Egypt was the first state to establish a system of administration and a capital with the administrative and religious centres.
Then came the unity between the North and the South under the reign of King Menes (or Narmer) who chose Memphis between the north and the south to be the first capital of unified Egypt. Memphis is 22 km from Cairo.
The best place for the foundation of the Egyptian capital was always the point before the Nile branches. The capital of Egypt has changed throughout history from Ahnasia south of Memphis to Thebes (Luxor).
When Alexander the Great entered Egypt in 332 B.C., the capital was transferred west of the Delta to Alexandria. Christianity was introduced and the seat of the Patriarch was between Alexandria and old Cairo.
Alexandria remained the Egyptian capital during both the Ptolemaic and Roman periods.
When the Abbassides took over from the Ommayades in 750, Saleh Ibn Ali abandoned A1 Fustat and established A1 Askar north of the former capital. This new military capital developed and constituted with A1 Fustat a big city.
Ahmed Ibn Touloun founded the third Islamic capital A1 Qatai around his gigantic mosque in 870. This city had also a military character, with its high walls and circular road, with A1 Askar and A1 Fustat, it rapidly grew into one city.
When Gohar A1 Sikkily, the Fatimid commander entered Egypt, he built the new city of A1 Qahira or Cairo in 969 and from then on it became the capital of Egypt and the heart of Islam.
The arrival of Salah El Din in 1176 marked a different stage in the history of Cairo. During the Ayyubid era, the Citadel was built and work began on building a wall surrounding the cities forming Al Qahira. The Mamlukes era (1250-1517) was a period of great construction and town planning in Cairo. The Ottomans (1517-1798) continued the development. The Mamlukes began adding big commercial activities. During the reign of Mohamed Ali and his successors, the city developed considerably.
The average population density is 50.000 inhabitants/km2.
The historical capital is considered the most populated African city. It is also a great political, cultural and economic centre in the Middle East.