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Activities in Cairo

Things to Do

The Pyramids of Egypt

The Giza Pyramids stand 13km from Cairo’s city center, visible from many parts of the city. Three pyramids, the Great Sphinx, minor tombs, a workers’ village and several ancient cemeteries make up the archaeological site on the Giza plateau. They are one of the Seven Wonders of the World, a UNESCO site and the one attraction you should see if you have time for nothing else while in Cairo. The pyramids were built as burial tombs for three generations – the grandfather, Khufu was buried in the Great Pyramid; his son, Khafre is buried in the second pyramid and his son Menkaure was buried in the smallest of the pyramids.

The Great Pyramid of Giza (Pyramid of Cheops or Pyramid of Khufu) was built in approximately 2560-2540BC. This is the largest and best preserved of the pyramids made of about 1,300,000 blocks each weighing between 2.5 tons and 15 tons and reaching a height of 137 meters. There are a number of tunnels and burial chambers in this pyramid and the others. Visitors enter the pyramid into a narrow tunnel with a low roof so that you have to remain bent over while ascending a flight of stairs to the burial chambers.

In front of the Great Pyramid is the Boat Museum which houses an ancient royal vessel which was discovered dismantled in a pit south of the pyramid. The boat (and another boat which remains in a different pit) would have been used as a funeral boat or as a symbolic solar bark for the king to use in his afterlife. The boat has been painstakingly restored and reconstructed.

The Pyramid of Khafre (Pyramid of Chephren) is smaller than the Great Pyramid and recognizable by the original casing stones at the peak of the structure. It was built as a burial chamber for the 4th Dynasty Pharaoh Khafre who ruled c.2558-2532BC. This pyramid stands 136 meters tall but is on a higher part of the plateau so appears to be taller than the Great Pyramid. The burial chamber in this pyramid is below ground and reached via a passageway which descends at a 25° angle. The burial chamber holds a black sarcophagus.

The Pyramid of Menkerinos (Pyramid of Mykerinos) is the smallest of the three pyramids. It was built in c.2510BC as a burial tomb for the 4th Dynasty Pharaoh Menkerinos. This pyramid stands 62 meters high and has a different kind of outer stone casing than the other two pyramids. Inside the pyramid has a subterranean burial chamber.

It is possible to enter the pyramids but they are never all open at the same time as they are open on a rotational basis and there is a limit to the number of tourists allowed inside the pyramids each day. To enter the pyramids you will need to first pay your ticket from the ticket office.  It is possible to get a camel or horse ride at the foot of the plateau.

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Egyptian Museum


The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum or Museum of Cairo, in Cairo, Egypt, is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities.
Officially called the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, downtown Cairo’s star attraction feels more like the warehouse of Indiana Jones than a traditional museum. Like the rest of Egypt, the organization may be a bit chaotic but it’s worth it to spend at least half a day wandering the museum’s two main floors. The highlight of the Pharonic treasures here are without a doubt the mummies of famous Egyptian Pharaohs. Queen Hatshepsut is the most recently discovered mummy here, while the remains of King Tutankhamen’s tomb is the most visited attraction; check out the the 24-pound gold mask of King Tut’s face.
 

Hours:

Monday

(Labor Day)
9AM–7PM

Hours might differ
Tuesday 9AM–7PM
Wednesday 9AM–7PM
Thursday 9AM–7PM
Friday 9AM–7PM
Saturday 9AM–7PM
Sunday 9AM–7PM

Address: Tahrir Square, Meret Basha, Qasr an Nile, Cairo Governorate 11516

Owner: Supreme Council of Culture
Phone: 02 25794596
Founder: Auguste Mariette
Founded: 1858, Bulaq, Cairo
Architectural style: Neoclassical architecture
Province: Cairo
Architect: Marcel Dourgnon

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Khan el-Khalili

Khan el-Khalili is a major souk in the Islamic district of Cairo. The bazaar district is one of Cairo’s main attractions for tourists and Egyptians alike.
Address: El-Gamaleya, Qism El-Gamaleya, Cairo Governorate
In the heart of Cairo, Egypt lies a historical gem of a retail place that is like no mall you have ever seen. The Khan El Khalili-bazaar, known simply as the Khan, is a centuries-old marketplace brimming with items available for purchase. From groceries to more exotic goods, this center of trade offers a variety of goods to meet any need or want. The Khan holds a good deal of rich history, having begun as a caravansary in the 14th century, offering lodging to those traveling on camel. Vigorous trading in the Khan made Cairo a prosperous city. Today one can purchase food, home decor items, jewelry, gold, silver, and fabric. Bring your wallet, your curiosity, and be prepared to bargain for the items of your desire.

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The Citadel

The Citadel is located along the Salah Salem Highway in Cairo, Egypt. Built on a limestone spur in the 12th century, this castle offers panoramic views in a setting steeped with historical merit. Most of the Citadel’s history is linked to Muhammad Ali, the 19th century leader who famously trapped hundreds of Mameluke leaders inside the structure. That event played a role in freeing Egypt from the Mameluke yoke. Learn more about Islamic Cairo by visiting the Police Museum, Carriage Museum, and Muhammad Ali Mosque, all housed within The Citadel.

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Pyramids of Saqqara

Walk like an Egyptian through the ancient Pyramids of Saqqara, 30 miles south of Cairo. Saqqara is packed with pyramids, including the Step Pyramid of Djoser, and some of its tombs are over 5,000 years old! Indulge your passion for history and whet your appetite for adventure as you explore the great necropolis – the city of the dead. Visit the tombs of King Hotepsekhemwy and King Nynetjer, the oldest in all of Saqqara. Do not leave before exploring the mastabas, many of ancient Egypt’s most important citizens, including king Shepseskaf, are buried in these rectangular, flat-roofed tomb complexes.

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