Old Cairo © David Stanley
This small and enclosed area, also known as Coptic Cairo, is the oldest part of the city and was once known as the Roman stronghold of Babylon. Some of the ancient walls still exist. It is the heart of the Coptic Christian community and although only five of the original 20 churches remain they are fascinating to visit, along with the first mosque built in Egypt, and the oldest synagogue; a representation of three of the major religions of the modern world in one special, hopeful area. It is usually a peaceful place to wander around and a respite from the busy city centre.
Churches of interest are the Al-Muallaqa (Hanging Church), the oldest Christian place of worship in the city, and St Sergius where the Holy Family reputedly sheltered during their flight to Egypt. You can take the metro into Coptic Cairo from Tahrir Square. It is useful to have a guide when exploring the area as there is so much history to discover and so much to see but even if you just wander by yourself you will feel the power and age of the place and should be able to find all the major attractions. Unfortunately, even in this generally serene area you may be unlucky enough to meet someone trying to scam you; it helps to be aware.