Cairo, also known as “The City of a Thousand Minarets,” is the capital and largest city of Egypt. One of the world’s oldest cities, it lies on the Nile and has pharaonic history.
Many historical landmarks such as the Great Pyramids of Giza make Cairo a city with a rich cultural heritage, the Sphinx, and the Egyptian Museum. The city is also home to many Islamic and Coptic Christian monuments, including the Al-Azhar Mosque and the Hanging Church.
The area around present-day Cairo has always been a focal point for ancient Egypt because of its strategic location at the intersection of the Nile Valley and Nile Delta regions (roughly Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt), which also made it at the intersection of major roads between North Africa and the Levant.
Old Kingdom Egypt’s capital Memphis and major religious center Heliopolis were near today’s Cairo. Persian invasions in 525 BC and 343 BC largely destroyed Heliopolis. It was partially abandoned in the late first century BC.