Since Cairo is chaotic and beset by air pollution, one could be forgiven for wanting to see the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx and move on as quickly as possible. But it would be a shame to miss the myriad treasures in Egypt’s capital, which bears the traces of ancient Egyptian, Jewish, Coptic Christian and Muslim cultures. Cairo rewards as much time as you can allow it.
In addition to the pyramids and the Sphinx, which take about half a day to see, here are other sites we recommend viewing in the Cairo area.
The sites of Jewish and Coptic Cairo deserve at least half a day. They include the famous Hanging Church, which stands on Roman-era bastions; the fourth-century Church of Saints Sergius and Bacchus, traditionally believed to have been built on the spot where the Holy Family rested at the end of their journey into Egypt; and the currently closed Ben Ezra Synagogue, home to the Cairo Geniza, which yielded a trove of medieval documents.