The capital city of Egypt, Cairo is located along the River Nile and covers about 40 km of area from north to south. The city is commonly known as the 'Mother of All Cities' among the people. Al Qahirah is yet another name of Cairo. Besides being the capital city, Cairo happens to be the largest city in the whole of Africa and Middle East. It is about 2000 year old and is a confluence of Christian Coptic, Islamic and Jewish cultures.
The strategic location of Cairo conveniently connects it to the three major continents of Africa, Asia and Europe. The city is significant as River Nile gets bifurcated into its two distributaries here, namely, Rosetta and Damietta.
Memphis and Saqqara
Memphis is the oldest capital of Egypt and is nestled about 24km from the city of Cairo in Al Badrasheen. It was built by Emperor Menes. A popular limestone statue called the Statue of Ramses II is housed in the museum at Memphis. The weight of this statue is 120 tons and it is about 13 meters long. The Temple for Embalming the Sacred Apis Bull is another edifice of interest to be seen here.
Located near to Memphis and southwest of Cairo is Saqqara, which is an ancient cemetery in Egypt. It lies on a desert plateau. Famous worldwide for its Step Pyramid, Saqqara is one of the top destinations in Egypt. It was constructed by Imhotep in honor of Emperor Zoser. Some other well known monuments nearby include Pyramids of Unas (of the Fifth Dynasty Pharaohs), the Serapeum, the Greek Philosophers Circle, the Mastabas of Ptah-Hotep and Mereruka; and the Tomb of Ti.
The old city of Cairo is the hub of most of the churches. These churches are situated near the ruins of Fortress of Babylon. Some of the popular churches in Cairo include Church of Abu Sefein (St Macarius), the Al-Muaallaqah (Hanging) Church, Church of Mari Guirguis (St George), Church of Sitt Barbara (St Barbara), Church of Abu Sergah (St Sergius), Church of Abu Mina (St Mena), Church of the Virgin in Zaytoun, Church of Al-Adra (The Virgin) and The Cathedral of Al-Qiddis Morcos (St Mark).
Some of the well known mosques in Cairo that could be visited are Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun, the Mosque of Amr Ibn Al-Aas (Al-Fustat), Mosque of Al-Moayyed, Al-Azhar Mosque, the Blue Mosque, Mosque of Sultan Hassan, Al-Refai Mosque, and Alabaster Mosque of Mohammed Ali.
Some other Islamic places of interest are House of Gamal-Al-Din Al-Dhahabi, the Fortress of Salah-Al-Din (Saladin), the Museum of Islamic Art (Bab Al-Khalq) and House of Gamal-Al-Din Al-Dhahabi.