The capital of Egypt, Cairo, is a lovely destination for anyone who seeks the taste of ancient culture alongside definite traces of modernity, if only for a few days. In this part of Africa the West meets the Middle-East. With almost 18 million inhabitants, Cairo is the largest city in both Africa and the Middle-East.
Cairo, also called the heart of the Arab world, is located in the north of Egypt on the east bank of the Nile. The city was founded on the banks of that famous river where, after the annual floods, fertile black sludge stayed behind as a gift from the gods to the land. Only in such places, the farmers were able to grow their crops, the rest remained desert.
On the westbank of the city you have the town Giza with it's famous pyramids. Beside the Pyramids you have the Sphinx. This limestone statue, boasting an impressive 57 meters from top to bottom, looks towards the east, as if to keep a distant eye on it's own constellation, the lion. These structures indeed deserve the qualification: wonders of the world. Of course everyone knows both the pyramids and the Egyptian Museum. Yet they are undoubtedly an absolute must-see. The Egyptian Museum is according to many, among the absolute highlights of the trip.
It’s fascinating what you will encounter in this city; past and present going hand in hand and the typically oriental chaos - especially in traffic. Regulations often seem to be an elusive phenomenon here and the Egyptians driving against the rush, stray cattle and traffic congestion is very common. Self-driving is therefore not recommended in a city like Cairo.
As already mentioned, there are few cities where the contrasts are so big: modern and traditional, rich and poor, old and new, and of course the well-known religious contrasts. Don’t be surprised if they don’t serve any wine or beer in a café. Cairo is predominantly islamic, and because of that, alcohol is not widely available. That doesn’t apply to the great and varied cuisine, for in Cairo they have excellent food. You will taste the atmosphere of the city and the legacy of the past. It’s an amazing culture to discover.
At night this city is filled with glitter, a reflectation from the Nile, which flows majestically through the city. In Cairo they know to create the right vibe which will guarantee an entire night of “swinging Egypt,” in the many bars, pubs and discotheques located in the city center. You will find both local and western Egyptian café-bars to go out. There you may be acquainted with the hospitality and warmth of the Egyptian people. It’s undeniable that mostly men visit the local bars. But in Cairo there are also women cafes, both Egyptian and more Western-oriented ones. Here you can smoke apple tobacco from a waterpipe.
The modern buildings are mainly in the west of the city. The districts are composed of wide boulevards and open squares. There are also some famous hotels in addition to the many nightclubs in this area.
If you prefer more action, visit one of the many nightclubs in town and dance from dusk till dawn. At the beginning and end of the evening you can see oriental dancing, performed by elegant belly dancers. Crazy House and El Gato Negro are particularly popular places to go to. And if you want to experience a loungebar with the atmosphere of the far East, you can't miss Shangri-La.
Cairo has lots of opportunities on offer, like a visit to the cinema, opera or the theater. The Opera House has numerous galleries, restaurants and concert halls. In the outdoor theatre you can, under a radiant starry sky, enjoy great artistic performances. In the heart of islamic Cairo, especially in El-Ghuriya, you can listen to beautiful folk music and watch exotic dance.
It could take you a day or two before you get used to the seemingly crazy whirlwind of traffic, livestock, streetmerchants and all the dust and jingle of Cairo. So if you’d like a few moments out of the overwhelming impressions, then just step into one of many subterranean tunnels, echoing memories of times past, that run beneath the pyramids. But of course there is also a lot to do and see in the chaos. Modern flats overshadow the many, more than five hundred, mosques in the city. Old feluccaboats, which are traditional sailing ships, navigate together with modern river cruisers down the Nile. This is Cairo in a nutshell! The city gates, churches and mosques, the pyramids of Giza, the many wonderful museums, great shopping, nightclubs and restaurants ... What are you waiting for? Travel to Egypt and see the fascinating contrasts in Cairo!
Did you know that KILROY can also help organise your study tour to Cairo? Read on to learn more about how we can plan your study trip with the right academic content and interesting study visits in the city of your choice.
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