Cairo (Ki'ro), the capital of modern Egypt, is in 30° 6' N. lat., and 31° 26' E. long., on the right bank of the Nile, 131 miles by railway from Alexandria, and near the apex of the Delta. In the present day it covers about 11 sq. m. of the sandy plain, and extends from Mount Mukattam to the port of Boulak (Bulaq); but only a small part of the modern city belongs to the Cairo of history, which consisted originally of little more than an immense palace with its attendant buildings. Modern Cairo is built upon the remains of four distinct cities, founded between 641 and 969 a.d.; but with the last hundred years it has been greatly enlarged on the west side, the space between the old city and the Nile having been covered with villas and palaces of European construction. The mediaeval city, however, may still be seen in something of its former picturesque-ness in the streets and bazaars, which occupy and surround the site of the original palace-enclosure of El-Kahira. The quarter bounded by the north and east walls, between the Bab-en-Nasr ('gate of victory') and the Citadel, is still purely oriental; and it is chiefly in this part that are found the numerous mosques, schools, fountains, and latticed houses which represent the art of the Saracens in its most chaste and perfect form. Here is situated the Azhar University (founded 971), to which 2000 students annually flock from all parts of the Mohammedan world; here is the mosque of El-Hakim (990), the beautiful Maristan and tomb of Kalaiin (1288), and the fine mosques of En-Nasir (1298), Aksunkur (1347), Sultan Hasan (1358), El-Muayyad (1420), and El-Ghori (1503), to mention but a few of these exquisite monuments. The mediaeval city, however, is rapidly giving way to the encroachments of western commerce and sanitation. The separate closed quarters of distinct trades are becoming rarer. Very few of the old palaces of the Mamelukes are still standing; the most beautiful features of the decoration of ancient houses and even mosques have been despoiled by the travelling collector; and natural decay, aided by centuries of neglect and ignorant injury, has reduced the remains of a perhaps unrivalled epoch of Saracenic art to those shattered but exquisite ruins, which an official 'Commission for the Preservation of the Monuments' now endeavours, not, indeed, to restore, but if possible to rescue from further demolition and decay.
The modern portion of the city consists partly in a few broad streets or 'boulevards,' which pierce the mediaeval quarters, and have destroyed many priceless monuments of art, but chiefly in the western suburb of Ismailia, formed by new villas, built along broad avenues lined with trees, and extending from the square called the Ezbe-kiya, near or in which are the principal hotels, the opera-house, theatre, and the European shops, as far as Boulak (q.v.). In this suburb are some of the numerous palaces of the Khedive, notably Abdin, where all official receptions take place; others are situated on the bank of the Nile, where are also barracks and a hospital. Modern Cairo, including the whole circuit, old and new, is the largest city in Africa, and second only to Constantinople in the Turkish empire. Railways and telegraphs connect it with Alexandria, Ismailia, Suez, Port Said, and Upper Egypt, its central station (1893) being a magnificent structure. Steamers ply on the Nile as far as the Second Cataract. Gas, the telephone, and other modern appliances are in universal use among the European and official circles. There is a busy trade, but chiefly of the transport kind, consisting of the produce of the interior. Manufactures, except rude pottery, turned woodwork, and silver-smithery, are almost non-existent; and the arts of ancient and mediaeval Egypt appear to have been almost forgotten. After 1882 Cairo was the centre of English influence in Egypt. Three new bridges across the Nile were built in 1904-6 at a cost of £191,000. Pop. (1882) 374,838; (1898) 570,060. See works by Lane (1896), Reynolds-Ball (1898), S. L. Poole (1892, 1902).
Cairo (Ka'ro), capital of Alexander county, Illinois, at the junction of the Ohio and Mississippi, 180 miles below St Louis. A steel bridge (1888), costing $5,000,000, connects the railways north and south of the Ohio. The city, Martin Chuzzle-wit's ' Eden,' formerly suffered much from inundations, from which it is protected by levees, now utilised for streets and railways. There are numerous factories, and a U.S. marine hospital and custom-house. Pop. (1860) 2188; (1890) 10,324; (1900) 12,566.