The skyline of Cairo looks a lot like many other western cities, but looking closer, this city is an oasis of cultural beauty. There are about 15 million people living in Cairo, making it the biggest city of Africa. The word Cairo stems from the Arabic word al-Quahira, which means Victor. Cairo was founded in a period that the planet Mars stood at the hemisphere and Mars as you might know is the planet of Victory, so this is where the city got its name from.
Cairo is not only Islamic, but has a Christian community and history as well. In the Christian and very old part of the city you will find beautiful churches. But of course Cairo is also known for its mosques and minarets, as it is called the Capital of Mosques. The minarets have a more esthetic function as an architectonic complement to the mosque, than that they are a religious requirement. The Coptic and Islamic roots can be found in separate districts of Cairo, but there is a big religious tolerance amongst the population of Cairo.
This metropolis has a lot to offer. There is a wealth of culture and historic places. From the magnificent Museum of Egypt to the beautiful Mohammed Ali Mosque, and much much more. If you want to see one of the "Seven wonders of the ancient world," you should definitely visit the Pyramids of Gizeh. These can be reached by jeep, bus or even by horse.
One of the places of interest is The Citadel. It is located in the south of the city and reminds of a huge fort. This building dominates the skyline and was built in the twelfth century by Saladin. It was meant to protect him from the danger of the outside world. Basically it was a small village, where people could live safely close to the sultan. Later the Mamluks expanded the Citadel and added fairy-tale palaces. The prison of the Citadel is still in use and the murderers of president Sadat (who was killed in 1981) are imprisoned there. The Citadel has always been famous for its beauty, but also for its cruelty.
For Coptic art you should visit the museum of Coptic art called Sjaria Mari Girgis. In its vicinity you'll find the last remainders of the old fort of Babylon, which was the basis for the city of Cairo. The only thing left of this ford is a piece of wall and two Roman towers.
Due to the Mediterranean temperature the people of Cairo live a lot outside. That's why Cairo never sleeps. In the center you'll find a lot of bars and small cafes. You should visit one of the many typical Egyptian places if you like to experience a noisy busy atmosphere. For a more western type of cafe you should look for places like "Piano Piano" or "Tabasco.
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