Wandering around sightseeing in Cairo Egypt.
Touring and sightseeing in Cairo including The Citradel, Coptic Cairo, Islamic Cairo and The Northern Cemetery.
The following information assumes touring and visiting around Cairo for independent travellers rather than for tour groups since the latter are always (well should always) be fully organised about getting from a to b etc..
(Any prices mentioned will have probably already changed - upwards of course!).
These Cairo touring guides were created from trips to Egypt before the present disruption - care and proper advice
(and perhaps the use of a local guide?) should be considered before wandering around some of these areas of Cairo.
Visiting the interesting area within Coptic Cairo (Old Cairo).
Coptic Cairo is of course the oldest part of the city and is located within the old walls of Babylon in the South and not far from the River Nile. The nearest metro station
is Mari Girgis or a taxi will drop you near the entrance on Sharia Mar Girgis - the area is controlled by police barriers so no traffic is normally allowed inside.
The only entrance fees applicable are for the museum otherwise you are free to wander around where you wish. The area inside is very interesting to wander around with it's narrow sunken streets especially where the churches are
located - churches etc. to look at include the Convent of St George, the Church of St. Sergius, Church of St Barbara and the Ben Ezra Synagogue.
To the back of the area are two old cemeteries - one is Greek Orthodox and the other Catholic. Further along the main road is the huge Church of St George and just past that
there are remains of Roman Towers and the entrance to the Coptic Museum - then a little further along from the museum is the Hanging Church of the Virgin Mary.
Looking round Tulun Mosque in Cairo, Egypt.
The huge Mosque of Tulun is possibly the oldest mosque in Cairo which remains in it's originally constructed form -
it was built for Ahmad ibn Tulun between 876 and 879 AD. Tulun Mosque's minaret is quite unique because of it's spiral staircase - the minaret is entered from
the inner courtyard. From the top of the minaret you get some brilliant views of the City including The Citadel and also of the Mosque of Sultan Hassan and
Mosque of ar-Rifai. Open 0800 to 1700 daily, entry is free however a donation box does expect to be given something to eat!.
Be aware that Tulun Mosque is regularly used for prayers so visitors may have to wait a short while - there is no need to remove footwear as covers are provided.
Visiting The Citadel in Cair, Egypt - with Photos.
Cairo Citadel (Al-Qalaa) was built in 1176 by Salah ad-Din (aka Saladin) and is a hugely popular tourist spot located in the South East - note that there is only
one entrance and this is just off the ring road. The only realistic way to get there is by taxi which for instance from Downtown at the time of our visit cost about LE25 to 30. If
you don't mind a little walking then get a taxi to Ibn Tulun Mosque and have a look round it, then walk on up towards the visible Citadel to reach Maidan Salah ad Din roundabout where there
are two large Mosques to visit - Mosque of Sultan Hassan and Mosque of ar-Rifai. Both of these Mosques are open to visitors apart from prayer times and both do have entrance fees which seems incredible for places of worship.
With the walls of the Citadel in front of the Mosques walk anti-clockwise up the road to reach the ring road and then left to reach the entrance to The Citadel. The Citadel is
open daily apart from religious holidays but can also be closed for short periods at prayer times - the entrance fee at the time was LE50. Having looked round - which
does take some time you can easily find a taxi to take you back Downtown or wherever so if you got there by taxi there is no need to retain it.
The City of the Dead and visiting the Northern Cemeteries - Cairo, Egypt.
We had intended taking a bit of a look round the City of the Dead which is
located on the South East edge of Cairo i.e. fairly near to The Citadel. However having driven past it on our way to visit The Citadel the area looked
exceedingly dirty and did not look too inviting - not even very safe - so we decided to give it a miss. Should you decide to look round the City of the Dead perhaps a good idea would be to enlist the services of a local guide.
Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, Egypt - excellent Cairo gardens.
If you have been visiting the Northern Cemeter it is only a quick (although a somewhat hazardous) jay-walk across the 6 lane Cairo ring road to visit the beautiful
gardens at Al-Azhar Park
. These gardens are anyway most certainly worth a visit in their own right - offering lovely views (smog permitting) across Cairo's rooftops. There are lots of water
features including small fountains which children (and adults..) enjoy messing around in and a large flower and shrub surrounded lake. The gardens have plenty of seating available
so you might want to take some food and have a picnic break from sightseeing. Perhaps best of all tyey offer probably the best fresh air available in Cairo.
Touring round some of the mosques within Islamic Cairo in Egypt.
A walk from Maidan Salah Ad-Din roundabout (near the Mosques of Sultan Hassan and ar-Rifai) to the Northern Gate (Bab-al-Futuh). This is a
nice way to enjoy some of the old parts of Cairo with it's numerous houses, mosques as well as various market areas - although not that long a distance it does take a while as there is plenty to see. From the roundabout take the road which goes up the hill between the Closed Gates to the Citadel (Bab-al Azab) and the Mosque of Mahmudiyya (don't be put off by the initial scruffy area you are walking through - things improve) then a short distance up hill
go left and along Shari Bab al-Wazir road.
This takes you past Khayrbak Mosque and Complex and the Mosque of Aysunqur (The Blue Mosque). The Blue Mosque was built in 1347 and when we visited was being re-furbished and officially not open to the public however if you sort of "hover" someone might approach you and show you round for a little sweetener). The interest along this route is not only the old mosques but also the old
houses with their wooden balconies etc. - also just looking at the various workshops. When you reach a junction by the Mosque of Sultan Mu'ayyad Shaykh turn right along Shari al-Mu'izz street - now entering market areas. Eventually arrivinging at a main road (Shari al-Azhar) which you cross via a footbridge and then enter further market areas.
Looking at The Nile Delta Barrage - North Cairo at Qanatir, Egypt.
The Delta Barrage has a beautiful bridge (pedestrians, horses and mopeds only) and three
beautifully designed "gates" which look like they should belong to a castle. At one end of the Barrage there are also several old river locks. If you have plenty of time you
can take a boat trip from Zamalek to the Barrage and back but this does take many hours - an alternative is to just hire and retain a black and white for the trip - typical cost
when we went was around LE40. (You need to retain the taxi for the return trip as there are not noticeably that many taxis around at Assiut and the tuk-tuk's seemed to be local journey only - remember it's around 16kms from Downtown Cairo.
- These are some of our items about Egypt which may be of interest:
- Cairo Travel, Holiday, Sightseeing and Photos Guide
- Generally visiting Cairo, the airport, taxis, getting around and sightseeing, staying alive on the roads, eating in Cairo.
- Day trip to look at the Egyptian Pyramids at Giza and Saqqara
- Visiting Giza and Saqqara Pyramids: Great Pyramid, Queens Pyramid, Mycerinus, Chephren, Cheops Pyramids, Memphis.
- Visiting Wadi El Natrun Monasteries in Northern Egypt
- Touring Deir Anba Bishoi, Deir el-Baramus and Deir al-Suryani Monasteries at Wadi el Natrun in Egypt - Photos.
- Aswan Touring and Holiday Guide and Photos
- Visiting The southern Nile City of Aswan in Egypt - travelling to Aswan, hotels, restaurants, markets, things to do.
- Luxor Egypt Holiday and Sightseeing Guide and Photos
- Luxor is the starting point to see some of the world's most amazing archaeological sites and lots to see.
- Egypt touring and travel guides and Photos Our Home Page - shows all of our topics about Egypt.
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