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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Top 8 things to do in Cairo

One of the main landmarks in Cairo is the Mosque of Muhammad Ali or the Albaster Mosque. The mosque situated atop the citadel was built in the memory of Tusun Pasha, the oldest son of Muhammad Ali. The mosque has a large central dome and four small circular domes which are surrounded by four semi-circular domes. There are 2 minarets built in the Turkish style. The mosque was built with limestone but some parts of it are tiled with Albaster and hence it is often referred to as the Albaster Mosque.



With around 1.2 lakh items, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo is the largest museum in Egypt. It is also called as the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. Not all items are on display though because of the lack of space. A new museum big enough to house all the items is currently being built. The current museum is located in Tahir Square. The current museum has two floors with the lower floor mainly for the large statues while the upper floor has the smaller items like jewellery, weapons, small statues and the mummies.



Old Cairo is that part of Cairo which contains the remnants of old cities that were capitals before Cairo. This part of the city is home to many tourist attractions like the Hanging Church(El Muallaqa), the Coptic Museum and the remains of an old Roman Fortress.


A place not to be missed while in Cairo are the Pyramids. Though it tends to get too crowded and over-touristy, it is not be missed because of its grandeur. Its amazing how these amazing structures were built back in those days. If you happen to visit it in the evening, you can enjoy the Sound and Light show.


A mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human, Sphinx has always been a fascination to me. And on our recent visit to Egypt, had the chance to see the Great Sphinx of Giza. Although there are many sphinxes in Egypt, the most famous and most visited I think is the Great Sphinx of Giza.

The Stepped Pyramid or the Pyramid of Djoser is located in the Saqqara necropolis. The pyramid was built in 2630 BC by Imhotep for the Pharaoh - Djoser. Imhotep was the chancellor during the reign of King Djoser and was the one who designed the pyramid earning him the honour of being the first architect in early history.


Done with the sightseeing and ready for some retail therapy? It is your turn to head to the Mall of Arabia, which is a huge shopping mall with a diverse selection of stores for all your shopping needs. It is called the largest mall in Cairo for a reason - it's huge and the mall is only half-way constructed. A must visit if you like shopping and eating out. You can do your shopping and grab your meal in one of the many restaurants in the open courtyard. Overall, its a modern happening mall with something for everyone's tastes. Do visit it.



And if you like traditional markets more then head to the Khan el-Khalili market, which will transport you to an era back in time. Located in the heart of Islamic Cairo, this open air market is always busy, lively and very colourful. It is the best place to pick up souvenirs, jewellery, traditional clothing or perfumes. Crowd and chaos are its trademarks and you will be hassled everywhere you go. The shopkeeprs will try to lure you into their shops and be aware that they do not give up easily. Bargaining is like a game - you vs the shopkeeper. Enjoy it and make a deal which will leave both of you happy.


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