Cairo, the capital of Egypt, is filled with historic sites. The sprawling city contains mosques, churches and museums that tell the history of its inhabitants, both past and present, giving travelers some perspective on what can be an overwhelming destination. Also nearby are the famed pyramids of Giza, which have endured the test of time and continue to captivate the imagination.
The Giza Pyramids
The only remaining wonder of the ancient world, the pyramids of Egypt have captivated travelers for generations. Located in the small town of Giza, which has been more or less absorbed into the urban sprawl of Cairo, the pyramids rise majestically from the sands. Among them are the Great Pyramid of Khufu, which consists of over 2 million stone blocks, according to Egypt Tour Info, rising 449 feet high. The weathered face of the Sphinx stands watch over the area as well.
The Egyptian Museum
See antiquities from the days of the Pharaohs at the Egyptian Museum in downtown Cairo. The atmospheric museum will make travelers feel like Indiana Jones. The museum is filled with relics, from marble statues to primitive tools and, of course, mummies. Take time to enjoy the room dedicated to King Tutankhamen, which contains myriad treasures recovered from his tomb. The iconic solid gold mask that was placed over his mummy is particularly striking.
Citadel of Cairo
Set on a hilltop overlooking Cairo, the Citadel is one home to the Muhammad Ali Mosque, which welcomes visitors of all faiths. Once a fortress, the Citadel is now a historical site. The mosque was constructed between 1830 and 1857, according to Tour Egypt. The mosque has several domes and two minarets from which the call to prayer can be played. The lavish interior has an intricately decorated ceiling. The sweeping courtyard contains a fountain for ablutions.
Though often thought of as a Muslim country, Egypt has a large Christian minority with a rich history. Coptic Cairo is home to churches and other important sites for local Christians. The area can be explored on foot. The Hanging Church, so named because its nave is built over a passageway, is hundreds of years old and contains a pulpit dating from the 11th century, in addition to various relics. The church also is close to a cemetery and the Coptic Museum.
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