There is no doubt that Cairo will alarm your senses, and this can either be a good or bad thing. Cairo's allure stands tall with the Pyramids of Giza, which is the only surviving wonder of the Seven Wonders of the World. Additionally, its fascinating winding streets, oriental bazaars, and Islamic architecture can easily seduce any tourist. Yet, this seduction turns sour when experiencing Cairo's dirt, pollution, and crowd. Such contrasts may be too raw for the tourist that wants everything presented in a packaged platter. But for the intrepid soul, discovering Cairo can become a time-traveling experience that may lead to self-discovery and self-assurance.
Known as the largest metropolis in Africa, most of Cairo lies on the east bank of the Nile River and stretches 40 kilometers (25 miles) from north to south of the Nile. Cairo, Egypt's capital and largest city with about 18 million people, is growing rapidly with suburbs beginning to rise in the outskirts of the city, especially near the Eastern Desert.
Cairo's most central location is Midan Tahrir (which means 'Liberation Square' in Arabic). This square hosts several tourists attractions that are located in short distances from one another, with the most prominent being the Egyptian Museum. Midan Tahrir also offers several hotels such as the popular Nile Hilton. Good eats are also easy to find here, with prices ranging from budget to reasonable.
Another modern region is the downtown area, where many restaurants, budget accommodation, and coffeehouses are found. Bargain and souvenir shopping is also a main attraction of this area.
If you want a glimpse into Cairo's past, then visiting Islamic Cairo and Old Cairo are a must. In Islamic Cairo (located on the east) you'll find the Citadel, Khan el Khalili (Cairo's main market or 'souq' ), historic mosques, and medieval architecture. Old Cairo, located in the south, is often referred as Coptic Cairo because of its ancient Christian roots. Moreover, Old Cairo offers the Roman Fortress Towers of Babylon, the Hanging Church, the Coptic Museum, and the Ben Ezra Synagogue.