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Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the biggest city in the Arab world, with a population of over 10 million people. With a population of 21.3 million people, the Greater Cairo metropolitan area is the second-largest urban agglomeration in Africa (behind Lagos), the largest in the Arab world and the Middle East, and the sixth-largest in the world. The Greater Cairo metropolitan area is divided into three districts. Egypt's ancient civilization is identified with Cairo since the Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are both situated within its geographical boundaries. Cairo, Egypt's capital city, was founded in 969 AD by the Fatimid dynasty on territory that had previously served as the location of ancient national capitals, vestiges of which may still be seen in areas of the city's historic centre, known as Old Cairo. Egypt's capital city, Cairo, has long been a focal point of political and cultural activity in the area, earning the nickname "the city of a thousand minarets" due to the prevalence of Islamic architecture. In 1979, the old core of Cairo was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to the Globalization and World Cities Index (GaWC), Cairo is a World City with a "Beta +" grade.

Cairo is home to the oldest and biggest Arab film and music industries, as well as Al-Azhar University, which is the world's second-oldest institution of higher learning after the University of Alexandria. Many foreign media outlets, enterprises, and organisations maintain regional offices in Cairo, including the Arab League, which has had its headquarters in the city for the majority of its history.

Cairo is Egypt's most populous metropolis, with a population of more than 10 million people living on a land area of 453 km2 (175 sq mi). An extra 9.5 million people dwell in the metropolitan area's immediate surrounding area. Egypt's capital, like many other megacities, is plagued by excessive levels of pollution and traffic congestion. The Cairo Metro one of only two metro systems in Africa (the other being in Algiers, Algeria), and it is one of the world's busiest, transporting over one billion passengers per year. The Cairo Metro is one of the world's busiest, transporting over one billion passengers per year. Cairo's economy was placed first in the Middle East in 2005 and 43rd in the world in Foreign Policy's 2010 Global Cities Index, according to the publication.