Cairo

Cairo is magnificent, beautiful and, at time, infuriating. From above, the distorted roar of the muezzins' call to prayer echoes out from duelling minarets. Below, car horns bellow tuneless symphonies amid avenues of faded 19th-century grandeur while donkey carts rattle down dusty lanes lined with colossal Fatimid and Mamluk monuments.

This mega-city's constant buzz and noise is a product of its 22-or-so million inhabitants simultaneously crushing Cairo's infrastructure under their collective weight and lifting its spirits up with their exceptional humour. A visit can jangle your nerves, but it's a small price to pay to tap into the energy of the place Egyptians call Umm Ad Dunya – the Mother of the World.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Cairo.

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