The eastern districts of Cairo are a series of planned communities which have been built away from the congestion of historic Cairo. The most prominent communities are Heliopolis, Nasr City, and New Cairo. Cairo International Airport is also located in this area, just to the east of Heliopolis.
Heliopolis (مصر الجديدة Masr el-Gedida, lit. "New Egypt" or "New Cairo") is the oldest district, established in 1905 not far from the ancient city of Heliopolis (which is located to the northwest). The ancient city was dedicated to the god Atum, but it declined after the Persians took over control of Egypt in 525 BC. Modern Heliopolis was established in 1907 by the Belgian Baron Empain, with a streetcar line running between Heliopolis and central Cairo. It's one of the nicest places to live in Cairo, but there isn't much to visit as a tourist. The main reason to stay here is the proximity to the airport.
Nasr City was established by Gamal Abdel Nasser in the 1960s. It was intended to be a new capital city, but never developed as planned. It now has a socially mixed population including many immigrants, and is an economic center containing many shopping malls.
New Cairo (القاهرة الجديدة El Qāhera El Gedīda), established in 2000, covers a vast area in the far east of the city. Its current population is around 200,000, but it's planned for an eventual population of 5 million.
Heliopolis is located between Cairo International Airport and central Cairo.
Heliopolis is reachable from downtown by the metro's line 3. The antiquated tram system that once ran to Heliopolis was removed in 2015.
- 1 Korba area. The old center of Heliopolis, with beautiful Andalusian style architecture and lots of old churches and cultural centres from the days of cosmopolitan, multicultural Cairo.
- 2 Baron Empain Palace, al-Uruba St (Near Koleyet El Banat metro stop (line 3)). Erected by Baron Empain, this utterly bizarre structure was inspired by Angkor Wat and the Hindu temples of Orissa (now known as Odisha), and looks thoroughly out of place in Cairo. You can take a peek from the road, but alas, the interior has been off limits for years.
- Basilica of Notre Dame, at the end of Al-Ahram Street. A miniature version of Istanbul's Ayasofya, dubbed the "jelly mold" by expats. Especially worth a look.
- 3 Uruba Presidential Palace (10 minute walk west on the big road from Koleyet El Banat metro stop (line 3)). Not open to the public. Once a grand hotel that opened in 1910, the Uruba Palace is now the official residence of the Egyptian President. The hotel fell into disuse in the 1960s, and for a brief period, the palace was home to the Federation of Arab Republics. In the 1980s, the palace was restored and became the official residence.
- 4 6th of October Panorama. A museum dedicated to the 1973 war against Israel. Airplanes, tanks, and other hardware from both sides are on display. Inside the building, there are videos and murals. This museum is very similar to the one in Damascus, Syria, but of course Cairo is safer to visit these days. Both museums were built with the help of North Korean architects, and the influence shows.
- 5 Unknown Soldier Memorial. A striking-looking pyramid-shaped monument, standing 36 meters high. President Anwar Sadat is also buried here.
- 1 Korba Street Festival, Baghdad Street. Annual cultural festival that takes place each spring, centering on Heliopolis’ Baghdad Street. The festival features Egyptian performing artists.
- Shabrawai's (just off Midan Korba). It's one of the best foul and tamiyya joints in town.
- Quick Sandwich. A pioneer in the Egyptian based chains offers some of the best Shawerma rolls and Shish-Kebab sandwiches, excellent value meals and great taste- delivery is an option by calling 16013. relatively cheap. You'll find a restaurant in the middle of the Merghani street and another in front of the Merryland Gardens.
- Mei Shi, Mövenpick Heliopolis Hotel (Cairo International Airport Road). 6PM-1AM. Chinese cuisine served in an elegant setting.
- Petit Palmyra, 27 al-Ahram Street, ☏ .
- Rainforest Cafe, City Stars, 5th Floor, Phase 1 (Nasr City). American theme restaurant, located at City Stars Mall.
- The Veranda, 65 Abdel Hamid Badawi (Concorde El Salam Hotel, Heliopolis). Offers buffet or a la carte, including buffet breakfast and international menu for lunch and dinner.
- Amphitrion, 18 Ibrahim al-Laqqani Street (at al-Ahram Street), ☏ . Amphitrion is an open air cafe and pub, providing a place to sit outdoors on the terrace with a beer. As old as Heliopolis itself, soldiers used to come here to unwind during World War II.
- Christo Liquors, 92 Osman Ibn Affan St (Triumph Square Heliopolis), ☏ . Beer shop offering chilled beers delivered right to your door.
- Pension Zamalek, 6 Salah el-Din St. (Despite the name it’s not in Zamalek district, but several km east, almost into Heliopolis), ☏ . Run-down and a bit basic, but not without charm, run by an Egyptian family, in a quiet and very safe embassy neighbourhood. A basic breakfast is provided. Discounts on longer stays, unmarried couples might face problems at this location and teenagers tend to get harassed by the manager's wife. single LE 150.
- 1 Fairmont Towers Heliopolis, El Shaheed Sayed Zakaria Street, ☏ . Stunning new hotel built around a giant glass atrium. US$280.
- 2 Le Méridien Heliopolis, 51 El Orouba Street, ☏ . Somewhat dated but comfortable hotel within striking distance to the airport, with a free shuttle service. Little of interest in the vicinity, but near the Cairo Conference Center. US$130 overnight, $100 day use.
- 3 Novotel Cairo Airport (next to airport), ☏ . Closest hotel to the airport. The lobby and public areas have been given a facelift and are now bright, modern, and airy, but the rooms still look and feel like a cheap motel with lumpy beds, and noisy air conditioning. Adequate for a one-night transit, but you wouldn't want to spend your whole vacation here. Free half-hourly shuttle bus from/to airport. US$90.
- 4 Sonesta Hotel and Casino Cairo, 3 El Tayaran Street, ☏ . A 257-room 5-star hotel with a pool, casino, and full service spa.
- 5 InterContinental Cairo Citystars, Omar Ibn El Khattab st., ☏ . A 790-room property. US$280.
- 6 Holiday Inn Cairo Citystars, Ali Rashed St. Heliopolis, ☏ . US$150.
- Staybridge Suites Cairo Citystars, Emtedad Makram Ebeid St. Heliopolis, ☏ . US$175.
- 7 Radisson Blu Heliopolis, Abdel Hamid Badawy St, 114 Rawda Al Sheraton, ☏ .
- 8 The Baron Hotel Heliopolis, P.O. Box 2531 P.C. 11361, 4 Ma'ahad Al Sahary St, ☏ . Overlooks Baron Empain Palace. 126 rooms & suites, several restaurants & bars and conference facilities.