As you probably might know, I live in Cairo (aka the Capital City of Egypt). Because of this, I’ve been asked endless times to write a post describing how life is like around here. This is why I’m dedicating this post to all of you out there who are curious to know more about the Egyptian Culture!
Okay, so how do I start this? *thinking deeply*
Section 1 – The Areas
Inside of Cairo, there are plenty of areas – I’ll highlight the main & common ones!
- Nasr City
- New Cairo
- 6th October City
- Mohandessin / Zamalek
- El Rehab / El Shorouk/ Madinaty – they’re like compounds in an area all by themselves
I know the names probably don’t mean much to you since you have no idea how they’re like, but I’ve just stated them here so you would at least know them! Don’t say I didn’t tell you! 🙂
Section 2 – Places For Tourists
In every country, there are attractions that any foreign tourist must see & couldn’t just skip while they’re visiting. For example: The Eiffel Tower in Paris, The Big Ben in London, The Statue Of Liberty in America, The Sydney Harbour Bridge in Australia & the list goes on forever!
#1 I think everyone is at least familiar with Cairo’s Most Visited/Known Tourist Attraction…The Pyramids! They’re located in the Giza area & have been there for millions & millions of years! I won’t mention the history – since in my opinion it’s quite broing & never-ending.
I’ll just mention the fact that each pyramid has a name.The biggest ‘Khafrae’, the one in the middle ‘Khofu’, & the smallest one is ‘Mankawre’ – they are simply the names of the kings who built them!
#2 We also have The Egyptian Museum which is also located in the Giza area in a very well-known sqaure called “Al-Tahrir”. This is the place where the 25th January Revolution took place in 2011!
I went there once with my school – a long time ago. I think I was around 9 years old. I don’t remember much tbh, but it was very interesting & attention-grabbing…even though I don’t like history!
This is an image of ‘Tahrir’ Square – you could see the Museum in the distance!
#3 Another great attraction you’d probably enjoy visiting is The Cairo Tower. It’s around 190m tall with 90 whooping floors! There is a restaurant at the top, where you can stuff your mouth as well as enjoy the breath-taking view! I’ve been there a couple of timed with my family & I remember how we stood at the very top with my hair flying all over my face because of how strong the wind was up there! Ahhh, happy times.
Here it is in the morning & at night! I absolutely love the sky colour in the night image – it’s gorgeous! ❤️ It’s not a match for the Eiffel Tower or the Big Ben, but it’s the closest thing we can get.
#4 The Cairo Citadel! It was built at the end of the 19th Century – but has obviously been renovated many times. There is a museum inside, which apparently has many artefacts & other historical objects.
At the highest point of the courtyard in the Citadel is the Muhammed Ali Mosque – which was designed by a Turkish man who based his architecture plans on the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul (Turkey)! As for answering any arising questions concerning “Who is Muhammed Ali”…he was one of the greatest rulers of Egypt in th 1800’s. It looks stunning at night! 🙂
Okay, it’s time to confess. I’ve actually never been to either the Citadel or the Mosque, for plainly no reason at all.
I’ve seen it loads of times while sitting in the car, daydreaming out of the window, but never went inside.
All these facts were using the internet & my parents who went there before. I actually want to go & I think I’ll probably beg my parents next summer. It sounds fascinating!
#5 I’m saving the best (in my opinion) till last! The one & only Khan El Khalili. I went there last July for the 1st time & I REALLY enjoyed it there!If you truly want to explore the Egyptian culture, then this is the perfect place to do so.
Let me first explain what it actually is. It’s actually a major bazaar (‘souk’) in Islamic Cairo -which FYI is located in the “Downtown” part of the city.
We barely every call it downtown…we actually call it “West El Balad”, which if you actually translate means ‘the center of Cairo’. Yes, I know you’re probably wondering/puzzled. When we say ‘west’ in Arabic, it means center or middle. Yes, I have to agree, it’s weird & confusing.
It’s like an old arabian bazaar full of endless stalls & narrow streets where you can buy souvenirs, great arabian-like accessories (I bought a heap of those), belly dancing costumes, traditional clothes, spices…almost anything & everything. Another great benefit is how cheap these things can be, compared to the superior shops we find in the malls that love to tear out our wallets.
There are also street cafés which provide traditional & well-know Egyptian dishes – which we’ll cover in just a bit.
So, if you’re looking for a real taste of what the Egyptian culture really is…then this is frankly the most perfect & ideal place.The buzz & energy, the people, the shops, everything! I’m trying hard here not to sell, but I’m finding it quite difficult. I’m trying to sound down-to-earth & very casual. Am I doing a good job till now? 😊
Section 3 – Malls & Dining
Cairo is just like any other city on the Planet. We have malls, cinemas, restaurants & cafés,
supermarkets & hypermarkets, fast food drive thru’s, kitkats & nutella.
*abruptly stops with fingers hanging over keyboard*
Why am I mentioning food in the entertainment section?
*now trying to focus & stop daydreaming about a delicious burger from McDonalds*
Okay, please don’t mind the last part…I’m back to reality now. Lets Start!
Cairo Festival City Mall – my FAV mall & 1 of the best places to hang out in Cairo. Also, it’s the ideal spot if you’re a shopaholic like me. It is located in New Cairo. There is Debenhams, Bershka, Stradivarius, Zara, Topshop, Aerocrombie, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M, American Eagle, Oysho, Tally Weijl, Victoria’s Secret, Marks & Spencer, and loads more! There’s also an outdoor “Villiage” where there is a great selection of restaurants, plus a dancing fountain so you can eat & watch. There’s also a cinema & Carrefour – so as you can see, it’s a pretty well-rounded mall.
City Stars Mall – my 2nd most favourite mall & one that is very similar to CFCM. It has almsot the same exact shops (minus Debenhams, Carrefour & Ikea). The major differences are that it’s located in Nasr City & has no villiage. The restaurants are scattered inside along with 2 food courts & 2 cinemas complexes!
Point 90 Cinema/Mall – it used to be only a cinema…but it didn’t stay that way. There are few shops now (Bath & Body Works, Accessorize, H&M) as well as many restaurants & a food court. It’s also located in New Cairo (along with CFCM)
Porto Cairo – this is a place with a tremendously huge fountain surrounded by an arc of restaurants in the outdoors. There is what they call a mall inside too, but there isn’t that many shops. It’s a great place if you want to sit with your firends/family, eat, talk & watch the fountain dance along to popular songs!
Downtown Katameya – it’s almost like Porto Cairo but without a fountain. There are loads of restaurants & cafés suitable for having a snack, having lunch/dinner, having a drink, anything really!
Nile City – a magnificent boat in the Nile River (Zamaek area) which has many restaurants, where you can enjoy watching the Nile as well as a delicious meal!
Section 4 – Traditional Food
As much as I want to, we won’t be talking about pizzas & burgers or kitkats & nutella. But, I’ll be telling you the most famous/common food we eat at home here in Cairo!
Mulukhiyah – it’s simply leaves of a Corchorus Olitorius (a plant). We usually eat it with rice & chicken.
Koshary – it’s simply rice, macaroni, lentils, topped with red tomato sauce! It’s one of the most delicious things I’ve ever tasted! I prefer it to be homemade, since I didn’t really like it when I ate it at a restaurant.
Foul & Taamia – its the traditional egyptian breakfast & simply no words can describe how lovely it is without you tasting it yourself.
Basbousa- this is the deesert. It is our traditional sweet cake covered with sugary syrup. Think of the sweetest thing you’ve ever tasted & multiply by a 1000!
There are many many others, but these are the most famous & traditional ones you should probably know. I’m getting so hungry right now- *stomach rumbling in agreement*
Section 5 – Arabic Language
Arabic isn’t hard…but it isn’t easy also. It is the language we use almost everyday, closely followed by English. Let me teach you some basics!
- My Name Is ‘…..’ = Ana Esmy ‘….’
- How are you? (for masculine) = Ezayak / Aamel eh?
- How are you? (for feminine) = Ezayek / Aaamla eh?
- Thankyou = Shokran
- Hello = Ahlan Wa Sahlan
- Number 1 = Wahed
- Number 2 = Etneen
- Number 3 = Talata
- Mother = Omy / Mami
- Father= Aby / Papi
- Sister = Okhty
- Brother= Akhoya
- Daughter = Benty
- Son = Ebny
- Grandma = Teta
- Grandpa = Gedo
- Family = Eila
- Holiday = Agaza
- I would like (masculine) = Ana Aayez
- I would like (feminine) = Ana Aayza
- Yes = Aywa
- No = Lah
Section 6 – The Life, The Culture, The People
Egyptian people are known to be light-hearted, kind & full of jokes, which hands-down…I have to agree is true.
Life around here is like any other. Children go to school, play with toys or on their iPads, hangout with the family, watch cartoons & sleep. Teenagers study, go to school, hang out with their friends/family, shop, watch TV & sleep. Adults work, party, hang out, go to the cinema, shop, watch TV & sleep. Yeah, the cycle always ends u with watching something & sleeping! 🙂
We deal with happy times as well as stress, jealousy & emotional breakdowns. But hey, that’s what we call normal, right?
With the advancement & widespread of modern technology…people have become addicted & attached to their phones & laptops. I think everyone in the world has become like that.
We have a
few couple of political & economic problems every now & then, but what can we do? C’est La Vie – This Is Life.
For some reason, the prices of everything (food, petrol, clothes,school fees) is getting quadripled & lots of people can’t afford it anymore. Not everyone is poor here & not everyone is rich. Most of us are like upper middle-class, but still.
As I look around me, I can see that people are growing tired. We joke about it on Facebook & Instagram, but deep inside I think our hearts are not into it. We also have a few safety issues that keep arising every few months & things aren’t pretty. Things changed & are still changing – I hope it gets better.
Anyway, sorry for that sad bit – I was just sharing my feelings here. Not everything is dandy, you know. 🙂
The weather here is always very hot in the Summer, good in Autumn, very very cold in Winter (wind & rain), dusty but good in Spring.
Weather Fact #1: It has barely/never rained in the Summer in Egypt.
Weather Fact #2: It barely/never snowed during the Winter in Egypt.
One very improtant thing you should also know about Cairo is simply, TRAFFIC JAMS. The vast amount of hours wasted sitting in the car waiting for traffic to clear out would break all records in all countries. Especially on Thursdays & in the weekend (Friday & Saturday).
It doesn’t help that me & my family aren’t the best when it comes to punctuality. We’d have an appointment at 7pm in a completely different area, then we leave the house & get into the car at 6:59pm. Add traffic to the story & we’re more than an hour late. >facepalm<
But other than that, I think we could say that life is ok! 👍
End Of Sections
I want to hear from you now! What do you think of Cairo? Is it cool?
Image Taken By Me^
I hope you enjoyed reading this post as much as I had fun writing about the city I grew up in & currently live in!
Comment any thoughts or questions you have about Cairo & I’ll make sure to answer them!
Going to practice doing some maths now – wish me luck with x and y.
Bye for Now!