Welcome to the Opera!
In the heart of Cairo, the Qasr El Nil Bridge crosses an arm of the Nile over to Gezira Island. The relaxing tranquillity of this oasis of calm is a world away from the energy of the Egyptian capital. Walk along the garden-lined promenade on the banks of the majestic river. The affluent residential neighbourhood is home to the city's largest cultural complex. From the top of the 187-metres-high Cairo Tower, you can see the path you need to take to your destination, just visible in the distance. This evening, prepare yourself for a moving experience as you watch the greatest works of classical repertoire at Cairo Opera.
Cairo's Opera House forms the geometrical flagship of the National Cultural Centre. As you enter this temple of culture, you are overcome by its magical atmosphere. A soft glowing light descends on the grand sweeping staircase, the red carpet and a costume from the Barber of Seville, on show in a display cabinet. Inaugurated in 1989, this operatic stage replaced the earlier Khedival Opera House which opened with Verdi's Rigoletto in 1869 and where Aida premièred in 1871. Take your seat in the 1,300-seater main auditorium and wait for the velvet curtain to rise.
P.O Box 11567
EL Borg Gezira
+20 2 27370598
Mystical dances from the mythical East
The Al-Tannoura dance troupe is becoming ever-more successful thanks to its free show every Wednesday and Saturday evening. If you would like to watch the choreographed moves of the only real dervish dancers in Cairo, you need to queue up from 6:00 p.m. in front of the Wekalet El Ghouri complex. Before stepping inside the intimate surroundings of this magnificently restored, 16th-century caravanserai, take time to breathe in the atmosphere of old Cairo. Stroll through alleyways teeming with artisans in the Khan el-Khalili souk, close to Al-Azhar mosque. Hidden away nearby is an exquisite, finely decorated mosque. In this timeless place, you will feel like a character from an 18th-century orientalist painting.
After waiting for a while, you will get your hands on a precious ticket, letting you into a show steeped in Sufi mysticism (an interpretation of Islam). The doors swing open into a caravanserai from another age. There, you will mingle with an audience of traditional dance aficionados and curious passers-by. You are in for a mesmerising experience. The whirling dervishes belong to the Muslim Mevlevi order and get their name from the dance they perform called the sama. To the sound of drums, flutes and other traditional instruments, the dancers start to spin like tops until they reach a trance-like state. Captivated by their performance, you will experience high emotions that will be forever engraved in your memory.
Al-Tannoura Dance Troupe
Wekalet El Ghouri Arts Center
+20 2 25107146
4DX cinema extravaganza
If you are a film enthusiast, Africa's second largest metropolis has the ultimate cinematic experience lined up for you. Treat the family to a trip to the Point90 Cinemas. The Egyptian capital's first major multiplex cinema can be found inside a shopping complex in the Fifth Settlement, one of the districts of New Cairo. The cinema is equipped with 4DX technology so that you feel you are well and truly part of the film. All your senses are stimulated during the show. Comfortably settled in your plush seat, you will feel the excitement mount as the opening credits roll on the next big blockbuster.
Throughout the screening, motion simulators integrated into your seat and special effects are triggered to synchronise with the action on the screen. You feel each scene, each camera movement, from the inside. Large fans hidden in the corners of the room blow out air so you can feel the speed of a car chase. Flashes of light accompany every gun shot. Machines spit out smoke after an explosion. You come out of the cinema blown away by the stellar show you have seen, a show that only Cairo has the secrets to reveal.
+20 128 930 0032