We checked out Al-Azhar Park this morning with the kids. It’s about a 30 min drive from us (well, except our Uber got lost getting there and we took some interesting side routes, but in general on a good traffic day it is 30 min). HUGE park with tons of trees, bushes, and flowers. Lovely oasis of plant life in a desert city.
We started off heading left from the main entrance as we knew if we passed the playground on the right side that we’d never get to the rest of the park! DD loved all the fountains and water features. There is a fountain right at the entrance that she splashed in a bit when we left as well–think Splash Pad style. At the far Western side of the park you can get down to the wall and walk along it. It provides a fascinating contrast between the green oasis of the park, the oldness of the wall, and the modern, lower class living just beyond the wall. There are also a ton of mosques just outside the wall that you can see peaking out over the sides. It is downhill to the wall, which means it is uphill on the way back to the green park part.
Al-Azhar Park was opened to the public in 2005. It was funded by a large monetary gift by Aga Khan IV, the imam for the a denomination within Shia Islam, when he visited in 1984 and decided Cairo needed more green space. The site picked had massive mounds of rubble and debris and took a ton of clearing out to turn it into the space it is today.
During the clear out, the Ayyubid Wall was re-discovered and excavated. It now rings two sides of the park. These walls were built in the 1100s by Salah al-Din. If you want to know more about the history of those walls, this article is a good one.
Once we explored the wall, we headed back uphill to find a shady spot for a snack. It was definitely hot and we were glad for my cold water–I always bring a smaller regular bottle and then a large frozen bottle that thaws as we explore and gives us nice icy cold water as the exploration goes along.
We didn’t eat at any of the restaurants, but one is called the Citadel View Restaurant and Hubby and I are definitely going there for a date night sometime as the views are awesome. See below!
Our final stop was at the playground, on the Eastern side near the parking lot. Huge, lots of structures, and shaded benches along the sides. Kids had a good time. DD went to the top of a tall structure and then a ton of kids ran up and past here and it shook a bit (not unsafely, but it was loud and crowded). She got scared and wouldn’t move and I was calling up to her to just go down the slide and I’d be there. Boys kept rushing past and then one boy, probably about 8, called down to me to ask her name and after I told him he used it and encouraged her to go down the slide. It was sweet of him and she did get down. We had a nice time and I wish the park was closer!
Getting There: Taxi of course is easy. We didn’t use the parking lot, but it’s there and there is an entrance right by it as well. Not sure about parking charges.
Admittance: 15 pounds for kids older than 12 and adults. 10 pounds for kids 4-12. Free under 4. Minor security check to enter.
Stroller Friendly: Yes! Easy entrance at security and ramps and smooth to mostly smooth paths through out park. Only trick is the front, taxi entrance has a few stairs (about 5 I think) to get up and no ramp. You’d need to carry the stroller up. Not sure about the parking lot side.
Food and Drink: Bring your own as desired. They also sell water and soda at little carts throughout and have restaurants and a cafe for afternoon and evening. Cafe was open at 11:30 (not sure about earlier), but restaurants I don’t think opened til 1.
Bathrooms: There are several throughout the park, though at least one was not open when we were there. The one near the playground and the one near the cafe were definitely open though. Nice and clean. Bring your own TP.
Playground: Very sandy, so wear appropriate shoes for both that and the hot metal structures. Some of the features were cracked or broken, so just keep an eye out. Mostly full sun, though many of the benches were shaded. Equipment for a range of ages.