Cairo, Egypt, Africa

Founded: A.D. 969
Location: Near the head of the Nile River delta, Egypt; northeastern Africa
Time Zone: 2 PM Cairo time = noon Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)
Elevation: 194 m (636 ft)
Latitude and Longitude: 43°40'N, 79°22'W
Coastline: (Greater Cairo) approximately 27 km (17 mi)
Climate: Desert climate, with hot summers and mild winters; rain is rare, and hamsin dust storms can occur in the spring.
Annual Mean Temperature: January -4°C (24°F); July 21.7°C (71°F)
Seasonal Average Snowfall: 141 cm (55.5 in)
Average Annual Precipitation (total of rainfall and melted snow): 81.3 cm (32 in)
Government: governor-council
Weights and Measures: Metric
Monetary Units: Egyptian pounds
Telephone Area Codes: 20 (Egypt), 02 (Cairo)

2. Getting There

Cairo, the largest city in Africa, is located on the Nile River, 160 kilometers (100 miles) inland from the Mediterranean Sea and 135 kilometers (80 miles) west of the Red Sea.


Cairo is connected by highway with all other major cities in Egypt. The Desert Road links Cairo and Alexandria; there are main roads connecting Cairo with Ismailiyyah and Luxor. In addition, there is the Red Sea Highway, completed in the early 1990s. Roads connect Cairo with Libya to the west and Israel to the east (however, special permission must be obtained to enter Egypt from Israel in a private vehicle).

Bus and Railroad Service

Rail service is available between Cairo and all areas of the Nile River Valley. An air-conditioned nonstop express train, the turbino, makes three trips daily between Cairo and Alexandria. Cairo's main railway station is located at Maydan Ramsis. Several bus companies offer inter-city bus service between Cairo and Alexandria, the Nile Valley, the Red Sea, Sinai Peninsula, the Suez Canal, and other destinations. There is nonstop bus service between Cairo and Alexandria, and buses run between Cairo and all major towns.


Cairo International Airport, an important connecting point between Europe, Asia, and Africa, offers regular service by most major airlines. EgyptAir offers both domestic flights to Luxor, Aswan, and Hurghada and international service.


Although it is located on the Nile River, Cairo is not one of Egypt's major shipping cities, all of which have ports on the Mediterranean (Alexandria, Suez, and Port Said).

Bus and Commuter Rail Service

Packed buses offer local service in Cairo, stopping at the Maydan Tahrir, the Maydan Ataba and Opera Square, the Pyramids Road, Ramses Station, and the Citadel. Minibuses offer more reliable and somewhat more expensive service. Also available are privately owned and operated 12-seat taxis. Cairo's commuter rail service, the Metro, runs both above-and underground. The trains are clean; service is efficient; and fares are reasonable.


Organized tours to Cairo's major tourist attractions, such as the Giza and Saqqara pyramids and the Sphinx, are offered by hotels, private guides, and travel agencies.

22. For Further Study


Complete directory of major United States colleges and universities. Includes study - online university - information on an online university and about student life, student statistics, history, academics, unique programs, admissions, athletics, and the local community for each online university and college.

Egypt World Wide Web Index. [Online] Available (accessed October 7, 1999).

Egyptian Ministry of Tourism. [Online] Available (accessed October 7, 1999).

Middle East Times. [Online] Available (accessed October 7, 1999).

Government Offices

Cairo Chamber of Commerce
4 Maydan Falaki
Bab al-Luq
Cairo, Egypt

Embassy of the United States of America
5 Latin America Street
Garden City
Cairo, Egypt

Tourist and Convention Bureaus

Egyptian Ministry of Tourism
Misr Travel Tower
Abbassia Square
Cairo, Egypt

Tourist Friends Association
33 Qasr el-Nil, 9th Floor
Cairo, Egypt


Al Ahram
Sharia al-Galaa
Post No.11511
Cairo, Egypt

Al Hayat
1 Latin America St.
Garden City
Cairo, Egypt

Egyptian Gazette
24-26 Sharia Zakaria Ahmed St.
Al Tahir
Cairo, Egypt


Abu Lughod, Janet. Cairo: 1001 Years of the City Victorious. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1971.

Freeman-Grenville, G. S. P. The Beauty of Cairo: A Historical Guide to the Chief Islamic and Coptic Monuments. London: East-West Publications, 1981.

Gaston, Wiet. Cairo: City of Art and Commerce. Trans. Seymour Feiler. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964.

Ghosh, Amitav. In an Antique Land. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1993.

Raafat, Samir. Maadi 1904–1962: Society and History in a Cairo Suburb. Cairo: Palm Press, 1994.

Roberts, Paul William. River in the Desert: Modern Travels in Ancient Egypt. New York: Random House, 1993.

Rodenbeck, Max. Cairo: The City Victorious. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1999.

Stewart, Desmond. Cairo: 5500 Years. New York: Crowell, 1968.

Wikan, Unni. Tomorrow, God-willing: Self-made Destinies in Cairo. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996.

Williams, Caroline. Islamic Monuments in Cairo: A Practical Guide. Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 1993.


Egypt 1 [videorecording] : Cairo & the Pyramids. Derry, NH: Chip Taylor Communications, 1991. 1 videocassette (16 min.): sd., col.; 1/2 in. "Exploring the World" series. Travel magazine.