Region: Egypt
Created: Nov 16, 2009, modified: Jan 13, 2012, overall rating: 0.000

Egypt was the firststate to estab­lish a system of administration and a capital with theadministrative and religious centers. During the late Predynastic Peri­od,Confederations started to emerge with political heads or kings and a capital. InLower or Northern Egypt, the capital was Buto in the heart of the Delta. Theking wore a red crown with a cobra ad an emblem. In Upper or Southern Egypt, thecapital was Nekheb between Aswan and Lux­or; the king of which wore a whitecrown with a vulture as an em­blem. The papyrus plant and its flower werethe symbol of the North, while the lotus plant and its flower were the symbol ofthe South.

Then started the unitybetween the North and the South under the reign of King, Menes (or Narmer) whochose Memphis between the north and the south to be the first capital of unifiedEgypt. Memphis is 22 km from Cairo. The best place for the foundation of theEgyptian capital was always the point before the Nile branches. The capital ofEgypt has changed throughout history from Ahnasia south of Memphis to Thebes(Luxor).

When Alexander theGreat entered Egypt in 332 B.C., the capital was transferred west of the Deltato Alexandria. Christianity was in­troduced and the seat of thePatri­arch was between Alexandria and oldCairo.

Alexandria remained theEgyptian capital during both the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. In 639 A.D. AmrIbn El As entered Egypt and introduced Islam. He wanted to keep Alexandria asthe capital of Egypt but Khalif Omar Ibn Al Khatab ordered him to build a newcity. He founded Al Fustat in 641 A.D. beside the fortress of Babylon as thefirst Islamic capital of Egypt.

When the Abbassidestook over from the Ommayades in 750, Saleh Ibn Ali abandoned Al Fustat andestablished Al Askar north of the former capital. This new military capitaldeveloped and constituted with Al Fustat a big city. Ahmed Ibn Touloun foundedthe third Islamic capital Al Qatai around his gigantic mosque in 870. This cityhad also a military character, with its high walls and circular road, with AlAskar and Al Fustat, it rapidly grew into one city.

When Gohar Al Sikkily,the Fatimid commander entered Egypt, he built the new city of Al Qahira or Cairoin 969 and from then on it became the capital of Egypt and the heart of Islam.Since the foundation of Al Fustat and until the construction of Cairo, capitalcities were always constructed to the north. There fore Al Qahira wasconstructed north of the three cities built by the Arabs. This is the beginningof a long period during which the city grew in size. In effect a new capitaldeveloped quickly and passed its limits.

The arrival of Salah ElDin in 1176 marked a different stage in the his­tory of Cairo. During theAyyubid era, the Citadel was built and work began on building a wallsurround­ing the cities forming Al Qahira. The Mamlukes era (1250-1517) wasa period of great construction and town planning in Cairo. The Otto­mans(1517-1798) continued the development. The Mamlukes be­gan adding bigcommercial activi­ties. During the reign of Mohamed Ali and his successors,the city de­veloped considerably. After the revolution of 1952, and in thesixties, there was great demographic growth in Cairo. Greater Cairo today ishome to twelve million inhabitants, and is composed of three governorates:Cairo, Giza and Qalyobia, as well as twenty eightquarters.

The average populationdensity is 50.000 inhabitants.

The historical capitalis considered the most populated African city. It is also a great political,cultural and economic center in the MiddleEast.


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