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Cairo (pronounced /ˈkaɪroʊ/ KYE-roh; Arabic: القاهرةal-Qāhira), literally "The Vanquisher" or "The Conqueror", is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in Africa and the 16th most populous metropolitan area in the world.[1][2]

Cairo is also ranked as one of the most densely populated cities in the world.[3] Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life. Cairo was founded by the Fatimid dynasty in the 10th Century, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo is also associated with Ancient Egypt due to its proximity to the ancient cities of Memphis, Giza and Fustat which are nearby to the Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza.

Egyptians today often refer to Cairo as Maṣr (Arabic: مصر‎), the Arabic pronunciation of the name for Egypt itself, emphasizing the city's continued role in Egyptian influence.[4][5] Cairo has the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Arab World, as well as the world's second-oldest institution of higher learning, al-Azhar University. Many international media, businesses, and organizations have regional headquarters in the city, and the Arab League has had its headquarters in Cairo for most of its existence.

With a population of 7.8 million[6] spread over 453 square kilometers (175 sq mi), Cairo is by far the largest city in Egypt. With an additional ten million inhabitants just outside the city, Cairo resides at the centre of the largest metropolitan area in Africa and the eleventh-largest urban area in the world.[7] Cairo, like many other mega-cities, suffers from high levels of pollution and traffic, but its metro – currently the only one on the African continent – also ranks among the fifteen busiest in the world,[8] with over 700 million passenger rides annually. The economy of Cairo was ranked first in the Middle East,[9] and 43rd globally by Foreign Policy's 2010 Global Cities Index.[10]

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