Facts about Cairo

We found 16 facts about Cairo

The city of a thousand minarets

Settlements in the area around today’s Cairo existed over five thousand years ago. Over the years, the city’s surroundings passed from hand to hand—from Pharaohs, through the Roman Empire, and many Arab dynasties, to the British. In 1517, the city fell under the influence of the Ottoman Empire, has been briefly occupied by the French since 1798, and returned to the Ottomans in 1804. Although the Turks officially ruled over Egypt until 1914, the country fell under the influence of Great Britain. Since then, Cairo has developed its luxury districts, utility buildings, and railway networks.

Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the country.
Over 10 million people inhabit Cairo and approximately 21,3 million live in the metropolitan area. It is the largest agglomeration in Africa.
The capital of Ancient Egypt, Memphis, was located near Cairo.
The city was founded before the 31st century B.C. and was abandoned in the 7th century AD after the Arabic invasion. A new administration center was established in the nearby city of Fustat. After being passed from hand to hand, the city eventually burned down. The order came from the vizier Shawar ibn Mujir al-Sa’di. During the siege by the crusaders under the command of King Amalric I of Jerusalem, he evacuated inhabitants and ordered his men to burn the city completely. Nowadays, the oldest district of Cairo—Old Cairo—is located on the ruins of Fustat.
Cairo was founded in 969 after the conquest of Fustat by the Fatimid Caliphate.
Originally, it was called al-Manṣūriyyah, and was erected northeast of Fustat by order of Fatmid general Al-Qaid Jawhar ibn Abdallah. The construction of a new settlement took about four years, after which it became the new capital of the Fatmid Caliphate. After caliph Al-Mu’izz visited the city, he changed its name to Qāhirat al-Mu’izz. It is where the current name—Cairo—derives from. The Fatmid dynasty descended from the son of Fatma—Muhammad’s daughter—and ruled Egypt until mid-September, 1171.
Cairo is a fast-developing city.
Approximately 20% of the city’s buildings are less than 15 years old.
The Citadel of Cairo, also known as the Citadel of Saladin, is one of the most prominent tourist attractions.
Sultan Saladin (Salah ad-Din) started its construction in 1176 to protect the city from the Crusaders. Finished in 1183, it was the seat of the Egyptian government for 666 years, until 1849. Between 1830 and 1848, an Albanian Ottoman governor, Muhammad Ali of Egypt and the Sudan commissioned the Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha on the site of the Citadel. Nowadays, it is one of the landmarks of Cairo.
Near Cairo lies the city of Giza, mostly known for its pyramid complex, dating back 4,500 years.
Giza is the third largest city in Egypt. It houses the most prominent Egyptian attractions—the Giza Necropolis: the Great Pyramid of Giza, the pyramid of Chephren, the pyramid Menkaure, and the Great Sphinx of Giza. Currently, it is also a construction site for the Great Egyptian Museum. The building was supposed to be commissioned by 2018, but is still under construction. The completion has been delayed until the end of 2022.
Tahrir Square is the main square of Cairo.
It covers about eight square kilometers. In its vicinity, you will find government buildings, the headquarters of the Arab League, the Umar Makram Mosque, the Goethe-Institut, and the Egyptian Museum. The square was the site of many riots, both peaceful and bloody, including the anti-Mubarak Million-Man March in 2011. It also suffered from several bomb attacks by Islamic organizations, carried out in 1993, 1997, and 2005.
The Egyptian Museum is home to about 160,000 exhibits.
It is the oldest archeological museum in the Middle East, in a neoclassical building that opened on November 15th, 1920. Its collection comprises Pharaonic antiquities, where royal mummies, statues of pharaohs and their wives, Egyptian deities, or items found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun, including his golden mask, can be admired.
On October 21st, 2007, the bust of Professor Kazimierz Michałowski was unveiled in the gardens of the Egyptian Museum.
He was a prominent Polish Egyptologist, the founder of the Polish school of Mediterranean archeology, the discoverer of the mortuary temple of Totemes III, and the traces of the activity of the Roman Empire in Egypt. He was also a leader of an international committee of experts overseeing the transfer of the temples of Ramesses II because of the risk of flooding by Lake Nasser.
During the anti-presidential riots of 2011, there was a series of break-ins into the Egyptian Museum.
Thieves looted and damaged many of the ancient exhibits.
Throughout its history, the city has fallen victim to the Plague over fifty times.
The outbreaks of the Black Death took place between 1348 and 1517. The initial one was the most severe and claimed the lives of around 200,000 people. According to Moroccan traveler Ibn Battuta, there were 21,000 deaths a day during the 1348 epidemic.
One of the city’s most popular attractions is the Khan el-Khalili bazaar.
It was established as a trading center in 1382 during the rule of sultan Barquq. Erected at the ruins of the Fatimid mausoleum (Turbat az-Za’faraan) by his Master of Stables, Jaharkas al-Khalili, it has significantly grown over the years to become the most important trading post in the Middle East. It covers 5,000 square meters and is basically a separate district full of shops, stalls, cafes, and restaurants.
The Al-Azhar Mosque is said to be the most renowned educational institution in Sunni Islam.
It is one of the oldest and most important in the Arab world. Its construction began shortly after the Fatimids gained influence, and lasted from April 4th, 970 to June 22nd, 972. At Soon after the building was finished, it housed a madrasa—a Muslim school of theology. It taught Islamic law, philosophy, Arabic grammar, astronomy, logic, and fiqh—Muslim law. During Saladin’s reign, the curriculum was extended to include medicine. After the occupation of Egypt by the Turks, it gained international fame and became the major institution of the science of Sunni Islam. Its rank was raised in 1961 when it was officially recognized as a university. Currently, a number of secular subjects are taught there—economic sciences, medicine, pharmacy, engineering, and agricultural sciences.
Cairo is the 37th most popular tourist destination.
In 2019, it was visited by 6,81 million tourists, more than half of all visitors to Egypt.
The Greater Cairo Area is the largest metropolitan area in Africa and the 6th largest in the world.
It comprises Cairo, Giza, Heluan, Imbaba, and Shubrā al-Khaimah. Roughly 60% of all Egypt’s illegally constructed buildings are in the Greater Cairo Area.
The Cairo Metro has three operational lines.
It was the first rapid transit system in the Arab world. Construction plans date back to the 1930s, but it was not until 1982 that the construction could be started. The first line was launched in 1987, and the last in 2012. The metro is constantly being expanded. Further expansion plans include another three lines scheduled to be launched by 2032. Such investment is very expensive, so it is possible that the completion date will be postponed for several years.
Hungry for more facts?

Similar topics

17 facts about Nile river
17 facts about Nile river
The cradle of ancient North African civilizations
Thanks to its annual floods, the Nile became the lifeblood of many Egyptian peoples long before the rise of ancient Egypt. For a long time, people hav ...
23 facts about Great Pyramid of Giza
23 facts about Great Pyramid of Giza
Pyramid of Khufu
It was built by the sweat of a hundred (or three hundred and twenty) thousand workers, an unimaginable engineering and logistical task. Granite blocks ...
19 facts about Congo River
19 facts about Congo River
The second longest river in Africa
Formerly known as the Zaire River, the Congo River is the second longest in Africa. It is home to Africa’s diverse and unique wildlife, and because of ...
20 facts about Axum Empire
20 facts about Axum Empire
One of the most advanced ancient civilizations
The Axum Empire was one of the most remarkable powers of the ancient world. Located in the northern part of modern Ethiopia and Eritrea, it once domin ...
21 facts about Mali Empire
21 facts about Mali Empire
The medieval state of the Mandé peoples
The origins of Mali's empire date back to the early 13th century, when the country's first ruler won a victory at the Battle of Kuolikoro and took con ...
19 facts about Lake Victoria
19 facts about Lake Victoria
The world's largest tropical lake
Lake Victoria is the largest lake in Africa and the largest tropical lake in the world. Its waters are inhabited by hippos, otters, crocodiles and tur ...
14 facts about dik-dik
14 facts about dik-dik
Hare-sized antelope
Dik-dik is one of the smallest antelopes living in eastern and southern Africa. It is characterized by skittish nature and fast-paced movement. Dik-di ...
33 facts about Turkey
33 facts about Turkey
A picturesque country of two continents
The Republic of Turkey is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. It brings joy with picturesque beaches, mild climate, delicious c ...

Latest topics

20 facts about beer
20 facts about beer
World’s third most popular beverage
It is one of the oldest alcoholic beverages produced. The first archaeological evidence of brewing dates back 13,000 years ago from the territory of I ...
15 facts about StarCraft
15 facts about StarCraft
The computer game classic of the 1990s
For gamers whose childhood and early youth were in the 1990s, StarCraft can evoke nostalgia. This already classic title lived to see a sequel in 2010, ...
12 facts about capybaras
12 facts about capybaras
The world’s largest rodent and social media star
The capybara, the largest rodent known to us today, is an animal with a very pleasant disposition and appearance, living both an aquatic and terrestri ...
20 facts about Amazon River
20 facts about Amazon River
Its basin covers nearly half of South America
In the year 1500, European explorers stumbled upon one of the most remarkable wonders on the planet: the amazing Amazon River. This majestic waterway ...
13 facts about churro
13 facts about churro
A dessert worth the sin
Churros are known to all lovers of Spanish and Latin American cuisine, but few may realize that their genesis, in all likelihood, took place in the Fa ...
29 facts about Colorado
29 facts about Colorado
Centennial State
Colorado is one of the larger American states, bordered by longitude and latitude. The state is famous for its varied landscape of mountains, forests, ...
18 facts about Roland Garros
18 facts about Roland Garros
French pioneer of aviation who played tennis only a few times in his life
Roland Garros was a French aviator who played an important role in the history of aviation. He began his aviation career in 1909 and achieved many aer ...
24 facts about Sri Lanka
24 facts about Sri Lanka
The “Land of Smiles”
Sri Lanka is an island country in the Indian Ocean. Previously, until 1972, both the country and the island on which it lies were known to the world a ...

Similar topics