This was al-Qatta'i ("the Quarters"), to the north of Fustat and closer to the river.Al Qatta'i was centred around a palace and ceremonial mosque, now known as the Mosque of ibn Tulun.This fortress, known as Babylon, remained the nucleus of the Roman, and, later, the Byzantine, city and is the oldest structure in the city today.

Cairo would eventually become a centre of learning, with the library of Cairo containing hundreds of thousands of books.

For nearly 200 years after Cairo was established, the administrative centre of Egypt remained in Fustat.

It took four years for Jawhar to build the city, initially known as al-Manṣūriyyah, which was to serve as the new capital of the caliphate.

During that time, Jawhar also commissioned the construction of the al-Azhar Mosque, which developed into the third-oldest university in the world.

While the Fustat fire successfully protected the city of Cairo, a continuing power struggle between Shawar, King Amalric I of Jerusalem, and the Zengid general Shirkuh led to the downfall of the Fatimid establishment.

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.

In 905 the Abbasids re-asserted control of the country and their governor returned to Fustat, razing al Qattai to the ground.

In 969 the Fatimid conquest saw the founding of yet another settlement, further north again, called al Qahira ("the Victorious", or "the Conqueror"), the nascent city of Cairo.

However Fustat remained the capital, until 1168, when the then vizier of al Qahira transferred his government there and had Fustat destroyed by fire.

As Qahira expanded these earlier settlements were encompassed, and have since become part of the city of Cairo as it expanded and spread; they are now collectively known as "Old Cairo".

Cairo has long been a center of the region's political and cultural life, and is titled "the city of a thousand minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture.