NileGuide Expert Says:
Not many tourists end up here, but it’s well worth the effort for the view, and the chance to see the locals at play. Try to be here at sunset, and experience the haunting beauty of the call to prayer coming simultaneously from hundreds of mosques.
Ad Darb Al Ahmar, Egypt
+20 2 510 3868 / +20 2 510 7378
Covering an area of about 30 hectares, al-Azhar Park is the largest expanse of green in Cairo. Established by the Aga Khan Trust For Culture in 1984, it was built over the top of a huge pile of rubble that had been turned in to a rubbish tip. Don't let this put you off: al-Azhar Park is a peaceful oasis on the edge of the chaos that is Islamic Cairo
Paths meander through idyllic gardens, and you are never far from one of the many water features. It's a great place to relax, and many people take a picnic. If you'd rather be waited upon, there are four restaurant/cafes located in the grounds. Because al-Azhar Park is on a hill, you get amazing views all over Cairo. On a clear day you can even see the Pyramids
As with much of Cairo, the best bit is people-watching: old men reminiscing on benches, children playing leapfrog, and daring young lovers holding hands as they stroll through their own little world. If history is your thing, then check out the 800 year-old Ayyubid wall that has been partially restored. If music is more your scene, then ask at the information desk about up-and-coming concerts; many of them are free!
Al-Azhar Park is a perfect place to chill out after you've tackled some of the nearby sights of Islamic Cairo
, such as Khan al-Khalili
or the Citadel
. You can get here by taxi, or even walk up from Khan al-Khalili