City in the
The strong beauty on the Nile
Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in Africa, with a name that means "the victorious city." It is located on both banks of the River Nile near the head of the river's delta in northern Egypt and has been settled for more than 6,000 years, serving as the capital of numerous Egyptian kingdoms. Cairo is known locally as "Misr," which is the Arabic name for Egypt, because of its centrality to Egyptian life
The city of Cairo covers an area of more than 453 square kilometers (more than 175 square miles), although it is difficult to geographically measure and separate the city from some of its immediate suburbs. Bracketed by the desert to the east, south, and west and bounded by the fertile Nile delta to the north, Cairo sits astride the river, though it spreads farther on the east bank than the west.
The center of downtown Cairo is in Tahrir Square, which is located along the east bank. A hub of tourist activity, the vast and open square contains numerous attractions, including the Egyptian Museum, the Arab League headquarters, and the modern Umar Makram Mosque. Cairo's main thoroughfare, Corniche, extends from north to south along the east bank of the Nile. Located nearby is the narrow strip of land known as Garden City, one of the city's newer residential areas. In the center of the city is the river island of Zamalek (also called Jezerah, meaning "the island"), which contains an upscale residential and commercial neighborhood also known as Zamalek, the Cairo Opera House (founded in 1869), and the Cairo Tower (1961).
Egyptian history is displayed and preserved in the city's numerous Museum collections. The Egyptian Museum (Founded in 1902) contains hundreds of thousands of artifacts, including more than 1,700 pieces from the collection of Pharaoh Tutankhamen. The Museum of Islamic Arts (1881) contains a vast collection relating to early Islamic civilization, and the Coptic Museum (1910) traces the history of the Coptic community in Egypt. Other Cairo Museums maintain collections relating to more modern themes, ranging from the El-Gawhara Palace Museum, built in 1811 in the Ottoman style, to the Mahmoud Khalil Museum, founded in 1963, which contains works by Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Peter Paul Rubens, and other renowned European and Egyptian artists.