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Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis
Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis

Heliopolis (مصر الجديدة Masr el-Gedida, lit. "New Cairo") is one of the nicest places to live in Cairo, but there isn't much to visit as a tourist. The main reason to stay here is the proximity to the airport.

Heliopolis dates back to ancient times, when it was a place to worship the god Atum, but the ancient city declined after the Persians took over control of Egypt in 525 BC. The modern city of Heliopolis was established in 1907 by the Belgian Baron Empain, with a streetcar line running between Heliopolis and central Cairo.

Get in

Heliopolis is located between Cairo International Airport and central Cairo. An antiquated tram system runs between Ramses Station and Heliopolis.

See

The Korba area is the old center of Heliopolis, with beautiful Andalusian style architecture and lots of old churches and cultural centres from the days of cosmopolitan, multicultural Cairo.

  • Baron Empain Palace, al-Uruba St. Erected by Baron Empain, this utterly bizarre structure was inspired by Angkor Wat and the Hindu temples of Orissa, and looks thoroughly out of place in Cairo. You can take a peek from the road, but alas, the interior has been off limits for years.  edit
  • Basilica of Notre Dame, at the end of Al-Ahram Street. A miniature version of Istanbul's Aya Sofya, dubbed the "jelly mold" by expats. Especially worth a look.  edit
  • Obelisk of Senusert I, Midan al-Misallah. The obelisk originates from the Temple of Atum, the same complex where Cleopatra's Needle in London and the one in New York's Central Park came from. The obelisk dates back to approximately 1900 BC, providing a reminder of Heliopolis' past, as it sits in Midan al-Misallah in the midst of the modern city.  edit
  • Uruba Presidential Palace. Not open to the public. Once a grand hotel that opened in 1910, the Uruba Palace is now the official residence of the Egyptian President. The hotel fell into disuse in the 1960s, and for a brief period, the palace was home to the Federation of Arab Republics. In the 1980s, the palace was restored and became the official residence.  edit
  • Korba Street Festival, Baghdad Street. Annual cultural festival that takes place each spring, centering on Heliopolis’ Baghdad Street. The festival features Egyptian performing artists.  edit
  • City Stars, Nasr City, [1]. 11AM-1AM. A modern shopping mall, with seven levels of shops and restaurants, such as the Virgin Megastore. A large multiplex cinema and indoor amusement center are also located at City Stars, along with a number of hotels including the Intercontinental and a Holiday Inn.  edit
  • Shabrawai's, (just off Midan Korba). It's one of the best foul and tamiyya joints in town.  edit
  • Quick Sandwich. A pioneer in the Egyptian based chains offers some of the best Shawerma rolls and Shish-Kebab sandwiches, excellent value meals and great taste- delivery is an option by calling 16013. relatively cheap. You'll find a restaurant in the middle of the Merghani street and another in front of the Merryland Gardens.  edit
  • Mei Shi, Mövenpick Heliopolis Hotel (Cairo International Airport Road). 6 PM - 1 AM. Chinese cuisine served in an elegant setting.  edit
  • Petit Palmyra, 27 al-Ahram Street, +20 24171720. Lebanese and Greek cuisine  edit
  • Rainforest Cafe, City Stars, 5th Floor, Phase 1 (Nasr City). American theme restaurant, located at City Stars Mall.  edit
  • The Veranda, 65 Abdel Hamid Badawi (Concorde El Salam Hotel, Heliopolis). Offers buffet or a la carte, including buffet breakfast and international menu for lunch and dinner.  edit
  • Amphitrion, 18 Ibrahim al-Laqqani Street (at al-Ahram Street), +20 2581379. Amphitrion is an open air cafe and pub, providing a place to sit outdoors on the terrace with a beer. As old as Heliopolis itself, soldiers used to come here to unwind during World War II.  edit
  • Fairmont Towers Heliopolis, El Shaheed Sayed Zakaria Street, +20-2-26960000, [2]. Stunning new hotel built around a giant glass atrium. US$280.  edit
  • Le Méridien Heliopolis, 51 El Orouba Street, +20-2-22905055, [3]. Somewhat dated but comfortable hotel within striking distance to the airport, with a free shuttle service. Little of interest in the vicinity, but near the Cairo Conference Center. $130 overnight, $100 day use.  edit
  • Novotel Cairo Airport, (next to airport), +20-2-22918520, [4]. Closest hotel to the airport. The lobby and public areas have been given a facelift and are now bright, modern, and airy, but the rooms still look and feel like a cheap motel with lumpy beds, and noisy air conditioning. Adequate for a one-night transit, but you wouldn't want to spend your whole vacation here. Free half-hourly shuttle bus from/to airport. $90.  edit
  • Sonesta Hotel and Casino Cairo, 3 El Tayaran Street, +20-2-22628111, [5]. A 257-room 5-star hotel with a pool, casino, and full service spa.  edit
  • InterContinental Cairo Citystars, Omar Ibn El Khattab st., + 20 2 24800100, [6]. The InterContinental Cairo CityStars a 790 room property is one of the most beautiful Hotels in Cairo, Egypt. The stunning décor brings the rich tradition and heritage of Egypt into an elegant new hotel. All of the hotels public areas have been carefully & tastefully designed; hand painted lobby ceiling, crystal chandeliers and splendid spiral cases are all part of the hotels stunning décor. The luxurious hotel is part of the spectacular US$1 billion Citystars project, the largest retail and entertainment centre in Europe and the Middle East, with 570 shops, 16 cinemas, an in-door roller coaster, a replica of Khan El Khalil Bazaar for Egyptian souvenirs, and a gold souk all under one roof. It is indeed, the ideal place to stay while on holiday or business in Egypt. The hotel has 10 exclusive restaurants and entertainment venues with a wide range of cuisines including Italian, Japanese, Lebanese, Bar & Cocktail Lounge, outdoor dining, only to name a few. The hotel also features Lifestyles Health Club & Spa, 3000 square meters of fitness and leisure facilities offering guests multi-purpose Sports Court (Tennis, Basket ball and Volleyball), Billiards Room, Aerobic Studio, Gymnasium, Jacuzzi, Beauty & Sports outlets, Sauna & Steam Rooms, Whirlpool, 4 Internet Stations, Blitz Showers, In-door Hydrotherapy Pool, Thai Therapy, several Outdoor Pools for adults and children. All guests staying at the InterContinental Citystars Cairo are assured a blend of comfort and style. Accommodation options include Regular Rooms, Executive Rooms, Suites, Poolside rooms and Studios to suit all needs. The spacious rooms are elegantly furnished with beautiful mahogany vanities, standard amenities in addition to IP phones and a rich pillow menu. In addition to the regular floors, the hotel has exclusive Club InterContinental floors with 114 rooms & suites all have access to the Club Lounge, providing office support & separate check in area. A complimentary buffet breakfast and cocktail hours are part of the special treatment provided for our guests. Club InterContinental rooms are queen, king or twin bedded. Club suites feature a separate living working area and a master bedroom. Situated just 7 minutes away from Cairo International Airport, 10 minutes away from the Cairo International Conference Centre the hotel makes everything within easy reach for all travelers. Free Internet throughout the hotel. Direct access to Stars Center Mall with over 500 shops, 16 Cinemas & Childrens arcade. US$ 280.  edit
  • Holiday Inn Cairo Citystars, Ali Rashed St. Heliopolis, + 20 2 24803000, [7]. Holiday Inn Cairo CityStars is the perfect place to stay for business and pleasure. Located within the spectacular US$1 billion Citystars project comprising of the largest retail and entertainment centre in the Egypt with 570 shops, 16 cinemas, an in-door theme park. Authentic replica of Khan El Khalil Bazaar for Egyptian souvenirs, and gold souk all under one roof. Situated just 10 minutes away from Cairo International Airport and 10 minutes from Cairo International Conference Centre, the hotel is in an ideal location for many of the major attractions within Cairo. Offering our guests an intimate and sophisticated atmosphere, the Holiday Inn Cairo Citystars boasts a total of 311 guest rooms including 23 suites. All rooms feature individually controlled air conditioning, flat screen LCD TV’s with over 100 satellite channels, IP telephone system with color display and direct dial, in room safe deposit box, hairdryer, mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities and 24 hour room service. The Executive floor offers a private lounge, designed to fulfill every business travelers’ requirements. The Hotel has an option of four restaurants and entertainment venues offering a wide range of cuisines. The main restaurant WINDOWS is a colourful and modern restaurant, equipped with the latest buffet presentation. Open for buffet Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, as well as à la carte. INDIRA Indian restaurant offers authentic cuisine that is as diverse as India’s culture, languages, regions within and its ambiance with its own unique dishes and delicate variations to popular dishes where cooking skills lie in the subtle blending of a variety of spices to enhance the basic flavor of a particular dish. STAR CORNER is adjacent to the Lobby with a beautiful terrace surrounded by magnificent palm trees. The perfect place to meet friends and enjoy the finest pastries, snacks and specialities. H5O1 is a modern designed bar and lounge overlooking the Lobby and the Star Corner where you can enjoy your favorite drinks, cocktails and snacks. The hotel also benefits from its very own state of the art banquet & meeting rooms along with a fully equipped 24-hour Business Centre with secretarial support for all your business needs. All in house guests have access to the hotels recreational facilities, including a gym and outdoor temperature controlled swimming pool. US$150.  edit
  • Staybridge Suites Cairo Citystars, Emtedad Makram Ebeid St. Heliopolis, +20 2 2480333, [8]. Staybridge Suites Cairo is part of the exciting Citystars Complex, the largest shopping and entertainment center in Africa. Staybridge Suites is an all-suite hotel brand designed to meet the needs of Extended-Stay guests. It is ideal for travelers seeking a residential-style hotel that is perfect for business, relocation, temporary housing or vacations. You can make yourself at home here, because it’s somewhere that everyone can be themselves. Whether it’s unwinding with a beer in front of the living room fire, curled up in the privacy of your own suite or pottering around in sweats at the weekend, that’s fine by us. Most importantly, there’s always a friendly face to welcome you back after a hard day’s work. It might not be home, but it’s the next best thing. This is a hotel where you live life how you want to. 140 suites including contemporary studios, one, two, three bedroom suites and penthouse apartments, offering offer you more space to live and work than a conventional hotel room. There is a comfy sofa and the latest technology in the form of free* WiFi broadband and flat screen TVs. The fully-equipped kitchen in every suite means you can prepare meals and entertain friends or colleagues – it really is like a second home. Every home needs a beating heart and the Staybridge hub kitchen is exactly that. Every morning you’ll find the perfect breakfast to start your day and if you are the type that is always found in the kitchen at parties then you are certain to enjoy our after work receptions. Four evenings a week, join the team for nibbles and drinks on the house. It’s a great chance to catch up on what’s been happening and meet your new neighbors. The hotel has a well-equipped exercise room with all the key pieces of equipment to ensure you stay in top condition while you are living away from home. The pantry is our on-site shop, open 24/7 it is stocked with a great range of food and drink, ideal for rustling up that last minute meal when friends call in or you want something quick and easy when you get home from work. There is also a supply of toiletries and basic medicines and all purchases can be added onto your bill to make life even easier. You can also make use of the free laundry facilities to wash and dry those socks and smalls, we really have thought of everything. $175.  edit
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

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