My Trip of exploring the history of Egypt began with Cairo, which also happens to be the capital of the country . Also called as the largest city of Africa, Cairo has a blend of both, modern as well as historic culture, and there is definitely no shortage of things to do here. Here is a quick post on some of the top things to do in Cairo, Egypt :-
1) Marvel at the Pyramids : one of the wonders of the world
I urge you to visit the pyramids when in Egypt. It is truly a spectacular creation of the ancient Egyptians (Yes, they aren’t built by aliens) which will take you back in history. Contrary to the popular belief that the pyramids are in the middle of the desert, while in reality they are in the middle of the city. The people and the pyramids co-habit in Giza, and this is definitely another wonder in itself. Well, sorry to burst the bubble.
2) Shop till you drop at the khan-el-khalili market
While travelling, one always wants to take back some souvenirs for their friends, family etc without it costing a bomb. Khan-el-Khalili is street market where one can buy all sorts of souvenirs ranging from key-chains, magnets, perfumes, artificial jewellery, postcards etc. Obviously one needs to brush up their bargaining skills beforehand.
3) Eat delicious local food
foul, falafel, shawarma, molekhya, kebab, pickles etc are some examples of the local food which one definitely needs to taste in this country. I’m a huge fan of the street food and while traveling it’s a boon to gorge on the delicacies off the streets. not only is it really pocket-friendly for broke travelers like me, but also it is finger-licking.
4) View the spectacular city from Cairo tower
Take in the 360° view of the entire city from top of the tower. The best time to reach the top is during sunset when the sky is changing its colours, cool wind is blowing on your face and there’s a sense of calmness in the air. Enjoy the pace of this city when you see everyday life happening in front of your eyes, children playing football, the snarled-up traffic, cruises on the river Nile etc.
5) Enjoy the traditional dance
The dancers convey a message through their art, which you have to decipher in your mind as and when the dance unfolds. This show is always houseful with theater completely packed and people (even me) sit down on the floor. This traditional dance will leave you speechless, with your eyes popping out of your head, the mouth wide open and just one question running into your mind, “How did they do this?” Also, if you wish to see this (I surely recommend), inquire beforehand about the days & timings. Ask for Wekalet-El-Gohry near Khan-el-khalili market !
6) Lose yourself into the history of Mohammed Ali Citadel
Sit inside for a while and feel calmness overtake all the worries. Built between 1828 and 1848 in memory of Tusun Pasha, this ancient architecture will enlighten about the Egyptian history and you’ll be amazed about this marvelous creation of the mosque. However, make sure to cover the knees and shoulders before going inside. Mohammed Ali Citadel/mosque.
7) Chill at Mokattam
Want to do something at night without burning a hole in your pocket? head to Mokattam. Even in the burning summers, the weather on this hill is chilly. Grab a chair, order something to eat and take in the night view of this city and enjoy the chills.
8) Watch different shades of sunset at Al-Azhar Park
Surrounded by beautiful sight of sunset, greenery and people. Al-azhar park is good platform for observing the mixture of nature with humans. In between all the trees and sunset, observe the children playing, Families gathered for a picnic, Newly-weds getting their photo-shoot done, some people exercising etc. There’s some kind of fun in just doing nothing and observing the surroundings.
9) Spend time with the mummies at the Egyptian Museum
Yes, that’s right. The mummies are inside this museum sleeping in peace while people search for them inside the pyramids. Those mummies are relocated to this museum in-order to preserve them from time-to-time. Unfortunately camera isn’t allowed inside, everything inside here is neatly labeled to give you enough historic information about the Egyptian culture.
10) Dance the night away on Falouka
What do you think about dancing on a boat, while it sails on the river Nile? That’s exactly what falouka is. Put on music, loose yourself and dance like no one is watching.
Important Points for Cairo :
- If you’re a student, make sure you have an International Student Id card as it reduces the entry fee to many places by 50%
- Be aware of the taxi drivers as they try to extract more money from you
- Avoid traveling to public places during Ramadan endings.
- If you go to a cafe and do not place any order, you still have to pay a minimum seating fee. So go to a cafe only when you want to eat/drink.
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