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Cairo Attractions and Things to See

Cairo, which in French means the "Vanquisher" or "the Conqueror" is the capital of Egypt, the biggest city in Africa and the 16th most populated metro area in the world, as well as one of the most densely populated cities in the world that has been nicknamed the "City of a Thousand Minarets" since it contains so much Islamic architecture. It is the hub of the area's cultural and political life, founded by the Fatimid dynasty in the 10th century, although the land mass it occupies has been the site of many national capitals whose remains can still be seen in many parts of Old Cairo. It is associated with ancient Egypt, because it sits close to the ancient cities of Fustat, Memphis and Giza that sit close by the pyramids of Egypt and the Great Sphinx. It has the oldest and biggest music and film industries in the Arab world, along with the second oldest institution of higher learning, the Al-Azhar University, with a plethora of international businesses, organizations and media with regional headquarters situated in the city, as well as the headquarters of the Arab League. It ranks as one of the 15 busiest cities in the world, welcoming more than 700 million visitors each year, with the highest economy in the Middle East.

There is no need to speak about the city's exciting, horrific and incredible history, because of its strategic location upstream from the Nile Delta, although its origins of the modern city can be traced back to the various settlements of the first millennium. About the turn of the 4th century AD, it would see a decline as Memphis, when the Romans would establish a fortress town on the east bank of the Nile, and become known as Babylon, so that it is the oldest structure in the city, even though it sits in the center of the country's Coptic Christian community that had separated from the Roman and Byzantine church in the latter part of the 4th century. A large number of the city's oldest Coptic churches, that includes the Hanging Church, are situated along the fort's walls in a part of the city that is called Coptic Cairo.  Needless to say, it has one of the most intriguing history and most interesting in the world, having been the site of so much history over the thousands of years it has existed in different forms and names.

Cairo has an extensive rail, road, subway and maritime service that include private vehicles, taxis, public buses and microbuses and has grown into the center of the country's Egyptian transportation network, with the metro or subway system the fastest and most convenient way to travel the city.

It has an excellent sports venue, with football or soccer, being the most favorite, then rugby and squash; with one of the best cultural scenes in the world. For over four thousand years, the nation has stood at the epicenter of civilizations, that included pharaohs, Greeks, Babylonians and Romans that have left their mark here, with the Muslims that came from the Arabian peninsula, bringing Islam to the country.

The city enjoys the Cairo Opera House and the Khedivial opera house, with the Cairo International Film Festival that has awarded dozens of international awards to superstars like Nicolas Cage, Morgan Freeman, Vanessa Redgrave, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter O'Toole, Susan Sarandon, Goldy Hawn, Sophia Loren, Kurt Russell, Tom Berenger and many others. There are many other exciting and interesting arts to be enjoyed here, that can be traced to the early pharaohs, that includes over 500 years of recorded history, with both European and Arabic literature.

The Cairo Geniza is an accumulation of almost 200,000 Jewish manuscripts that were discovered in the genizah of the Ben Ezra synagogue that was constructed in 882 AD, in Fostat, Egypt, the Basatin cemetery that sits east of Old Cairo and a great number of old documents that would be brought here in the late 19th century. These manuscripts had been written from 870 AD to about 1880 and now are archived in many American and European libraries, that include the 40,000 manuscripts at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the University of Cambridge that houses 140,000 manuscripts.

Other outstanding sights include the Egyptian Museum, Qahira Fatimid Mosque, Tahrir Square, Old Cairo, Khan El-Khalili, Cairo Tower, Mohammed Ali Basha Mosque, Gates of Cairo, Coptic Museum, Abdeen Palace, Om Kalthoum Museum, Cairo Citadel, Child Museum, Gayer-Anderson Museum, Koubbeh Palace, Manial Palace and Museum and many more.