Cairo in 1…2…3 Days

Cairo in 1…2…3 Days

Protests Amid a Vote on Egypt’s Constitution Despite what the headlines say, Cairo is a city that stretches far beyond Tahrir Square and the current political turmoil.  While people protested in “Liberation Square” we explored the rest of this dynamic, fascinating and historically rich city.  Three days allows for a whirlwind tour of Egypt’s capital, plan for a couple extra days to take in the diversity of this metropolis that houses over 2o million people.

The Spinx with the Khafre Pyramid in the background

DAY 1
Giza: The Great Pyramid and the Spinx

The pyramids are the whole reason for a visit to Egypt, after all they are the last of the original seven wonders of the world.  So spend your first day in the awe-inspiring company of some of the largest structures ever built.  The Great Pyramid at 481 feet was the tallest man-made structure on Earth for nearly 3,800 years.  It took over 20 years to complete the Great Pyramid, which was created for the fourth dynasty Egyptian pharaoh Khufu.  The slightly smaller Pyramid of Khafre looms larger on the Giza Plateau due to it’s position and is arguable the better looking of the two with a small part of the limestone veneer still remaining at the apex.  While pondering how the pyramids were built don’t forget to factor in the Sphinx, of which little is know including when it was built and by whom.

Cost: 60 LE entry ticket for the Giza Plateau, 100 LE to tour inside the Pyramid of Khufu, 30 LE to tour inside the Pyramid of Menkaure, 40 LE ticket for Solar Barque Museum

The “crown jewel” of the King Tut treasures at the Egyptian Museum

DAY 2
Egyptian Museum: King Tut’s treasures and mummies

After spending your first day in Giza trying to solve the riddle of the Spinx, spend your second day getting a few more pieces to the puzzle at Cairo’s Egyptian Museum.  Boasting a collection of 120,000 items it is no wonder that most of them are not labeled.  To get the full history of the pieces in the museum a guide can be hired in front of the museum.  We happily roamed through the museum sans guide and were most impressed with the Egyptian jewelry, the treasures from King Tut’s tomb and the detailed sarcophagi both carved out of stone and painted with vibrant colors.  A half day is enough to take in the exhibits before you succumb to museum fatigue.

Cost: 60 LE Museum entry ticket, 100 LE Royal Mummy Room entry ticket
Note: The Royal Mummy Room contains 9 mummies for public viewing, unless you are particularly enthralled by mummies the three on display at the Luxor Museum, included in the ticket price are probably enough to entertain you.

The view over Islamic Cairo from Al-Azhar Park

DAY 3
Islamic Cairo: Mosques and Khan Al-Khalilli Market

Cairo is known as the city of 1,000 minarets and no where is that description more apt than in Islamic Cairo, known for it’s historically significant mosques.  The stunning Islamic architecture is best seen from Al-Azhar Park, which offers a commanding view over the city as well as the Citadel and Mohammed Ali Mosque.  After a visit to Al-Azhar Park dive right into the back streets of the city with the call to prayer echoing through the narrow alley ways.  The experience seems to transport you back in time as men in robes make their way to pray.  There are plenty of small tea stalls to sit and people watch at, or if you’re looking for some souvenirs from your trip try your bargaining skills in Khan Al-Khalilli Market.

Cost: 7 LE Al-Azhar Park entrance fee, 20-40LE expected donation for a visit to the roof of a mosque or the top of a minaret, 5-10 LE tea at a touristy stall in Khan Al-Khalilli market

Vendors at Khan Al-Khalilli Market

WHEN YOU GO:

Use the metro, the easy to access underground metro is cheap, 1 Egyptian Pound flat rate for all trips, quick and safe for getting around the massive city.  Note: if you take the metro to the Giza stop you will still need to take a taxi to the pyramids, but it should only cost you about 5-10 Egyptian Pound.

Be ready to haggle, when buying anything at a market you will need to haggle to get a fair price.  The first price quoted is usually double (if not more) the actual price.

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Comments

» Stephen Schreck :
Dec 17, 2012

Great post I am headed to Egypt this May, and will have to show this to my family. Who are having a minor freak out that I am starting my trip in Egypt. I’ve told them the same thing, that the protester are in square and that I will be fine. Great itinerary also, I will be following this for sure. Thanks again.

LOCAVORista @ LivingIF Reply:

Stephen, enjoy your trip to Egypt it is a beautiful and fascinating country. The protests were no problem and the people in Cairo went out of their way to make us feel welcome. Have a great time in Egypt and if you have any other questions feel free to contact us.

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About the Author

LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

About the Author
LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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