While many travel to Luxor and Aswan to experience ancient Egyptian civilization and others turn to Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada for some Red Sea diving and snorkeling, the historic city of Cairo has histroically been a popular stop on any vacation. One must only learn to navigate through Egyptian traffic to take a trip through history, as the city now houses around 18 million inhabitants and was recently ranked number one on the list of cities that never sleep.

Cairo is home to the Great Pyramids of Giza (Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure) and the Sphinx, the step pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara and the Red and Bent Pyramids at Dahshur. Many have enjoyed taking a camel or a horse ride from there through the desert. It is then best to finish off the chapter of ancient Egyptian civilization with a visit to the Egyptian Museum in the heart of Cairo, as it displays statues, weapons, jewelry (also Tutankhamun’s gold belongings), daily items and mummies of common ancient Egyptians and royal pharaohs.

One can then move through history by taking a trip through Old Cairo, in which Coptic, Jewish and Islamic history can be observed. There one can visit the Ben Ezra Synagogue, the 4th century Coptic Orthodox Hanging Church and 7th century Amr-ibn-el-As Mosque. Afterwards one can take a short taxi ride to the Saladin Citadel and the Azhar Park, a beautiful green area amidst urban Cairo. Close to the area is the Khan El-Khalili souq, a market that has existed for more than seven centuries back at the time of the Turkish ruling Mamluks. This is where one can buy the best souvenirs and enjoy some good Egyptian food. One can then end the historic trip with a stop at Tahrir Square (Liberation Square) which can be added as a must-see location after the demonstrations against President Mubarak and later Morsi.

Cairo, however, is not just beautiful for its history, but also for its atmosphere. So make sure not to forget to enjoy the city on a felouka (boat) ride through the world’s longest river, the Nile. One can then go to the island Zamalek to visit the Cairo Tower for a great view over the city and later on enjoy a nice dinner and Egyptian music by the river at night.

Sarrah Kassem