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Year of Youth 2018

Cairo: 2 Days

Cairo, the capital of Egypt, is a city full of life with a rich history. It is located along the Nile River, the longest river in the world, and is known by the Cairo locals as Um ad-Dunya or 'Mother of the World'.

The archaeology of Egypt is impressive and the pyramids are just the start of a myriad of history. Pharaonic nations, ancient Greeks, Romans, Christians and Arab dynasties have all played their part in fashioning Egypt's abounding architectural wealth.

Egypt is also home to the great pyramids of Giza, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and the only still in existence. The Pyramids of Ancient Egypt were built as tombs for Kings and Queens. Currently there are more than 93 still standing in Egypt, the most famous being those at Giza. The Pyramids of Giza were built for the fourth dynasty Kings Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure who ruled through 2589-2504 BCE.

In addition to the great Pyramids, Egypt is also home to the Great Sphinx – a 60m long structure carved out of a single ridge of stone, depicting the body of a lion with the head of a king or a god. Other attractions on the pilgrimage route include the Hanging Church of Babylon in Old Cairo, the crypt of the Abu Serga Church, which is believed to be the place where Mary, Joseph and their infant child Jesus rested, and the Ben Ezra Synagogue.

The Ben Ezra Synagogue was originally a Christian Church, believed to be built on the site where the cradle of baby Moses was found. The building was sold by the Coptic Christians of Cairo to the Jews in 882 AD in order to pay the annual taxes imposed by the Muslim rulers of the time. It was bought by Abraham Ben Ezra, who came from Jerusalem during the reign of Ahmed Ibn Tulun, for 20,000 dinars. This Synagogue became a place of pilgrimage for North African Jews and the site of major festival celebrations. The famous medieval rabbi Moses Maimonides worshipped at Ben Ezra Synagogue when he lived in Cairo. Numerous restorations and renovations were made over the centuries, and the present building dates from 1892. It is a faithful reconstruction of the original, which had since collapsed. During the reconstruction, a medieval Geniza (a hiding place for sacred books and worn-out Torah scrolls) was discovered, revealing thousands of original sacred documents dating back to the Middle Ages.