Coat of arms
City of a Thousand Minarets
Location of Cairo within Egypt
|Coordinates: 30°2′N 31°14′E / 30°2′N 31°14′E / 30.033; 31.233(October 2018)|
| • Megacity||19,500,000|
| • Density||32,000/km2 (83,000/sq mi)|
| • Metro||20,439,541|
| • Demonym||Cairene|
|Time zone||UTC+02:00 (EST)|
|Official name||Historic Cairo|
|Criteria||i, iii, vi|
Cairo (/ KY-roh; Arabic: القاهرة, romanized: al-Qāhirah, pronounced [ælˈqɑːhɪɾɑ] (listen)) is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world. Its metropolitan area, with a population of over 20 million, is the largest in Africa, the Arab world, and the Middle East, and the 15th-largest in the world. Cairo is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area. Located near the Nile Delta, Cairo was founded in 969 AD by the Fatimid dynasty, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life, and is titled "the city of a thousand minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture. Cairo is considered a World City with a "Beta +" classification according to GaWC.
Cairo has the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Arab world, as well as the world's second-oldest institution of higher learning, Al-Azhar University. Many international media, businesses, and organizations have regional headquarters in the city; the Arab League has had its headquarters in Cairo for most of its existence.
With a population of over 9 million spread over 3,085 square kilometers (1,191 sq mi), Cairo is by far the largest city in Egypt. An additional 9.5 million inhabitants live in close proximity to the city. Cairo, like many other megacities, suffers from high levels of pollution and traffic. Cairo's metro, one of two in Africa (the other being in Algiers, Algeria), ranks among the fifteen busiest in the world, with over 1 billion annual passenger rides. The economy of Cairo was ranked first in the Middle East in 2005, and 43rd globally on Foreign Policy's 2010 Global Cities Index.
Egyptians often refer to Cairo as Maṣr (IPA: [mɑsˤɾ]; Egyptian Arabic: مَصر), the Egyptian Arabic name for Egypt itself, emphasizing the city's importance for the country. Its official name al-Qāhirah (Arabic: القاهرة) means "the Vanquisher" or "the Conqueror", supposedly due to the fact that the planet Mars, an-Najm al-Qāhir (Arabic: النجم القاهر, "the Conquering Star"), was rising at the time when the city was founded, possibly also in reference to the much awaited arrival of the Fatimid Caliph Al-Mu'izz who reached Cairo in 973 from Mahdia, the old Fatimid capital. The location of the ancient city of Heliopolis is the suburb of Ain Shams (Arabic: عين شمس, "Eye of the Sun").
The are a few Coptic names of the city. (di)Kashromi (Coptic: (ϯ)ⲕⲁϣⲣⲱⲙⲓ) is attested as early as 1211 and is a calque which means "man breaker" ("ⲕⲁϣ-" – to break, "ⲣⲱⲙⲓ" – man) which is akin to Arabic al-Qāhirah . Lioui (Coptic: ⲗⲓⲟⲩⲓ) or Elioui (Coptic: ⲉⲗⲓⲟⲩⲓ) is another name which is a corruption of Greek name of Heliopolis (Greek: Ήλιούπολις). Some argue that Mistram (Coptic: ⲙⲓⲥⲧⲣⲁⲙ) or Nistram (Coptic: ⲛⲓⲥⲧⲣⲁⲙ) is another Coptic name for Cairo, although others think that it's rather a name of an Abbasid capital Al-Askar. ⲕⲁϩⲓⲣⲏ is a popular modern rendering of an Arabic name (others being ⲭⲁⲓⲣⲟⲛ and (ⲁⲗ)ⲭⲁϩⲓⲣⲁ) which has a folk etymology "land of sun". Some argue that it was a name of an Egyptian settlement upon which Cairo was built, but it's rather doubtful as this name is not attested in any Hieroglyphic or Demotic source, although some researchers like Paul Casanova view it as a legit theory. Cairo is also referred to as ⲭⲏⲙⲓ, which means Egypt in Coptic, the same way it's referred to in Egyptian Arabic.
Sometimes the city is informally referred to as Kayro by people from Alexandria (IPA: [ˈkæjɾo]; Egyptian Arabic: كايرو).