Living in CairoIyna Bort Caruso
One way to get a sense of the sprawling metropolis that is Cairo, Egypt, is from the city’s highest point, the 614-foot-tall Cairo Tower. This megacity—the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world—is busy, boisterous, energizing and always in motion. It’s both ancient and modern with cultural attractions that span millenniums and civilizations that are built on top of each other. Hundreds of historic monuments and thousands of years of history lend a sense there’s always something new to discover in Cairo.
Cairo sits on the banks of the Nile River in the north of Egypt. It’s home to dozens of international schools and institutions of higher learning including Al-Azhar University, the world’s second-oldest university.
Culture reigns here. The Egyptian Museum houses the world’s greatest collection of ancient Pharaonic antiquities including Tutankhamun’s tomb. A short drive east is al-Muizz Street, considered the largest open-air museum for Islamic monuments and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The oldest and most famous of all is the Giza Pyramids complex on the southwestern edge of the city. The complex is made of up three Giza Pyramids and the Great Sphinx. For most of its 4,500-year-old history, it was the tallest structure in the world. It is the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that still exists.
Of course, not all of Cairo’s cultural and recreational attractions are ancient. When they’re not spending time in the historic gardens of Al Azhar Park, Cairenes, as the locals are called, support opera, film and contemporary art.
In Cairo’s property market, areas closer to the city center generally command higher prices, especially apartments that overlook the Nile River. Although single-family homes are rarer than apartments, luxury villas and compounds can be found in Greater Cairo, some in gated communities with golf and resort-caliber amenities.
Zamalek is one of the most affluent districts. It’s located on an island in the Nile called Gezira. Among its elegant estates and mid-rise luxury apartment buildings, which tend to stay in families for generations, are several embassies and diplomatic missions. Another highly desirable area is the leafy, quiet and central district of Garden City. The neighborhood is a showcase of beautiful 20th century architecture.