Pyramids of Giza#3 in Best Things To Do in Cairo
Cairo's most popular attraction, the Pyramids of Giza, draw thousands of visitors every year. As one of the original Seven Wonders of the World, these pyramids have stood the test of time, remaining intact for roughly 4,500 years. You'll find three primary pyramids, the best known being the Great Pyramid of Khufu – named after the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh buried there. Khafre, Khufu's son, lies entombed in the nearby Pyramid of Khafre. The third structure, the Pyramid of Menkaure, stands as the smallest of the Pyramids of Giza and was constructed by Khafre's successor to the throne, Menkaure.
You are welcome to explore the pyramids and the adjacent Great Sphinx after purchasing a Giza Plateau ticket. However, keep in mind that only 300 tickets are sold per day and additional fees apply for entering the pyramids. If you plan on visiting in the winter or want to beat Cairo's notorious heat, consider arriving early in the morning when plenty of tickets are still available and temperatures are a bit more comfortable.
The Pyramids of Giza sit about 11 miles southwest of downtown Cairo on the Giza Plateau and are open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Public transportation is not available within walking distance, so it's best to drive, hail a taxi or take a bus tour to the site. Most bus tours operated by companies like Memphis Tours and Emo Tours Egypt cost between $80 and $125 and include stops at other attractions, such as the Egyptian Museum, Memphis and Saqqara. The entrance's parking lot is free to use, but parking by the pyramids costs 5 Egyptian pounds (less than $1). A gift shop and restrooms are also available on-site. An entrance fee of 80 Egyptian pounds ($9) for adults and 40 Egyptian pounds ($5) for students applies; all standard tickets include access to the Great Sphinx and the property's temples. To explore the pyramids' interiors, separate tickets – which cost 100 Egyptian pounds ($11) for the Great Pyramid of Khufu, 30 Egyptian pounds ($3) for the Pyramid of Khafre and 25 Egyptian pounds (roughly $3) for the Pyramid of Menkaure – are required.
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#1 Coptic Cairo (Old City)
This neighborhood in southern Cairo is the oldest part of the city, with twisting alleyways and ancient churches that are several centuries older than the ornate mosques of Islamic Cairo. According to legend, it was St. Mark who introduced Christianity to Egypt, and it was here that Africa's first Christian church – the Coptic Church of Egypt – thrived. To learn more about Coptic Cairo's rich history, check out neighborhood attractions like the Coptic Museum and the ninth-century Hanging Church, which are housed within an ancient Babylonian fortress. You'll also find significant Jewish and Islamic locales here, including the Mosque of Amr Ibn al-Aas – the oldest mosque in Africa – and Ben Ezra Synagogue – the alleged site where the pharaoh's daugher found Moses floating in his basket.
Past visitors said visiting Coptic Cairo is a must, even if you're not religious. History lovers will appreciate the area's abundance of historic sights, while architecture buffs will enjoy gazing at the neighborhood's beautiful mosaics and woodwork. Plus, Coptic Cairo's narrow alleys are lined with street vendors selling a variety of goods.
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