Best time to visit Cairo

Best time to visit Cairo

Cairo is the largest Arabic-speaking city in the world with an African flavor. It’s a controversial city, with contrasting neighborhoods and a rich history. Guides to Cairo often refer to the city as the “Arab Rome” – for its abundance of sights from different historical periods. Travelers usually come to Cairo for 1-2 days to see the pyramids of Giza and the famous Sphinx, as well as to visit the Cairo Museum with the mummies of the pharaohs. But multicultural Cairo in its history of more than a thousand years has accumulated many reasons why every traveler should visit here, in addition to the pyramids.

Plus, Cairo is a fairly budget-friendly destination. In the city is equally interesting to organize a weekend luxury or budget vacation. In addition, Egypt is very hospitable and welcoming to travelers from Russia.

Founded: 969 Area: 606 km 2 Population: 19,500,000 (2018) Currency: Egyptian Pound Language: Egyptian dialect of Arabic Official website:

Flight time: from Moscow – from 4 hours 50 min. from Saint-Petersburg – from 6 hours 40 min. (transfer 1-3) from Kazan – from 10 hours 10 min. (transfer 1-3) from Ekaterinburg – from 8 hours 50 min. (transfer 1-2) from Novosibirsk – from 11 hours 20 min. (transfer 1-2)

How to get there

Cairo is one of the largest transportation hubs in the Middle East and Africa. From Russia, the only option for direct transport is by air. But there are more colorful, though complicated route options.


Cairo International Airport is located 20 km northeast of the city. International flights are served by 2 terminals: the first – flights of Egypt Air; the second – all other international flights. Plans for the opening of a second air hub – Sphinx International Airport.

Moscow and Cairo are connected by direct flights from Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo airports. The flight to Cairo takes from 4 hours to 4 hours and 20 minutes. From St. Petersburg airport to Cairo is possible only with connections. The fastest option is via Munich. In this case, the flight time is just over 7 hours. Cairo airport is one of the busiest in the region. It receives flights from most European capitals, cities in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

You can get to the city from the airport by shuttle-bus, which runs every 20 minutes. It takes travelers to the center of Cairo, to the Egyptian Museum. The bus runs from 7 a.m. to midnight.


Cairo’s Ramses Station is the first in Africa. By train you can reach Cairo from other cities in Egypt: for example, Alexandria, Luxor or Aswan. The trip from Alexandria takes from 2 to 5 hours depending on the type of train, from Luxor – about 9 hours, from Aswan – 12 hours. In addition to color, it is a very scenic route: through the windows of the train you can observe the scenes of life of ordinary Egyptians, the life on the Nile. In summer, the train goes to Cairo from Marsa Matrouh, a city on the Mediterranean Sea.

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The most common class of train in the country is second class. The first class has 2+1 rows of seats, the second class has 2+2, and the third class has wooden benches like Russian electric trains. There is air conditioning in the first and second classes.

The bus

The bus service within Egypt is quite well developed. For most locals, the bus is the most affordable way to get to Cairo from other Egyptian cities. However, it is not the most comfortable mode of transport, and the roads in Egypt leave much to be desired. Nevertheless, this way is especially popular with tourists vacationing in the Red Sea resorts – Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh. Among tourists the most good reviews won the bus company Go bus. Buses from the resorts to Cairo run daily – up to 10-12 trips a day. Travel time from Sharm el Sheikh – from 8 hours, from Hurghada – from 7 hours. The bus from Alexandria takes about 3 hours, from Luxor – from 10 hours.

There are three main bus stations in Cairo and about a dozen small bus stations. Go Bus main station takes buses of the same name. Destinations include Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, Alexandria, and Marsa Alam. Almaza bus station is located in the Heliopolis area. At him arrive buses for resorts, as well as other domestic destinations. Torgoman bus station is located near the main railway station of the country. In the schedule of the bus station Torgoman – flights to the Mediterranean coast of Egypt, Red Sea resorts, Luxor and Aswan.

Water transport

Cairo stands on one of the largest rivers in the world. Cairo can be reached by luxury cruise ship or sailing feluga. The journey along the Nile from Aswan to Cairo will take a week or more, depending on the itinerary: you’ll make stops at sights during the day and travel further along the river at night. The journey from Luxor is slightly shorter – 2-4 days.

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The official date of Cairo’s founding is 969 AD. But even before that date a settlement existed on the site of modern Cairo. The place where the valley of the Nile River turns into a river delta, has long been considered ideal for the founding of the city. According to the legend of the ancient Egyptians, on the site of Cairo today there was a war between two gods-brothers: Horus and Seth. South of Cairo was the capital of the ancient Egyptian kingdom of Memphis.

At different times in history Cairo has had different names: Arabic El-Kahira (translated as “victorious” or “victorious”), Coptic Kashromi (“crusher of people”), Umm-ed-Dunja (“mother of peace”).


The Arab conquest of Egypt began in 640. In 642, the Arab military leader Amr ibn al-As founded Fustat. Under the Umayyads and Abbasids the city became the new capital of the Egyptian lands. During the Early Middle Ages, Fustat was one of the largest cities in area and population.

The remains of the ancient Fustat can now be seen near the Mar Girgis metro station. The mosque of Fustat – Ibn Tulun, built in 876-879, has also been preserved to this day. It is one of the main attractions of Cairo.

In 969 the capital of Egypt was moved to a new city, “Misr al-Qahirah”, whose name translates as “Egypt the victorious”. Fustat continued to exist as a crowded and unfortified city until the second half of the 12th century. But in 1162 it was burned by order of the Caliph’s vizier so that Fustat could not be taken by the Christian army of Amory of Jerusalem. Under Sultan Salah ad-Din, Fustat was reborn as a suburb of Cairo. The area is now called Old Cairo.

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Under the Ayyubids and the Mamelukes

In 1176, during the reign of Salah ad-Dine, the citadel of Cairo was built. During this period, under the Ayyubids (reigned from 1171 to 1250) and later under the Mamluks (1250-1517), Cairo became a major trade and craft center. The Mamluks were originally a military class formed from young slaves of Turkic origin. In 1250, the Mamelukes seized power in Cairo. Mamluk Aibek became Sultan of Egypt. Moreover, even under the Mamluk Sultan, slaves from the Golden Horde were procured to form the ruling caste. There were two Mamluk ruling dynasties: the Bahrits, who were Turks by birth and ruled from 1250 to 1382; the Burjits, the Circassians and other Caucasian peoples, who ruled Egypt until 1517.

The first ruler of the Burjits was Barkuk, a Circassian shepherd who was kidnapped and sold in the Crimea to a Mamluk agent. He was trained in Syria in military science and Islam, and for his high achievements was called to the court of the Egyptian sultan and promoted to emir. After the death of Sultan Shaban II, his young son Ali was in power for a short time, but was later overthrown by the Mamelukes. They proclaimed Barkuk the new sultan. Under Barkuk, financial reform was carried out, agriculture was raised to a new level, and the sciences were encouraged. In memory of the Sultan an architectural complex was built in Cairo consisting of a mosque, madrasah, and khanaka.

Despite the crisis of the 14th century, when Cairo was first hit by an earthquake and then by an epidemic of plague, monumental construction continued in the capital. From 1356 to 1362 lasted the construction of the Mosque of Sultan Hassan, which is considered a masterpiece of Mameluk architecture. As facing was used the stone dismantled from the pyramids complex in Giza. In 1511, the Khan al-Khalili market was built, which became the largest market in Africa. The market survives to this day.

Turkish rule

In 1517 the Mamelukes were defeated by Ottoman troops at the Battle of Ridwaniyya near Cairo. As a result of their defeat Egypt became part of the Ottoman Empire and remained part of it until 1914. The rulers of Egypt were Turkish viceroys, pashas.

The Turks sacked the city, destroying many architectural monuments. Cairo’s golden era was a thing of the past as the city began to wither away, turning into a provincial population center over the years. In July 1798 Napoleon’s troops entered Cairo. The city was occupied by the French until 1801. During this period many valuables and ancient masterpieces were taken out. Many of them are now stored in European museums. For example, the Egyptian collection of the Louvre has more than 50 thousand exhibits. As a result of the French excursion, the Egyptian Institute was established – in order to study and save the heritage of ancient Egypt.

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In 1805, the Turkish Pasha Muhammad Ali, who only nominally recognized the authority of the Turkish sultan, came to power in Egypt. Under his leadership, Egypt began to develop again: the army, government, and social life were reorganized in a European way. Young Egyptians went to study in London and Paris. Most of the land became the property of the state. Agriculture was developing, a monopoly on trade in agricultural products and handicrafts was introduced, factories and plants were actively built. The development of countries in that period and the methods of achieving Muhammad’s goals are often compared with the activities of Peter the Great.

Wanting to create an independent state out of Egypt, Muhammad Ali declared war on the Ottoman Empire in 1831. Muhammad’s adopted son, Ibrahim Pasha, conquered Turkish Syria, conquered Middle Palestine, and annexed the Lebanese tribes. Under the peace treaty, Egypt received the lands of Syria and the district of Adana, but only for temporary use. Soon the Second Turkish-Egyptian War broke out, in which Turkey was again unsuccessful. A European conference was convened in London as a result of the war, but its results did not satisfy Muhammad Ali. In September 1840, the Anglo-Austrian fleet sailed for Alexandria; the Egyptians were left with only the lands of Egypt and Sudan.

In 1854 the first railroad of Africa was built in Cairo. It connected Egypt’s capital with the main Mediterranean port, Alexandria. The Egyptian Museum was founded in 1858 and the Museum of Islamic Art in 1881.

English occupation

In 1882 Cairo was occupied by British troops. The British Empire wanted to expand its colonial holdings in Africa, which the Egyptian officers, led by Arabi Pasha, rebelled against. Britain had a controlling interest in the Suez Canal, which angered Egypt. But the Egyptian army at the time was in a deplorable state – it was irregular, and most of it was made up of forcefully mobilized peasants. Two months after the outbreak of war, the British army entered Cairo.

As a result, the Egyptian government signed a surrender, and the country became one of the protectorates of the British Crown. Egypt was under direct British control until 1922, but the last British soldier did not leave the country until 1956.

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In 1902 the new building of the Cairo Egyptian Museum was opened – on Tahir Square. In 1908 the first Egyptian modern university, the Cairo University, was founded. In 1908 the Coptic Museum was opened.

Independent Egypt

From 1922 to 1953, Egypt was a kingdom with Cairo as its capital. Now the official name of the countries is the Arab Republic of Egypt. The first international airport opened in Cairo in 1945. Upon landing and taking off, passengers can admire the pyramids of Giza, which are located near the airport. In the same year in Cairo, representatives of six countries created the League of Arab States, which now includes 22 countries.

In July 1952 a military coup in Cairo overthrew King Farouk I. In 1955 a master plan for the reconstruction of the Egyptian capital was adopted. The second half of the last century in the history of the country was filled with military conflicts. Nevertheless, Cairo continued to develop as a major metropolis. In 1987, the Cairo Metro, the first in Africa and the Middle East, was launched. More recently, the Smart Village, a local equivalent of Silicon Valley, was formed in Greater Cairo as a research and production center for computer and telecommunications technology. New landmarks are being built: the Cairo TV Tower, the Children’s Museum.

Climate and weather in Cairo

Cairo is located on the southern border of the subtropical belt. Cairo’s climate is greatly influenced by the Sahara Desert, near which it is located. Cairo is one of the driest megacities in the world. On average, Cairo receives only 24 mm of rainfall per year. Winter in Cairo is warm, the average temperature in January is +14 degrees, often keeping the temperature around +20 degrees. The absolute minimum that was registered in Cairo is +2.5 degrees. But such temperatures are a rare exception. During the winter nights the temperature in Cairo drops to +10 degrees. For evening walks you should take warm clothes.

The best time to visit Cairo is in early spring and the second half of fall. The air during this period warms up to +22 + 24 degrees and the winds from the desert are pleasantly refreshing.

Summers in Cairo are very hot and dry. The average temperature during the summer months is +28+30 degrees. But more often the thermometer is at +30+35 degrees in the shade. The maximum temperature recorded in Cairo in the summer months was +47.8 degrees in the shade. The weather in Cairo in the summer is not favorable for tourist walks, even at night is hot.

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