Cairo, a Treasure-trove of Historical Heritages

The Greater Cairo region is at the heart of Egypt and features countless ancient landmarks and thrilling sights to see. The center of the region is the vast city of Cairo, situated on the East side of the Nile. The city of Cairo has a population of over 16 million, making it the largest city in the whole Arab world and Middle East. On the other side of the Nile is Giza, where an hour away from central Cairo the famous Pyramids and Sphinx are located. There are other cities and districts in Greater Cairo, but Cairo and Giza are the main attractions.

Transportation and Accommodation

The best way to get around Cairo is by metro, because the traffic is very congested. The metro is cheap and fast, and it features both air-conditioned and unconditioned trains. However, in some cases it is necessary to take a bus or taxi to get to places the metro doesn’t reach.

In terms of accommodation, there are many options with prices ranging from $100 a month to $1000 a day. If you’re planning on staying for months, you can rent a lower quality flat outside the city center for a very low price, or you can find nicer places in the city center that cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars a month. Hostel rooms, even in the center of Cairo, can easily be found for as little as $8 a day, while comfortable and spacious hotel rooms can be found for prices as low as $30.

Things to Do and Sights to See

Once your accommodation is settled, there are a great variety of things to do and sights to see. The most obvious places to go are the museums and monuments. The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, featuring mummies and countless other artifacts, is enough to keep one busy for days. The Pyramids, the Sphinx, and other ancient sites in Giza are an obvious must-see, and you can intersperse your visits to them with some fun camel and horse riding in the open desert of Giza.

image of sphinx and pyramid
image of sphinx and pyramid

Back in Cairo proper, there is the Citadel of Cairo, a medieval citadel dating from the time of the crusades, where you can visit some famous mosques and the National Military Museum. To the Northeast of central Cairo is the second oldest Islamic university in the world, al-Azhar University. There is also the famous Khan el-Khalili bazaar, a bustling marketplace located in a medieval mausoleum. Adjacent to the bazaar is a very significant Muslim religious site, the Al-Hussein mosque, where the head of Muhammad’s grandson Husayn is said to be buried.

Besides the many Islamic sites, Cairo also has an extensive Coptic Christian heritage. Within the Coptic Cairo area is the Babylon Fortress, an ancient Roman fortress that now has several Coptic churches within in its grounds. It also contains the Coptic Museum, which features a vast array of artifacts and art. Also in Coptic Cairo is the Ben Ezra Synagogue, where baby Moses is said to have been found by the Pharaoh’s daughter.

For a break from sightseeing, there are a variety of cultural activities such as concerts, operas and clubs. Cairo is very active at night and there is no shortage of activities at any hour, although it is safer not to stay out too late.

Food and Tips
For food, there are many restaurants, markets and vendors all around the city. In the wealthier areas such as central Cairo there are a variety of restaurants, ranging from luxurious traditional Egyptian restaurants to juice bars and all sorts of international cuisine. There is food to be found everywhere, so if your tastes are not picky there will usually be something to eat within a block or two. Fruit, vegetable and bread vendors are located all over, and their prices are much lower than one finds in Western countries. Many vendors have price signs for their produce, so as long as you can read Arabic numbers you should be safe from being charged more than locals.

image of vendor with fruits
image of vendor with fruits

Although Cairo’s people are generally kind and friendly, there are also cheats, pickpockets and thieves in the city. You should always leave your valuables in a safe place and carry as little as possible in your pockets. People in Cairo do not usually carry wallets with them, and you should not either if you can help it. It is safer to only carry as much money as you need for a particular outing, and to stay away from the poorer parts of Cairo.

Art Murals On Google’s Data Center Walls

Google, one of the largest and richest companies on the planet, thanks to its internet and technology business, has decided that the outsides of its data centers are boring. So the company has decided to hire artists to put murals on the walls of these centers to not only make them aesthetically pleasing but to create curiosity about the work that is going on inside. Thus far, two data centers, in Oklahoma and Belgium, display murals. Two more, in Dublin, Ireland and Council Bluffs, Iowa, are slated for the artistic upgrade. Google plans for 11 other data centers across the world to be decorated with murals.

Jenny Odell and her Google Map Inspired Mural

In Mayes County, Oklahoma, an artist named Jenny Odell decided to take her inspiration from Google Maps. She resides in the San Francisco Bay Area and thus grew up around technology centered on Silicon Valley. Images in her mural include swimming pools, salt ponds, circular farms, and wastewater treatment plants. Odell is interested in bridging the digital world and the visual, thereby creating curiosity in people who view her art and making them gain a new perspective of the physical world.

Oli-B’s Mural Inspired by the Inside and Surroundings of the Data Center

Oli-B created the mural that now graces the outside walls of the Google data center in St. Ghislain, Belgium. Oli-B’s approach is to combine images from inside the data center–objects, animals, and people–with those from the surrounding town. The mural’s images are incorporated in clouds, a metaphor for “the cloud,” in which an entire universe has been created digitally. Oli-B works in a variety of media, including acrylic, spray paint, digital, and screen printing. He uses a variety of surfaces, including paper, canvas, wood, walls and even stickers. He started as a graffiti artist in his teenage years before turning respectable, though he has not quite broken away from his street artist roots. Oli-B’s work tends to be in bright, appealing colors that catch the eye, His work can be seen on various walls, posters, and even articles of clothing in Belgium and elsewhere in Europe.

The Purpose of Corporate Art

In the modern age, as it was during the Renaissance, corporations and rich benefactors are increasingly becoming patrons of the arts. Office buildings, hotels, and other structures are enhanced when they are decorated with paintings, sculptures, murals, and other appealing objects. Whether one is a merchant prince in 15th century Florence or a entrepreneur in 21st century Silicon Valley, patronizing the arts brings prestige.

Google believes that the murals being created on the walls of its data centers will serve as attention-getting devices, drawing the eye to what would otherwise be drab, boring structures. The company believes that what goes on inside these data centers is of great interest and significance. The idea is that the buildings themselves should reflect that fact.

In any case, we can look forward with interest to what the data centers in Dublin and Council Bluffs will look like once the artists hired to create murals get through with them.

Featured images: License: Image author owned

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Hi-Tech Wingz Delivers Cheaper Airport Transfers

A successful new app called Wingz connects drivers with passengers who need affordable airport transfers at the beginning and end of their journeys in the US.

A new peer-to-peer platform which provides cheap airport transfers for travelers has made quite its mark in the US. Wingz is similar to tap and ride apps such as Uber, in that it connects drivers who want to make a flexible living with passengers who need single trip rides all over the city. However, Wingz is focused solely on airport pickups and drop-offs.

Perfect Solution For Planners

Wingz is already up and running out of several airports in the US including San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle-Tacoma, LAX, Denver and John Wayne. Passengers are able to book their airport journeys in advance either online, through the app or even through a booking partner such as Expedia. Whilst the incredibly successful Uber model has many benefits, Wingz gives passengers peace of mind in knowing that they have already organised their car both to and from a flight before their trip. Many travellers who use Wingz book their airport transfers at the same time as booking their flights. Expedia has even integrated the Wingz platform into its own booking engine for those who want to organise private transfer options. Whilst Uber is the perfect solution for the spontaneous and on-demand society that we live in, Wingz is great for planners who don’t want to book their pick-up car when they’re at the airport at the end of a long and tiring flight.

Flexible Options

Travel plans can often change at the last minute, usually because of a flight delay or cancellation. If this is the case and you are delayed by more than 30 minutes, Wingz requests that you contact your driver to let them know your new arrival time. If the driver is unable to fulfill your request, then you must email customer support who will try to match you up with a new driver.

If you’re travelling with children, then you can simply request that your Wingz car is equipped with your requirements of infant or booster seats. Those that need to travel with a buggy should simply include it as a checked piece of baggage so that the car has enough boot space in which to fit all the luggage that you’re travelling with.


Wingz has concentrated its efforts on creating brand loyalty not only to its passengers but also to its drivers. Passengers who have enjoyed a journey with a particular driver and have built a rapport with them are able to request the same driver on a subsequent journey by using the direct booking feature. Customers are also able to enjoy rewards for being a Wingz passenger by getting a $5 credit for every friend or family member who they refer.

Sadly, the Wingz service is not available in the UK at present. Instead, some other options for getting to and from airports include using a black cab, coach transfer, MiniCabit or Uber. However, travellers who are going to the States can of course book their stateside airport pickups and drop-offs using Wingz and organise something else for their return back to the UK. Hopefully it won’t be long before UK passengers can enjoy some sort of seamless airport transfer service included at the beginning and end of our own travel plans.

Featured images: License: Image author owned

Laura Reeve is the Marketing Executive for Avanti Travel Insurance, who specialize in travel insurance for those with pre-existing medical conditions, and are one of very few that have no upper age limit on their policies.