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gloriajames Cairo - A travel report by Gloria
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Cairo,  Egypt - flag Egypt -  Al Qåhirah
4844 readers

gloriajames's travel reports

Cairo - Chaotic, Exotic, and Simply Fascinating

  24 votes
Page: 1 2
Often described as ‘the cradle of civilisation’ and ‘mother of the world’; Cairo is home to the last surviving Ancient Wonder of the World. Does that make you want to visit this important City?? Let me tell you why you should.


King Tut's Mask at the Egyptian Museum
King Tut's Mask at the Egyptian Museum
The city of Cairo is a chaotic mixture of sights, sounds and smells. It is heaving with life, volatile, polluted and boisterous, with an intensity that both exhausts and invigorates any visitor. It is also distinctive with its ancient monuments in juxtaposition to the modern and cosmopolitan.

The congested streets of ISLAMIC CAIRO are full of donkey carts, traders and mosques, while camels weave their way haughtily between the crumbling pyramids on the outskirts. Taxis clamour for attention and pedestrians elbow their way past busy coffee houses, where those seeking a brief escape from the hustle and bustle sit sipping at a strong cup of coffee while contemplating the smoke rings of a ‘hubbly bubbly’ water pipe – in true Egyptian style. There is no escaping the must-dos for any tourist.

First stop is to visit the EGYPTIAN MUSEUM OF ANTIQUITIES for a better understanding and clearer insight into the glorious history of Ancient Egypt. With over 100,000 artefacts in 107 halls, it is not possible to visit the museum in one day. With limited time in hand, it’s best to start your tour at the second floor to see the treasures of KING TUTUANKHAM.

You will be mesmerised by the extensive and exquisite collection that was found at his burial site in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor. Be awestruck by the two coffins of King Tut’s which are embedded with precious and semi-precious gems on the gold plated glided wood texture. King Tut’s third coffin containing his mummified body rests at his Tomb No. 62 of the Valley of Kings.

Next head to the ROYAL MUMMY ROOM (separate entrance fee is required) containing mummies of some of the most powerful Pharaohs of Egypt.

Favourite spots:
Coptic Church
Coptic Church
Head on to COPTIC CAIRO which is the oldest part of the city (ie at least 2000 years old) and was once known as the Roman stronghold of Babylon; some of the old Justinian walls still exist. It is the ancient heart of the Coptic Christian community and although only five of the original 20 churches remain they are interesting to visit. Churches of interest are the Hanging Church (the oldest Christian place of worship in the city), Church of St Barbara, Church of St George and Church of St Sergius (where the Holy Family reputedly sheltered during their flight to Egypt).

What you will find particularly eerie in Cairo is the CITY OF DEAD (QARAFA), which is located on the East Side of Cairo and resembles a vast living cemetery for the dead and yet it is home to the many poor people.

For all your souvenirs, head on to KHAN AL-KHALILI BAZAAR, one of the largest markets in the world. It is situated within Islamic Cairo, a World Heritage Site that attracts travellers and locals alike.

What's really great:
The Giza Pyramids
The Giza Pyramids
Without doubt, the highlight of any trip to Cairo is the visit to Giza to see the PYRAMIDS AND SPHINX.

Built about 5000 years about, ie 4th dynasty of Egypt’s Old Kingdom, the three Pyramids were built for Kings Khufu (Cheops), Khafre (Chephren) and Menkaura (Mycerinus), and throughout history, they have fired human imagination as to their origin and purpose.

The oldest and greatest pyramid is that of King Khufu taking about 20 years to build and is made of two million blocks of limestone each weighing about two-ton!

The pyramids are accessible to visitors on a rotation basis. On my visit, only the Pyramid of Khafre was opened to the public and if you dare, take a trip deep into the pyramid for an unforgettable experience.

Do take a camel ride on the desert area and get amazing views of the pyramids at the Giza plateau. Explore the area around the temple of Sphinx and come face to face with the ‘Father of Terror’ – SPHINX, guardian of the Pyramids.

Sights:
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Mosque of Mohammed Ali
Things to do and Sights to explore:-

1. The Citadel - offers spectacular views over the city and this is where you can catch free performances by Sufi dancers (Egypt’s whirling dervishes).

2. Mosque of Mohammed Ali - a symbol of Cairo with its Turkish style design.

3. Cairo Tower - standing at 152 m and offering panoramic views of the city.

4. Giza Pyramids - for the Sound and Light Show in the evenings.

5. A boat cruise on the Nile River to explore the banks of the city.

6. Perfume and Essence shops - very popular in Egypt and definitely a good bargain.

7. Papyrus - see a demonstration of how papyrus is made and dont forget to bargain for a painting to take home!

Accommodations:
The way of life in Egypt!
The way of life in Egypt!
MERIDIAN HELIOPOLIS
51, Al Orouba St, Heliopolis
Tel: 202 290 5055 / 290 1819
Fax: 202 290 8533
Near to the pyramids and easy access to many sights near the Heliopolis area. Must add that i enjoyed the brekky spread!!!

MOVENPICK PYRAMIDS
Alexandria Road, Pyramids
PO Box 1, Giza
Tel: 202 3852555 / 202 352666
Fax: 202 3835006
Built with a family-oriented concept, your accommodation is actually small chalet-style houses clustered near a big swimming pool. Access to restaurants is in another building just a short walk from your chalet. Conveniently located near the pyramids and the airport. I enjoyed seeing the pyramids from my hotel.

NILE HILTON
Midan Tahir,
Downtown
Tel: 202 580 8000
Fax: 202 578 0475
Situated in the city, you get to enjoy the quietness of this hotel despite the hustle and bustle outside!

Nightlife:
Whirling Dervish
Whirling Dervish
All good hotels have a club. I enjoyed my nightlife by stopping over at the Citadel for a performance by the Souffi, Egypt's Whirling Dervish.

Hangouts:
View of the Nile River
View of the Nile River
Hard Rock Cafe
Grand Hyatt Cairo,
Corniche El Nile,
Garden City
For wholesome American fun food and of course buying souvenir T-shirts! I had to buy the adorable camel with movable limbs!

Harry's Pub
Cairo Marriot Hotel
Sharia Sarya al-Gezira
Zamalek. For English food such as steak and kidney-pie.

Restaurants:
located just next to the pyramids
located just next to the pyramids
Kowloon
Cleopatra Hotel
2 Sharia al-Bustan
We dined here one night during the Chinese New Year for Chinese food. Must add that it made us miss home food more -:(

Sphinx Restaurant
Cant miss this...buffet lunch located just next to the pyramids! The view you get compensates for the food quality!!! -;)

Other recommendations:
Step Pyramid
Step Pyramid
A must do is to visit the site of Egypt's first pyramids, ie 30km south of Cairo is Saqqara. View the Step Pyramid of Djoser built by architect Imhotep, and which is a prototype of the Giza Pyramids.

Published on Sunday June 26th, 2005


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Thu, Feb 01 2007 - 01:20 AM rating by eirekay

This is an amazing and beautiful report! What a pleasure to read and view!

Tue, Jun 28 2005 - 06:24 PM rating by magsalex

Your usual very high standard!

Tue, Jun 28 2005 - 06:20 PM rating by picasso

A masterpice, very informative with a high class images
Thank you Gloria.*****

Boris

Mon, Jun 27 2005 - 04:20 AM rating by downundergal

Great Report ! Loved all the different listings and info.
Definately must be up there for Report of the Month.
Cheers,
Kerrie

Sun, Jun 26 2005 - 01:18 PM rating by rangutan

Luxor, Aswan, now Cairo. A super collection on Egypt.

Sun, Jun 26 2005 - 11:05 AM rating by bear495

You wrote a wonderful report, Gloria. Thank you for the information.

Russ

Sun, Jun 26 2005 - 10:25 AM rating by mistybleu

Gloria,

This is a very decriptive report, I really enjoyed reading it. Definitely deserves 5*. and your pictures are brilliant, especially the one of Tut's Mask!!!
Misty

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