Near that city once called al-Qahira – The Victorious – is little that remains of a biblical one called On that later grew into Benben. Its all part of the ancient history of that ancient city we now know as Cairo, Egypt.
And legends say that out of Benben came the sun or Atum – which they called the creator god, glowing atop a pyramid. And from Atum came two more gods, Shu and Tefnut and from them came Geb and Nut – the earth and sky – and from that creation came nine other major gods of On – Isis, sister Nephthys and Seth. Crying over the violent birth of Seth, Atums tears became all of mankind including the Cairenes of today.
And even today much of early Egyptian mythical imagery shows up on the US one dollar bill in the form of the Horus eagle, Benben pyramid and the sun-like all-seeing eye!
And today a visitor to Cairo which find a massive sprawling metropolis where once the clash between mythical figures was said to have occurred. Since the most ancient of times cultures have met and collided here as have the invaders including Asiatic Hyksos, Libyans, Ethiopians, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Turks, French and the British.
But Cairo still remains the mixing pot since becoming an Ice Age settlement some 10,000 years ago when a spat of global warming seared the city into a scorching desert and the elephants, lions, giraffes and other animals fled southward into the greater Africa.
In those early times Egypt was split into two geographical/cultural kingdoms – Upper and Lower and finally in about 3100 B.C the king of Upper Egypt conquered the Delta and Lower Egypt to bring unification which saw the invention of writing and astounding growth.
Therefore, Cairo has over 5,000 years of recorded history including 500 rulers as it remains the greatest metropolis it its quadrant of the world. As records go, Cairo had “skyscrapers” 1,000 years ago when apartments soared toward the heavens 7-14 stories tall. Between the 10th and 16th centuries, the city was the largest and most wealthy of cities west of India.
Today it is considered among the most populated urban areas on earth with many people squeezed into small apartments or rooms and like many such cities, public services and litter control can be a problem in some areas.
Around a third of the city’s citizens are under age 30 and most residents are followers of Islam. The over one million Arab tourists who visit the city per year come in search of movies, theaters, bookstores, gambling, cafes and nightclubs as Cairo continues to attract and produce the best in Arab arts and considered by many to be the belly-dancing capital of the world.
You will find the city and the surrounding countryside to be full of excitement and adventure with the major tourist sites as well as plenty of local color.