Desert winds, ancient monuments and the seemingly endless Nile meet a thriving modern city in Cairo. A visit to Egypt's greatest city will bring you face to face with a history that goes back five millennia to create an experience unlike any other.

A great first stop is the Cairo Tower, from the top of which you can take in a panoramic view of the entire city.

Then prepare for a trip through the centuries. Al-Azhar Mosque represents more than 1,000 years of Cairene architectural and cultural history. The square beside the mosque, Midan Hussein, has been a community focal point since medieval times. And Ibn Tulun Mosque is the oldest intact and functioning Islamic monument.

Nowhere does modern Cairo meet ancient Egypt more obviously than in the suburb of Giza, where the Sphinx, Great Pyramid and two other significant pyramids rise from the Giza Plateau necropolis to overshadow bustling neighborhoods. Many of the treasures unearthed here are now housed in Cairo's world-famous Egyptian Museum.

 
If ancient history really gets your blood going, take the time to drive to nearby Dashur, Saqqara and Memphis to explore more pyramids and extensive archeological sites. And if you're feeling truly adventurous, take a day trip or two to the resorts of the Red Sea in Hurghada and Sharm el Sheikh.

When your explorations are over and you're ready to take a taste of Egypt home with you, don't miss a chance to barter your way through the ancient bazaar of Khan al Khalili where you'll find everything from exotic spices to gold jewelry. Be sure to grab a cup of coffee at the always-open Fishawi's Coffeehouse. Then visit Al Khatoun to buy from local artisans and enjoy a stunning rooftop view of the city.

To walk in Cairo is to walk through time and into the world of antiquity. Until your feet can trod the ancient sand of Egypt in person, explore one of the world's most exotic cities with this desktop getaway.