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Old Cairo, or Al-Fustat, was founded in AD 648 near other Egyptian cities and villages, including the old Egyptian capital Memphis, Heliopolis, Giza and the Byzantine fortress of Babylon-in-Egypt. Fustat became a regional center of Islam during the Umayyad period. Later, during the Fatimid era, Al-Qahira (Cairo) was officially founded in AD 969 as an imperial capital and it absorbed Fustat. Conquered by Saladin and ruled by Ayyubids starting in 1171, it remained an important center of the Muslim world. Slave soldiers or Mamluks seized Egypt and ruled from their capital at Cairo from 1250 to 1517 when they were defeated by the Ottomans. Following Napoleon's brief occupation, an Ottoman officer named Muhammad Ali made Cairo the capital of an independent empire that lasted from 1801 to 1882. The city came under British control until Egypt attained independence in 1922.
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