What Are the Physical Characteristics of Cairo, Egypt?

Located near the Nile River and the Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt, is in the northern part of the country, about 100 miles from the Mediterranean Sea and 75 miles from the Suez Canal. Its rapid growth since 1952 means much of its infrastructure and roads are new.

The buildings in Cairo showcase how Arab, Roman, Greek, Turkish, British and French rulers shaped the city during their respective reigns. Coptic Cairo, the city's oldest part, is where the Romans built Babylon. Most of the country's places of worship are here, including the Hanging Church and the Ben Ezra synagogue.

Islamic Cairo features the Citadel and many mosques, such as the Mosque of Mohammed Ali and the Ibn Tulun. This part of the city has warren-like streets. Qarafa, or the City of the Dead, is on the east side of the city. Here, tombs serve as makeshift homes and business locations for the city's poor. The ornate Egyptian Museum in Luxor displays mummies, sarcophagi and ancient relics, including what the city salvaged from Tutankhamen's tomb.

Downtown Cairo, Garden City and Zamalek are located close to the Nile River, and to prevent flooding in the area, the city built dams and levees. The city gets very humid despite its desert climate, and wind storms and floods are common. The Sphinx is just outside the city, as are the Pyramids, including the Great Pyramid and the Saqqara, which historians date to around 2800 B.C.