Egypt - Cairo skyline and the River Nile

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!). Important : 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.

The Convent of St George - CairoChurch in Coptic Cairo, Egypt

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.

Cairo - Monastery of St George Part of Coptic Cairo's Cemetery The cemetery buildings are still occupied as dwellings as well - Cairo Egypt - Coptic Cairo Old City Walls - Coptic Cairo
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.
Coptic Cairo - Church of St. George One of the entrance gates into Coptic Cairo cemetery area The Hanging Church - Coptic Cairo, Egypt Cairo - The Hanging Church Very interesting ceiling and rafters at Cairo's Hanging Church
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.

Tulun Mosque Minaret, Cairo, Egypt.

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.
Ibn Tulun Mosque, Cairo, Egypt. Tulun Mosque rooftop - Egypt rooftop views from Tulun Mosque in Cairo Inside Tulun Mosque, Egypt Cairo Cairo - Tulun Mosque

Bab al Azab, Cairo, Egypt.Mohammed Ali Mosque, Cairo

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.
Bab al Gabal, Cairo, Egypt. Cairo's Mohammed Ali Mosque Fountain at Mohammed Ali Mosque in Cairo View of the interior of Mohammed Ali Mosque, Cairo, Egypt. Sultan Hassan and Rifal Mosques, Cairo, Egypt.
Several of the numerous mosques in Cairo Mosque of an-Nasr Mohammed, Cairo, Egypt. Military Museum, Cairo Old Gatling Gun seen at the Military Museum in Cairo The Garden Museum at the Citadel, Egypt
 Cairo - Burg Kirkilyan and Burg-al-Matar Suleyman Pasha Mosque, Cairo, Egypt. Beautiful ceiling of the Mosque of Suleiman Pasha in Cairo Suleiman Pasha Mosque, Cairo, Egypt. The Tomb of Sheikh Mohammed al Kahki, Cairo, Egypt.
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.

Cairo Northern CemeteryNorthern Cemetery, Cairo, Egypt.

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.

The Northern Cemetery, Cairo, Egypt Egypt Cairo, The Northern Cemetery Northern Cemetery, Cairo Northern Cemetery in Cairo Nicely shaped cenotaphs Northern Cemetery - Cairo
On the other hand the Northern Cemetery is perfectly fine and very interesting to wander around - it is located to the North East of The Citadel.
Northern Cemetery - Cairo Cairo's Northern Cemetery Northern Cemetery, Cairo, Egypt. Cairo - The Northern Cemetery Northern Cemetery, Cairo, Egypt.
There are quite a few mosques in the area with some particularly beautiful domes and minarets - within the cemetery itself there are many small cenotaphs which are really interesting to wander around. The Northern Cemetery is also home to quite a large number of people - it has been occupied as a dwelling area since the 1320s.
Northern Cemetery Graves - Cairo Northern Cemetery - Cairo Colourful graves at Cairo's Northern Cemetery Cairo, Northern Cemetery Northern Cemetery - Cairo, Egypt.

Al-Azhar Park in Cairo, Egypt - excellent Cairo gardens.

View over Cairo from Al-Azhar Park, Cairo, Egypt. 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.
Several streams run through the Park, Cairo, Egypt. Small fountains for playing in at Al-Azhar Park - Cairo Flowers everywhere at Al Azhar Park near The Citadel, Cairo One of Al Azhar Park water features, Cairo, Egypt. Large lake to sit around at Al Azhar Park, Cairo

the Mosque of Mahmudiyya, Cairo, Egypt.

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.
Khayer Bek Complex, Cairo, Egypt. Aqsunqur Mosque, Cairo Islamic area of Cairo Cairo trips and tours - Islamic Cairo Cairo - Egypt
Islamic Cairo 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.
Touring Islamic Cairo Egypt - Islamic Cairo Islamic Cairo tours Touring Egypt - Islamic Cairo Islamic Cairo - Egypt.
This area is quite popular with tourist coach parties and tours and has been nicely paved - although some market stalls are around mostly it comprises of shops. Having passed by several more large mosques you will arrive at the Northern Gate. Note: when we got to the Northern Gate we found it impossible to get a taxi - this was quite late in the afternoon and very very busy on the roads - we ended up walking quite a few kilometres towards Downtown before finding transport.

Looking at The Nile Delta Barrage - North Cairo at Qanatir, Egypt.

The Old Nile Barrage - North CairoThe 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.
One of the Barrage Gates on the Old Nile Barrage - Cairo, Egypt Another gate on the Barrage at Qanatir (North Cairo) Nile Barrage Gate (Old Barrage), Cairo, Egypt. Beautifully designed Gate on the Old Nile Barrage, Egypt Lock at the Nile Barrage - North Cairo
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