1. Cairo

Cairo is the capital of Egypt.

The city's metropolitan area is one of the largest in Africa, the largest in the Middle East and the Arab world, and the 15th-largest in the world, and is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area.

Located near the Nile Delta, modern Cairo was founded in 969 CE by the Fatimid dynasty, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo.

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 has the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Arab world, as well as the world's 2nd 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.

With a population of over 9 million spread over 3,085 square kilometres, Cairo is by far the largest city in Egypt. An additional 9.5 million inhabitants live in close proximity to the city.

Cairo, like many other megacities, suffers from high levels of pollution and traffic.

Cairo's metro, one of 2 in Africa (the other being in Algiers, Algeria), ranks among the 15 busiest in the world, with over 1 billion annual passenger rides.

The economy of Cairo was ranked first in the Middle East in 2005, and 43rd globally on Foreign Policy's 2010 Global Cities Index.

2. Etymology

Egyptians often refer to Cairo as Maṣr, the Egyptian Arabic name for Egypt itself, emphasizing the city's importance for the country.

Its official name al-Qāhirah  means "the Vanquisher" or "the Conqueror",

supposedly due to the fact that the planet Mars, an-Najm al-Qāhir (Arabic: "the Conquering Star"), was rising at the time when the city was founded,

possibly also in reference to the much awaited arrival of the Fatimid Caliph Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah  (932-975) who reached Cairo in 973 from Mahdia (al-Mahdīya, in Tunisia) , the old Fatimid capital.

The location of the ancient city of Heliopolis is the suburb of Ain Shams (Arabic: "Eye of the Sun").

3. Initial settlements

The area around present-day Cairo, especially Memphis that was the old capital of Egypt, had long been a focal point of Ancient Egypt due to its strategic location just upstream from the Nile Delta.

However, the origins of the modern city are generally traced back to a series of settlements in the 1st millennium:

Around the turn of the 4th century, as Memphis was continuing to decline in importance, the Romans established a fortress town along the east bank of the Nile:

This fortress, known as Babylon, was the nucleus of the Roman and then the Byzantine city and is the oldest structure in the city today:

It is also situated at the nucleus of the Coptic Orthodox community, which separated from the Roman and Byzantine churches in the late 4th century.

Many of Cairo's oldest Coptic churches, including the Hanging Church, are located along the fortress walls in a section of the city known as Coptic Cairo.

Following the Muslim conquest in 640 AD, the conqueror Amr ibn As (c. 585-664) settled to the north of the Babylon in an area that became known as al-Fustāt:

Originally a tented camp (Fustāt signifies "City of Tents") Fustāt became a permanent settlement and the first capital of Islamic Egypt.

In 750, following the overthrow of the Umayyad caliphate by the Abbasids, the new rulers created their own settlement to the northeast of Fustāt which became their capital. This was known as al-Askar (the city of sections, or cantonments) as it was laid out like a military camp.

A rebellion in 869 by Ahmad ibn Tūlūn (ca. 835-884) led to the abandonment of Al Askar and the building of another settlement, which became the seat of government:

This was al-Qattā'i ("the Quarters"), to the north of Fustāt and closer to the river. Al Qattā’i was centred around a palace and ceremonial mosque, now known as the Mosque of ibn Tūlūn.

In 905, the Abbasids re-asserted control of the country and their governor returned to Fustāt, razing al-Qattā’i to the ground.

Since 1860s, Cairo expanded west as far as what it is now.

4. Foundation and expansion

In 968, the Fatimids were led by general Jawhar al-Siqili (fl. 966- 992) to establish a new capital for the Fatimid dynasty.

Egypt was conquered from their base in Ifriqiya and a new fortified city north-east of Fustāt was established. It took 4 years to build the city, which was to serve as the new capital of the caliphate.

During that time, Jawhar also commissioned the construction of the al-Azhar Mosque by order of the Caliph, which developed into the 3rd oldest university in the world.

Cairo would eventually become a centre of learning, with the Library of Cairo containing hundreds of thousands of books.

When Caliph al-Mu'izz li Din Allah (932-975) arrived from the old Fatimid capital of Mahdia in Tunisia in 973, he gave the city its present name, al-Qāhiratu ("The Victorious").

For nearly 200 years after Cairo was established, the administrative centre of Egypt remained in Fustāt. However, in 1168 the Fatimids under the leadership of vizier Shāwar (died January 18, 1169) set fire to Fustāt to prevent Cairo's capture by the Crusaders.

Egypt's capital was permanently moved to Cairo, which was eventually expanded to include the ruins of Fustāt and the previous capitals of al-Askar and al-Qattā’i.

As al Qāhirah expanded these earlier settlements were encompassed, and have since become part of the city of Cairo as it expanded and spread; they are now collectively known as "Old Cairo".

While the Fustāt fire successfully protected the city of Cairo, a continuing power struggle between Shāwar, King Amalric I of Jerusalem (1136-1174), and the Zengid general Shīrkūh (died 22 February 1169) led to the downfall of the Fatimid establishment:

 In the winter of 1168, King Amalric I of Jerusalem (died 1174) again attacked Egypt, and Shāwar switched alliances again, this time going back to Shīrkūh, who he had betrayed in 1164:

Shīrkūh and Shāwar attempted to force the Crusader garrison out of Egypt, but Amalric pressed on, until his army was camped south of Fustāt.

Seeing Amalric's invasion imminent, Shāwar ordered the burning of his own city, to keep it from Amalric's hands.

According to the Egyptian historian Al-Maqrizi (1346–1442):

    Shāwar ordered that Fustāt be evacuated. He forced [the citizens] to leave their money and property behind and flee for their lives with their children. In the panic and chaos of the exodus, the fleeing crowd looked like a massive army of ghosts....

Some took refuge in the mosques and bathhouses...awaiting a Christian onslaught similar to the one in Bilbeis.

Shāwar sent 20,000 naphtha pots and 10,000 lighting bombs and distributed them throughout the city. Flames and smoke engulfed the city and rose to the sky in a terrifying scene. The blaze raged for 54 days...

But Shīrkūh forced Amalric to withdraw, and then conquered Egypt with his own forces. In January 1169, Cairo fell, and Shīrkūh had Shāwar executed.

Shīrkūh was named the new vizier, but his reign lasted only 2 months. Already an obese man, he died of "indigestion", and was succeeded in the viziership by his nephew, Saladin.

In 1169, Saladin (1137-1193) was appointed as the new vizier of Egypt by the Fatimids and 2 years later he seized power from the family of the last Fatimid caliph, al-Ādid (1149–1171).

As the 1st Sultan of Egypt, Saladin established the Ayyubid dynasty, based in Cairo, and aligned Egypt with the Abbasids, who were based in Baghdad.

During his reign, Saladin constructed the Cairo Citadel, which served as the seat of the Egyptian government until the mid-19th century.

In 1250, slave soldiers, known as the Mamluks, seized control of Egypt and like many of their predecessors established Cairo as the capital of their new dynasty.

Continuing a practice started by the Ayyubids, much of the land occupied by former Fatimid palaces was sold and replaced by newer buildings:

Construction projects initiated by the Mamluks pushed the city outward while also bringing new infrastructure to the centre of the city.

Meanwhile, Cairo flourished as a centre of Islamic scholarship and a crossroads on the spice trade route among the civilisations in Afro-Eurasia.

By 1340, Cairo had a population of close to 1/2 a million, making it the largest city west of China.

The historic traveller Ibn Battuta (1304-1369) travelled thousands of miles during the course of his trek. One city he stopped in was Cairo, Egypt:

One significant note Ibn Battuta made was that Cairo was the principal district of Egypt, meaning Cairo was Egypt's most important and most influential city.

Ibn Battuta also acknowledges the importance of the Nile river to all of Egypt, including Cairo, as he often travelled via boat to arrive at Cairo and to leave to continue his journey.

The Nile was not just a means for transportation; it was the source of a plethora of other tangibles as well. The Nile's most influential attribute was its ability to sustain rich soil for agriculture. Part of the Agricultural Revolution thrived in Egypt, predominantly off the back of the Nile.

The Nile also served as a source of food and a pathway for trade. Without it, the Egypt we know today wouldn't have been the same.

One of Ibn Battuta's most detailed accounts in Cairo involves a plague that was devastating the city. Today, this plague is known as the Bubonic Plague, or the Black Death:

It is believed to have arrived in Egypt in 1347, and as Ibn Battuta recalls, the Bubonic plague was responsible for the deaths of between 1-20,000 people a day in Cairo. The plague originated in Asia and spread via flees on rodents, such as rats.

The plague would end up spreading to all of Eurasia and wiped out any civilizations that were in its path. It is estimated that somewhere 75-200 million people total died from the plague.

5. Ottoman rule

Although Cairo avoided Europe's stagnation during the Late Middle Ages, it could not escape the Black Death, which struck the city more than 50 times between 1348 and 1517.

During its initial, and most deadly waves, approximately 200,000 people were killed by the plague, and, by the 15th century, Cairo's population had been reduced to 150,000 -300,000.

The city's status was further diminished after Vasco da Gama (c. 1460s -1524) discovered a sea route around the Cape of Good Hope in 1497-1499, thereby allowing spice traders to avoid Cairo.

Cairo's political influence diminished significantly after the Ottomans supplanted Mamluk power over Egypt in 1517. Ruling from Constantinople, Sultan Selim I (1470- 1520) relegated Egypt to a province, with Cairo as its capital.

For this reason, the history of Cairo during Ottoman times is often described as inconsequential, especially in comparison to other time periods.

However, during the 16th-17th centuries, Cairo remained an important economic and cultural centre:

Although no longer on the spice route, the city facilitated the transportation of Yemeni coffee and Indian textiles, primarily to Anatolia, North Africa, and the Balkans.

Cairo merchants were instrumental in bringing goods to the barren Hejaz, especially during the annual hajj to Mecca.

It was during this same period that al-Azhar University reached the predominance among Islamic schools that it continues to hold today; pilgrims on their way to hajj often attested to the superiority of the institution, which had become associated with Egypt's body of Islamic scholars.

By the 16th century, Cairo also had high-rise apartment buildings where the 2 lower floors were for commercial and storage purposes and the multiple stories above them were rented out to tenants.

Under the Ottomans, Cairo expanded south and west from its nucleus around the Citadel. The city was the 2nd largest in the empire, behind Constantinople,

and, although migration was not the primary source of Cairo's growth, 20 % of its population at the end of the 18th century consisted of religious minorities and foreigners from around the Mediterranean.

Still, when Napoleon arrived in Cairo in 1798, the city's population was less than 300,000, 40% lower than it was at the height of Mamluk - and Cairo’s - influence in the mid-14th century.

The French occupation was short-lived as British and Ottoman forces, including a sizeable Albanian contingent, recaptured the country in 1801. Cairo itself was besieged by a British and Ottoman force culminating with the French surrender on 22 June 1801.

The British vacated Egypt 2 years later, leaving the Ottomans, the Albanians, and the long-weakened Mamluks jostling for control of the country.

Continued civil war allowed an Albanian named Muhammad Ali Pasha (1769-1849) to ascend to the role of commander and eventually, with the approval of the religious establishment, Viceroy of Egypt in 1805.

6. Qasr El Nil Bridge

Until his death in 1848, Muhammad Ali Pasha instituted a number of social and economic reforms that earned him the title of founder of modern Egypt.

However, while Muhammad Ali initiated the construction of public buildings in the city, those reforms had minimal effect on Cairo's landscape.

Bigger changes came to Cairo under Ismā’īl Pasha (r. 1863–1879), who continued the modernisation processes started by his grandfather:

Drawing inspiration from Paris, Ismā’īl envisioned a city of squares and wide avenues; due to financial constraints, only some of them, in the area now composing Downtown Cairo, came to fruition.

Ismā’īl also sought to modernize the city, which was merging with neighbouring settlements, by establishing a public works ministry, bringing gas and lighting to the city, and opening a theatre and opera house.

The immense debt resulting from Ismā'il's projects provided a pretext for increasing European control, which culminated with the British invasion in 1882.

The city's economic centre quickly moved west toward the Nile, away from the historic Islamic Cairo section and toward the contemporary, European-style areas built by Ismā’īl.

Europeans accounted for 5% of Cairo's population at the end of the 19th century, by which point they held most top governmental positions.

The British occupation was intended to be temporary, but it lasted well into the 20th century.

Nationalists staged large-scale demonstrations in Cairo in 1919, 5 years after Egypt had been declared a British protectorate. Nevertheless, while this led to Egypt's independence in 1922, British troops remained in the country until 1956.

During this time, urban Cairo, spurred by new bridges and transport links, continued to expand to include the upscale neighbourhoods of Garden City, Zamalek, and Heliopolis.

Between 1882 and 1937, the population of Cairo more than tripled - from 347,000 to 1.3 million - and its area increased from 10 to 163 square kilometres.

The city was devastated during the 1952 riots known as the Cairo Fire or Black Saturday, which saw the destruction of nearly 700 shops, movie theatres, casinos and hotels in Downtown Cairo.

The British departed Cairo following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, but the city's rapid growth showed no signs of abating.

Seeking to accommodate the increasing population, President Gamal Abdel Nasser (1918-1970) redeveloped Tahrīr Square and the Nile Corniche, and improved the city's network of bridges and highways.

Meanwhile, additional controls of the Nile fostered development within Gezira Island and along the city's waterfront.

The metropolis began to encroach on the fertile Nile Delta, prompting the government to build desert satellite towns and devise incentives for city-dwellers to move to them.

Cairo's population has doubled since the 1960s, reaching close to 7 million (with an additional 10 million in its urban area).

Concurrently, Cairo has established itself as a political and economic hub for North Africa and the Arab world, with many multinational businesses and organisations, including the Arab League, operating out of the city.

In 1992, Cairo was hit by an earthquake causing 545 deaths, 6,512 injuries and 50,000 people homeless.

Today, Cairo serves as the national capital of Egypt, so it is fair to say it still holds major importance.

Today, Cairo has taken a major step forward in urbanization as most Cairo’s inhabitants now live in apartment buildings.

Because of the influx of people in the city, lone standing houses are rare to find, and apartment buildings accommodate for the limited space and abundance of people. In fact, lone standing houses are symbolic of the wealthy.

Formal education has also become very important to those in the city of Cairo. However, most children do not finish school and opt to pick up a trade to enter the work force.

Cairo has also been influenced by modern western civilization:

As one travels through modern Cairo, it is not unusual to come across McDonald's, Arby's, Pizza Hut, Subway, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. There are even large scale western restaurants in Cairo, such as Chili's and T.G.I. Friday's.

Of course, the majority of restaurants serve Egyptian and Middle Eastern dishes, but the fact remains that certain aspects of western civilization have crossed the Atlantic and reached the city of Cairo.

Sadly, Egypt is one of the poorer countries in the Middle East, with almost 1/2 the population living on $2 or less a day. However, from the income the country does make, most of it does come from Cairo, as the majority of the countries manufacturing headquarters are located there.

Today's Cairo has clearly evolved since Ibn Battuta (1304-1369) made his way through the ancient city. Cairo has made advances in some aspects of daily life, and taken steps backwards in others.

However, with that being said, Cairo is still one of the most influential cities in all of Egypt.

7. 2011 Egyptian revolution

Cairo's Tahrīr Square was the focal point of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution against former president Hosni Mubarak (born 1928):

Over 2 million protesters were at Cairo's Tahrīr Square. More than 50,000 protesters first occupied the square on 25 January, during which the area's wireless services were reported to be impaired.

In the following days Tahrīr Square continued to be the primary destination for protests in Cairo as it took place following a popular uprising that began on Tuesday, 25 January 2011.

The uprising was mainly a campaign of non-violent civil resistance, which featured a series of demonstrations, marches, acts of civil disobedience, and labour strikes.

Millions of protesters from a variety of socio-economic and religious backgrounds demanded the overthrow of the regime of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Despite being predominantly peaceful in nature, the revolution was not without violent clashes between security forces and protesters, with at least 846 people killed and 6 000 injured.

On 11 February, following weeks of determined popular protest and pressure, Hosni Mubarak resigned from office.

8. Post-revolutionary Cairo

Under the rule of President Abdel Fattāh el-Sisi (born 1954), in March 2015 plans were announced for another yet-unnamed planned city to be built further east of the existing satellite city of New Cairo, intended to serve as the new capital of Egypt.

9. Geography

Cairo is located in northern Egypt, known as Lower Egypt, 165 kilometres south of the Mediterranean Sea and 120 kilometres west of the Gulf of Suez and Suez Canal.

The city lies along the Nile River, immediately south of the point where the river leaves its desert-bound valley and branches into the low-lying Nile Delta region.

Although the Cairo metropolis extends away from the Nile in all directions, the city of Cairo resides only on the east bank of the river and 2 islands within it on a total area of 453 square kilometres.

Because of the Nile's movement, the newer parts of the city - Garden City, Downtown Cairo, and Zamalek - are located closest to the riverbank.

The areas, which are home to most of Cairo's embassies, are surrounded on the north, east, and south by the older parts of the city.

Old Cairo, located south of the centre, holds the remnants of Fustāt and the heart of Egypt's Coptic Christian community, Coptic Cairo.

The Būlāq district, which lies in the northern part of the city, was born out of a major 16th-century port and is now a major industrial centre.

The Citadel is located east of the city centre around Islamic Cairo, which dates back to the Fatimid era and the foundation of Cairo.

While western Cairo is dominated by wide boulevards, open spaces, and modern architecture of European influence, the eastern half, having grown haphazardly over the centuries, is dominated by small lanes, crowded tenements, and Islamic architecture.

Northern and extreme eastern parts of Cairo, which include satellite towns, are among the most recent additions to the city, as they developed in the late-20th and early-21st centuries to accommodate the city's rapid growth.

The western bank of the Nile is commonly included within the urban area of Cairo, but it composes the city of Giza (al-Jīzah) and the Giza Governorate.

Giza has also undergone significant expansion over recent years, and today the city, although still a suburb of Cairo, has a population of 2.7 million.

10. Climate

In Cairo, and along the Nile River Valley, the climate is a hot desert climate:

Wind storms can be frequent, bringing Saharan dust into the city, from March to May and the air often becomes uncomfortably dry.

High temperatures in winter range 14-22 °C, while night-time lows drop to below 11 °C, often to 5 °C.

In summer, the highs rarely surpass 40 °C, and lows drop to about 20 °C.

Rainfall is sparse and only happens in the colder months, but sudden showers do cause harsh flooding. The summer months have high humidity due to its coastal location.

11. Religion

Most residents are Sunni Muslim, while the rest of the population is mostly Christian.

Al-Azhar University, based in Cairo, is considered the leading authority of Sunni Islam worldwide.

Most Christians are Coptic Orthodox:

Until his death in March 17, 2012, Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria (1923-2012) was the leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church, followed by Pope Tawadros II (born 1952) who became Pope on 18 November 2012, whose residence is in Cairo.

Cairo has several synagogues, but few Jews remain after Israel was established and the subsequent exodus, largely due to state sponsored discrimination. Tension between members of different religions has increased recently.

12. Tahrīr Square

Tahrīr Square was founded during the mid-19th century with the establishment of modern downtown Cairo.

It was first named Ismailia Square, after the 19th-century ruler Ismā’īl Pasha (r. 1863–1879), who commissioned the new downtown district's 'Paris on the Nile' design.

After the Egyptian Revolution of 1919 the square became widely known as Tahrīr (Liberation) Square, though it was not officially renamed as such until after the 1952 Revolution which eliminated the monarchy.

Several notable buildings surround the square including, the American University in Cairo's downtown campus, the Mogamma governmental administrative Building, the headquarters of the Arab League, the Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel, and the Egyptian Museum.

Being at the heart of Cairo, the square witnessed several major protests over the years.

However, the most notable event in the square was being the focal point of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution against former president Hosni Mubarak.

13. Egyptian Museum

The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum, is home to the most extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities in the world:

It has 136 000 items on display, with many more hundreds of thousands in its basement storerooms. Among its most famous collections are the finds from the tomb of Tutankhamun.

14. Cairo Tower

The Cairo Tower is a free-standing tower with a revolving restaurant at the top.

It provides a bird's eye view of Cairo to the restaurant patrons. It stands in the Zamalek district on Gezira Island in the Nile River, in the city centre.

At 187 metres, it is 44 metres higher than the Great Pyramid of Giza, which stands some 15 kilometres to the south-west.

15. Old Cairo

This area of Cairo is so-named as it contains the remains of the ancient Roman fortress of Babylon and also overlaps the original site of Fustāt, the first Arab settlement in Egypt (7th century AD) and the predecessor of later Cairo.

The area includes the Coptic Cairo, which holds a high concentration of old Christian churches such as the Hanging Church, the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George, and other Christian or Coptic buildings, most of which are located over the site of the ancient Roman fortress.

It is also the location of the Coptic Museum, which showcases the history of Coptic art from Greco-Roman to Islamic times,

and of the Ben Ezra Synagogue, the oldest and best-known synagogue in Cairo, where the important collection of Genizah documents were discovered in the 19th century.

To the north of this Coptic enclave is the Amr ibn al-As Mosque, the first mosque in Egypt and the most important religious centre of what was formerly Fustāt, founded in 642 AD right after the Arab conquest but rebuilt many times since.

16. Islamic Cairo

Cairo holds one of the greatest concentrations of historical monuments of Islamic architecture in the world:

The areas around the old walled city and around the Citadel are characterized by hundreds of mosques, tombs, madrasas, mansions, caravanserais, and fortifications dating from the Islamic era and are often referred to as "Islamic Cairo", especially in English travel literature.

It is also the location of several important religious shrines such as:

=>  the al-Husayn Mosque (whose shrine is believed to hold the head of Husayn ibn Alī),

=> the Mausoleum of Imam al-Shāfiʿī (founder of the al-Shāfiʿī madhab, one of the primary schools of thought in Sunni Islamic jurisprudence),

=> the Tomb of Sayyida Ruqayyah bint Al-Husayn,

=> the Mosque of Sayyida Nafisa bint Al-Hasan, and others.

The first mosque in Egypt was the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As in what was formerly Fustāt, the first Arab-Muslim settlement in the area.

However, the Mosque of Ibn Tūlūn is the oldest mosque that still retains its original form and is a rare example of Abbasid architecture from the classical period of Islamic civilization:

It was built in 876–879 AD in a style inspired by the Abbasid capital of Samarra in Iraq. It is one of the largest mosques in Cairo and is often cited as one of the most beautiful.

Another Abbasid construction, the Nilometer on Rhoda Island, is the oldest original structure in Cairo, built in 862 AD. It was designed to measure the level of the Nile, which was important for agricultural and administrative purposes.

The settlement that was formally named Cairo (Arabic: al-Qāhirah) was founded to the northeast of Fustāt in 959 AD by the victorious Fatimid army. The Fatimids built it as a separate palatial city which contained their palaces and institutions of government:

It was enclosed by a circuit of walls, which were rebuilt in stone in the late 11th century AD by the vizier Badr al-Jamali (died 1094), parts of which survive today at Bāb Zuweila in the south and Bāb al-Futuh and Bāb al-Nasr in the north.

One of the most important and lasting institutions founded in the Fatimid period was the Mosque of al-Azhar, founded in 970 AD, which competes for the title of oldest university in the world.

Today, al-Azhar University is the foremost centre of Islamic learning in the world and one of Egypt's largest universities with campuses across the country.

The mosque itself retains significant Fatimid elements but has been added to and expanded in subsequent centuries, notably by the Mamluk sultans Qaitbay (c. 1416- 1496) and al-Ghuri (c. 1441-1516) and by Abd al-Rahmān Katkhuda in the 18th century.

Other extant monuments from the Fatimid era include:

=> the large Mosque of al-Hākim, It is named after Al-Hākim bi-Amr Allah (985–1021), the 6th Fatimid caliph and 16th Ismaili Imām.

=> the al-Aqmar mosque, (Moonlit mosque), It was built in 1125, under vizier al-Ma’mūn al-Bata'ihi during the caliphate of Imam Al-Āmir bi-Ahkāmi l-Lāh (1096-1130). The mosque is located on north Muizz Street.

=> Juyushi Mosque, ("Mosque of the Armies") was built by the vizier Badr al-Jamali (died 1094) who was "Amir al-Juyush" ("Commander of the Armies") for the Fatimid Caliphate. The mosque was completed in 478 AH/1085 CE.

=> Lulua Mosque, (meaning: the Pearl), built in 1015–16 AD.

=> the Al-Sālih Talā’ī Mosque -  a late Fatimid-era mosque commissioned by the vizier Talā’ī ibn Ruzzik (died 1161) in 1160. It is located south of Bāb Zuweila, just outside the southern entrance to the old walled city of Cairo.

The most prominent architectural heritage of medieval Cairo, however, dates from the Mamluk period, from 1250 to 1517 AD:

The Mamluk sultans and elites were eager patrons of religious and scholarly life, commonly building religious or funerary complexes whose functions could include a mosque, madrasa, khanqah (for Sufis), a Sebil (water fountain), and a mausoleum for themselves and their families.

Among the best-known examples of Mamluk monuments in Cairo are

=> the huge Mosque-Madrasa of Sultan Hasan, built 1356-1359 CE.

=> the Mosque of Amir al-Maridani, built in 1340 CE.

=> the Mosque of Sultan al-Muayyad, built 1415-1421 (whose twin minarets were built above the gate of Bāb Zuweila),

=> the Sultan Al-Ghuri complex, built (1503-1505).

=> the funerary complex of Sultan Qaitbay (c. 1416- 1496), built in 1474 in the Northern Cemetery, and

=> the 3 monuments in the Bayn al-Qasrayn area comprising:

- the complex of Sultan al-Mansur Qalawun, built in 1284-1285.

- the Madrasa of al-Nāṣir Muhammad, built in 1296, and

- the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Barquq, built 1384-1386.

It is said that a lot of the columns found in mosques were taken from the Coptic churches because of their beautiful artistic carvings and placed in mosques.

The Mamluks, and the later Ottomans, also built Wikalas or caravanserais to house merchants and goods due to the important role of trade and commerce in Cairo's economy.

The most famous example still intact today is the Wikala al-Ghuri, built in 1504–1505 CE, which nowadays also hosts regular performances by the Al-Tannoura Egyptian Heritage Dance Troupe.

The famous Khan el-Khalili (built in 1511) is a commercial hub which also integrated caravanserais (also known as khans).

17. Citadel of Cairo

The Citadel is a fortified enclosure begun by Salāh al-Dīn in 1176 AD on an outcrop of the Muqattam Hills as part of a large defensive system to protect both Cairo to the north and Fustāt to the southwest.

It was the centre of Egyptian government and residence of its rulers until 1874, when Ismā’īl Pasha moved to Abdīn Palace.

It is still occupied by the military today, but is now open as a tourist attraction comprising, notably, the National Military Museum, the 14th century Mosque of al-Nasir Muhammad, and the 19th century Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha which commands a dominant position on Cairo's skyline.

18. Khan el-Khalili

Khan el-Khalili is an ancient bazaar, or marketplace adjacent to the Al-Hussein Mosque.

It dates back to 1385, when Amir Jaharkas al-Khalili built a large caravanserai, or khan. (A caravanserai is a hotel for traders, and usually the focal point for any surrounding area.)

This original caravanserai building was demolished by Sultan al-Ghuri, who rebuilt it as a new commercial complex in 1511, forming the basis for the network of souqs existing today.

Many medieval elements remain today, including the ornate Mamluk-style gateways. Today, the Khan el-Khalili is a major tourist attraction and popular stop for tour groups.