These days, Cairo is the largest city in Egypt, and also the largest in the Arab world. Located in the northwest corner of the country, it is situated along the banks of the Nile River just south of the Nile Delta area, where the river splits into two forks. Its easy access to water systems have allowed Cairo to grow into a thriving city.
Cairo (as well as other parts of the country), boasts attractions of biblical proportions – literally. Giza’s Sphinx and pyramids are iconic as to be beyond description. Add to this the astonishing gold of Tutankhamun buried in the dusty corridors of the Cairo Museum, the Islamic treasures of bejewelled mosques, labyrinthine medieval alleyways lined with tempting spices and colorful textiles and the daily shrill calls to prayer rising above the cacophony of car horns and crowded streets. Along with its rich pre-biblical Pharaonic history, Cairo has gone through Roman and Islamic dominations (including the Ottoman Empire), as well as an attempted French invasion led by Napoleon in 1798, and British occupation during the early 19th & early 20th century.
Today, Cairo is a vibrant city with numerous distinct neighborhoods and regions, and plays such an important role in Egypt’s continuing development that, although its official name is Al-Qahira, it is informally referred to by natives as Masr, the Egyptian Arabic word for “Egypt”. Though the city itself encompasses an area of just over 114 square miles, it has a population of nearly seven million, and over 16 million people live in the metropolitan area.