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City (pop., 2006: city, 7,786,640; 2007 est.: urban agglom., 16,100,000), capital of Egypt. Located on the banks of the Nile River near the site of a Roman city captured by the Arabs in 641, Al-Fustat was first built by the Arabs as a military camp. Cairo's newer section (Al-Qahirah) was built by the Fatimid dynasty (c. 968) and was made the capital in 973; both cities coexisted until Al-Fustat was destroyed by fire in 1168, then rebuilt and joined with Cairo by Saladin. From the 13th century, as the capital of the Mamluk dynasty, it reached its greatest prosperity as a trade and cultural centre. Occupied by French forces under Napoleon I in 1798, it was held by the French for three years. In World War II (1939–45) it was a base of operations for British and U.S. forces and was also the site of two conferences by the Allied powers (seeCairo conferences). The metropolis is a blend of old and new, East and West. It is the centre of one of the largest urban agglomerations in the Middle East and Africa, and the popularity of its movies, music, and literature place it among the chief cultural centres of the Arab world. Among its most noteworthy landmarks are the pyramid complex of Giza, located at the southwestern edge of the city. Cairo is a manufacturing centre. It is also the site of several important universities and colleges, including Al-Azhar University, a centre of scholarship founded in the 10th century.
Variants of CAIRO
Cairo Arabic Al-Qahirah
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Cairo, visit Britannica.com.