Most Cairenes live in apartment buildings. Only the wealthy can afford to live in free-standing houses because space is difficult to find. Men and women usually live at home with their parents until they get married. Traditionally, extended families lived together, however, with the new situation in Cairo – as houses were abandoned in favor of apartments – the traditional family has given way to the nuclear family.
Apartments usually have one large room in the front – the living room, where the family entertains guests. Guests who are not relatives are generally not permitted back into the rest of the house. Traditionally, women would remain in the back of the house and not come into the living room if someone who was not a close friend or family visited, although this is less common now. It is, however, considered inappropriate for a woman and man who are not married or related to be alone together.
Because the majority of people in Egypt are Muslim, Egyptian government offices and business observe Friday as the day of rest. Many government offices are open Sunday through Thursday, and most universities and some private schools also hold classes Sunday through Thursday, and are closed Friday and Saturday. However, most primary and secondary schools usually meet for about six hours a day Saturday through Thursday, with only Friday off.