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Cairo/Heliopolis

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Lower Egypt : Cairo : Heliopolis
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Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis

Heliopolis (مصر الجديدة Masr el-Gedida, lit. "New Cairo") is one of the nicest places to live in Cairo, but there isn't much to visit as a tourist. The main reason to stay here is the proximity to the airport.

Heliopolis dates back to ancient times, when it was a place to worship the god Atum, but the ancient city declined after the Persians took over control of Egypt in 525 BC. The modern city of Heliopolis was established in 1907 by the Belgian Baron Empain, with a streetcar line running between Heliopolis and central Cairo.

Get in[edit]

Heliopolis is located between Cairo International Airport and central Cairo. An antiquated tram system runs between Ramses Station and Heliopolis.

See[edit][add listing]

The Korba area is the old center of Heliopolis, with beautiful Andalusian style architecture and lots of old churches and cultural centres from the days of cosmopolitan, multicultural Cairo.

  • Baron Empain Palace, al-Uruba St. Erected by Baron Empain, this utterly bizarre structure was inspired by Angkor Wat and the Hindu temples of Orissa (now known as Odisha), and looks thoroughly out of place in Cairo. You can take a peek from the road, but alas, the interior has been off limits for years. Appears to have been restored as of February 2012  edit
  • Basilica of Notre Dame, at the end of Al-Ahram Street. A miniature version of Istanbul's Ayasofya, dubbed the "jelly mold" by expats. Especially worth a look.  edit
  • Obelisk of Senusret I, Midan al-Misallah. The obelisk originates from the Temple of Atum, the same complex where Cleopatra's Needle in London and the one in New York's Central Park came from. The obelisk dates back to approximately 1900 BC, providing a reminder of Heliopolis' past, as it sits in Midan al-Misallah in the midst of the modern city.  edit
  • Uruba Presidential Palace. Not open to the public. Once a grand hotel that opened in 1910, the Uruba Palace is now the official residence of the Egyptian President. The hotel fell into disuse in the 1960s, and for a brief period, the palace was home to the Federation of Arab Republics. In the 1980s, the palace was restored and became the official residence. You cannot even get close to the palace, and forget about taking a picture of the palace. Security officers will ensure you delete all pics of the palace.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Korba Street Festival, Baghdad Street. Annual cultural festival that takes place each spring, centering on Heliopolis’ Baghdad Street. The festival features Egyptian performing artists.  edit
  • Manshiet Nasr (Garbage City). A little bit away from this area of town, and "off the beaten path" for many tourists is an area of town well worth seeing. It is called Garbage City, or in Arabic Manshiet Nasr. It is the home to approximately 2 million Coptic Christians and a beautiful monastery carved into a mountain side, the largest monastery in the Middle East by seating capacity. The walk through Garbage City is alone worth the trip, as you get to see real life Cairo for many of its residents.  edit


Buy[edit][add listing]

  • City Stars, Nasr City, [1]. 11AM-1AM. A modern shopping mall, with seven levels of shops and restaurants, such as the Virgin Megastore. A large multiplex cinema and indoor amusement center are also located at City Stars, along with a number of hotels including the Intercontinental and a Holiday Inn.  edit

Eat[edit][add listing]

Budget[edit]

  • Shabrawai's, (just off Midan Korba). It's one of the best foul and tamiyya joints in town.  edit
  • Quick Sandwich. A pioneer in the Egyptian based chains offers some of the best Shawerma rolls and Shish-Kebab sandwiches, excellent value meals and great taste- delivery is an option by calling 16013. relatively cheap. You'll find a restaurant in the middle of the Merghani street and another in front of the Merryland Gardens.  edit

Splurge[edit]

  • Mei Shi, Mövenpick Heliopolis Hotel (Cairo International Airport Road). 6 PM - 1 AM. Chinese cuisine served in an elegant setting.  edit
  • Petit Palmyra, 27 al-Ahram Street, +20 24171720.  edit
  • Rainforest Cafe, City Stars, 5th Floor, Phase 1 (Nasr City). American theme restaurant, located at City Stars Mall.  edit
  • The Veranda, 65 Abdel Hamid Badawi (Concorde El Salam Hotel, Heliopolis). Offers buffet or a la carte, including buffet breakfast and international menu for lunch and dinner.  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Amphitrion, 18 Ibrahim al-Laqqani Street (at al-Ahram Street), +20 2581379. Amphitrion is an open air cafe and pub, providing a place to sit outdoors on the terrace with a beer. As old as Heliopolis itself, soldiers used to come here to unwind during World War II.  edit
  • Christo Liquors, 92 Osman Ibn Affan St (Triumph Square Heliopolis), +20226331518. Beer shop offering chilled beers delivered right to your door.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Fairmont Towers Heliopolis, El Shaheed Sayed Zakaria Street, +20-2-26960000, [2]. Stunning new hotel built around a giant glass atrium. US$280.  edit
  • Le Méridien Heliopolis, 51 El Orouba Street, +20-2-22905055, [3]. Somewhat dated but comfortable hotel within striking distance to the airport, with a free shuttle service. Little of interest in the vicinity, but near the Cairo Conference Center. $130 overnight, $100 day use.  edit
  • Novotel Cairo Airport, (next to airport), +20-2-22918520, [4]. Closest hotel to the airport. The lobby and public areas have been given a facelift and are now bright, modern, and airy, but the rooms still look and feel like a cheap motel with lumpy beds, and noisy air conditioning. Adequate for a one-night transit, but you wouldn't want to spend your whole vacation here. Free half-hourly shuttle bus from/to airport. $90.  edit
  • Sonesta Hotel and Casino Cairo, 3 El Tayaran Street, +20-2-22628111, [5]. A 257-room 5-star hotel with a pool, casino, and full service spa.  edit
  • InterContinental Cairo Citystars, Omar Ibn El Khattab st., + 20 2 24800100, [6]. A 790 room property. US$ 280.  edit
  • Holiday Inn Cairo Citystars, Ali Rashed St. Heliopolis, + 20 2 24803000, [7]. US$150.  edit
  • Staybridge Suites Cairo Citystars, Emtedad Makram Ebeid St. Heliopolis, +20 2 2480333, [8]. $175.  edit
  • Radisson Blu Heliopolis, Cairo, Abdel Hamid Badawy St, 114 Rawda Al Sheraton, +20 (2) 26 96 5656, [9].  edit
  • The Baron Hotel Heliopolis, P.O. Box 2531 P.C. 11361, 4 Ma'ahad Al Sahary St., Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt, +20-2-2419 9206, [10]. Overlooks Baron Empain Palace. 126 rooms & suites, several restaurants & bars and conference facilities.  edit

Contact[edit]

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