Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the city-state of Cairo Governorate and is the country’s largest city, home to 10 million people. It is also part of the largest urban agglomeration in Africa, the Arab world, and the Middle East: The Greater Cairo metropolitan area, with a population of 21.9 million, is the 12th-largest in the world by population. Ancient Egypt connects with Cairo because it has the Giza pyramid complex and the ancient cities of Memphis and Heliopolis in its area. Located near the Nile Delta, the city first developed as Fustat, a settlement founded after the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 640 next to an existing ancient Roman fortress, Babylon. The Fatimid dynasty founded a new city, al-Qāhirah, nearby in 969. It later superseded Fustat as the main urban center during the Ayyubid and Mamluk periods (12th–16th centuries). Cairo has long been a center of the region’s political and cultural life and is titled “the city of a thousand minarets” for its preponderance of Islamic architecture. In 1979, UNESCO gave Cairo’s historic center the status of a World Heritage Site. GaWC classifies Cairo as a World City with a “Beta +” ranking.

Today, Cairo has the oldest and largest cinema and music industry in the Arab world, as well as the world’s second-oldest institution of higher learning, Al-Azhar University. Many international media, businesses, and organizations have regional headquarters in the city; the Arab League has had its headquarters in Cairo for most of its existence.