The Egyptian capital stretches along both banks of the Nile Giza, on the west bank, and Cairo itself, on the eastern shore, are confused in the same metropolis. Insatiable, the largest city in Africa spider every day a little more than the sands of the desert and farmland. So that no one knows how many Cairenes, if 10, 15 or 20 million.

Cairo and was surprised to travelers in times of Mamluks. Today, shy away from the endless traffic jams, omnipresent dust of unbroken concert of horns, the frayed and urban masses who rush up to the walkways. The poorest neighborhoods bordering the richest, beggars, businessmen, late-model Mercedes wagon swaying mix. But Cairo, unsinkable, unchanging, remains for the Egyptians Victorious Mother of the world or simply Misr, Egypt's entire name. However little you decide to get lost, also the foreign traveler will discover the softness of his nights, lit by the neon green of the mosques, the warmth of its popular small cafes, the pleasure of wandering the streets and smiling mood Cairenes . After the first shock, you too will eventually say, as its inhabitants: "And yet, turn!"

The center
On the eastern bank of the Nile, between Tahrir Square Ataba Ramses Station and extends the modern city, the city center today. Europeanised since the mid-nineteenth century, this neighborhood was built in the Haussmann model: the streets are wide and intersect at right angles, rococo buildings with stucco moldings represented, at the time, the height of modernity. Here you'll also find some gems of Belle Époque architecture.

In Talaat Harb Street, Qasr el-Nil Avenue and 26 July, enormous painted posters advertise films in movie theaters get. On Thursday night, the Cairenes rush along the sidewalks of the luxury shopping area. Textiles, clothing, shoes, department stores but also cooperative (the famous Omar Effendi, the Samaritaine Egyptienne), excellent bakeries, fast food and fashion belly dance halls. Here tourists cross from Arab countries, the peasants of Upper Egypt and the students of the University Americana.Si leaves behind the main routes, discover, in alleys surprising popular small restaurants and cafes where men in suits and ties going to smoke his hookah, while you enjoy a tea sweetened agitación.En away from the heart of the city center Tahrir Square (Liberation Square) summarizes the city itself, with its dazzling neon lights, permanent works urban congestion and quite disproportionate lack of consistency. An oriental-style building houses the American University.

The meter, the fourth pyramid
Opened in 1987 in the presence of Jacques Chirac, then Prime Minister of France, the first Metro line (42.5 km. Long, 33 stations) gave a lot of work to the French engineers who conceived and carried out. But the result is there: more than a million passengers each day between El-Marg, to the north and Helwan in the south, and a team that works perfectly. The first tranche of the second line, which links the two banks was opened in 1996. Was extended to Giza in 2000, totaling 19 km long and 18 stations.

Islamic neighborhoods
Cairo, the "city of a thousand minarets" for Muslims not have the sanctity of Mecca, Medina or Jerusalem. But its streets and alleys conceal treasures of Islamic art, often damaged but shining in the eyes of one who knows to look for and admire. To access the Islamic monuments must pay an entry. It is essential to dress appropriately: no shorts or tank top. It is advisable to wear a scarf for some mosques.

Bab el-Futuh to the Citadel

In the neighborhoods of old Islamic Cairo will find mosques, palaces, caravanserais and Koranic schools, unfortunately suffer from the infirmities of time. But of those neighborhoods, some tourist ultimately emerges the life of ordinary people of Cairo: small offices, vendors and artesanos.Las two monumental doors Bab el-Futuh (Gate of Conquests) and Bab el-Nasr (Gate of Victories) marks the northern limit of Fatimid Cairo. Between the two, the remnant of the fortified area around the city giving an impression of invulnerability. Next to the door of Victory stands the El-Hakim Mosque, built in the early first millennium. Frequented mainly by an Indian Shiite sect, was restored with concrete and marble in 1980, and has lost some of its simple beauty.

Before the street begins mosque el-Din Allah Muizz, lined with magnificent Islamic monuments. In one of the first streets to the left (street Dahab), the Beit el-Suhaymi, former residence of one of al-Azhar shaykh of the seventeenth century, is an example of the splendor of the houses of notables, from the Mamluk period. Then, the street el-Din Allah Muizz will take you to the mosque el-Aqmar (1125) and Madrasa of Sultan Barkuk (XIV century). On the right, Qalawun mausoleum, built between 1248 and 1293, included a mosque madrasa (school), a hospital and a tomb whose silence seems reassuring, even today, magnified by the stained glass windows.

Misr el-Qadim, the Coptic Quarter

Located on the eastern bank of the Nile (right bank), against the southern tip of Roda Island, is home to the oldest people of the shore, still inhabited by Copts. You can go on the subway (direction Helwan, Mari Girgis station) or riverboat (exit front of the television building, north of Tahrir Square). Coming down the few steps leading to Misr el-Qadima and cross walls surrounding it, those of the Roman Babylon, entering another world of silence and recollection. The streets leading to the monastery of St. George, to the churches of St Sergius and St Barbara and, near the Christian cemetery, the Ben Ezra Synagogue, recently restored thanks to the obstinacy of the community except judía.Las church churches Suspended - barely distinguishable from the houses round about the same stones, the same architecture, without external religious symbol.

The cries of street vendors
You may not understand but contain all the poetry and humor of the Egyptian people. Here are some examples. To praise the sweetness of the grapes, "Oh! Asleep on the vine while I kiss the bees! ":" Cane 7 meters cane oh, "cries the seller of exaggerating much sugar (sugar cane does not exceed 5 meters in length). "When you run out of the cauldron, will he find more?" Asks the seller wisely ful, eager to get rid as quickly as possible the contents of your pot.

The Khan el-Khalili

Is the domain of businessmen and tourists. In its narrow streets are bought and sold jewelry, copper, marquetry boxes, imitations Pharaonic, semiprecious stones, carpets, blown glass tableware and other memorabilia. The stores still regroup corporation. For browsing, bargaining or lost, but also to enjoy a tea or coffee in Fichawi karkade, inescapable place of jan. Not many years ago, Naguib Mahfouz himself still came to rest under one of the large mirrors in the room that over time has become yellow.

The City of the Dead
At the foot of the cliff of Moqattam square kilometers stretching from the City of the Dead, without a doubt one of the largest necropolis in the world. We found graves of simple people, simple bier of stone, and grandiose mausoleums where lie the emirs and sultans, some of them since the fifteenth century. The living are accommodated in small houses of two or three rooms, built during the nineteenth century to mourn the dead, according to a ritual that dates back to the pharaohs. When living in Cairo has become a bet, the poorest have rushed to these cities, which had the advantage of offering space and quiet. Finally, residents of the City of the dead live better than the overcrowded slum Chubra.Los Imbaba or Mamluk architecture buffs will be visiting, in the northern part of the necropolis (the Khalifa), the two mausoleums Qaitbay and Barkuk.

The islands Gezira and Roda

Green and sheltered from the bustle of the capital, the island of Gezira in the middle of the Nile, is home to the residential neighborhood of Zamalek, sports clubs, the new Opera House and Cairo Tower, which dominates the city from the top of its 185 meters. Home to many embassies, chosen for its tranquility by many foreign residents, Zamalek seems to live at their own pace. The visitor tired of traffic jams and crowds of poor neighborhoods can wander quietly through shady streets lined with large old-fashioned houses on the island of Roda encanto.En is Manyal Palace, former residence of the Khedive Tewfiq son, Mohamed Ali, today days turned into a museum (open from 9 to 16 pm Admission fee). Situated on the edge of the Nile, protected by a wall that mimics the fortifications, the former royal residence is surrounded by magnificent gardens of lush vegetation.

The western shore

Different administrations of the eastern shore, when we cross the Nile, leaving Cairo and enters the town of Giza-the west bank of the Nile is also on its population and area. Here we extend kilometers soulless modern buildings and wide avenues lines. There are large parks planted with eucalyptus, small village squares, beautiful restored houses, which remind the visitor that a certain bourgeoisie built their homes here in the countryside, and then only a few decades ago.
Egyptian Tourist Authority


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