Place Cairo

Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world. The Greater Cairo metropolitan area, with a population of 21.3 million, is the largest urban agglomeration in Africa, the largest in the Arab world and the Middle East, and the sixth-largest in the world by population. Cairo is associated with ancient Egypt, as the Giza pyramid complex and the ancient cities of Memphis and Heliopolis are located in its geographical area. Located near the Nile Delta, the city first developed as Fustat, a settlement founded after the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 640 next to an existing ancient Roman fortress, Babylon. Under the Fatimid dynasty a new city, al-Qāhirah, was founded nearby in 969. It later superseded Fustat as the main urban centre during the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods . Cairo has long been a centre of the region’s political and cultural life, and is titled “the city of a thousand minarets” for its preponderance of Islamic architecture. Cairo’s historic center was awarded World Heritage Site-status in 1979. Cairo is considered a World City with a “Beta +” classification according to GaWC.Today, Cairo has the oldest and largest cinema and music industry in the Arab World, as well as the world’s second-oldest institution of higher learning, Al-Azhar University. Many international media, businesses, and organizations have regional headquarters in the city; the Arab League has had its headquarters in Cairo for most of its existence.

Keep track of the places you have been, log in.
Atlas Obscura 2017
The World’s Oldest Pyramid

The ancient Pyramid of Djoser is often overshadowed by Egypt's most famous monuments.

World Heritage Site 1979
Memphis and its Necropolis – the Pyramid Fields from Giza to Dahshur

The capital of the Old Kingdom of Egypt has some extraordinary funerary monuments, including rock tombs, ornate mastabas, temples and pyramids. In ancient times, the site was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

World Heritage Site 1979
Historic Cairo

Tucked away amid the modern urban area of Cairo lies one of the world’s oldest Islamic cities, with its famous mosques, madrasas, hammams and fountains. Founded in the 10th century, it became the new centre of the Islamic world, reaching its golden age …

Atlas Obscura 2018
Cairo’s Unique Andalusian Garden

A preserved oasis with traditional architecture and beautiful views of the Nile.

Atlas Obscura 2019
The Hanging Church

Discover The Hanging Church in Cairo, Egypt: Standing atop 2nd-century Roman ruins, this church is one of the oldest and most iconic in Old Cairo.

Atlas Obscura 2018
Baron Empain Palace

Discover Baron Empain Palace in El-Montaza, Egypt: Located near Cairo's El Korba district, the abandoned mansion continues to inspire mystery and rumor throughout the city.

Post 2020
In Cairo, Artists Use Pixels, Cyborgs, and More to Examine Technology and Belief
Atlas Obscura 2017
Nilometer: This Ancient Instrument Measured the Waters of the Nile

The nilometer was invented about 5,000 years so Egyptian farmers would know whether to expect famine or flood.

Atlas Obscura 2020
Citadel of Saladin

Discover Citadel of Saladin in Cairo, Egypt: The medieval center of the Islamic world was also once the seat of Saladin's sultanate.

Library of the Greek Campus, American University of Cairo