July 5, 2022

Cairo (Arabic القاهرة, DMG al-Qāhira 'the strong' or 'the conqueror', probably named after Mars, Arabic القاهر, DMG al-Qāhir) is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world. It was founded in 969 by the Fatimid general Dschauhar as-Siqillī. Egyptians often refer to the city simply by its country name – Arabic مصر, DMG Miṣr, Egyptian-Arabic Maṣr. Cairo is the political, economic and cultural center of Egypt and the Arab world. The city is the seat of the Egyptian government, the parliament, all state and religious central authorities (Mogamma) and numerous diplomatic missions. Cairo is the most important transport hub in Egypt and has numerous universities, colleges, theatres, museums and monuments. The old town of Cairo is an ensemble of Islamic architecture and has been recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site since 1979. The city has the status of a governorate and is governed by a governor who is appointed by the President of the Republic. Cairo has 9.1 million inhabitants in the administrative urban area (2017) and the metropolitan area of ​​Cairo is the largest in Africa with around 19.3 million inhabitants (2020), ahead of Lagos in Nigeria. In Egypt, however, there is no obligation to register, which is why the population figures given are projections based on the census results.



Cairo has an urban area of ​​606 square kilometers and is located in the northeast of the country on the right bank of the Nile at an average of 68 meters above sea level. The city also includes the two islands of Gezira (الجزيرة, with the district of Zamalek) and Roda (الروضة). Opposite her on the west bank is the Gouvernement al-Gīza (el-Gīza), including the historical complexes of Giza. The geographic coordinates of Cairo are 30° 03' north latitude and 31° 15' east longitude. The first settlement was originally established between the Muqattam foothills to the east and the Nile to the west. But even if these no longer delimit Cairo, the districts that are located between these two natural barriers form the old city core. The Nile Delta stretches north of the city to the Mediterranean Sea. To the west are the Pyramids of Giza. To the south is old Memphis.


Cairo is located in the valley of the Nile, the world's longest, but not the most water-rich river, whose source river is the Kagera, which has its source in the Rwandan highlands. The course of the Nile follows a tectonic line. The plateaus located there break off in steps or with a uniform steep slope 100 to 140 meters deep. In the valley, the river has formed a series of gravel terraces and deposited an alluvial plain of black mud averaging ten meters thick. The total width of the valley is in the south, in the area of ​​the Nubian sandstone, two to five kilometers, in the area of ​​the tertiary limestone, approximately from Aswan downstream, ten to 15 kilometers. In places, river erosion has affected the resistant rock of the crystalline substructure. To the west of today's valley, remains of an older Nile valley have been preserved, for example in the Fayyum valley fed by the river. Below Cairo, the valley opens up and merges into the vast, canal-laced expanses of the 23,000-square-kilometer delta.

City structure


The city center can be roughly divided into a traditional and a modern part. Traditional Cairo is set back from the Nile in front of the Citadel and Mount Muqattam (المقطّم). It mainly covers Islamic Cairo around the Azhar and other mosques. Furthermore, here are the residential districts north, east and south of the V