First mention in this book of the capital of Egypt, today the largest metropolitan area in the Muslim world and the 16th largest city on Earth. The present-day city was founded in the 10th century AD, but remnants of older capitals remain in the Old City, and Cairo is also close to the ancient Egyptian cities of Memphis, Giza, and Fustat, which date back to several millennia earlier.
Cairo contains the oldest and largest music and film industries in the Arab world. It is also home to the world’s second oldest institution of higher learning, al-Azhar University. Although Egypt had won independence from British rule in 1922, during the Second World War British troops continued to police the country. Cairo experienced wild growth in the first half of the century, reaching a population of more than 1.3 million by the advent of the war.