Castles, Palaces & Historic Buildings in Cairo

With a history spanning thousands of years (depending how you choose to look at it), Cairo has loads of palaces and other historic buildings, though no castles as such. For the purposes of this list, I've chosen to ignore the Pharaonic monuments, and concentrate on the most important mosques, churches, palaces, and other historic buildings.

Arguably the most important historic building in Cairo is the Mosque of Amr Ibn al-Aas, since this was the first ever built in Africa, and marked the founding of Fustat, which grew into Cairo proper under the Fatimids. Al-Azhar Mosque is also of great significance, being the de facto spiritual seat of Sunni Islam, and home to one of the oldest universities in the world. Other important mosques include Ibn Tulun - the oldest in Cairo that still survives largely in its original form, and boasting a unique spiral minaret - and al-Hussein Mosque - considered by many to be the holiest in Egypt.

Cairo churches such as the Church of Abu Serga are of great historic significance, since this is where the Holy Family are said to have sheltered when they fled to Egypt, and the Hanging Church is a beautiful historic building with a suspended nave.

Beit al-Souhaymi is a well-restored example of an Ottoman house, arguably the finest in Cairo, and the Gayer-Anderson Museum - adjoining Ibn Tulun - is a house that used to belong to a British army major, and is crammed with his eclectic and obsessive collections of art from all over the Middle and Near East.

Finally, including the Citadel is perhaps a bit of a cheat, since it's not just one building. But it is the closest thing Cairo has to a castle, and contains three significant mosques from different periods of Cairo's history. Well worth checking out!

Amr Ibn el-Aas Mosque

Sidi Hasan al-Anwar Street

Africa's Oldest Mosque... read more

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Al-Azhar Mosque

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Al-Azhar Street
Opposite El-Hussein Square

Egypt's Highest Islamic Authority... read more

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Beit Al Souhaymi

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Darb al-Asfar Street
Around Bab el Futuh

Beautifully restored old Cairene house... read more

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The Hanging Church

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Mar Girgis Street
Coptic Cairo

Lavish, suspended church; conducts mass in Coptic language... read more

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Ibn Tulun Mosque

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Off 'Abd al-Magid al-Labban (Al-Salbiyya) Street
Ibn Tulun Street

Stunning architecture and unique minaret... read more

Church of Abu Serga (St Sergius)

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Near Mari Girgis Street

Supposed Resting Place of the Holy Family... read more

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Al Hussein Mosque

El-Hussein Square

Egypt's most sacred mosque, housing grisly body part... read more


Southern tip of Roda Island
Roda Island

Ancient Water Gauge... read more

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Gayer-Anderson Museum

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4 Maydan Ibn Tulun
Ibn Tulun Street

Eclectic museum in beautiful home, used in James Bond film... read more

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The Citadel

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Salah Salem Highway

Imposing fortress with fantastic views, mosques and museums... read more
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