Cairo is the largest city in Africa and the 16th most populous metropolitan area in the world. Cairo is also ranked as one of the most densely populated cities in the world Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life. Cairo was founded by the Fatimid dynasty in the 10th Century, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo is also associated with Ancient Egypt due to its proximity to the ancient cities of Memphis, Giza and Fustat which are nearby to the Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza.
With a population of 6,758,581 spread over 453 square kilometers (175 sq mi), Cairo is by far the largest city in Egypt. With an additional ten million inhabitants just outside the city, Cairo resides at the centre of the largest metropolitan area in Africa and the eleventh largest urban area in the world. Cairo, like many other mega-cities, suffers from high levels of pollution and traffic, but its metro – currently one of only two on the African continent – also ranks among the fifteen busiest in the world, with over 700 million passenger rides annually.
Cairo, as well as neighbouring Giza, has been established as Egypt's main centre for medical treatment, and despite some exceptions, has the most advanced level of medical care in the country. Cairo's hospitals include the JCI-accredited As-Salam International Hospital - Corniche El Nile; Maadi (Egypt's largest private hospital with 350 beds), Ain Shams University Hospital, Dar El Fouad Hospital, as well as Qasr El Ainy General Hospital.
Cairo has long been the hub of education and educational services for Egypt and the region. Today, Cairo is the centre for many 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.
Transportation in Cairo comprises an extensive road network, rail system, subway system, and maritime services. Road transport is facilitated by personal vehicles, taxi cabs, privately owned public buses, and Cairo microbuses. Cairo, specifically Ramses Square, is the centre of almost the entire Egyptian transportation network. The subway system, officially called “Metro” is a fast and efficient way of getting around Cairo. It can get very crowded during rush hour. Two train cars (the fourth and fifth ones) are reserved for women only, although women may ride in any car they want.
Cairo Opera House
Ex-President Mubarak inaugurated the new Cairo Opera House of the Egyptian National Cultural Centres on October 10, 1988, seventeen years after the Royal Opera House had been destroyed by fire. The National Cultural Centre was built with the help of JICA, the Japan International Co-operation Agency and stands as a prominent feature for the Japanese-Egyptian co-operation and the friendship between these two nations. Egypt is proud to be the only state in the region which built two opera houses within a century.
Cairo International Film Festival
Egypt's love of the arts in general can be traced back to the rich heritage bequeathed by the Pharaohs. In modern times, Egypt has enjoyed a strong cinematic tradition since the art of filmmaking was first developed, early in the 20th century. A natural progression from the active theatre scene of the time, cinema rapidly evolved into a vast motion picture industry. This together with the much older music tradition, raised Egypt to become Hollywood Middle East and the cultural capital of the Arab world. For more than 500 years of recorded history, Egypt has fascinated the West and inspired its creative talents from play writer William Shakespeare, poet and dramatist John Dryden, and novelist and poet Lawrence
Durrell to film producer Cecil B. de Mille. Since the silent movies Hollywood has been capitalising on the box-office returns that come from combining Egyptian stories with visual effects.
Tahrir Square was founded during the mid 19th century with the establishment of modern down-town Cairo. It was first named Ismailia Square, after the 19th-century ruler Khedive Ismail, who commissioned the new downtown district's 'Paris on the Nile' design. After the Egyptian Revolution of 1919 the square became widely known as Tahrir (Liberation) Square. Several notable buildings surround the square including, The American University in Cairo's down-town campus, the Mogamma governmental administrative Building, the headquarters of the Arab League, the Nile Ritz Carlton Hotel, the headquarters of the National Democratic Party, and the Egyptian Museum. Being at the heart of Cairo, the square witnessed several major protests over the years. However, the most notable event in the square was being the focal point of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution against former president Hosni Mubarak.
The Egyptian Museum
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, known commonly as the Egyptian Museum, is home to the most extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities in the world. It has 136,000 items on display, with many more hundreds of thousands in its basement storerooms.
The Cairo Tower is a free-standing concrete TV tower in Cairo. It stands in the Zamalek district on Gezira Island in the Nile River, in the city centre. At 187 meters, it is 43 meters higher than the Great Pyramid of Giza, which stands some 15 km to the southwest.