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Best things to do in Cairo

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Where in the world: Africa  /  Egypt  /  Cairo Governorate  /  Cairo

Top 15 things to do in Cairo

1. The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities

Ancient history at its best, The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities boasts a collection notable for its standout pieces and, with a total of around 120,000 pieces, for its depth. First timers will want to see the Gold Mask of Tutankhamen, the young ruler's funerary mask, discovered in 1925 and perhaps the most iconic of the museum's artifacts. The ground floor displays a wealth of coins and papyrus fragments, while up on the first floor you'll find most of the findings from the Valley of the Kings.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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2. Safaris

Suggested duration: 4h 30 min
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3. Pyramids of Giza, Giza

The last of the original Seven Wonders of the World, Pyramids of Giza include a complex of World Heritage-listed ancient monuments, including the Great Pyramid. Dating back to around 2560 BCE, the pyramids were built by thousands of workers under the command of successive pharaohs, with teams of men carving millions of stone blocks at nearby quarries, transporting them to the site, then lifting them into position. The pyramids were used as tombs for the pharaohs, with interior temples, chambers, and galleries filled with offerings. The three main pyramids testify to the power of the pharaohs and the ingenuity of the ancient Egyptians--they have also inspired countless artists, architects, and rulers since their construction.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
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4. Khan Al-Khalili

Soak up the atmosphere and pick out a souvenir at Khan Al-Khalili, a historic souk built in the 14th century. With a maze-like layout and artfully arranged shop fronts and stalls, the market caters largely to international tourists these days. Some areas, such as the gold and spice-selling districts, remain seemingly unchanged, with countless merchants all located close to one another, creating a striking visual effect and lending itself well to photography.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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5. Off-Road Tours

Suggested duration: 4 hours
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6. Saqqara (Sakkara) Pyramids, Saqqara

A World Heritage Site, Saqqara (Sakkara) Pyramids once provided the final resting place for the pharaohs and nobles of Memphis. The ensemble of pyramids and mastabas (tombs made of mud bricks) covers a huge area of the desert--this site was used as a burial ground for around 3,000 years. The main structures include the Pyramid of Djoser, constructed by the royal architect Imhotep--it's possibly the oldest intact stone building in the world.
Suggested duration: 4h 30 min
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7. Great Sphinx, Giza

Undeniably one of the most iconic structures of the ancient world, Great Sphinx, a monumental sculpture depicting the mythical creature with the body of a lion and a human head, continues to overlook the surrounding landscape with a discerning gaze. Carved out of the bedrock, also used for the building of the nearby pyramids, the structure is 73 m (238 ft) long and 20.21 m (66.3 ft) high, measurements that make it one of the largest statues in the world. Most modern scholars believe it was built around 2500 BCE, with the face modeled on the pharaoh Khafra, whose tomb, the second pyramid of Giza, lies close by on the plateau.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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8. Islamic Cairo

Walk down the historic streets of Islamic Cairo, an atmospheric district of mosques, madrasas, merchant houses, and fountains that together form part of a World Heritage Site. Retaining many of its traditional buildings, the area stands in contrast to the modern sections of the city and the suburbs that surround it, with medieval landmarks and historic places of pilgrimage topping most sightseeing tours. Despite its storied sites and standout buildings, the district remains a place of everyday life, with a bustling market and a number of traditional teahouses and restaurants frequented by locals.
Suggested duration: 6 hours
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9. Coptic Cairo

See a number of traditional churches belonging to the largest Christian community in the Middle East at Coptic Cairo, a historic part of town with many storied religious sites. The area has been of vital significance to the Copts, the largest Christian denomination in the region, who have built Orthodox churches here since the 4th century CE. Believed to have been visited by Jesus, Mary, and Joseph as they fled to Egypt, the neighborhood today draws scores of pilgrims. Take a tour of the main churches and head to the local museum to gain a better understanding of the history of the group, and how they came to thrive in the area.
Suggested duration: 6 hours
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10. Mosque of Muhammad Ali

Gaze up at the striking array of domes and minarets that make Mosque of Muhammad Ali an imposing and ornate place of worship. Constructed on orders of Mohamed Ali Pasha between 1830 and 1848, the mosque stands atop a hill and features a 52 m (170 ft) high central dome and twin minarets visible from many points around the capital. Head inside the landmark building to admire its ornately decorated cupola and minbar (pulpit), and visit the tomb of Mohamed Ali Pasha.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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11. Giza Plateau, Giza

Home to some of the most important and iconic structures created by man, Giza Plateau encompasses a barren area of sandy desert with the three Pyramids of Giza, now a World Heritage Site, as well as the enigmatic Great Sphinx sculpture. Take in the scale and historical importance of the main structures, either from the outside or on a tour of one of the pyramids' interiors. The tallest and oldest of the pyramids, the Great Pyramid of Giza, stands as the last intact of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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13. Al-Azhar Park

Take in the history and scenery of Al-Azhar Park, a large public space that offers relaxing grounds and cultural intrigue right in the heart of the city. The result of a major redevelopment and archaeological project, the 30 hectare (74 acre) park opened in 2005 with a collection of landscaped gardens arranged in an array of different regional styles, plus renovated 12th-century walls and medieval mosques. Restaurants and cafes serve local delights next to the main water features, and the hills afford attractive views of the citadel.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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14. Nile River

The lifeblood of ancient civilizations and modern Egypt, Nile River served as the source and inspiration behind many agricultural revolutions, technological innovations, cultural traditions, and works of art. Head down the river as part of a cruise, stopping off to see ancient monuments and storied settlements, all owing their existence to the flooding banks of the mighty waterway. The longest river in the world, this body of water is 6,853 km (4,258 mi) long, flowing through 11 countries.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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15. Photography Tours

Suggested duration: 8 hours
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