Cairo Abbreviations

Cairo

Few cities in the world are as divided as Cairo, where modern steel-and-glass buildings stand side-by-side with dilapidated rents that lack both walls and ceilings, and where you can see stock brokers in shiny Mercedes getting stuck in traffic jams caused by farmers with their donkey carts or camel flocks.

Many associate Cairo with the pyramids and believe that it is an old city, but it is not actually older than Oslo, around a thousand years. And it is no more than fifty years since Egypt became its first Egyptian leader since the Pharaohs, after two millennia under the rule of the colonial powers.

Cairo is in every way an intense city, which visitors tend to either love or dislike. With over 16 million inhabitants, all of whom seem to be trying to get your attention at once, the city is an attack on all senses. At times, Cairo appears as an inferno of impressions, but there are places where you can breathe and absorb the thousand experiences you have been bombarded with since arriving.

Get to know Cairo

If you are looking for a nice destination for a relaxing long weekend, thinking that Cairo is an ancient city with lots of culture and history and that can be an exotic version of Rome or Paris, think again. Yes, Cairo has many fascinating attractions, but this city is not designed for tourists. It is hardly enough for its own inhabitants. 20% of the city’s inhabitants live in slums. Here you will not find romantic sidewalk restaurants on picturesque cobblestone streets with street artists and troubadours. Cairo is overcrowded, polluted and infernally noisy. You will generally not be allowed to walk in peace, either on the streets or at the pyramids. Store owners will try to pull you into the shops without taking no for an answer, taxi drivers will drive slowly next to you while standing on the horn shouting Taxi! Taxi!Be prepared for self-proclaimed guides to suddenly walk beside you and tell you what you see (and then expect payment), while a flock of kids follow you just to see what you’re doing and where you’re going. At the pyramids, you will constantly be stopped by fierce hunters who will guide you around, hire you a camel, sell you a movie, sunscreen, cola or souvenirs. Many people find all this rather tiring and frustrating. But still, when you come home and look back on your trip, you will probably cherish the memories of some of the world’s most impressive monuments and buildings, and not regret a second on the journey.At the pyramids, you will constantly be stopped by fierce hunters who will guide you around, hire you a camel, sell you a movie, sunscreen, cola or souvenirs. Many people find all this rather tiring and frustrating. But still, when you come home and look back on your trip, you will probably cherish the memories of some of the world’s most impressive monuments and buildings, and not regret a second on the journey.At the pyramids, you will constantly be stopped by fierce hunters who will guide you around, hire you a camel, sell you a movie, sunscreen, cola or souvenirs. Many people find all this rather tiring and frustrating. But still, when you come home and look back on your trip, you will probably cherish the memories of some of the world’s most impressive monuments and buildings, and not regret a second on the journey.

If you’re still reading, you obviously think this sounds exciting and fascinating after all. Cairo is located on the Nile, a few kilometers from the legendary pyramids and the Sphinx at Giza, the city’s main tourist attraction. Throughout the centuries, Cairo has been ruled by Romans, Arabs from Iraq, Sunni Muslims, Turks, Frenchmen and Englishmen, all of whom have made their mark on the city. A natural city center is difficult to determine, here are many interconnected neighborhoods, so let’s start from the areas on the east side of Cairo’s lifeblood, the Nile. The areas west of the Nile mainly consist of post-war residential estates and are of little interest to visiting tourists.

Center of Cairo
What is usually considered the center is the area on the east side of the Nile, around the Egyptian Museum, from the Liberation Square ( Midan Tahrir ) and up to the Midan Talaat Harb. Here are the more modern shopping streets, hotels such as Nile Hilton, Ramses Hilton and Cosmopolitan, the American University and the bus station.

From this area, several bridges cross the Nile and you can easily walk across. In the middle of the Nile is the 2.5 km long Zamalek Island, which after the center is a quiet oasis with large greenery. This is where most of the embassies and diplomatic districts are located, as well as some of the larger hotels such as the Marriott and the Sheraton. If you get enough of the hustle, noise, and hustle and bustle, this could be the area for a welcome breath in the ground. The southern part of the island is called Gezira, where you will also find the Opera House, the Museum of Modern Art and the 185-meter-high Cairo Tower view tower.

Southern Cairo
To the south of the city center is Garden City, a very British-inspired area that was initially a British slave town while Egypt was under English rule until the 1950s. From here you can walk across the bridge to Manial, a green and pleasant area of ​​Rhoda Island, the other of the Nile’s larger inhabited islands. On Rhoda Island is the University Hospital and one of Cairo’s most visited buildings, the Manial Palace Museum. The palace is an architectural blend of many different styles, from Persian and Ottoman to Rococo and Syrian.

Even further south on the east side of the Nile you will find Cairo’s oldest districts. Behind high walls lies Coptic Cairo, the Christian part of the city, formerly called Babylon. There were at one time over twenty churches in the area. Of those that still exist, you will find the so-called Hanging Church from the 300s, and St Sergius Church, which is built on the site where Mary, Joseph and the Child of Jesus are supposed to have rested while fleeing Herod.

Fustat and Islamic Cairo
Just northeast of Coptic Cairo lies the district of Fustat, which can also trace its history back to a tent city for the Islamic army that had besieged Coptic Cairo in the year 640. Thousands of potters live here, and you will find Egypt oldest mosque here, Amr ibn al-As.

North of Fustat and east of the city center is the Islamic Cairo, which is an extreme contrast to the modern city center. This is almost a medieval town with old mosques, minarets, simple sandstone houses, narrow alleys with donkey carts, small market places with fragrant goods in wheelbarrows and a seemingly total absence of ATMs, McDonalds and neon signs. Here you will find what for hundreds of years was the center of power of Egypt, the Citadel, and the Grand Bazaar; Khan al-Khalili. Furthermore, you will find the Museum of Islamic Art, and the only remaining gate in the old southern city walls, Bab Zuweyla with its cruel history.

In Islamic Cairo, there are almost no main streets or downtown, and the area is large and labyrinthine, so bring water, patience and a street map if you are going around on your own. If you ask someone about the direction of an attraction, they may insist on following you all the way, for a fee.

Giza
On the western side of the Nile you will find mainly residential areas, but to the south is Giza, best known for the pyramids. Giza is currently a self-governing suburb of Cairo, but here is also Cairo’s 113-year-old zoo, which can be an unpleasant experience for pet lovers, as the park does not have the world’s best facilities for animals that do not belong in Egypt. Here you will also find the city’s only amusement park based in history, Dr Ragab’s Pharaonic Village, where the intention is to move two or three thousand years back in time. In addition, Cairo’s largest university is located here.

Facts about Cairo

Enormous Cairo is the capital and largest city of Egypt. Cairo offers a number of attractions, including the mandatory visit to the Pyramids in Giza.

Population

Around 9.5 million (2017)

Official languages

Arabic.

Control Form

Republic.

Religion

90% Muslim

Time Difference

Egypt is 1 hour ahead of Norway

Currency

Egyptian Pounds. At the time of writing, 100 kroner is about 210 Egyptian pounds. Credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard and Diners are accepted in most major locations such as hotels and restaurants. There are plenty of ATMs available.

Tips

Here you give tips to most for the most part! It can be in the restaurant, in the taxi, you ask for the road etc. You want to have a stack of 1 pound banknotes in your pocket. 1 pound lasts as a tip.

Embassy

The Norwegian Embassy is located at 8 El Gezirah Street on Zamalek. Tel: +20 2 27353340.

Tourist

Several. In Adly Street, at the airport, at the train station, at the pyramids, at the Manial Palace.

Telephone

20

Emergency

Police 122. Tourist police 126. Ambulance 123. Fire 125.

Electricity

220 volts, basically the same type of sockets as in Norway.

Holidays and Holidays

July 23 (Revolution Day), October 6 (Sinai Liberation Day)

Visa

Norwegian citizens need a visa to stay in Egypt. Visas can be applied for in advance from the Egyptian Embassy or Consulate, or purchased on arrival for $ 15. The passport must be valid for at least six months from entry.

vaccinations

No vaccines are required, but it is recommended to vaccinate against polio, tetanus, hepatitis A and TB.

Water

Can be drunk from the tap, but it does not taste good, and bottled water is cheap.

Nearest major cities

Alexandria, Port Said, Suez

Safety

There have been several terrorist attacks against tourists in Egypt in recent years, and new attacks cannot be ruled out.Violence and other crime are not major problems in Cairo, but do occur. It is important to take good care of valuables, and the hotel safe should be used.