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Cairo ( Arabic: القاهرة; transliterated: al-Qāhirah) is the capital city of Egypt (and previously the United Arab Republic) and has a metropolitan area population of approximately 15.2 million people, the largest in Africa. Cairo is the sixteenth most populous metropolitan area in the world (the 10th according to 2004). Cairo is located at 30°2' North, 31°13' East (30.03333, 31.21667). [1]While al-Qāhirah is the official name of the city, in local speech it is typically called simply by the name of the country, Mişr (Arabic, مصر) pronounced Maşr in the local dialect.The name Al-Qahirah literally means "The Subduer," though it is often translated as "The Victorious." The origin of the name is said to come from the appearance of the planet Mars during the foundation of the city. The planet Mars, associated with destruction was called "Al Najm Al Qahir" in Arabic, from which the name of the city was derived. However the legacy of the name evolved into the title "Qahirat Al Adaa" meaning "subduer of the enemies". This title was given to the city as many armies were destroyed in attempts to invade Cairo or defeated elsewhere by troops sent from Cairo. ( Mongols, Crusaders & Ottomans are examples.)

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Cairo in art, literature and music
Famous Cairenes

Geography - Contents

Average temperature and precipitations in Cairo
Average temperature and precipitations in Cairo
A simulated-colour satellite image of Cairo, Egypt, taken on NASA's Landsat 7  satellite.
A simulated-colour satellite image of Cairo, Egypt, taken on NASA's Landsat 7 satellite.
Cairo is located on the banks and islands of the Nile River in the north of Egypt, immediately south of the point where the river leaves its desert-bound valley and breaks into two branches into the low-lying Nile Delta region.The oldest part of the city is somewhat east of the river. There, the city gradually spreads west, engulfing the agricultural lands next to the Nile. These western areas, built on the model of Paris by Ismail the Magnificent in the mid- 19th century, are marked by wide boulevards, public gardens, and open spaces. The older eastern section of the city is very different: having grown up haphazardly over the centuries it is filled with small lanes and crowded tenaments. While western Cairo is dominated by the government buildings and modern architecture, the eastern half is filled with hundreds of ancient mosques that act as landmarks.Extensive water systems have also allowed the city to expand east into the desert. Bridges link the Nile islands of Gezira and Roda, where many government buildings are located and government officials live. Bridges also cross the Nile attaching the city to the suburbs of Giza and Imbabah (part of the Cairo conurbation).West of Giza, in the desert, is part of the ancient necropolis of Memphis on the Giza plateau, with its three large pyramids, including the Great Pyramid of Giza (last surviving of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World). Approximately 11 miles (18 km) to the south of modern Cairo is the site of the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis and adjoining necropolis of Saqqara. These cities were Cairo's ancient predecessors, when Cairo was still in this approximate geographical location.

History - Contents

Founding and early history
Cairo incorporates an entire mediæval section, which is now a popular neighborhood and contains important buildings of Islamic architecture.
Cairo incorporates an entire mediæval section, which is now a popular neighborhood and contains important buildings of Islamic architecture.
The current location of Cairo was too far from the ancient course of the Nile to support a city. Just to the south of the modern city's location are the ruins of Memphis, which was the capital of Ancient Egypt and was founded in around 3100 BC by Menes of Tanis after he had united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt, although the capital later moved to Heliopolis, further south to Thebes, and, under the Ptolemaic dynasty, Alexandria.
The Citadel
The Citadel
.The first settlement on the location of modern Cairo was a Roman fort, known as Babylon Fort, built about AD 150, built near the settlement known as Babylon-in-Egypt, which lay close to an ancient Egyptian canal from the Nile to the Red Sea.A small town mostly of Coptic Christians slowly grew around the fort. Arab invaders, lead by Amr Ibn-el-As, took the fort town in 642 and also established their army in the location, rebuilding its defenses. The Arab tented camp outside the fortress, known as Al-Fustat, slowly became the permanent base of the Arab forces in Egypt under the Umayyads and Abbasids, and contains the first mosque in Africa.Slowly, the settlement grew into a small city. The North African Shiite Fatimid Dynasty conquered Egypt in 972 and built a new capital, Al-Mansureya, north of the old settlement. Their leader, Al-Muez Ledin-Ellah, renamed the city Al-Qahirah after the planet Mars which was rising on the day the city was founded.The Al-Azhar mosque was founded the same year, and along with its accompanying university it made Cairo a centre of learning and philosophy. The school remains a major center for Islamic study today. The Seljuks captured Cairo in the mid 1100s, and Saladin and his successors expanded the city further, including the construction of its massive citadel.The sack of Baghdad in 1258 heightened the importance of the city and it became the leading intellectual and artistic centre in the Middle East, and perhaps the world, for the next 250 years. But power was shifting from the Arab world north to the Turks and Europeans.The city was taken by the Ottoman Empire under Selim I in 1517, but the ruling Mameluks quickly returned to power as nominal vassals to the Ottoman Sultan.The family of 26th Ottoman sultan Selim III died on the way to Medina. They have been buried in an impressive Ottoman mausoleum in the old quarter of Cairo. The mausoleum is still favorite plot to visit for Turkish tourists.

Era of westernization
Lions guard the Kasr-el-Nil Bridge which traverses the Nile at Tahrir Square. European architecture and urban design, major infrastructural projects and intense cultural patronage were part of Khedive Ismail's vision for Cairo as "Paris on the Nile."
Lions guard the Kasr-el-Nil Bridge which traverses the Nile at Tahrir Square. European architecture and urban design, major infrastructural projects and intense cultural patronage were part of Khedive Ismail's vision for Cairo as "Paris on the Nile."
Napoleon conquered Egypt in 1798, and Cairo was quickly surrendered to him by its Mameluk rulers. Napoleon left Egypt after his fleet was destroyed at the Battle of Aboukir Bay in August 1798, leaving General Kléber in charge. Kléber was assassinated in 1800 and the three-year French occupation had little lasting effect.The first hints of westernization began under the successors to Mehemet Ali with the introduction of a railway connection to Alexandria in 1851. Significant change, however, did not occur until the reign of Isma'il Pasha when, in 1863, construction of the Suez Canal brought significant numbers of westerners to Egypt. A network of gas lighting was installed by a French company and the railway lines were greatly expanded.In 1867, Isma'il visited Paris to attend the Universal Exposition of 1867. There he saw the newly redesigned city of Haussmann and, funded by a booming cotton trade, decided to rebuild Cairo on the model of a European capital. He hoped to have this done by 1869 when representatives from around the world came to Egypt for the opening of the Suez Canal.Rather than rebuild the old city, Isma'il elected to add a new quarter to the western section along the bank of the Nile. The project was carried out by Ali Pasha Mubarak and designed by the French urban planner Pierre Grand. A new area of luxurious villas and apartments was constructed and new government ministries were erected. Grand boulevards were opened through the old town and tram lines soon followed.The era of colonization in 1882 saw the rebuilding of Cairo continuing. A modern sewer system was installed and new suburbs such as Heliopolis were constructed in the desert. Cairo's population exploded, increasing from 374,000 in 1882 to 1,312,000 by 1937. The city was dominated by westerners, however, and city planners tended to emphasize Christian cathedrals over mosques.

Modern Cairo
Cairo remained the central city of Egypt throughout the period of British rule and afterwards. The 20th century saw massive growth in the size of the city as peasants left the farmlands in pursuit of work in the factories and commerce of the metropolis. The city was especially burdened by refugees from the various wars with Israel: much of the population of the Sinai peninsula and the cities along the Suez Canal left for Cairo between 1967 and 1978.Today Cairo is Africa's most populous city and the Arab world's cultural centre.Since the 19th century Cairo has also become a center for tourism as people from around the world have come to see the monuments and artifacts of Ancient Egypt, especially the Pyramids. Laws against the export of these treasures has meant that the Egyptian Museum in Cairo is the only place in the world that many items can be seen.

Infrastructure - Contents

Cairo, as well as neighbouring Giza, have been established as Egypt's main centre for medical treatment, as well as a major Health Centre in the Middle East. Some of Cairo's most famous hospitals are Al-Salam International Hospital, Ain-Shams University Hospital, as well as Qasr El Ainy General Hospital.Due to the fact that most of Egypt is sand, there is little land available for human burials. This has caused a part of the community to use the ground underneath homes, in an area refered to as the City of the Dead.
City of the Dead.
City of the Dead.
See List of hospitals in Egypt.

  • Cairo International Airport
  • Cairo Metro
  • CTA

to be added

Cairo in art, literature and music - Contents

In the fictional Star Trek universe, a starship, the USS Cairo, was named for the city.In the computer game Deus Ex: Invisible War, futuristic Cairo is depicted as an ancient medina surrounding a pyramid-shaped arcology.
  • Naguib Mahfouz
  • Cairo Opera House [2]

Education - Contents

Cairo has long been the hub of education and educational services not only for Egypt but also for the Arab World.
Today, Cairo is the center for the government offices governing the Egyptian educational system, has the largest number of Educational schools, and higher learning institutes among other cities and governorates of Egypt.Universities in Cairo:
  • Al-Azhar University
  • Modern Academy In Maadi
  • Ain Shams University
  • American University in Cairo
  • AlAhram Canadian University (ACU)
  • Arab Academy for Sciences & Technology and Maritime Transport
  • British University in Egypt (BUE)
  • Cairo University
  • French University in Egypt
  • German University in Cairo (GUC)
  • Helwan University
  • Misr University for Science and Technology (MUST)(opened in 2000)
  • Misr International University (MIU)
  • Modern University for Sciences and Technology (MSA)
  • Sadat Academy For Management Science

Sports - Contents

Cairo has a number of sporting teams that compete in national leagues. The best known teams are Al-Zamalek and Al-Ahly, whose annual football Local derby is perhaps the most watched sports event in Egypt as well as the Arab World. Both teams are known as the giants of Egyptian and Arabic football, and are champions in the African continent and the Arab World. Both teams play their home games at Cairo International Stadium, which is Cairo's and Egypt's largest stadium.The Cairo International Stadium is a multipurpose sports complex that houses the main Soccer stadium, an indoor stadium, several satalite fields that held several regional, continental and global games, including the African Games, Football World Championship for U17 and is one of the stadiums schedualed to host the 2006 African Nations Cup which begins on 20 January. Cairo failed at the applicant stage when bidding for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, which will be hosted in Beijing China. Egypt was unsuccessful in bidding to host the 2010 Football World Cup, which will be held in South Africa.There are several other sports teams in the city that participate in several sports including Al Jazeera Sporting Club, Shooting club, Heliopolis Club and several smaller clubs.Most of the sports federations of the country are also located in the city suburbs, including the Egyptian Football Association. The headquarters of the Confederation of African Football(CAF) was previously located in Cairo, before relocating to its new headquarters in 6th October City.

Famous Cairenes - Contents

  • Boutros Boutros Ghali, former Secretary-General of the United Nations, born in Cairo.
  • Maimonides, court physician to Saladin and Talmudic scholar.
  • Omar Sharif, Actor
  • Naguib Mahfouz, Nobel Laureate and novelist
  • Mohamed ElBaradei, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • Ahmed H. Zewail, Nobel Prize in Chemistry Laureate

Districts - Contents

Districts of Cairo
Agouza | Abbassia | Ain Shams | Bulaq | Dokki | Downtown Cairo | El-Manial | El-Marg | El-Quba | El-Tagamu El Khames | Embaba | Garden City | Giza | Haram | Heliopolis | Islamic Cairo | Kerdasa | Maadi | Mataria | Mohandessin | Muqatam | Nasr City | Old Cairo | Rhoda | Shoubra | Shubra El Khiema | Zaitun | Zamalek

Town twinning/ Sister cities - Contents

  • Stuttgart, Germany (since 1979)
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • New York City, USA
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