Egypt

24 hours in Cairo

24 hours in Cairo

Back to Cairo. From its museums and pyramids, to its cupolas and minarets, and from its cafés and the delicious perfume of apple tobacco, to its non-stop motion, with the energy of its 20 million inhabitants, the city beats like a racing heart. It's always fascinating.

 

10:00 am

Admire Tutankhamun's treasures

The Egyptian Museum houses many of the treasures of ancient Egypt. Marvel at Tutankhamun's treasures, the royal funeral furniture discovered in Tanis, the moving Fayum mummy portraits, and thousands of other objects that tell the story of the greatness of the Nile civilisation. 

 

1:00 pm

Egyptian-style lunch

'Koshary', a mix of lentils, chickpeas, rice, pasta, and fried onions, is only found in Egypt. It's the quintessential labourer's food - inexpensive, filling and delicious.  Koshary is the signature Egyptian street food and the taste of Cairo.

 

2:00 pm

Have a coffee at Riche

Located between Tahrir Square and Talaat Harb Square on one of the capital's wide boulevards, Cafe Riche was the beacon of the Cairo intellectual scene in the 20th century. The cafe is famous for its red tablecloths and the black-and-white photos of the artists that made it famous, including Oum Kalthoum and Naguib Mahfouz. The old clientele tends to have moved on, but nostalgia still brings them here to sip Turkish coffee and Egyptian beer.

 

3:00 pm

Visit an art gallery 

Founded 20 years ago, the TownHouse Gallery is the country's oldest independent art gallery, offering contemporary art exhibitions, screenings, debates (in Arabic and English)... TownHouse shows works by emerging and internationally-recognised artists. It's an artistic place in the Qasr an Nile neighbourhood in central Cairo. Despite repeated threats of closure, TownHouse remains an island of artistic resistance. Check out what's on .

 

4:00 pm

Wander the City of the Dead

The City of the Dead, also known as the Cairo Necropolis, is a cemetery and neighbourhood of Cairo.  Its sandy paths and songbirds make this a peaceful retreat. Here, Mamluk mosques sit alongside the palace tombs of Egyptian aristocracy, and the living sit alongside the dead. Around the Mosque of Qaitbey, the grocer runs his shop, the cafe owner sets up his streetside tables, and master glassmakers blow glass in their workshops.

 

5:00 pm

Visit private houses converted into museums

Right next to the Mosque of Ibn Tulun – definitely the most beautiful in the city – two Ottoman houses from the 16th and 17th centuries, decorated with ornate 'mashrabiya' windows, fountains and terraces, house art and furniture collections acquired throughout the Middle East by John Gayer Anderson, an English pasha (Ottoman officer) who lived here at the beginning of the last century. A little farther away, on Al Moez Ldin Allah Al Fatimi Street, visit El Sehemy House, whose public and private spaces provide a better understanding of life in the Ottoman era. 

 

10:00 pm

Have a drink in Zamalek

Admire the twinkling lights of the original city that never sleeps from a rooftop bar perched at the tip of the island of Zamalek, on the banks of the Nile, to round off 24 hours in Cairo.

 

 

By

MARION OSMONT

 

Cover photo

ARMAND LAGRANGE