If you have already seen all the common sights in Cairo, Giza and Saqqara, and now want to discover something new, don't worry: Cairo gas a lot more to offer! Enjoy a very special day and experience the Coptic and Islamic Cairo.
What to Expect
We will pick you up directly from the entrance door of your hotel in Hurghada early in the morning. You will recognize our driver by a sign with your name in his hand. During our way to Cairo you can already gain some impressions about the Egyptian landscape; of course we will make stops whenever you need. In Cairo we will take you to the most important places for Muslims and Coptic Christians. In Egypt Christians and Muslims live together in a relatively peaceful coexistence and usually don’t disturb each other in the practice of their religion – although nobody can deny that there are unfortunately some sad exceptions.
First of all you will see the well preserved Salah El Din Citadel, the heart of Islamic Cairo, created by one of the greatest Arabic rulers, known in Europe as ‘Saladin’, a successful conqueror and clever statesman who built this large and impressive fortress to protect the city from the European crusaders. Inside the fortification’s walls you will furthermore find the Mohamed Ali Mosque, also known as the Alabaster Mosque. The huge mosque, looking down on the city from its hill, is a beautiful piece of ottoman-inspired architecture with a wonderful courtyard, covered with alabaster.
Have a walk through the Sultan Hassan Mosque with its extravagant interior, the architectural innovations and the fantastic size, regarding the time of its construction in the Middle-Age. This mosque was not only created for prayer, but also as a madrassa, an educational institution for religious studies.
Then you visit the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, the oldest mosque in Cairo which nearly preserved its original form, dating back to the 9th century AD, and the mosque which covers the largest area. If you are free from giddiness, climb onto the minaret and enjoy a fabulous view over the city of Cairo.
Finally you will see the Al-Azhar Mosque, dedicated in 972 AD, which was the first mosque of Cairo as the newly-established capital. During the centuries it has been rebuilt and enlarged and it contains wonderful pieces of architecture of different epochs. Take special attention of the beautiful minarets. Besides the mosque’s madrassa, installed in 989 AD to teach its students about Islam, is the origin of the famous Al-Azhar University, which is considered to be the chief centre of Arabic literature and Islamic studies in the world. Al-Azhar is a nowadays a symbol of Islamic Egypt.
After a relaxed lunch in a local restaurant we will continue our trip and visit Coptic Cairo, the oldest part of Cairo. We will walk into the Babylon Fortress, an ancient fortress city with well preserved remains, which is the origin of the nowadays biggest City in Africa, and features in its area a lot of Coptic churches and monuments.
One of them will be your next stop: Saint Virgin Mary’s Church, maybe better known as the ‘Hanging Church’ (‘El Muallaqa’), as it was built up above the Babylon Fortress’ gatehouse. Its history dates back probably as far as to the 3rd century AD and it is therefore one of the oldest and besides one of most important Coptic sites. It has seen many renovations during the centuries, and its façade from the 19th century AD is even quite young. Enjoy the beautiful interior, feel the spiritual atmosphere and see many icons, some of them more than 1,200 years old, the wonderful iconostasis and the splendid main altar with its decoration – ebony and ivory, carved into segments showing various Coptic cross designs.
Now you will see Abu Serga Church, also known as Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church, named after two martyrs, which according to the legend has been built atop one of the sites where the Holy Family rested when they escaped from the cruel King Herod. It is one of the oldest churches in Egypt and dates back to the 4th century AD. Although it has been rebuilt several times it can still be considered as a model of the early Coptic churches.
You will finish your program by visiting the treasury collection of the Coptic Museum where Coptic art and Egyptian Christian artifacts have been collected since 1910 and trace the history of Christianity in Egypt.
In the evening you will travel back to your hotel in Hurghada.
- Transfers from/to your hotel and between the sights in high-class vehicles with A/C
- Guided tours in your language
- Entrance fees for the above mentioned sights
- Lunch in a local restaurant
What's Not Included
- Gratuity (tips) for drivers, tour guides
- Personal items, meals, drinks or services not mentioned