During the Neolithic period (from around 9,500 BC) communities began to settle in both northern and southern Egypt.By around 4000 BC, it seems Egypt was divided into two vying federations: Lower Egypt (the delta region) and Upper Egypt (the Nile valley south of where the delta begins).
They therefore guarded the important trade routes, and in 130 AD Emperor Trajan rebuilt the fortress of Babylon-on-the-Nile.
Alexandria was effectively left alone, and remained the cultural and administrative capital of Egypt.
Memphis was the capital city of Egypt during the Early Dynastic Period (3,100 to 2,686 BC) – when the Step Pyramid of Saqqara was built – and the Old Kingdom (2,686 to 2,181 BC) – when the pyramids at Dahshur and Giza were built.
Throughout the following 1,650-odd years of stability and chaos, Memphis remained a key ancient Egyptian city – swinging between capital city, and important administrative centre.
Cairo is a city in which the past and present are inextricably intertwined. Despite the presence of the Pyramids, Cairo is not technically a Pharaonic city.
Rather, it is an amalgamation of separate cities that were established by successive conquerors since Persian times. Interesting fact: Covering around 500 sq km, with an estimated population of 22 million, Greater Cairo is the largest city in Africa and the Middle East. Fun fact: The Arabic name for Cairo is al-Qahirah, which means "the conqueror," "the vanquisher" or "the victorious." Most Egyptians call Cairo "Masr", the Arabic for Egypt.Cairo is also called the City of 1000 Minarets, and Umm al-Dounia, the "Mother of the World." 3.The Jewish and Egyptian pagan inhabitants of Babylon-on-the-Nile were resentful of Hellenistic and Roman dominance, and with the introduction of Christianity to Egypt in the 1st Century AD, many of them converted.After Emperor Constantine made Christianity the official imperial religion in the early 4th Century, churches started being built in the area.Useful fact: The currency is the Egyptian Pound (LE, or EGP), and electricity runs at 220 volts, 50 Hz, with standard two-pin plugs. Weird fact: The Holy Family are said to have sheltered at the site of Abu Serga Church after they fled to Egypt. Random fact: There are believed to be over 4.5 million cars in Cairo. Fun fact: Cairo is home to the only remaining ancient wonder of the world.Yep, one of those big stone Toblerone-shaped things. Useful fact: The time zone in Cairo is GMT 2; the country dialling code is 20, and the area code is 02 (drop the 0 if calling from abroad). Interesting fact: Cairo was founded in 969 by the Fatimid Caliphate from Tunisia, though there were earlier Islamic, Byzantine, Roman, Persian and Pharaonic settlements, including the legendary Memphis. Weird fact: If you live in Cairo you probably support either al-Ahly or Zamalek football club.(Dates given are the conventionally accepted approximate ones, but are still much disputed.) Around 3,100 BC, a semi-mythical figure known as Menes is said to have unified Upper and Lower Egypt into a single entity.It was around this time that the city of Memphis was established, situated at the beginning of the delta – the symbolic meeting point of Upper and Lower Egypt.During the final years of Ptolemaic rule, Roman influence over Egypt grew.Cleopatra VII fought to keep Egypt independent, bearing Julius Caesar a son, and then allying herself with Mark Anthony.