In this huge city, so full of wonders from generation after generation of succeeding civilizations, the downtown area is not noted for its sights, largely because they are dwarfed in importance by more ancient wonders. Nonetheless, it is worth sparing a glance or two for the center’s Art Deco architecture, plus of course the Egyptian Museum.

Islamic Cairo to the east is the Cairo of the Arabian Nights, so chock-full of sights, sounds, smells and atmosphere. Apart from just wandering through taking it all in, you will want to browse the stalls and visit some of the amazing mosques, mainly from the time of the Mamlukes who were famed for their beautiful architecture. Older areas of Cairo, notably Coptic Cairo, lie to the south.

The most incredible sights of all, lie on the West bank of the Nile in Giza. Giza stands at the head of ancient Egypt’s pyramid field, of which its own group of pyramids comprises the crowning glory.Groups of ancient pyramids stretch well south of here, with each area – AbuSir, Saqqara, Dahshour, Meidum and the Fayoum- offering something of special interest.

Along with these are remains from the classical period of ancient Egypt, a mere thousand years later, notably Memphis with its colossal statue of Pharaoh Ramses II.

Leave as much time as you can for Cairo; you certainly won’t run out of things to see and do.

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Visiting Mosques:

Major tourism mosques are open to the public unless services are in progress (the main service is on Friday at noon). Other mosques are not. All visitors to mosques must remove their shoes.

Most Muslims walk around in their stockings but those mosques that are major tourist attractions have canvas overshoes available; a tip is in order for the people who put them on for you. Women must cover bare arms and should cover their head.

Diving and snorkeling:

In recent years SCUBA diving has become an increasingly popular activity. The Red Sea coral reefs are considered by many experts to be one of the natural wonders of the world, rivaling the Great Barrier Reef. Don’t take anything with you, leave nothing behind. Under the water: behave like an eco-tourist and help to conserve our precious nature.DSC00452