Cairo is the capital of Egypt. With a population of 16 million people it is one of the largest cities in the Middle East and the largest in Africa. Cairo has a complex blend of different civilisations. Cairo or Al-Qahera was finally named and founded in AD 969 and it means the Triumphant City. Egypt bares a significant, flourishing history that starts from the Pharoanic period through the Greco-Roman, Jewish and Coptic to the Islamic period. It was here that the first Islamic mosque in Africa was built by Amr Ibn Al-As. Cairo is at least twice as old as Paris, seven times as old as Berlin and 15 times as old as New York City. Egypt has many spectacular historical sites that make touring in Cairo or Egypt in general like taking a virtual time journey through history.
Egypt is three (3) hours ahead of GMT (+3 GMT)
The official currency used in Egypt is the Egyptian Pound (EGP). Each pound is divided into 100 piastres and the rate of exchange is as below:
1 USD = 5.95 EGP
1 EGP = 0.167 USD
Exchange rates are available at any bank or exchange office. There are notes of 25 and 50 piastres and of 1, 5, 10, 20 and 100 pounds. Traveller’s cheques are accepted by banks and hotels.
The standard electricity supply is 220/240 volts. American appliances may need a transformer.
The best way to deal with Egypt's summers is to dress light, while remaining conservative. Cotton garments are ideal and woolens are advisable for the winter. Egypt does tend to get chilly in the evenings, so a light sweater may be needed but for all seasons, light walking shoes and a hat are absolute necessities.
Arabic is the official language of Egypt and English is widely spoken, especially in business. Egyptians speak a number of other languages including French, German and Italian.
Call Tel 122 for emergencies.