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Beginning in the mid-19th century, expansion toward the north led to development of the districts of Rawḍ al-Faraj, Shubrā, Sharābiyyah, Al-Qubbah, Al-ʿAbbāsiyyah, Al-Maṭariyyah, and Al-Zaytūn.Heliopolis, or Miṣr al-Jadīdah (“New Cairo”), became a major site of development in the 1970s and ’80s, witnessing significant population growth and commercial expansion.Situated within this densely settled zone are most of Cairo’s historic monuments, including the Mosque of ’s Citadel in the south.Among the major bazaars within the central walled city is the Khān al-Khalīli, an expansive assortment of shops near al-Azhar Mosque, as well as various markets offering gold, ware, textiles, rugs, amber, spices, and leather goods.
In addition to department stores, cinemas, hotels, and town houses, Cairo contains a large functioning Cairo is fan-shaped, narrowest in the south, where the river valley is wedged between desert escarpments, and widest in the north, where the valley blends into the delta.
The Wasṭ al-Balad includes the older Al-Azbakiyyah district, Garden City, and, more recently, Jazīrah, the island offshore.
The major thoroughfare connecting the city along its north-south axis is the Kūrnīsh al-Nīl (the Corniche), a highway paralleling the Nile River, built in the 1950s.
Along the well-irrigated shoreline, lush vegetation shares the landscape with tall skyscrapers.
In the older inland quarters to the east, however, beneath the foothills of the and the rocky promontories of the Muqaṭṭam Hills and the Al-Jabal al-Aḥmar (Arabic: Red Mountain), browns and ochres are the dominant hues of land and buildings.