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Egypt – the Gift of the Nile
Egypt was known throughout its history as a destination for tourists and travelers since it was visited by "Herodotus" during the ancient time, when he got surprised because of the vast difference between Egypt and his homeland. Egypt maintained this image throughout the middle and modern history. However, the discovery of the Pharaohs antiquities long time ago has added a special charm to Egypt beside, its unique religious and cultural monuments. On the other hand, Egypt enjoys a geographical location, moderate climate during the whole year-round, its smooth vast coastlines, and beaches with its unique treasures of coral reefs, which invest Egypt with advantages that guarantee for it a competitive edge.
Egypt enjoys various fields of tourism; the most important are archeological or cultural tourism as one of the oldest types of tourism in Egypt, where the ancient civilizations are visible to the naked eye, an incarnation of the nations that constructed these civilizations since the dawn of history. Despite the multiple types of tourism, and Egypt's cultural tourism remains the unrepeated, unique and non-competitive component of tourism as Egypt possesses one third of the world's known monuments.
Besides cultural and archaeological tourism, many tourism patterns has come into existence and has addressed broader segments of tourists across the world, including recreational tourism, beaches tourism, religious tourism, therapeutic tourism, eco-tourism, sports tourism, golf tourism, safari tourism, desert tourism, yacht tourism, and maritime tourism in addition to festivals tourism, and cultural events and finally conferences and exhibitions tourism.
In addition to these types of tourism, "Diving Centers Tourism" represents a tourist activity that attracts large number of tourists. Sharm El Sheikh is one of the largest diving centers in the world because of its potential environment and unique diversified nature which leads Sharm El Sheikh to be one of the major centers for attracting domestic and international tourism, in addition to being a resort for armatures fishing, tourism and diving.
Egypt is located in the north-eastern corner of Africa and south-western Asia. It is divided into four major parts:
Egypt lies in the dry equatorial region except its northern areas located within the moderate warm region with a climate similar to that of the Mediterranean region. It is warm and dry in the summer and moderate with limited rainfall increasing at the coast in winter.
Cairo: Agricultural Museum – Cairo
Ahmed Shawki Museum – Cairo
The Coptic Museum - Cairo
The Egyptian Antiquities Museum – Cairo
The Grand Egyptian Museum - Cairo
Mahmoud Khalil Museum - Cairo
October 6th Panorama – Cairo
Egyptian Modern Art Museum – Cairo
Amenhotop Museum – Saqqara/Cairo
Manial Palace Museum – Cairo
The Pharaonic Museum – Cairo
Library of Alexandria Museum – Alexandria
Alexandria National Museum – Alexandria
Greek Roman Museum – Alexandria
Al Alamein War Museum – Al Alamein
Denshway Museum – Menofeya
Kharga Museum – Kharga
Luxor Museum – Luxor
Marine Museum – Hurghada
Nubian Museum – Aswan
Cairo: 18M Inhabitants
To: Alexandria: 225km/4.0M Inhabitants
Luxor: 721km/0.5M Inhabitants
Aswan: 1202km/1.2M Inhabitants
Sharm El Sheikh: 520km/0.2M Inhabitants
Hurghada: 529km/0.3M Inhabitants
Arabic is the formal language. English, the first foreign language, along with French, are used in business activities. Russian, Italian, German, Spanish and other foreign languages are spoken in tourism-related areas.
Currency & Banking
Egyptian Pound is divided into 100 piaster. Exchange facility is available to all ports of entry, banks, hotels, bureau de change. Major credit cards are widely accepted and traveler cheques may be cashed at all banks (open: Sunday – Thursday: 08h30 – 14h00, some till 17h00)
Passports & Visas
A valid passport is necessary. Visas are not required for passport holders of countries with which a bilateral agreement exists
Flights & Airports
Egypt Air, the national carrier, recently joined “Star Alliance”, therefore majority of international airlines operate scheduled flights to major airports, e.g. Cairo International Airport, Sharm El Sheikh International Airport, Hurghada International Airport…etc. A variety of charter flights operate from Europe directly to major cities, e.g. Luxor, Aswan, Alexandria, Marsa Alam, Marsa Matrouh.
GMT + 2 (daylight saving from May till October)
220v, 13amp-3 pin plug (Italian standard) are used
- The Cairo International Book Fair
- Hurghada International Championship for Fishing
- Hurghada International Squash Championship
- Cairo International Festival for Children Cinema
- Sinai International Bowling Championship – Sharm El Sheikh
- Reading for All Festival
- Egyptian Theatre National Festival
- Summer Festival of the Opera House
- Alexandria Arab Book Fair
- Alexandria Film Festival
- Cairo International Festival for Experimental Theatre
- International Documentary and Short Films Festival
- Arab Music Conference and Festival
- Cairo International Cinema Festival
- The Arab Theatre Festival
Service taxis for up to 4 people (7 people in some cities) provide transportation within cities. Transportation can also be provided between cities. Taxi service is available 24/7
Egypt benefits from an excellent infrastructure, modern roads, and hi-ways allowing easy travel between all major cities as well as a group of bridges that connect the cities internally and with each other. Additionally, advanced telecommunication system is a standard.
All the bounty of the East can be found. Particularly good buys are spices, perfumes, gold, silver, carpets, brass and copperware, leatherwork, glass, ceramics.
- Khan El Khalili: for perfumes, gold, silver, carpets, brass and copperware, leatherwork, glass, ceramics
- Wekalet al-Balah: for fabrics, including Egyptian cotton, the Tentmakers Bazaar for appliqué-work
- Mohammed Ali Street for musical instruments
- Open 24/7
Traffic drives on the right side of the road with very good sign posting. Drivers must be 18 years old and must possess either a valid national driving license or an international one if renting a car
Egypt is a safe country with low crime rate
In major resort destinations, hotels have a resident doctor living in property, available 24/7. In city hotels and other resort areas, doctors visit the hotel upon request. Pharmacies are available in towns and tourist resorts
Egypt is connected to the cellular network with global mobile phone companies. Wired and wireless internet access is widely available.
9500 – 3200 B.C.: Pre-dynastic Period. The period between the Early Neolithic and the beginning of the Pharaonic monarchy beginning with King Narmer
3200 – 525 B.C.: Ancient Empire. Egypt was home to one of the richest and most ancient civilizations in the world where Pharaoh Mina, the legendary first King-God of the Dynastic period, united the 2 kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt
525 – 332 B.C.: Achaemenid Period. Egypt was joined to Cyprus and Phoenicia in the 6th satrapy of the Achaemenid Empire thus began the first period of Persian rule over Egypt, known also as the 27th Dynasty of Egypt
332 – 30 B.C.: Ptolemaic Period. Alexander the Great arrived to Egypt in the late autumn of 332 BC. He founded Alexandria in 331 BC as a gateway to his motherland, Greece. Alexandria became a major center for trading.
30 B.C. – A.D. 639: Roman Period. The Ptolemaic were succeeded by the Romans until 639 AD when the Arabs arrived. It was during the Roman period when Christianity came to Egypt.
639 – 1517: Islamic Period. Egypt witnessed the beginning of its Arab and Islamic epoch. Successive Arab rulers governed Egypt as part of the Islamic empire, and at various junctures established it as the center of power of the empire.
1517 – 1805: Ottoman Period. Egypt was conquered by the Ottoman Empire and was always a difficult province for the Ottoman Sultans to control. It remained dominated by the semi-autonomous Mameluks
1798 – 1805: French Period. The arrival of Napoleon Bonaparte to Egypt, initiated a new phase in Egypt's history. Accompanying his expedition were a number of savants and scientists who made a complete encyclopedic survey of Egypt, known as "Description de l'Egypte" that contributed significantly to the study of ancient Egyptian history through the discovery of the Rosetta stone and the consequent deciphering of Hieroglyphics, the ancient Egyptian language.
1805 – 1882: Muhammad Ali Pasha Dynasty. A period of rapid reform and modernization that led Egypt to become one of the most developed states outside of Europe. It also led to massive government expenditures; that ended up bankrupting Egypt and eventually falling under control of the United Kingdom
1882 – 1922: British Period. Egypt became a de facto British colony until Egypt was officially granted independence in 1922. British troops, however, remained in the country and true self-rule did not occur until 1936 after the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty
1953: the Arab Republic of Egypt. The monarchy ended and Egypt was declared a Republic.
Public Holidays for 2009:
Coptic Christmas Day 7 January
Birth of the Prophet* 9 March
Sinai Liberation Day 25 April
Sham El Nessim (Coptic Easter) 27 April
Labor Day 1 May
Revolution Day 23 July
Small Barium* (End of Ramadan) 20-21 September
Armed Forces Day 6 October
Corban Barium* (Feast of the Sacrifice) 25-27 November
Islamic New Year* 30 December
Public Holidays for 2010:
Coptic Christmas Day 7 January
Birth of the Prophet* 26 February
Sinai Liberation Day 25 April
Sham El Nessim (Coptic Easter) 5 April
Labor Day 1 May
Revolution Day 23 July
Small Barium* (End of Ramadan) 10-11 September
Armed Forces Day 6 October
Corban Barium* (Feast of the Sacrifice) 16-18 November
Islamic New Year* 7 December
* May vary depending on the sighting of the new moon
Excursions and points of interest
Cairo - the Triumphant City - is the glorious capital of Egypt, the cradle of civilization and the beacon of religion. It is the largest city in the Middle East and Africa and lies at the centre of all routes that lead to and from Asia, Africa and Europe. Cairo was founded on July 16, 969 AD by the Fatimid leader Jawhar Al-Sequilli, by an order from the Fatimid Khalif Al-Mo'iz Lideenellah. It was named "the city of the 1000 minarets.
Cairo provides its visitors with great cultural destinations which include a vast amount of art galleries, music halls, cultural centers etc…; it is the city where: past and present meet. On its east side stands the evidence of 2000 years of Islamic, Christian Coptic, and Jewish culture still flourishing till this day. On its west side lays the Ancient Egyptian city of Memphis (Giza), the renowned capital of the Old Kingdom and the site of the Pyramids.
The city of Alexandria was born on the Mediterranean Sea in Northern coast of Egypt and for several centuries its lighthouse, the first ever in the world, cast its light over the Mediterranean Sea. The fine sandy beaches of Alexandria are very popular whether bordering the Corniche in the city itself or further along the coast to east and west for over 140 km. The Alexandria Library was opened in October 2002. The architects’ design features a huge, 160-metre long cylinder which faces out to sea and dominating the 70,000 m reading room.
Marsa Matruh is the last town before the Libyan border and shares its history with some famous figures. Alexander the Great is said to have stopped here on his way to the Siwa Oasis and Cleopatra is reputed to have come here to bathe. It was here that General Rommel set up his field headquarters and directed German troops in the decisive Battle of El-Alamein in 1942.
Sharm El Sheikh
Located on the Red Sea, Sharm el-Sheikh is indeed the seaside resort in Sinai. The long beaches of fine sand already attract visitors and since the small town has grown rapidly, there are more and more tourists enjoying the charms of the place. The seabed close to the coast is like some gigantic coral aquarium, home to coral grouper, Napoleon wrasse, parrotfish, butterfly fish, map angelfish, threadfins and scorpion fish with long, elegant fins.
This town holds more appeal for those who are keen on virgin nature. The beaches are free and the coral reef is a few flipper strokes from the beach. In addition, the site itself is very beautiful: on leaving the water, one can gaze on the spectacle of the mountains of Sinai dropping right down to the sea. It is almost as wonderful a sight as the fish below the water. Dahab, meaning gold in Arabic, is divided between the Bedouin village of Assalah to the north and the administrative and commercial centre to the south (the medina).
This is one of the largest oases in the south, providing excellent access to Aqaba in Jordan. The town falls into three parts – the port, tourist village and, to the north, the Bedouin town of Tarabin where, among its palm groves, are the ruins of a Mameluk fortress.
Taba’s exceptional geographical location between Africa and Asia at the head of the Gulf of Aqaba facing Arabia made it a stopover on the caravan route from the fourteenth century onwards. Island of the Pharaoh, situated 5km southeast of Taba, is a small granite island surrounded by coral and dominated by the magnificent Salah el-Din fortress, built by Crusaders in the twelfth century. The island was a strategic site towards the end of the twelfth century for Caliph Saladin who used it as base for soldiers. The Colored Canyon affords a superb 2-hour excursion through a maze of sandstone rocks in hues of mauve, yellow, ochre and pink shading to green and blue. The uneven forms of the rocks make climbing necessary. Fossils and rock erosion show that the canyon was once under the sea.
Stretched for twenty kilometer along the Red Sea coast, Hurghada is the undisputed favorite resort for visitors who love sunshine, sea and diving. The town centre, known as the Ed-Dahar quarter, has preserved a certain traditional character with a small souk.
Marsa Alam stands at the crossroads of the road from Edfu to the west and the road running the length of the Red Sea coast. The village itself is a small fishing port with a bus terminus, a few grocery shops and some restaurants. Since the opening of the international airport in 2001, this small fishing village has become a destination for diving enthusiasts.
The ancient Egyptians called it simply “Niut”, “the City”. Homer named it the “City of a Hundred Gates”. Luxor possesses undeniable charm. Here and there among the palace halls and gardens and on facades of nineteenth-century buildings with corbelled balconies there is a glimpse of the past colonials and Egyptian monarchs. As the sun sets, the Temple of Luxor seems to stand apart from the world of the living. Its columns, colossal statues and bays recover their serenity, oblivious to the carriages passing by.
Aswan seems to close the doors on the Middle East and to open those on Africa. Swirling and flowing strongly, the Nile snakes its way between islands and black rocks which disturb its stately majesty, and challenges the high dunes of golden sand to bury it once and for all. The feluccas with their great triangular sails travel lazily from bank to bank and island to island. The town on the right bank was already the hub of trade with Nubia in ancient times. No ivory or precious woods can be found on its narrow streets today but the third largest city in Egypt is full of the scent of spices straight from the south. Nubia is the region to the south of Aswan, now submerged under the waters of Lake Nasser. The name “Nubia” even comes from the ancient Egyptian word meaning precious metal. The province was also a source of leopard skins, incense and aromatic plants.
The Western Desert is dotted with five oases, lying like islands in the ocean – Siwa, Baharia, Farafra, Dakhla and Kharga; these are linked by a thousand-kilometer trail tracing a zigzag across the map. Oceans of golden dunes, moonscapes with bizarre rock formations and endless kilometers of rocky plains make up the Western Desert. An extension of the Sahara, it is neither one single landscape nor easily accessible.