Giza is complicated! Technically, the whole of the city west of the Nile is actually Giza, rather than Cairo, and is administered by a different governorate than Cairo itself. Giza therefore includes all the relatively modern residential neighbourhoods of Imbaba, Mohandiseen, Agouza and Dokki. To confuse matters further, there is actually a neighbourhood called Giza, too!
This neighbourhood effectively begins below Dokki, round about the area of Cairo University and Cairo Zoo. It stretches west from the Nile for about 10 km, along Pyramids Road (Al Haram) towards the Pyramids of Giza.
This region has actually been important since Pharaonic times, as it was the site of the ancient capital, Memphis, as well as the burial grounds of Giza (the Pyramids), Abu Sir, North Saqqara, South Saqqara, and Dahshur.
Even after the decline of Memphis during the Greek, Roman and Christian eras, Giza remained an important area, presumably because it was just over the river from the Roman fortress, Babylon on the Nile. It continued to flourish well into Islamic times, before flooding and neglect eventually began to take their toll. It wasn't until Khedive Ismail turned his attention to the area in the 19th Century, draining the swamps and developing infrastructure, that Giza began to recover.
Since Nasser took power in the 1950's, the whole of the west bank of the Nile has been developed into a concrete hell of tower blocks, flyovers and other residential and shopping areas. Giza itself has stretched so far that it has actually swallowed up the villages that used to sit at the foot of the Pyramids – meaning that these 4,500 year structures now loom up from the very edge of the city. Thankfully, the desert beyond them is still preserved… for now!
The inner section of Giza, nearest the Nile, contains such sites as the Cairo Zoo, Dr Ragab's Pharaonic Village, and the Museum of Ahmed Shawki. There are also a few hotels in this area, such as the El Gezirah Sheraton Hotel, and the Four Seasons Cairo at the First Residence. These hotels contain numerous posh restaurants and bars. The Four Seasons Hotel and the attached Giza First Mall contain some of the best, such as Indigo, Steaks, and Gourmandise.
Out towards the Pyramids, Memphis, Saqqara and Dahshur are where some of Cairo's most exclusive hotel resorts are located, such as the Mena House Oberoi, Le Meridien Pyramids, and the Cataract Pyramids Resort. These contain a wealth of restaurants and bars. The Moghul Room is one of the most famous, and Andrea is one of the best restaurants that isn't actually inside a hotel. © NileGuide