Egypt today remains a vibrant country, a business center and the producer of much of the modern Arabic music, movies, books and television programs. Students come from throughout the Arab world to attend university and Muslims from throughout the Middle East arrive for business or to take advantage of Cairo's more cosmopolitan and relaxed atmosphere.

There is much for the visitor to see in Cairo. The Egyptian Museum alone could easily consume several days even if one did not attempt to absorb the entire collection. Despite the traffic and sales pitches from locals, Cairo is also an interesting city to walk around. Along the Nile, one can watch fisherman in rowboats or feluccas plying their trade as they have for centuries. Open-air markets can be unexpectedly found on side streets. And the Khan el Khalili bazaar is a massive labyrinth of spice shops, jewelers, perfume stores and sellers of almost every other imaginable product. Though a popular tourist destination, it is still a place to watch Egyptians going about their everyday business – especially if one detours into the smaller allies and byways.

As a business and tourist center, Cairo has a number of large hotels, one of which I had the pleasure of sampling over the several weeks I was in and out of Egypt. The Cairo Marriott, on Zamalek Island in the middle of the Nile, has built two large modern towers for guest rooms and connected them to a restored royal palace which houses the lobby, a number of restaurants and many other public areas. The enclosed gardens and pool area in the back of the hotel are a wonderful oasis from the noise and bustle of Cairo.

For more of modern Egypt, visit Alexandria & Sharm El Sheikh or Along the Nile. A tour of ancient Egypt begins with the Old Kingdom.