Strait of Gibraltar
The Strait of Gibraltar is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea and separates Gibraltar and Peninsular Spain in Europe from Morocco and Ceuta in Africa. The name comes from the Rock of Gibraltar, which in turn originates from the Arabic Jebel Tariq named after Tariq ibn Ziyad, it is known as the Straits of Gibraltar, the Gut of Gibraltar, the STROG in naval use, Bab Al Maghrib, "Gate of the West". In the Middle Ages, Muslims called it Al-Zuqaq, "The Passage", the Romans called it Fretum Gatitanum, in the ancient world it was known as the "Pillars of Hercules". Europe and Africa are separated by 7.7 nautical miles of ocean at the strait's narrowest point. The Strait's depth ranges between 300 and 900 metres which interacted with the lower mean sea level of the last major glaciation 20,000 years ago when the level of the sea is believed to have been lower by 110–120 m. Ferries cross between the two continents every day in as little as 35 minutes; the Spanish side of the Strait is protected under El Estrecho Natural Park.
On the northern side of the Strait are Spain and Gibraltar, while on the southern side are Morocco and Ceuta. Its boundaries were known in antiquity as the Pillars of Hercules. There are several islets, such as the disputed Isla Perejil, that are claimed by both Morocco and Spain. Due to its location, the Strait is used for illegal immigration from Africa to Europe; the International Hydrographic Organization defines the limits of the Strait of Gibraltar as follows: On the West. A line joining Cape Trafalgar to Cape Spartel. On the East. A line joining Europa Point to P. Almina; the seabed of the Strait is composed of synorogenic Betic-Rif clayey flysch covered by Pliocene and/or Quaternary calcareous sediments, sourced from thriving cold water coral communities. Exposed bedrock surfaces, coarse sediments and local sand dunes attest to the strong bottom current conditions at the present time. Around 5.9 million years ago, the connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean along the Betic and Rifan Corridor was progressively restricted until its total closure causing the salinity of the Mediterranean to rise periodically within the gypsum and salt deposition range, during what is known as the Messinian salinity crisis.
In this water chemistry environment, dissolved mineral concentrations and stilled water currents combined and occurred to precipitate many mineral salts in layers on the seabed. The resultant accumulation of various huge salt and mineral deposits about the Mediterranean basin are directly linked to this era, it is believed that this process took a short time, by geological standards, lasting between 500,000 and 600,000 years. It is estimated that, were the straits closed at today's higher sea level, most water in the Mediterranean basin would evaporate within only a thousand years, as it is believed to have done and such an event would lay down mineral deposits like the salt deposits now found under the sea floor all over the Mediterranean. After a lengthy period of restricted intermittent or no water exchange between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean basin 5.33 million years ago, the Atlantic-Mediterranean connection was reestablished through the Strait of Gibraltar by the Zanclean flood, has remained open since.
The erosion produced by the incoming waters seems to be the main cause for the present depth of the strait. The strait is expected to close again as the African Plate moves northward relative to the Eurasian Plate, but on geological rather than human timescales; the Strait has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International because of the hundreds of thousands of seabirds which use it every year to migrate between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, including significant numbers of Scopoli's and Balearic shearwaters, Audouin's and lesser black-backed gulls and Atlantic puffins. A resident killer whale pod of some 36 individuals lives around the Strait, one of the few that are left in Western European waters; the pod may be facing extinction in the coming decades due to long term effects of PCB pollution. For full articles on the history of the north Gibraltar shore, see History of Gibraltar or History of Spain. For the full article on the history of the south Gibraltar shore, see History of Morocco.
Evidence of the first human habitation of the area by Neanderthals dates back to 125,000 years ago. It is believed that the Rock of Gibraltar may have been one of the last outposts of Neanderthal habitation in the world, with evidence of their presence there dating to as as 24,000 years ago. Archaeological evidence of Homo sapiens habitation of the area dates back c. 40,000 years. The short distance between the two shores has served as a quick crossing point for various groups and civilizations throughout history, including Carthaginians campaigning against Rome, Romans travelling between the provinces of Hispania and Mauritania, Vandals raiding south from Germania through Western Rome and into North Africa in the 5th century and Berbers in the 8th–11th centuries, Spain and Portugal in the 16th century. Beginning in 1492, the straits began to play a certain cultural role in acting as a barrier against cross-strait conquest and the flow of culture and language that would n
The Third Crusade was an attempt by the leaders of the three most powerful states of Western Christianity to reconquer the Holy Land following the capture of Jerusalem by the Ayyubid sultan, Saladin, in 1187. It was successful, recapturing the important cities of Acre and Jaffa, reversing most of Saladin's conquests, but it failed to recapture Jerusalem, the major aim of the Crusade and its religious focus. After the failure of the Second Crusade of 1147-1149, the Zengid dynasty controlled a unified Syria and engaged in a conflict with the Fatimid rulers of Egypt. Saladin brought both the Egyptian and Syrian forces under his own control, employed them to reduce the Crusader states and to recapture Jerusalem in 1187. Spurred by religious zeal, King Henry II of England and King Philip II of France ended their conflict with each other to lead a new crusade; the death of Henry, meant the English contingent came under the command of his successor, King Richard I of England. The elderly German Emperor Frederick Barbarossa responded to the call to arms, leading a massive army across Anatolia, but he drowned in a river in Asia Minor on 10 June 1190 before reaching the Holy Land.
His death caused tremendous grief among the German Crusaders, most of his troops returned home. After the Crusaders had driven the Muslims from Acre, Philip - in company with Frederick's successor, Leopold V, Duke of Austria - left the Holy Land in August 1191. On 2 September 1192 Richard and Saladin finalized the Treaty of Jaffa, which granted Muslim control over Jerusalem but allowed unarmed Christian pilgrims and merchants to visit the city. Richard departed the Holy Land on 9 October 1192; the successes of the Third Crusade allowed Westerners to maintain considerable states in Cyprus and on the Syrian coast. The failure to re-capture Jerusalem inspired the subsequent Fourth Crusade of 1202–1204, but Europeans would only regain the city, albeit in the Sixth Crusade in 1229. After the failure of the Second Crusade, Nur ad-Din Zangi had control of Damascus and a unified Syria. Eager to expand his power, Nur ad-Din set his sights on the Fatimid dynasty of Egypt. In 1163, Nur ad-Din sent Shirkuh, on a military expedition to the Nile.
Accompanying the general was his young nephew, Saladin. With Shirkuh's troops camped outside of Cairo, Egypt's sultan Shawar called on King Amalric I of Jerusalem for assistance. In response, Amalric sent an army into Egypt and attacked Shirkuh's troops at Bilbeis in 1164. In an attempt to divert Crusader attention from Egypt, Nur ad-Din attacked Antioch, resulting in a massacre of Christian soldiers and the capture of several Crusader leaders, including Bohemond III, Prince of Antioch. Nur ad-Din sent the scalps of the Christian defenders to Egypt for Shirkuh to proudly display at Bilbeis for Amalric's soldiers to see; this action prompted both Shirkuh to lead their armies out of Egypt. In 1167, Nur ad-Din again sent Shirkuh to conquer the Fatimids in Egypt. Shawar again opted to call upon Amalric to defend his territory; the combined Egyptian-Christian forces pursued Shirkuh. Amalric breached his alliance with Shawar by turning his forces on Egypt and besieging the city of Bilbeis. Shawar pleaded with Nur ad-Din, to save him from Amalric's treachery.
Lacking the resources to maintain a prolonged siege of Cairo against the combined forces of Nur ad-Din and Shawar, Amalric retreated. This new alliance gave Nur ad-Din rule over all of Syria and Egypt. Shawar was executed for his alliances with the Christian forces, Shirkuh succeeded him as vizier of Egypt. In 1169, Shirkuh died unexpectedly after only weeks of rule. Shirkuh's successor was his nephew, Salah ad-Din Yusuf known as Saladin. Nur ad-Din died in 1174, leaving the new empire to As-Salih, it was decided that the only man competent enough to uphold the jihad against the Franks was Saladin, who became sultan of Egypt and Syria and the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty. Amalric died in 1174, leaving Jerusalem to his 13-year-old son, Baldwin IV. Although Baldwin suffered from leprosy, he was an effective and active military commander, defeating Saladin at the battle of Montgisard in 1177, with support from Raynald of Châtillon, released from prison in 1176. Raynald forged an agreement with Saladin to allow free trade between Muslim and Christian territories.
He raided caravans throughout the region and expanded his piracy to the Red Sea by sending galleys to raid ships, to assault the city of Mecca itself. These acts enraged the Muslim world, giving Raynald a reputation as the most hated man in the Middle East. Baldwin IV died in 1185, the kingdom was left to his nephew Baldwin V, whom he had crowned as co-king in 1183. Raymond III of Tripoli again served as regent; the following year, Baldwin V died before his ninth birthday, his mother Princess Sybilla, sister of Baldwin IV, crowned herself queen and her husband, Guy of Lusignan, king. Raynald again had its travelers thrown in prison. Saladin demanded that their cargo be released; the newly crowned King Guy appealed to Raynald to give in to Saladin's demands, but Raynald refused to follow the king's orders. Full article: Battle of Hattin. Raymond advised patience, but King Guy, acting on advice from Raynald, marched his army to the Horns of Hattin outside of Tiberias; the Frankish army and demoralized, was destroyed i
Al-Andalus known as Muslim Spain, Muslim Iberia, or Islamic Iberia, was a medieval Muslim territory and cultural domain that in its early period occupied most of Iberia, today's Portugal and Spain. At its greatest geographical extent, it occupied the northwest of the Iberian peninsula and a part of present day southern France Septimania and for nearly a century extended its control from Fraxinet over the Alpine passes which connect Italy with the remainder of Western Europe; the name more describes the parts of the peninsula governed by Muslims at various times between 711 and 1492, though the boundaries changed as the Christian Reconquista progressed shrinking to the south around modern-day Andalusia and to the Emirate of Granada. Following the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, al-Andalus at its greatest extent, was divided into five administrative units, corresponding to modern Andalusia and Galicia, Castile and León, Aragon, the County of Barcelona, Septimania; as a political domain, it successively constituted a province of the Umayyad Caliphate, initiated by the Caliph Al-Walid I.
Rule under these kingdoms led to a rise in cultural exchange and cooperation between Muslims and Christians. Christians and Jews were subject to a special tax called Jizya, to the state, which in return provided internal autonomy in practicing their religion and offered the same level of protections by the Muslim rulers. Under the Caliphate of Córdoba, al-Andalus was a beacon of learning, the city of Córdoba, the largest in Europe, became one of the leading cultural and economic centres throughout the Mediterranean Basin and the Islamic world. Achievements that advanced Islamic and Western science came from al-Andalus, including major advances in trigonometry, surgery, pharmacology and other fields. Al-Andalus became a major educational center for Europe and the lands around the Mediterranean Sea as well as a conduit for cultural and scientific exchange between the Islamic and Christian worlds. For much of its history, al-Andalus existed in conflict with Christian kingdoms to the north. After the fall of the Umayyad caliphate, al-Andalus was fragmented into minor states and principalities.
Attacks from the Christians intensified, led by the Castilians under Alfonso VI. The Almoravid empire intervened and repelled the Christian attacks on the region, deposing the weak Andalusi Muslim princes and included al-Andalus under direct Berber rule. In the next century and a half, al-Andalus became a province of the Berber Muslim empires of the Almoravids and Almohads, both based in Marrakesh; the Christian kingdoms in the north of the Iberian Peninsula overpowered the Muslim states to the south. In 1085, Alfonso VI captured Toledo. With the fall of Córdoba in 1236, most of the south fell under Christian rule and the Emirate of Granada became a tributary state of the Kingdom of Castile two years later. In 1249, the Portuguese Reconquista culminated with the conquest of the Algarve by Afonso III, leaving Granada as the last Muslim state on the Iberian Peninsula. On January 2, 1492, Emir Muhammad XII surrendered the Emirate of Granada to Queen Isabella I of Castile, completing the Christian Reconquista of the peninsula.
Although al-Andalus ended as a political entity, the nearly eight centuries of Islamic rule which preceded and accompanied the early formation of the Spanish nation-state and identity has left a profound effect on the country's culture and language in Andalusia. The toponym al-Andalus is first attested by inscriptions on coins minted in 716 by the new Muslim government of Iberia; these coins, called dinars, were inscribed in both Arabic. The etymology of the name "al-Andalus" has traditionally been derived from the name of the Vandals. In 1986, Joaquín Vallvé proposed that "al-Andalus" was a corruption of the name Atlantis, Halm in 1989 derived the name from a Gothic term, *landahlauts, in 2002, Georg Bossong suggested its derivation from a pre-Roman substrate. During the caliphate of the Umayyad Caliph Al-Walid I, the commander Tariq ibn-Ziyad led a small force that landed at Gibraltar on April 30, 711, ostensibly to intervene in a Visigothic civil war. After a decisive victory over King Roderic at the Battle of Guadalete on July 19, 711, Tariq ibn-Ziyad, joined by Arab governor Musa ibn Nusayr of Ifriqiya, brought most of the Visigothic Kingdom under Muslim occupation in a seven-year campaign.
They occupied Visigothic Septimania in southern France. Most of the Iberian peninsula became part of the expanding Umayyad Empire, under the name of al-Andalus, it was organized as a province subordinate to Ifriqiya, so, for the first few decades, the governors of al-Andalus were appointed by the emir of Kairouan, rather than the Caliph in Damascus. The regional capital was set at Córdoba, the first influx of Muslim settlers was distributed; the small army Tariq led in the initial conquest consisted of Berbers, while Musa's Arab force of over 12,000 soldiers was accompanied by a group of mawālī, that is, non-Arab Muslims, who were clients of the
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the 88th largest island in the world and the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. Crete and a number of surrounding islands and islets constitute the region of Crete, one of the 13 top-level administrative units of Greece; the capital and the largest city is Heraklion. As of 2011, the region had a population of 623,065. Crete forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits, it was once the centre of the Minoan civilisation, the earliest known civilisation in Europe. The palace of Knossos lies in Crete; the island is first referred to as Kaptara in texts from the Syrian city of Mari dating from the 18th century BC, repeated in Neo-Assyrian records and the Bible. It was known in ancient Egyptian as Keftiu suggesting a similar Minoan name for the island; the current name of Crete is thought to be first attested in Mycenaean Greek texts written in Linear B, through the words ke-re-te, ke-re-si-jo, "Cretan".
In Ancient Greek, the name Crete first appears in Homer's Odyssey. Its etymology is unknown. One proposal derives it from a hypothetical Luwian word, *kursatta. In Latin, it became Creta; the original Arabic name of Crete was Iqrīṭiš, but after the Emirate of Crete's establishment of its new capital at ربض الخندق Rabḍ al-Ḫandaq, both the city and the island became known as Χάνδαξ or Χάνδακας, which gave Latin and Venetian Candia, from which were derived French Candie and English Candy or Candia. Under Ottoman rule, in Ottoman Turkish, Crete was called Girit. Crete is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, it is located in the southern part of the Aegean Sea separating the Aegean from the Libyan Sea. The island has an elongated shape: it spans 260 km from east to west, is 60 km at its widest point, narrows to as little as 12 km. Crete covers an area of 8,336 km2, with a coastline of 1,046 km, it lies 160 km south of the Greek mainland. Crete is mountainous, its character is defined by a high mountain range crossing from west to east, formed by three different groups of mountains: The White Mountains or Lefka Ori 2,454 m The Idi Range (Psiloritis 35.18°N 24.82°E / 35.18.
The island has a number of gorges, such as the Samariá Gorge, Imbros Gorge, Kourtaliotiko Gorge, Ha Gorge, Platania Gorge, the Gorge of the Dead and Richtis Gorge and waterfall at Exo Mouliana in Sitia. The rivers of Crete include the Ieropotamos River, the Koiliaris, the Anapodiaris, the Almiros, the Giofyros, Megas Potamos. There are only two freshwater lakes in Crete: Lake Kournas and Lake Agia, which are both in Chania regional unit. Lake Voulismeni at the coast, at Aghios Nikolaos, was a freshwater lake but is now connected to the sea, in Lasithi. Lakes that were created by dams exist in Crete. There are three: the lake of Aposelemis Dam, the lake of Potamos Dam, the lake of Mpramiana Dam. A large number of islands and rocks hug the coast of Crete. Many are visited by tourists, some are only visited by biologists; some are environmentally protected. A small sample of the islands includes: Gramvousa the pirate island opposite the Balo lagoon Elafonisi, which commemorates a shipwreck and an Ottoman massacre Chrysi island, which hosts the largest natural Lebanon cedar forest in Europe Paximadia island where the god Apollo and the goddess Artemis were born The Venetian fort and leper colony at Spinalonga opposite the beach and shallow waters of Elounda Dionysades islands which are in an environmentally protected region together the Palm Beach Forest of Vai in the municipality of Sitia, LasithiOff the south coast, the island of Gavdos is located 26 nautical miles south of Hora Sfakion and is the southernmost point of Europe.
Crete straddles two climatic zones, the Mediterranean and the North African falling within the former. As such, the climate in Crete is Mediterranean; the atmosphere can be quite humid, depending on the proximity to the sea, while winter is mild. Snowfall is rare in the low-lying areas. While some mountain tops are snow-capped for most of the year, near the coast snow only stays on the ground for a few minutes or hours. However, a exceptional cold snap swept the island in February 2004, during which period the whole island was blanketed with snow. During the Cretan summer, average temperatures reach the high 20s-low 30s Celsius, with maxima touching the upper 30s-mid 40s; the south coast, including the Mesara Pla
Xàtiva is a town in eastern Spain, in the province of Valencia, on the right bank of the river Albaida and at the junction of the Valencia–Murcia and Valencia Albacete railways. It is located 25 km west of the Mediterranean Sea. During the Al-Andalus Islamic era, Arabs brought the technology to manufacture paper to Xàtiva. In the 12th century, Xàtiva was known for its schools and learning circles. Islamic scholar Abu Ishaq al-Shatibi's last name refers to Xàtiva where he died. Xàtiva was famous in Roman times for its linen fabrics, mentioned by the Latin poets Ovid and Catullus. Xàtiva is known as an early European centre of paper manufacture. In the 12th century, Arabs brought the technology to manufacture paper to Xàtiva, it is the birthplace of two popes, Callixtus III and Alexander VI, the painter José Ribera. It suffered a dark moment in its history at the hands of Philip V of Spain, after his victory at the Battle of Almansa during the War of the Spanish Succession, had the city besieged ordered it to be burned and renamed San Felipe.
In memory of the insult, the portrait of the monarch hangs upside down in the local museum of l'Almodí. Xàtiva was a provincial capital under the short-lived 1822 territorial division of Spain, during the Trienio Liberal; the Province of Xàtiva was revoked with the return to absolutism in 1823. Xàtiva is built on the margin of a fertile plain, on the southern slopes of the Monte Vernissa, a hill with two peaks crowned by Xativa Castle; the Collegiate Basilica, dating from 1414, but rebuilt about a century in the Renaissance style, was a cathedral, is the chief among many churches and convents. The town-hall and a church on the castle hill are constructed of inscribed Roman masonry, several houses date from the Moorish period. Other sights include: Royal Monastery of the Assumption and Baroque style, built during the 14th century and renovated in the 16th–18th centuries. Natal house of the Pope Alexander VI. Sant Feliu – 13th century church. Sant Pere -14th century church; the interior has a Coffered ceiling decorated in Gothic-Mudéjar style.
Hermitage of Santa Anna, in Gothic style Almodí, a 14th-century Gothic edifice now housing a Museum Casa de la Enseñanza, Xàtiva Sant Francesc The Republic of Sorió, where you could find the famous valencian version of the Olsen sisters, known for having sung in Maqueta Jove TV Show. In the summer, the village is blessed with the visit of an old friend of the sisters': the well-known Hanna Gorbana. Pope Calixtus III Pope Alexander VI Tomás Cerdán de Tallada Diego Ramírez de Arellano Jusepe de Ribera Jaime Villanueva Raimon Joan Ramos Toni Cucarella Feliu Ventura Route of the Borgias Official website Media related to Xàtiva at Wikimedia Commons Xàtiva travel guide from WikivoyageThere is plenty of information available about Xativa and the surrounding area on the English language website. "Játiva". Encyclopædia Britannica. Cambridge University Press
Valencia València, on the east coast of Spain, is the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, with around 800,000 inhabitants in the administrative centre. Its urban area extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of around 1.6 million people. Valencia is Spain's third largest metropolitan area, with a population ranging from 1.7 to 2.5 million depending on how the metropolitan area is defined. The Port of Valencia is the 5th busiest container port in Europe and the busiest container port on the Mediterranean Sea; the city is ranked at Beta-global city in World Cities Research Network. Valencia is integrated into an industrial area on the Costa del Azahar. Valencia was founded as a Roman colony by the consul Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus in 138 BC, called Valentia Edetanorum. In 714 Moroccan and Arab Moors occupied the city, introducing their language and customs. Valencia was the capital of the Taifa of Valencia.
In 1238 the Christian king James I of Aragon conquered the city and divided the land among the nobles who helped him conquer it, as witnessed in the Llibre del Repartiment. He created a new law for the city, the Furs of Valencia, which were extended to the rest of the Kingdom of Valencia. In the 18th century Philip V of Spain abolished the privileges as punishment to the kingdom of Valencia for aligning with the Habsburg side in the War of the Spanish Succession. Valencia was the capital of Spain when Joseph Bonaparte moved the Court there in the summer of 1812, it served as capital between 1936 and 1937, during the Second Spanish Republic. The city is situated on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea, its historic centre is one of the largest in Spain, with 169 ha. Due to its long history, this is a city with numerous popular celebrations and traditions, such as the Fallas, which were declared as Fiestas of National Tourist Interest of Spain in 1965 and Intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in November 2016.
From 1991 to 2015, Rita Barberá Nolla was the mayor of the city, yet in 2015, Joan Ribó from Coalició Compromís, became mayor. The original Latin name of the city was Valentia, meaning "strength", or "valour", the city being named according to the Roman practice of recognising the valour of former Roman soldiers after a war; the Roman historian Livy explains that the founding of Valentia in the 2nd century BC was due to the settling of the Roman soldiers who fought against an Iberian rebel, Viriatus. During the rule of the Muslim kingdoms in Spain, it had the nickname Medina at-Tarab according to one transliteration, or Medina at-Turab according to another, since it was located on the banks of the River Turia, it is not clear if the term Balansiyya was reserved for the entire Taifa of Valencia or designated the city. By gradual sound changes, Valentia has in Castilian and València in Valencian. In Valencian, the grave accent ⟨è⟩ /ɛ/ contrasts with the acute accent ⟨é⟩ /e/—but the word València is an exception to this rule.
It is spelled according to Catalan etymology. Valencia stands on the banks of the Turia River, located on the eastern coast of the Iberian Peninsula and the western part of the Mediterranean Sea, fronting the Gulf of Valencia. At its founding by the Romans, it stood on a river island in 6.4 kilometres from the sea. The Albufera, a freshwater lagoon and estuary about 11 km south of the city, is one of the largest lakes in Spain; the City Council bought the lake from the Crown of Spain for 1,072,980 pesetas in 1911, today it forms the main portion of the Parc Natural de l'Albufera, with a surface area of 21,120 hectares. In 1976, because of its cultural and ecological value, the Generalitat Valenciana declared it a natural park. Valencia has a subtropical Mediterranean climate with short mild winters and long and dry summers, its average annual temperature is 18.4 °C. In the coldest month, the maximum temperature during the day ranges from 14 to 21 °C, the minimum temperature at night ranges from 5 to 11 °C.
In the warmest month – August, the maximum temperature during the day ranges from 28–34 °C, about 22 to 23 °C at night. Similar temperatures to those experienced in the northern part of Europe in summer last about 8 months, from April to November. March is transitional, the temperature exceeds 20 °C, with an average temperature of 19.3 °C during the day and 10.0 °C at night. December and February are the coldest months, with average temperatures around 17 °C during the day and 8 °C at night. Valencia has one of the mildest winters in Europe, owing to its southern location on the Mediterranean Sea and the Foehn phenomenon; the January average is comparable to temperatures expected for May and September in the major cities of northern Europe. Sunshine duration hours are 2,696 per year, from 15
Cairo is the capital of Egypt. The city's metropolitan area is one of the largest in Africa, the largest in the Middle East, the 15th-largest in the world, 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 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 centre of the region's political and cultural life, is titled "the city of a thousand minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture. Cairo is considered a World City with a "Beta +" classification according to GaWC. Cairo has the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Middle East, as well as the world's second-oldest institution of higher learning, Al-Azhar University. Many international media and organizations have regional headquarters in the city.
With a population of over 9 million spread over 3,085 square kilometers, Cairo is by far the largest city in Egypt. An additional 9.5 million inhabitants live in close proximity to the city. Cairo, like many other megacities, suffers from high levels of traffic. Cairo's metro, one of two in Africa, 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, 43rd globally on Foreign Policy's 2010 Global Cities Index. Egyptians refer to Cairo as Maṣr, the Egyptian Arabic name for Egypt itself, emphasizing the city's importance for the country, its official name al-Qāhirah means "the Vanquisher" or "the Conqueror" due to the fact that the planet Mars, an-Najm al-Qāhir, was rising at the time when the city was founded also in reference to the much awaited arrival of the Fatimid Caliph Al-Mu'izz who reached Cairo in 973 from Mahdia, the old Fatimid capital. The location of the ancient city of Heliopolis is the suburb of Ain Shams.
The Coptic name of the city is Kashromi which means "man breaker", akin to Arabic al-Qāhirah . Sometimes the city is informally referred to as Kayro by people from Alexandria; the area around present-day Cairo Memphis, the old capital of Egypt, had long been a focal point of Ancient Egypt due to its strategic location just upstream from the Nile Delta. However, the origins of the modern city are traced back to a series of settlements in the first millennium. Around the turn of the 4th century, as Memphis was continuing to decline in importance, the Romans established a fortress town along the east bank of the Nile; this fortress, known as Babylon, was the nucleus of the Roman and the Byzantine city and is the oldest structure in the city today. It is situated at the nucleus of the Coptic Orthodox community, which separated from the Roman and Byzantine churches in the late 4th century. Many of Cairo's oldest Coptic churches, including the Hanging Church, are located along the fortress walls in a section of the city known as Coptic Cairo.
Following the Muslim conquest in 640 AD, the conqueror Amr ibn As settled to the north of the Babylon in an area that became known as al-Fustat. A tented camp Fustat became a permanent settlement and the first capital of Islamic Egypt. In 750, following the overthrow of the Umayyad caliphate by the Abbasids, the new rulers created their own settlement to the northeast of Fustat which became their capital; this was known as al-Askar. A rebellion in 869 by Ahmad ibn Tulun led to the abandonment of Al Askar and the building of another settlement, which became the seat of government; this was al-Qatta ` closer to the river. Al Qatta'i was centred around a ceremonial mosque, now known as the Mosque of ibn Tulun. In 905, the Abbasids re-asserted control of the country and their governor returned to Fustat, razing al-Qatta'i to the ground. Since 1860s, Cairo expanded west as far as what is called now In 968, the Fatimids were led by general Jawhar al-Siqilli to establish a new capital for the Fatimid dynasty.
Egypt was conquered from their base in Ifriqiya and a new fortified city northeast of Fustat was established. It took four years to build the city known as al-Manṣūriyyah, to serve as the new capital of the caliphate. During that time, Jawhar commissioned the construction of the al-Azhar Mosque by order of the Caliph, which developed into the third-oldest university in the world. Cairo would become a centre of learning, with the library of Cairo containing hundreds of thousands of books; when Caliph al-Mu'izz li Din Allah arrived from the old Fatimid capital of Mahdia in Tunisia in 973, he gave the city its present name, al-Qāhiratu. For nearly 200 years after Cairo was established, the administrative centre of Egypt remained in Fustat. However, in 1168 the Fatimids under the leadership of vizier Shawar set fire to Fustat to prevent Cairo's capture by the Crusaders. Egypt's capital was permanently moved to Cairo, expanded to include the ruins of Fustat and the previous capitals of