Egypt prepares to host US President Barack Obama on Thursday for his first visit to the country and a speech at Cairo University aimed at reaching out to the Muslim world.

Cairo University is busy on any given day. But these days, it's become a main attraction in the city.

Limited guests

The university is getting a cleanup, security is being visibly tightened and on Thursday the university will shut its gates even to its students and teachers.

Only a few hundred invited students and guests will be allowed in when President Obama comes here for what is being billed by the White House as an important address to the Muslim world.

Security will be tight

Various parts of this vast metropolis are likely to be shut down and cordoned off on Thursday for the one-day visit, which is expected to begin with a meeting with Egypt's president Hosni Mubarak.

Cairo is often referred to as the city of a thousand minarets. In reality there are more - a mosque sits on many a street corner, some of them small and unassuming, others quite famous and imposing.

All eyes on Obama

But Cairo is also a city filled with small side streets, coffee houses - and is renowned, of course, for its lifeline - the Nile and the Pyramids of Giza.

Sights no visitor, even President Obama, would want to miss.

But, here will be the real focus of his visit - the speech at Cairo University. People here are eager to hear what he has to say, but as one newspaper headline noted - "enough of words, let deeds speak."