Photo: Relatives of Giulio Regeni, an Italian graduate student killed in Cairo, hold a banner demanding 'truth' during a press conference in Rome parliament; they said that if an April 5 visit from Egyptian officials does not satisfy their concerns, Italy must act strongly - Nuova Resistenza
Editor's note: State media in Cyprus is reporting that the man who hijacked an EgyptAir flight from Alexandria to Cairo may have personal, rather than political, motives. The local media is reporting he has demanded asylum in Cyprus, but this has not been confirmed. - Jillian
Editor's note: Cypriot former European Commissioner for Education Androulla Vassiliou initially reported that 82 passengers and crews were believed to be onboard the EgyptAir plain hijacked while flying from Alexandria to Cairo. The Egyptian aviation authority, however, has since released a statement revising that number to at least 55 passengers and five crew. - Imana
Cairo (/ˈkaɪroʊ/KYE-roh; Arabic: القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, Coptic: ⲕⲁϩⲓⲣⲏ, Kahire) is the capital and largest city of Egypt. The city's metropolitan area is the largest in the Middle East and the Arab world, and 15th-largest in the world, and is associated with ancient Egypt, as the famous Giza pyramid complex and the ancient city of Memphis are located in its geographical area. Located near the Nile Delta, modern Cairo was founded in 969 CE by Jawhar al-Siqilli ("the Sicilian") of the Fatimid dynasty, but the land composing the present-day city was the site of ancient national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo has long been a center of the region's political and cultural life, and is nicknamed "the city of a thousand minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture.
Egyptians today often refer to Cairo as Maṣr ([mɑsˤɾ], مصر), the Egyptian Arabic pronunciation of the name for Egypt itself, emphasizing the city's continued role in Egyptian influence. Its official name is القاهرةal-Qāhirah , means literally: "the Defeater", in reference to the fact that the planet Mars ("Al Najm Al Qahir") was rising at the time when the city was founded as well as, "the Vanquisher"; "the Conqueror"; Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [elqɑ(ː)ˈheɾɑ], "the Defeater" or, " "the Victorious" (al-Qahira) in reference to the much awaited Caliph al-Mu'izz li Din Allah who arrived from the old Fatimid Ifriqiyan capital of Mahdia in 973 to the city. The Egyptian name for Cairo is said to be: Khere-Ohe, meaning: "The Place of Combat", supposedly, in reference to a battle which took place between the Gods Seth and Horus. Sometimes the city is informally also referred to as كايروKayro[ˈkæjɾo]. It is also called Umm ad-Dunya, meaning "the mother of the world".
Cairo has the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Arab world, as well as the world's second-oldest institution of higher learning, al-Azhar University. Many international media, businesses, and organizations have regional headquarters in the city; the Arab League has had its headquarters in Cairo for most of its existence.
With a population of 6.76 million spread over 453 square kilometers (175 sq mi), Cairo is by far the largest city in Egypt. An additional 10 million inhabitants live just outside the city. Cairo, like many other mega-cities, suffers from high levels of pollution and traffic. Cairo's metro, one of only two metros on the African continent (the other Algiers), ranks among the fifteen busiest in the world, with over 1 billion annual passenger rides. The economy of Cairo was ranked first in the Middle East in 2005, and 43rd globally by Foreign Policy's 2010 Global Cities Index.