Egypt and Jordan / Muhammad Ali Mosque
Egypt
Muhammad Ali Mosque
Egypt and Jordan / Tutankhamun's Sarcophagus
Egypt
Tutankhamun's Sarcophagus
Egypt and Jordan / The Khan El Kahili Souk
Egypt
The Khan El Kahili Souk
Egypt and Jordan / The Great Pyramids of Giza
Egypt
The Great Pyramids of Giza
Egypt and Jordan / Feluccas on the Nile
Egypt
Feluccas on the Nile

Cairo

Cairo is the largest city in Africa, a vast metropolis of some twenty million people. "The Paris of the Nile," it is a fantastically diverse city filled with mosques, churches, museums and a wealth of shops. For centuries, Cairo was a center of global trade, and bazaars still fill its streets, offering some of the most interesting shopping in the world.

Cairo began as the Roman outpost of Babylon in the third century AD and was formally founded in 969 AD after the Arabs arrived a few centuries later. It was the Arabs who gave Cairo its name, literally "The Conqueror." Today Coptic Cairo is the modern name for the oldest part of the city; the center of Egypt's Christian community, it lies within Babylon's walls and is home to the Coptic Museum, which houses the finest collection of Coptic art in the world, and the ornate Hanging Church, dedicated to the Virgin Mary and built on top of Babylon's Water Gate. Cairo is also home to the Egyptian Museum, where visitors can see the largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the world. Opened in 1863, the museum displays more than 120,000 items, including the carved head of queen Nefertiti and Tutankhamun's golden funeral mask, his carved throne and his gilded fans.

Across the Nile, at Cairo's sister city of Giza, sits the Giza plateau, home to Egypt's defining monuments, the Pyramids. These extraordinary architectural achievements date back five thousand years to the time that the ancient city of Memphis was the capital of Egypt. Built as a royal necropolis, the Pyramids remain one of the crowning accomplishments of the human race. In the largest of the Pyramids, the Great Pyramid, over two million blocks of stone were used, each weighing an average of 2.5 tons, to create a structure of extraordinary precision. The guardian of the Giza Plateau is the Sphinx, which dates to 2500 BC.

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