Cairo Citadel was constructed by Salah El Din between 1176 and 1183 to protect the ancient cities of Cairo and Fustat from the crusaders. Built at the top of an imposing hill, this medievil fortification and it's enormous walls protected the city well and was used up until the 19th century as the home of the Egyptian government.
On this tour of Cairo's historic sights we'll look around this impressive and imposing medievil fortress as well as the beautiful mosque within.
We'll start our tour of Cairo's Old Town at the biggest market in the Bazaar district, one of the city's main tourist attractions. Originally the site of Saffron Tomb, a burial site of the Fatimid caliphs, the site was the center of great economic activity in the 14th century despite being ravaged by the Black Death. By the late 15th century the site of Khan El-Khalili market had become the major center of foreign trade, which among many other things included the sale of slaves.
During the reign of Egypt's last important sultan the complex was rebuilt with monumental gates and perpendicular streets resembling the great Ottoman cities where the most precious goods were traded at the time. The most famous sights of the beautiful market are its massive ornate gates and upper stories eith iron grilled windows for the merchants rooms.
Today the market hasnt changed a great deal, except foreign merchants have been replaced by Egyptians geared towards the tourism market. This is a great place so find an authentic and original holiday present for yourself or a loved one.
You'll also come across the market's many shops, coffeehouses, resturants and street food vendors offering fantastic quality Arabic coffee and shisha.
Next we'll travel to Old Cairo where we'll discover the churches, synagogues, mosques and the biggest market in Khan El-Khalili.
The most famous Coptis Christian church in Cairo, the Hanging Church is thought to have been built during the patriachate of Isaac (690-92) although churches have existed on this site since the 3rd or 4th Century. The church is the site of several reported apparitions of Mary, she is said to have appeared in one of Pope Abraham's dreams in 970AD. This beautiful church has is highly decorated with its barrel vaulted roof and marble pulpit.
Your next stop is the Abu Serga, one of the places where the Holy Family rested after fleeing Israel from King Herod. There are 24 marble columns lining the central court, and a series of 12th-century icons depicting the 12 apostles.
Ben Ezra Synagogue is one of the oldest in Egypt. Set in a shady garden, it was built on the site of 4th-century Christian church. The synagogue was severely damaged by Arabs after the 1967 war with Israel, but it has been almost completely renovated.
Constructed in the newly established capital City of Egypt in 970, Al-Azhar Mosque was the first to be built in Cairo, a city that would one day be named "the city of a thousand minarets" due to the sheer number of mosques found there.
Since the first 35 scholars in 972, it's now the second oldest continuously run university in the world. Over it's colourful millenium long history the mosque has gone through periods of neglect and being held in high regard as different rulers run Egypt. Today the Mosque of El-Azhar is a symbol of Islamic Egypt and a national treasure.
After a fantastic morning on a tour of Cairo's wonderful historic sights you'll be driven back to your hotel in time for lunch.
Although this tour focuses on many religious sights, you don't need to be religious to appreciate them - it's hard not to be astonished by the beauty and historical stories behind these great medievil sights.
Our historic Cairo tour is a great way to see the history of tone of the most impressive Cities in the world. All of our professional and friendly tour guides are renowned for their fun and enthusiastic approach to make the day as much fun as possible.