd century. It is one of the oldest churches in Egypt.
It was built on the ruins of two old towers belonging to an ancient fortress known as the Fortress of Babylon.
It was dedicated to The Virgin Mary and St. Dimiana.
Hanging Church contains some beautiful examples of Coptic architecture.

The Church has a total of 110 religious icons, the oldest of which dates back to the 8th Century.

Visitors should keep an eye out for the black thirteenth pillar supporting the pulpit: it represents Judas.

The French monk Vansleb, who was sent to Egypt in 1671 by King Louis XIV in order to study the state of the churches and the monasteries of Egypt, saw inscriptions on one of the walls of the Hanging Church.

They were written by the hand of the great Muslim commander, Amr Ibn El-As, asking the Muslim people to treat this church with respect.

Giza

Giza Pyramids

The three pyramids, which house the tombs of ancient pharaohs kings & queens, are one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.

Located on the Giza government , the pyramids are the only Wonder to have remained intact over thousands of years.

The Great Pyramid, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu, is 138 meters high and is open to tourists. Alongside this impressive structure, visitors can see the pyramid of Khafre, Khufu’s second reigning son, and also the pyramid of Pharaoh Menkaure.

In addition to the Pyramids of Giza, the site is also home to the Great Sphinx and the Valley Temple.​

Today there are more than 93 pyramids in Egypt; the most famous ones are those at Giza.

Sphinx

The greatest mystery of Ancient Egyptian mysteries is also the largest monolithic statue and the oldest known monumental sculpture in the world.

A sphinx is a mythical creature with the head of a human and the body of a lion.

Sakkara

Said to be the world's oldest monumental masonry structure, the unique pyramid of Djoser in Saqqara is part of a mortuary complex for the 3rd Dynasty king Djoser.

Created by the architect Imhotep, it is a unique stepped pyramid with 6 tiers.

The Saqqara pyramids can be easily accessed on a daytrip from Cairo.

The Valley Temple of Khafre

The valley temple of Khafre was located closer to the Nile and would have stood right next to the Sphinx temple.

The sturdy building is filled with beautiful pink-granite columns and alabaster floors.

The temple originally held 23 statues of Khafre, which were illuminated with the ancient version of mood lighting, through slits between the top of the wall and the flat roof.

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