The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

City Life

Ten Great Reasons to Visit Cairo

Ten Great Reasons to Visit Cairo
    written by
    Melissa Howell

    Attracting a trove of
    tourists, ex-pats, and study abroad students every year, Cairo is the largest metropolis in the Arab
    World. This vibrant Capital has a plethora
    of historical and cultural attractions sure to excite and inspire even the most
    seasoned travellers.We’ve compiled just
    a few of the many reasons to check out one of the most incredible destinations
    on Earth.

    1. Cairo Never Sleeps

    Forget New
    York, Cairo literally never sleeps. Few other cities in the world have delivery
    services 24/7: it’s completely normal to have pizzas, drinks and even movies
    delivered or to go for a shawerma snack at My Queen as late
    as four in the morning. Pharmacies deliver no matter what time of day, and
    there’s always a doctor that will make house calls. With summer nights long and
    hot, it is entirely common to see families filling up the parks at midnight or
    eating in restaurants until the wee hours of the morning. Even the city’s nightlife lasts until the
    early hours of the mornings: bars,
    nightclubs and shisha places really only pick up just before midnight, and
    cabarets usually open around 1AM, keeping the heart of Egypt beating around the
    clock.

    2. Marvel at the Myriad of Minarets

    Nicknamed ’The
    City of a Thousand Minarets,’ Cairo ’s
    culture boasts a wealth of Islamic tradition and architecture. The spindles atop the city’s countless
    mosques are peppered across the horizon, illuminating the capital by night with
    a soft neon glow. Five times daily, the call
    to prayer emanates from these minarets and echoes throughout the city. Make an unforgettable day trip out of
    visiting several of Cairo’s
    noteworthy mosques, such as Al Azhar Mosque, Ibn
    Tulun Mosque
    and the Mosque of Mohammad Ali, all of which feature
    incredible displays of classic Islamic art.

    3.Carb Load

    There’s no
    denying that Egyptians know how to consume those hearty, delicious carbs! One of the most ubiquitous styles of eatery
    in town is the koshary restaurant. On almost
    every street, this cheap and delicious national dish is prepared. Bowls of
    rice, pasta, lentils, chickpeas and fried onions are mixed in bowls and topped
    with spicy tomato sauce. Fava beans
    provide a delicious dietary breakfast staple in Egypt, prepared boiled and mashed
    as foul or fried in patties as falafel. Check
    out our guide to Downtown Cheap
    Eats
    for the best in affordable eating.

    4. A River Runs Through It

    The
    north-flowing Nile runs through Cairo ,
    irrigating the city and defining its scenery. A night-time view from the Kasr El Nil Bridge has a breathtaking
    panorama of Cairo’s skyline reflected in the Nile; it’s a popular hangout for young Egyptians and a
    prime romantic spot for couples. A fantastic evening can be had cruising around
    the river on one of the city’s iconic feluccas. The Nile is home to a number of cruise ships as well, offering an
    incredible opportunity to experience Egypt’s beautiful landscape.

    5. Ancient History

    It could
    almost– but definitely won’t– go without saying that Cairo is home to the World’s remaining
    Ancient Wonder.A trip to the Pyramids
    and the Sphinx of Giza is an absolutely essential stop for anyone travelling
    through Cairo. These monuments to the Pharaohs are truly
    awe-inspiring.Visit early in the
    morning to avoid the harsh sun and large crowds.

    6. Sweet & Juicy

    Cairo’s
    obsession with sugar can cure even the strongest sweet tooth. Sweet shops are scattered around the city,
    serving up traditional treats such as konafa and basbousa; syrup-infused
    semolina pastries.These sticky sweets
    are year-round favourites, but are especially popular around feasts, birthdays
    and religious holidays in Egypt. More
    refreshing delights can be found in nearly every neighbourhood at juice
    bars.Thick mango, sweet orange, and
    tart lemon juices are the most common, but nothing sweetens a summer afternoon
    in Cairo like a
    tall glass of ice-cold watermelon juice.

    7. Shake and Twirl

    Sequined
    bras, long flowing skirts, and shimmying hips are the ingredients to the
    longstanding art of belly-dancing.Cairo’s cabarets are home to the some of the region’s most stunning
    performances of this traditional dance form. Just one performance from hip-popping
    belly-dancer will have you grooving along in your seat to the hot Arabic beats of
    the Cabaret all night long.

    For a more
    spiritual experience, Cairo
    is one of the world’s best venues for watching the traditional Sufi
    dance
    . The Sufis devote their minds to God while twirling in circles to
    represent the Solar System’s orbit to achieve a heightened state of
    consciousness.Whirling dervishes open
    their unique form of meditation to the public for a truly mystical
    experience.  

    8.
    Shop ‘Till You Drop

    Khan El Khalili is the ultimate treasure trove of a market. Both tourists and locals frequent the massive
    historic souk to find spices and produce, beautiful scarves and fine jewellery.
    Chatting with the shop owners is a great way to pick up a bit of Arabic and
    haggle for prices. If you venture into the depths of the market, you will even come
    across workshops where many of the market’s products are crafted.

    9. Coffee Craze

    From the
    early morning hours until late into the night, traditional Egyptian coffee
    shops serve up aromatic Turkish coffee, steaming tea with mint, and thick,
    smooth shisha. Make no doubt about it;
    Turkish– or Arabic, as it is often referred to– coffee is taken very
    seriously in Cairo.Various spices are
    added to the coffee and the amount of sugar must be requested before the coffee
    is made. Some prefer the city’s modern
    coffee chains, for the lattés and trendy snacks. Whether it is in the traditional or newer
    locations, Cairo has a serious café culture.

    10. Arab
    Hospitality

    The Middle
    East has a long reputation for Arab hospitality; and Cairo is no
    exception. Egyptians are some of the
    most helpful and welcoming people in the world. Should you be invited to sit in someone’s shop or home; you will be
    offered at least something to drink again and again until you accept.And should you ever lose your way in this
    busy city; rest assured that more than a few hands will be there to help you
    out.

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