Accessed as part of Nile River cruise packages, or on ocean cruises from either Port Said or Alexandria, Cairo heads any must-see list simply because of the Sphinx and the Great Pyramids of Giza, one of the world’s Seven Wonders. But the largest city in the Arab World has more to recommend it. With its many minarets, Cairo is a showcase for Islamic architecture, and the Egyptian capital, which dates to the 10th century, has long been a center of the region’s political and cultural life.
The pyramids and the sphinx can be toured on foot, horseback or camel. Other must-see attractions include the Ibn Tulun Mosque, which dates to the ninth century, and the Citadel, a massive stone fortress built by Salah ad-Din in the 12th century and subsequently crowned with the Mosque of Mohammed Ali. It now offers amazing views of the city, and, if the smog isn’t too thick, even the pyramids. Also, the Egyptian Museum has the world’s most extensive collection of artifacts from ancient Egypt, including King Tut and quite a few of his treasures.
For shopping, Khan El-Kalili is Cairo’s major open air market, operating pretty much as it always has since the 14th century, with many vendors whose families have done business there for generations. Shoppers work through rows and rows of exotic jewelry, spices, perfumes, Bedouin rugs and souvenirs, and as is the case throughout the Middle East, haggling is the rule rather than the exception.
Safaga’s main purpose as a cruise port is to disperse passengers to Luxor, 3.5 hours away by car or motorcoach, and the great temples along the Nile River. The dock is in an industrial area, with easy access to town.
Avid Cruiser Posts, Photographs and Videos Featuring Egypt.