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Cairo

Cairo, the largest city in Africa, has developed on the glory of several settlements of the previous epochs. It is often called the city "of one thousand minarets" and "the Gate of the East". The center of modern Cairo is Al-Tahrir Square where the main state and public organizations of Egypt are located. It is also home to the headquarters of the League of Arab States and a massive neoclassical building - the Egyptian Museum - which is one of the most famous museums in the world. It has gathered the richest collections of works of art and culture of ancient Egypt including the treasures of the tomb of Tutankhamen. Currently, the collection includes more than 100 thousand exhibits.

From Al-Tahrir Square, one walks down the two famous streets - Talaab Harb and Qasr al-Nil. For the capital of Egypt they are no less than the commercial and business artery. They are lined up with shops, small cafes, offices of banks, companies, aviation agencies, and cinemas.

Cairo is an important center of Muslim theology. The city has more than 300 mosques. The most famous of them is the mosque of Amr, Ibn Tulun, and Al-Azhar. Since Islam forbids to display human faces and all other living beings, the creative energy of the Egyptian artists resulted in a strongly developed architecture and decorative arts, the extraordinarily expressive Arabic ornament in particular. That's why the architecture of mosques is so emotional, and the buildings themselves do not resemble one another.

As a fine example of religious attractions, one can observe the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, one of the oldest mosques in Cairo which was built in the 9th century. It is located in Gamalia, a poor, densely populated area which stretches west from the Citadel. For the first time in Muslim architecture, it had no powerful columns and arches that would give the mosque lightness and airiness. The Mosque of Ibn Tulun is laconic in style, with no small unnecessary decorations. Nothing distracts a person here from his divine thoughts.

The Citadel is a medieval castle built in the 12th century at the foot of the mountain Mukattam. Along with the constructed inside mosque of Muhammad Ali, with its round dome and four acute minarets, the Citadel is the business card of Cairo. The Mosque of Sultan Hassan is located not far from the Citadel. In its type, it is the mosque-madrasa. Its architesture is virtuous, and its southern minaret is the highest in Cairo.

To the north of the Citadel one finds the City of the Dead - the world's largest necropolis with the most ancient graves dating back to the 15th century. This area is also known for the Muslim Al-Azhar University which prepares senior Sunni clerics, and the Mosque of Seidna al-Hussein which is forbiddenfor non-Muslims to enter. The famous ancient Egyptian pyramids are in Giza on the outskirts of Cairo. In the evenings, the Pyramids are the place of performances during which the Sphinx tells the history of Egypt in different languages. One cannot be in Cairo and not visit the bazaar of Khan al-Khalili. It is the biggest bazaar in the Middle East, and it has barely changed since the 14th century. Walking here, you dive into the Eastern exoticism, with its incredible diversity and a wide range of products: spices, perfumes, gold, silver, carpets, things made of copper and bronze, leather, glass, ceramics etc. The tourists also find souvenirs made by local craftsmen especially interesting.