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The area around present-day Cairo, especially Memphis, 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 generally traced back to a series of settlements in the first millennium.
In 1250 slave soldiers, known as the Mamluks, seized control of Egypt and like many of their predecessors established Cairo as the capital of their new dynasty.
Continuing a practice started by the Ayyubids, much of the land occupied by former Fatimid palaces was sold and replaced by newer buildings.
It is also 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.
In 750, following the overthrow of the Ummayad caliphate by the Abbasids, the new rulers created their own settlement to the northeast of Fustat which became their capital.
Egypt's capital was permanently moved to Cairo, which was eventually expanded to include the ruins of Fustat and the previous capitals of al-Askar and al-Qatta'i.
The city's metropolitan area is the largest in the Middle East and the Arab world, and the 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 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, like many other mega-cities, suffers from high levels of pollution and traffic.
Cairo's metro, one of two in Africa (the other being in Algiers, Algeria), ranks among the fifteen busiest in the world,), meaning "Place of the Sun", possibly referring to the ancient city of Heliopolis, the main seat of worship of the solar deity Ra—(or Re).