Islamic Cairo bustles with energy, a variety of sights, and a cacophony of sounds. Although it’s just one section of the city, Islamic Cairo offers a multitude of unique sites and activities. If you’re spending the day there, the following places can’t be passed up.
Saladin’s Citadel is hard to miss. The fortress is located on top of a hill on the outskirts of the city, and offers one of my favorite views of Cairo. Not only is the view great, but visitors can also tour the ornate interior of the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. The Citadel also includes several museums such as the Carriage Museum and the Egyptian Military Museum. You can also find various retired military aircraft scattered around the campus.
Al-Azhar Park is located near the Citadel, so it makes sense to visit them both in the same day. This park is the largest green space in Cairo with ponds, beautiful gardens, and plenty of walking trails. The people watching is also great. It’s fun to see all the families who spend the afternoon with each other. The hill offers the perfect place to watch the sunset over the city. The entire sky turns orange, and seeing all the lights in the city come on is an almost magical experience.
Bab Zuweila is one of the Old City’s few remaining gates. The structure also features plenty of information (in English) about its creation and Cairo’s history. You can walk around on the roof and take in the surrounding rooftops. For those not afraid of heights, you can also climb the two minarets to get an even better view of the surrounding city.
Khan el Khalili
No visit to Cairo is complete without a trip to Khan el Khalili, the most famous souk, or market, in the city. The streets are crowded, and the constant noise is all part of the experience. You can find everything from carpets to jewelry to kitchy pyramid figurines. Don’t be afraid to try your hand at haggling.
If you need a rest from your shopping, El Fishawy is the best cafe there. Their turkish coffee and mint tea can’t be missed.
When you visit Egypt, you must spend a day exploring Islamic Cairo. Whether you’re interested in visiting dated mosques, shopping for souvenirs, or relaxing in the nicest garden in the city, Islamic Cairo has something for you.