A little bit of history

Egypt is the cradle of civilization, the beacon of religion , the gateway of Africa , Asia and above all Egypt is the gift of the Nile .For over fifty centuries, Egypt pioneered the development of culture and civilization through the Pharaonic, Roman, Christian and Islamic periods. The history of Egypt is the longest continuous history; and is broken into different periods according to the dynasty of the ruling Pharoah. The history dates back to 3300 BC and consists of 30 Dynasties.

When Alexander the Great conquered Egypt in 332 BC and established his own Pharaonic rule,He reorganized the country"s government, founded a new capital city of Alexandria and authenticated the Pharaohs religion. After the death of Alexander in 323BC, the empire was divided among his Macedonian generals. Ptolemy I founded the Ptolemaic Dynasty that ruled Egypt for three centuries. Under the Ptolemaic Dynasty, Greek became the official language of Egypt and a Hellenistic culture thrived. It should be mentioned that the dynastic history of Ptolemaic Egypt is very confusing, because all the male rulers of the dynasty took the name Ptolemy, and many of them married their sisters, who were often called Cleopatra, Arsinoe or Berenice.

The most famous member was the last Ptolemaic queen, Cleopatra VII. After 300 years of rule by the Macedonian Ptolemies, Egypt was incorporated into the Roman Empire in 30 BC, and was ruled first from Rome and then from Constantinople until the Arab conquest.

Islam began in Egypt through the Arab invasion from 639 to 1517. During this period several Islamic dynasties were formed: Tulunids, Ikhshids, Fatimids, Ayyubids, and Mamluks. The Ottoman period followed and was ruled by Mohammed Ali"s family whose reign lasted until 1952. During the revolution of July 23 rd 1952 Egypt converted from Royal regime to Republic and Gamal Abdel Nasser became the president. He nationalised the Suez Canal in 1956, built theAswan High Dam and faced the Wars with Israel 1956 to 1967.

President Sadat followed and during his term the 6 th of October 1973 occurred and the Peace Treaty, between Egypt and Israel was signed in 1979 President Sadat was assassinated in1981 and is succeeded by the current President, Hosni Mubarak. HERODOTUS" in the 5 th century B.C wrote: "Nowhere are there so many marvelous things as in EGYPT, nor in the world besides are to be seen so many things of unspeakable greatness. Before Christ, travelers have been drawn to Egypt to see the pyramids, the Sphinx, ancient Luxor and the River Nile. Egypt has more a lot to offer and It is not just the pharaonic monuments the legacy of the Greeks and Romans, the churches monasteries of the early Christians, the overwhelming profusion of art and architecture accumulated from centuries of successive Islamic dynasties.

Visitors to Egypt can now enjoy diving & snorkeling in the Red Sea, experience first hand the diverse underwater topography and marine life, and discover desert sands capes, ancient ruins and the springs through exotic safaris. Through ElAhlamTravel we will help you understand the secret of Egypt"s appeal stimulate your mindand captivate your heart.

 

The January 25th Egyptian Revolution

On the 25th January 2011 the whole of Egypt was taken by surprise; the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the civilian and the army and most of all President Hosni Mubarak. Nobody could have really believed that such protests would have gathered such strength. However, the demonstrations, which then became the revolution, was started by the Egyptian youth after several years of protesting on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Throughout the previous years there were small demonstrations, but especially after the most recent fake parliament elections it was obvious that corruption had increased and the protest groups became larger , exploded on 25th January as revolution all over Egypt It was time to make change happen rather than hope for it.

So, the only way the voice of the youth could be heard was through social media – the form of media that could not be controlled by anyone – least of all Hosni Mubarak. Of course, Egyptians everywhere were demanding more freedom, the removal of corruption and bribery from the core of all government departments, the change of the regime of the country which included Mubarak to step down and the removal of the Minister of Interior specifically because of the arrests and detaining of political people. We demanded that the Emergency Law be cancelled so that the police no longer have the power to just arrest anyone they choose for any reason they choose. This demand was met after a few days of protests. Once the protestors realised that their demands could really be met and their voices really were heard there was no stopping them and the protests became greater in number and in power. The youth asked for so much and got it. This year the heavens opened and they got more than they could ever have dreamed possible.

Little did people all over Egypt know that the things they were hoping for were about to come true. Little did the world know that hope and despair, frustration and anger, purpose and destiny were all boiling in the pot together and that on the 25th January the pot would boil over and spill out onto the streets for the whole world to see.

This has created a new face of Egypt. A face, which shows expression rather than hides it. A face that smiles from deep within at the changes and what this will mean for our children and our children’s children. A face with eyes that sparkle with hope and gladness. A face, which can look to see what changes are needed and can now speak for those changes to come into place with a voice which speaks on behalf of those who have no voice. The old face of Egypt showed powerlessness, poverty for many and despair that their country would never change so that they might enjoy the freedoms that many other countries enjoy. The changing face of Egypt was like a woman giving birth: painful, messy, long and tiring and sadly with much spilt blood. But the baby was born – the future Egypt has arrived. A new era has dawned.

So what has been achieved at the beginning of this new era?

After 15 days of continuous protests every where in Egypt On the 11th Feb 2011President Hosni Mubarak Resigned and Passed Power to the army, all requested were met, he has changed all the ministers in his Cabinet and the constitution has been changed so that anyone can choose to stand for election. Justice has also been served on the Minister of Interior and all the other corrupted ministers who are now facing court proceedings. There have also been many other political reforms, for example: Egyptian parliament will be re-elected in a free election with international control – without this protest Egypt would have stood under the dark clouds of control for maybe another 30 years and more. Changes made in Egypt through the original youth protests have also secured democracy for people across the whole of the Middle East: similar constitutional changes have happened in China, Jordan and Yemen. Syria and Bahrain have also started demonstrating to achieve what Egyptians all across the land have achieved in 2 weeks.

With this protest, Egypt will become, and already is, a so democratic society where the voices of the people determine what Egypt will be and will become again. The strength of the Ancient civilization has risen again like a phoenix from the ashes. Egypt will take it’s right position in the world now – no longer will we be held back.

What are important people saying about the revolution?

“We should raise our Children to be like the Egyptian Youth”
Barak Obama - The American President

 

Egyptian Flag

The flag is the symbol of the country referring to its personality. The first national flag of modern Egypt appeared in 1923 when Egypt gained conditional independence from Great Britain in 1922.

The color was green with a white crescent and three stars in the middle. It was established with a royal decree in 1923 after Egypt gained its independence from the British invasion in 1922.

In 1958, Egypt was unified with Syria and became the united Arab Republic. A new flag appeared and had three colors red, white with 2 green stars and black.

In 1972, the green stars in the flag was changed to be a golden hawk as a new Law was amended to change the flag. In 1984, the hawk was replaced by a golden eagle on the eagle of Saladin, the Ayubbid Sultan who ruled Egypt and Syria in 12th Century, the same Saladin of the Crusades.

The national flag is hoisted on all governmental buildings , official holidays, on the inauguration of the People’s Assembly session and other occasions when the Minister of Interior orders that the flag be hoisted.

The flag is also hoisted daily on border posts and customs buildings.

It is also hoisted on Egyptian consulates and embassies overseas on Egypt National Day and other national occasions.

Population

Egypt 's population consists of 77,317,421 (October 2004 Est.), 68 million of them are Sunni Muslims and about 10 Million are Coptic Christians (Christian Egyptians). Although public statistics indicate that they are not more than 7 million. Whether Muslim or Copt, the Egyptians are moderately religious and religious principles is quite noticed in their daily lives. Here each family member is responsible for the integrity of family and for the behavior of other members, creating an environment that would be envied by many people in the West. Here they are so close to each others, family ties are far stronger than in the west, hence you will find any major city in Egypt , is more safer than any western metropolis.

Age structure
0-14 years: 33.4% (male 13,038,369; female 12,418,254)
15-64 years: 62.2% (male 23,953,949; female 23,419,418)
65 years and over: 4.3% (male 1,407,248; female 1,880,183) (2004 Est. )
Median age
total: 23.4 years
male: 23 years
female: 23.8 years (2004 Est.)
Population growth rate
1.83% (2004 Est.)
Birth rate
23.84 births/1,000 population (2004 Est.)
Sex ratio
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.75 male(s)/female
total population:
1.02 male(s)/female (2004 Est.)
Population in general
In Egypt there are hardly any restrictions on foreign women. Ticket lines, for example, are occasionally segregated. Women line up with other women (especially since the lines are usually shorter). On the underground lines, the first car is usually reserved for women. especially elderly ones. For men, speaking to an unknown Egyptian woman is a breach of etiquette. Take care in any liaisons you form because some families still follow ancient traditions. Crime in Egypt is nearly nonexistent, and violence is usually limited to family feuds. However, in tourism areas some pickpockets and petty thieves may exist, so be careful and remember that the ever helpful tourism police are usually nearby. Women must be cautious, especially in out-lying areas. Stay completely away from drugs and leave yours at home.
Egyptians, if offered anything, will refuse the first invitation which is customary. Therefore (unless you're dealing with Egyptians used to Western frankness) you should do the same. If the offer is from the heart and not just politeness, it will be repeated. If you're invited into a home, especially in small villages, and have to refuse, the householder will often press for a promise from you to visit in the future, usually for a meal. If you make such a promise, keep it, for having foreign guests is often considered a social coup. If you fail to arrive, your would-be host will be humiliated. To repay invitations, you may host a dinner in a restaurant, a common practice.

 

Language

The official language is Arabic which entered Egypt with Amr — Ibn — El-Aas in 641A.D and the Arabic became the country's official language and replaced instead of the Coptic. The Egyptian dialect is distinct from all others because of the country's dominance of the media (television, cinema, radio and music), while English is the second Language which is widely spoken in business. , followed by French.

Food & Drinks

Food

Egyptian beginning from the ancient Egyptian time until now. The Egyptian basic food is made from the main crops like vegetables , fruits, fish, bread. There are many types of bread, including pastries and cakes. Although the ancient Egyptian did not write down their recipes, many of which are still used in Egypt today.

We offer all kinds of food beginning from stand-up sandwich bars to luxurious five-course meals. Fast food chains like McDonald's (MC) and Kentucky (KFC ) Fried Chicken, Hardees, Bon appetit, Pizza Hut , are also offered in Egypt.

In addition to this, native food are available like Koshary, Kabab we Kofta, Foal & Ta'mia, Fish restaurant and many other in egypt . " Kabab & Kofta " is another widely appreciated dish that consists of " Kebab ", beef cut up in squares, seasoned in onion, lemon juice and herbs, and cooked on an open fire . " Kofta " is ground beef cooked on skewers and grilled . “ Molokhiya " is a famous and popular dish in Egypt. The green soup can be eaten either with rice or bread. It is usually served with chicken in egypt.

The number one dish among locals is " Foul " ( beans) and " Ta’meya " ( soaked, minced, spiced Foul beans that are packed, patted, fried and sometimes made into sandwiches), also known as " Falafel ".

Desserts

They include " Fetir " ( pies) stuffed with a variety of fillings such as cream, nuts or fruits , " Roz Be Laban " ( pudding made with rice and milk ), " Konafa " ( strings of dough cooked and stuffed with nuts, raisins and covered in syrup) and " Katayef " ( a flat piece of dough folded in two, stuffed with raisins, nuts and deep-fried then dipped in syrup ).

There are many restaurant where you can taste the Native Food of each Country, such as The Lebanese, Turkish, Syrian, Greek, Chinese Japanese, Italian, Indian food.

Drink in Egypt

In Egypt , you can taste different kind of drinks. Popular drinks in egypt include hot drinks like tea with mint, Turkish coffee , Nescafe, American Coffee, hot chocolate, and different infusions such as " Karkadeh " ( hibiscus) that could be drunk hot or cold , " Yansoun " ( Aniis ), " Erfa Bel Laban " ( Cinnamon with milk) are also offered at any cafe, restaurant, and hotels. We have also cold drinks like fresh juise such as mango, peach, banana , strawberry, orange, apple, tomatoes, lemon, and other different kinds of fruits.

Although Egypt is Muzlim country, wine and beer are also offered but in the hotels . Wine was known since the ancient Egyptian people before 3000 BCE. Moreover the ancient Egyptian used to drink wine and beer on feasts.

If you’re in the mood to try something exotic, then you should definitely have a " Shisha " in egypt ( the water-pipe or arguileh ). Shishas are served at various cafés, and there are different flavors, so if you try a shisha, make sure you explore all the different flavors available like apple, pin apple, pear, Cabatsheno , and other flavors. You can go to Cilantro Coffee, Roastery Coffee , Hard Rock, Grand Coffee, Friday's Coffee

ElAhlamTravel is able to let you discover different tastes of drinks whatever the place you are interested in whether deluxe restaurants or popular cafe

 

Currency

Money, one of the earliest and most significant inventions of civilization, is essential to the development of trade. Without it there is only barter, a relationship between two people each of whom has something which the other wants.

Money (which everybody wants) provides an intermediary substance, enabling the seller to choose when and where he wishes to become a buyer.

Since the beginning of the circulation of silver and gold coins in Egypt and until 1834 there was no specified monetary unit to serve as a basis for the monetary system in Egypt, only a few of these coins were minted locally.

The currency during the Tulunid period was the golden dinars and silver dirhams which were very few. The copper coinage was not widely used during the Tulunid age.

The first type of Ottoman coins in Egypt were called Khairia. The first golden coins that were coined in Egypt during that time was under the reign of Sultan SelimI. The Ottoman coins continued to be used in the time of Mohamed Ali, but later on they began to disappear for two reasons: the first independence. The second, is the arrival of the French camping.

In 1836 the Egyptian pounds were minted and put into circulation. Legal exchange rates were fixed for important foreign currencies to satisfy the requirements as well as foreign trade, which became acceptable in the settlement of internal transactions by force of Law.

Fluctuations in the value of silver in addition to following the gold standard by most of the countries trading with Egypt, led to the adoption of the gold standard.

During the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser, the economy of Egypt was radically socialized. Beginning in 1961, foreign trade, banking, insurance, and most wholesale and industrial establishments were nationalized. Those sectors which remained in private hands were placed under heavy regulatory restraints.

The currency of Egypt is the pound, the Egyptian pound ( LE ) is divided into 100 piaster. Every banknote has two faces, one is written in Arabic and usually has pictures of a well known mosque in Egypt and the other face is in English and has pictures ancient Egyptian figures and temples.

Most foreign currencies, cash or travelers cheque can easily be changed in Egypt. Exchange bureaus are found in larger cities but they mainly only deal in cash. Visa and Mastercard are good for cash advances and together with American Express, JCb cards and Euro card are accepted in a wide range of shops and hotels.

 

Weather

The Jewel in Egypt 's crown is its climate as Egypt has one of the sunniest climates in the world, although the summer months can get quite hot , the rest of the year is ideal and sunny. Rainy days are few and far between in Cairo , and nearly unknown in Upper Egypt. It would be wise to pack both light clothing in summer and warm clothing in winter during your visit in Egypt.

The year in Egypt divided into four seasons:
The Winter begins from November to February.
The Spring begins from March to May.
The Summer from June to August.
The Autumn from September to November

 

Religion

The Official religion in Egypt is Islam, which began when Mohammed received the revelation of the Quran in 610 A.D when he heard the voice of God telling him to write. the Islamic religion entered Egypt after the invasion of Amr-Ibn El-Aas in 641 A.D. it should be mentioned that The main pillars of Islam are prayer five times daily , the Pilgrimage to Mecca , the Ramadan fast, a religious levy and the most Fundamental of all , the acceptance that there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.

An Arabian general named Amr Ibn El As, with 4,000 cavalry, rode across the Sinai Desert, and attacked the fort of Babylon and opened Egypt 641 A.C. Ibn El As made his headquarters at Fustat, a new town located in what is now Old Cairo, which became afterwards the capital of Egypt instead of Alexandria. Under the Muslim rule, most Egyptians in time converted to Islam.

There is also the Christianity in Egypt which was brought to Egypt by saint Mark, at the time of Emperor Nero in 45 A.D , in recent years ??Christianity has undergone a revival under the Dynastic Leadership of its current Pope Shenouda III. The Coptic Orthodox Christians occupied bout 10 percent of the population while a much smaller percentage are Christians of other sects as Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian, and various Protestant churches. as well as our country has a very small Jewish community.

 

Islamic Cairo

Al Azhar Mosque

Al-Azhar mosque and university, constructed during the Fatimids period, are named in honor of Fatima Az-Zahraa, the daughter of "Muhammad" the prophet, from whom the Fatimid Dynasty claimed descent. The mosque's construction began in 970 A.D. and was completed two years later and consequently opened for prayer. About 17 years later the mosque acquired university status and began teaching a variety of religious fields. The university has expanded greatly since then and teaches a variety of sciences including medicine, engineering and agriculture. The university was one of the first ever in the world and until today remains one of the most respected in the Islamic world. The overall structure appears irregularly built with avenues of columns leading around the complex. Teachers would sit at the bases of columns, surrounded by their students, following the tradition of there forefathers. The library contains approximately 50,000 volumes many of which are priceless. From a distance, the five minarets rising high above the complex are the most prominent feature. They make for spectacular look-out points from which one can view the hustle and bustle of Old Cairo.

The original design of Al-Azhar Mosque consisted of a court surrounded by three aisles. The largest aisle is the prayer direction one. A transept, which intersects the prayer direction aisle, has a ceiling higher than that of the mosque. A dome crowns the intersection of the passage with the mihrab colonnade.

The main entrance of the mosque was in the middle of the northwest wall. A colonnade was added to the court. A dome was added at the entrance of the passage intersecting the court. The additions took place at the end of the Fatimid era. Thereafter, additional structures were added in different eras.

There is no information about the original minaret or about its location. Also the present mihrab is not the original one. However, the original mihrab was discovered in AD 1934.

Two domes are found at the two corners of the prayer direction aisle. One of the domes is on the right corner to the right of the mihrab and the pulpit. Facing them is another dome in the left corner. The marble courtyard of Al-Azhar Mosque is the original one.

Amr Ibn Al'as Mosque

This is the first and oldest mosque ever built on the land of Egypt, after the Islamic conquest. It is erected in 642 AD (21 AH) by Amr Ibn Al'As, the commander of the Muslim army that conquered Egypt, he founded the city of Fustat, then the mosque. The mosque is also known as Taj al-Jawamie (Crown of Mosques), Al-Jamie Al-Ateeq (the Ancient Mosque) and Masjid Ahl Al-Rayah (Mosque of Banner Holders). According to Moslem historians Al-Kindy and Yazid Ibn Abi Habib, 80 Companions of Prophet Mohammed (Peace be upon him) had built the “Qiblah”, or shrine, of the Mosque.

The mosque is said to have been built on the site of Amr Ibn Al'as tent at El-Fustat, it is the oldest existing mosque, not just in Cairo, but the entire African Continent. Located north of the Roman Fortress of Babylon, it is actually on the edge of Fustat, the temporary city founded by Amr, and was an Islamic learning center long before El-Azhar Mosque. It could hold up to 5,000 students.

The mosque was originally built on an area of 1,500 square cubits, overlooking the Nile. The initial structure was quite simple; with walls empty of any plaster or decorations. Its walls were built of mud brick and the roof was constructed of split palm trunks, supported by palm trunk columns, and covered with a thatching of palm leaves and mud. It had two doors on the north and two others facing Amr's house.

It had no pulpit, minaret, or hollow mihrab, or "prayer niche." It included two doors at each side facing the Qibla, or direction of prayer.

History has recorded the successive alterations and modifications which this mosque has undergone from its foundation down to the present day. Its area was extended, the roof was raised, the palm trunk columns were replaced by marble ones, the walls were decorated, the number of entrances was increased, and many features of architectural importance were introduced. In year 53 H. (672- 73), Mu'awiya ordered Maslama Ibn Mukhallad, Governor of Egypt, to build the four sawami' (towers), similar to those which stood at the corners of the old temple of Damascus; access to these sawami' was effected by means of outside ladders.

These sawami' or square towers, were actually the origin of the minarets which were built in Egypt; later on a number of types were evolved, some of elaborate design. Another architectural feature which was introduced later on in this mosque was the concave mihrab, which was copied by Qurrah Ibn Sharik from that erected by 'Umar Ibn 'Abd al- 'Aziz in Al Madina Mosque in 88 H. (706- 707); the first mihrabs had been flat.

In 212 H. (827), 'Abd Allah Ibn Tahir, who had been appointed Governor of Egypt by the 'Abbasid Khalif al- Ma'mum, ordered that the mosque be doubled in size, by the addition to the west of its exact area. Its dimensions then became about 112 X 120 m.

This was the last recorded extension of the mosque proper, and its area has remained unchanged up to the present day. It then consisted of an open sahn, surrounded by four riwaqs. The sanctuary had seven arcades parallel to the qibla wall and extending for the whole width of the mosque. The back riwaq was similar. The side riwaqs had seven arcades, parallel to the qibla wall, and extending from the side walls up to the sahn. The mosque had thirteen entrances, three in the north wall, five in the east, four in the west and one in the qibla wall. In the upper part of the walls was a row of windows, between each two of which was a niche with a fluted hood. This mosque has passed through periods of ruin and destruction, and has been repaired and restored many times.

It consists at present of a large space, entered by three doorways in its north façade; to the south is the sanctuary, which has nineteen arcades, supported by marble columns and running perpendicular to the qibla wall. These arcades were built in the middle of the nineteenth century. The fragments of timber architraves, placed over the capitals of columns, next the west wall of the qibla riwaq, are of the greatest importance, for their carved decoration shows that they must belong to the time of 'Abd Allah Ibn Tahir, 212H. (827). the external walls are of several periods; the most important parts of them date back to 'Abd Allah Ibn Tahir, and include windows in the west façade, with remains of carved woodwork. Some of the windows in this façade, as well as in the north one, are due to the Amir Salar who restored the mosque in 703H. (1304). this restoration included the beautiful stucco mihrab still to be seen in the north façade.

Amr Mosque was not merely a place of worship but also served as a court for settling religious and civil disputes. Moreover, teaching circles were organized either for general religious preaching or teaching lessons in Quranic sciences, jurisprudence and Prophet Muhammad's Tradition (Hadith) as well as letters.

Mohamed Ali Mosque

Mohamed Ali Mosque is one of the most interesting Mosques in Egypt. It stands proudly on the highest point inside the courtyard of the Citadel of Salah El Din, and is also called the Alabaster Mosque. The mosque was built on the site of old Mamluk buildings in Cairo's Citadel between 1830 and 1848, although not completed until the reign of Said Pasha in 1857 The architect was Youssef Boushnaq, a Turkish man who had come over from Istanbul to build this great Mosque for Mohamed Ali, the ruler of Egypt from1805 until 1849.

He based his plans on the Sultan Ahmed Mosque in Istanbul, and the construction began in 1830 A.D. The work continued until the death of Mohamed Ali in 1849, and had to be finished during the reign of his successors. Mohamed Ali was buried in the tomb situated on the south-eastern side of Beit Al Salah, on the right side of the entrance that leads to the main section.

In 1899 the Mosque showed signs of cracking and repairs were undertaken, but some of these repairs were not enough. Therefore, in 1931, during the reign of King Fouad I, a committee was set up, comprising of several great architects, which eventually presented a report recommending the demolition of the big main dome, the semi domes and the small domes, and then reconstructing them according to the original design. Between 1931 and 1939, the project, including demolition, building and rebuilding, painting and gilding, was undertaken; the total cost being 100,000 LE.

Before completion of the mosque, the alabaster panels from the upper walls were taken away and used for the palaces of Abbas I. The stripped walls were cladded with wood painted to look like marble. In 1899 the mosque showed signs of cracking and some inadequate repairs were undertaken. But the condition of the mosque became so dangerous that a complete scheme of restoration was ordered by King Fuad in 1931 and was finally completed under King Farouk in 1939.

Muhammad Ali Pasha was buried in a tomb carved from Carrara marble, in the courtyard of the mosque. His body was tranferred here from Hawsh al-Basha in 1857.

The main material used for the construction was limestone, but the lower parts of the Mosque, and the forecourt, are faced to a height of 11.5m with alabaster.

The Mosque is rectangular in shape and consists of two sections:

The Eastern Section, which is the main section, called “Beit al Salah" or “House of Prayer”. The Western Section, called the “Sahn” "or “Courtyard".

The eastern section is the part that was dedicated to prayer. It is square in shape, each side measure 41m, and has a roof with a central dome (52m in height) resting on four large arches supported by massive piers. Surrounding the big central dome there are four half domes, while there are four more small domes covering the corners.

The marble mihrab is covered by a half-dome at the lower level. The domes are pointed and covered with medallions and other motifs. The interior dome is impressive because of its size and shape, similar to the Mosques of Istanbul. There are 6 medallions around the dome, which include the names of Allah (God) and Mohamed (the Prophet), as well as the names of the four rightly guided Caliphs, namely Abou Bakr, Omar, Othman, and Ali.

The mosque has 2 Minbars or pulpits; the original one is the larger, it is made of wood decorated with gilded ornaments, while the smaller one is of marble, it was gifted to the mosque by king Farouk in 1939 A.D. Above the entrance is a grand gallery supported on marble pillars with bronze balustrade. To the right of the entrance is the tomb of Mohamed Ali. It is made from white marble covered with floral motifs, and pointed and gilded inscriptions. originally Mohamed Ali was not buried in his mosque but later during the time king Abbas I (1849-1854), His body was transferred from Housh El Basha to the inside of the mosque where it rests inside The bronze grill.

The Western Section (The Courtyard or the Sahn). It is a large open courtyard of about 54 m in length and 53 m in width. It is surrounded by a single arched riwaqs or naves raised on pillars and roofed with small domes.

In the middle of the courtyard there is the ablution fountain, it is octagonal in shape and covered by a large leaded domed canopy resting on 8 pillars with natural ornaments. Inside the dome is another marble small dome and it is octagonal in shape, decorated with floral motifs. In the walls of the riwaqs of the courtyard there are 46 widows. While the Eastern wall which overlooks the Eastern Section, it has 8 windows above which there is a frieze of inscription of the Koran (Surat Al Fatha), above the entrance to the Easter section there is frieze that bears the name of the Turkish sultan Abd Al Maguid.

Opposite to the doorway of the prayer House, at the far end of the centre of the northern east Riwaq is a pavilion, above which is an elaborate French Clock, presented to Mohamed Ali in 1845 by the King Luis Philip in exchange of the obelisk which is now standing in the Concorde square in Paris. This clock has never been working properly!

At the west and the North Corners are 2 slender octagonal minarets that rise to 82 M in height, and has with 2 balconies.

The Greek architect Youssef Bushnaq succeeded in the exterior of the building, but the interior is generally considered to be tacky and of inferior quality. Yet, it is colorful like a Faberge egg, and the extent of the dome's interior is quite awesome.

The courtyard is architecturally more successful, with its tall arcade, each vault crowned with a dome on top of the roof. The floor is marbled, and the ablutions fountain is among the prettiest of any mosque anywhere. Look out for the clock tower. The clock was given to Muhammad Ali by France's Louis Philippe as a return gift for the obelisk now in Place de la Concorde in Paris. But it has never worked!

Mosque of Al-Refa'i

This Mosque was built overlooking the square of Salah El Din against the Mosque and Madrasa of Sultan Hassan. The original site was occupied with small fatimide Mosque known as (Al- Zakhera) and a small Mosque of Hussin Al Refa'i.

This Mosque was founded by Lady Khushiar Hanim mother of Caliph Ismail. She founded the Mosque in 1869 AD, but the construction was stopped in 1880 AD. Later on, in 1905 the construction resumed and the Mosque was finished in 1911. The importance of this Mosque came from the burials of the members of the Mohamed Ali family within the Mosque.

The Mosque is almost rectangular in shape and it consists of two sections the 1st is the pray house and the 2nd is the royal tombs and mausoleums.

The pray house is consists of:

Quibla Iwan: It was built on a bazilican style; it has 3 riwaqs formed by 4 marble piers supporting the pointed arches. In the middle of this riwaqs is the dome while the ceiling was made from wood with colored golden decorations.

The Mihrab: It is located in the center of the quibla wall. It was cased with colored marble and it had golden Stalactites.

The Minbar: It is located to the right side of the mihrab. It was made from wood and decorated with ivory and ebony.

Korsi Koran: It is placed next to the mihrab and it is decorated with ivory and ebony.

Dekket Al- Mubalegh: It was made opposite the mihrab. It is carried over marble columns and it is decorated with colored and golden decorations.

The Tombs and Mausoleums:

This Mosque has 2 Mausoleums for Ali Abu-Shebak and Sheikh Yehia Al-Ansary. Near by the Mausoleums is the annex of the royal tombs.

The royal tombs are placed under 3 domes: the 1st one is located to the north side and it houses the tombs of the sons and daughters of Khedive Ismail. The 2nd one is located to the west side and it houses the tomb of Khushiar Hanim and her son Khedive Ismail. The 3rd dome is housing the tomb of the wives of Khedive Ismail. However, in this Mosque there are some other tombs for the members of the same royal family as the tomb of Sultan Hussien Kamel, beside the 3rd dome, tombs of King Fouad, King Farouk and princess Fryal which are to the west side of the annex and the tomb of Shah Iran to the south side.

The outer side of this Mosque is decorated with two minarets on both sides of the main entrance; they were built after the Mamluk style and two semi-circular sabils at the eastern and southern corners of the Mosque. They were surmounted with Kuttab.

Al Sayeda Zeinab Mosque

Al Sayeda Zeinb mosque stands in the heart of the square named after Al Sayeda Zeinab the grand daughter of the Prophet, May Prayers and Peace be upon him.

Al Sayeda Zeinab is Also the youngest daughter of both Al Sayeda Fatima, the Prophet's daughter and his cousin Ali Ibn Abi Taleb and the sister of the two Imams Al Hassan and Al Hussein. Her mosque was set up shortly after her arrival to Egypt on the appearance of the new crescent moon of Shaaban (the eighth month of the Hegira calendar) in the year 61 A.H (AD 680 - 681).

When she first arrived to the small village of Al Abassah of Al Sharkia governorate, east of Delta the Umayyad waly (governor) of Egypt Maslama Ibn Makhlid Al Ansary had been on the head of the gathering of well-wishers.

She later settled down at Al Fustat city (first Islamic Capital of Egypt) where she became the guest of Maslama. After less than a year of her arrival to Egypt she passed away on the evening of 14th of Ragab (7th month of the Islamic calendar) 62 A.H.

According to her will she was buried in the same place where she had lived for about eleven months. Her mausoleum was built close to the northern flank of Maslama residence, overlooking the River Nile bay near Al Sayeda Zeinab square.

In the course of time Moslama's residence and the adjacent buildings crumbled away, with the exception of the mausoleum, which remained intact due to continuous repairs by princes, higher-ranking officials and religious leaders. The mausoleum was orated by domes, niches, and inscriptions of Arabic calligraphy. The first actual innovations of the mosque took place during the reign of Sultan Ahmed Ibn Tulun.

The two Fatimid Sultans Al Mo'ez Ledin Allah and Al Hakim Biamr Allah Allotted land endowments for the preservation of the mosque. In the sixth century after the Hijra, Sultan Al Adel Ibn Ayoub repaired the mosque and built a smaller mosque adjacent to it. The Mameluke Prince Abdul Rahman Katakhda reconstructed the mosque and furnished it with a toilet for ablutions.

In 1201 A.H. the mausoleum was repaired and glided with a layer of yellow copper and the mosque area was expanded to cover three thousand square meters. In 1315 A.H. during the reign of Khedive Tawfik, the then ruler of Egypt, the present mosque was re-built adjacent to the mausoleum. In 1946 A.D King Farouk, the last monarch in Mohamed Ali's dynasty ordered that both the mosque and the mausoleum be repaired. After the 23rd July revolution and during the era of President Gamal Abdul Nasser the mosque was expanded to cover an area of 4000 meters.

Anyhow, the biggest expansion of the mosque at a cost of about twenty million pounds, took place during President Hosni Mubarak terms of office. The mosque's area now covers 18000 meter with a capacity of fifteen thousand worshippers. This expansion and the repairs subsequent to it were executed in line with the architectural styles and designs, implemented during Khedive Tawfik's era.

The main facade of the present Mosque looks over Al Sayeda square with three gateways leading directly to the mosque. In the western facade there is a special gate for women leading to the Mausoleum. The minaret stands high to the left of this section. The inside ceiling covering the whole area of the mosque is erected on columns made of white marble.

A light shaft stands over the section located in front of the old niche. As for the mausoleum it lies to the west of the mosque surrounded by a compartment glided with yellow golden copper and topped with a dome.

Mosque of Al-Hakim

This huge congregational mosque was started by the Fatimid khalif Al-'Aziz and completed by his son al-Hakim, who became one of the most notorious despots ever to rule Egypt. When started, mosque occupied land outside the city walls built by Gawhar Al-Siqilli, but it was subsequently included within the perimeter of the second set of walls built by Badr Al-Gamali.

The building followed the precedent of the mosque of Ahmad Ibn Tulun being constructed on the principle of arcades with piers and pointed arches and with a ziyada, or intermediate space, separating the interior of the mosque from the city around it. The mosque was restored after a great earthquake in AD 1302 by Baybars Al-Gashankir, who added the mabkharas to the original Fatimid minaret shafts. Sultan Hassan also restored the mosque in 1359, after which it fell into disuse and served variously as a prison, stables, fortress, and storehouse. During the last years of the nineteenth century it became home to Musee de l'Art Arabe prior to that institution's relocation to the purpose- built premises that it occupies (as the Islamic Museum) to this day. The Comte did much to reveal the true form of the minarets early in the twentieth century. The mosque remained largely ruined until major reconstruction took place in the 1980s directed by the Bohra Isma'ili sect, which rebuilt all the arcades except for those on the qibla side, covered the sahn in marble, and remodeled the facade. In the course of the reconstruction, the mausoleum of Qurqumas originally situated immediately outside the entrance to the complex, was dismantled and reconstructed in the precincts of the funerary complex of Barsbay in the northern cemetery.

 

Coptic Cairo

The Hanging Church

This church is located at the ancient site of Babylon in Old Cairo. The church was called the Hanging church as it was built over a tower of an ancient Roman fortress. It was placed palm trees, wood and stone over the top of the tower to form the ground of this church. The church was also consecrated to the Virgin Mary and to St. Dimiana.

It was suggested that this church dates back to the late 3rd century and beginning of the 4th century A.D. However, some historians suggested that this church was originally a Roman temple so it should date back to a period before the 3rd & 4th centuries. This idea was supported with:

1- The discovery of pagan painting on a wall of the St.Takla Himanot alter which goes back before Christianity.

2- The age of a piece of wood taken from the church. This piece dates back to year 140- 150 B.C. The age was known by the use of radiating carbon rays 14. Also they proved their suggestions by remains of the original wood- work at the Coptic Museum representing the entry of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem.

This Church played an important role in the history of the Coptic Church because it became the seat of the Patriarchs after being transferred from Alexandria to El-Fustat, also the seat of St.Mark remained for a long period in this Church before being transferred to Abu Saifen Church. The holy chrism was consecrated at the Hanging Church for 3 times and there is a store room of it still filled up with the holy chrism till now. This church contains 110 icons the oldest of them goes back to the 8th century, but most of them date back to 1777 A.D. Some of these Icons were painted during the time of "Nakhla El Baraty Bey" in 1898 AD, who was the supervisor of the church at that time.

The Holy Virgin Mary appeared on a vision of "Anba Abraam" the 62nd patriarch, who spent three days in prayers and fasting when Caliph "Al Imam El- Mouiz" asked him to move the Moqattam hills in order to prove the words of the Bible. According to that story, there was a great earthquake and the mountain moved. Then, after the Caliph had seen this miracle, he allowed the patriarch to restore the Hanging church and Abu- Saifen.

The Hanging Church is a unique church because it was built without domes. It has a wooden roof in the shape of "Noah's Arc" which is one of the symbols of the church. It was very wide, but it became much smaller a long the history after many changes, the last change in it took place by "Obeid Bey Khozem" in 1775 AD.

The Church measures 23.5 meters in length, 18.5 meters in width and 9.5 meters in height. The Nave of the church is divided into parts, separated from each other by 3 rows of marble pillars.

The pulpit: It stands in the nave in front of the central alter. It is carried over 15 columns decorated with mosaics, two of these columns are attached to the main body o the pulpit and represent St.Mark and St.Luke who are not from the 12 disciples. While the 1st column which stands infront is representing Jesus Christ and the remaining 12 columns represent the disciples of the Jesus. We notice that each two similar pillars are put together because the Christ sent his disciples two by two.

This pulpit dates back to the 5th century. Under this pulpit, Anba Abraam, who made the miracle of El Moqqatam Hills, was buried.

The Fresco scenes which decorated the walls of the church and its pillars were mostly damaged during the period of persecution, but there are remains of these fresco scenes which still survive at the eastern wall of St. Tekla's Altar. These frescos date back to the 4th and 5th centuries A.D. There are also layers of fresco, discovered recently. In the nave of the church, there's also a picture on a pillar dates back to the 4th century.

There are 7 altars in the Hanging church, they contain complicated Iconostasis. They are inlaid or covered with ebony and cedar wood without using nails or glue. They date back to the 10th - 13th centuries.

3 of these 7 altars are situated in the main aisle of the church which is:

1- The Altar of Saint George.

2- The Altar of the Virgin Mary.

3- The Altar of St. John the Baptist.

Other 3 Altars are situated in the right aisle of the church, which is:

1- The Altar of St. Tekla, the Ethiopian

2- Two Altars recently discovered.

The 7th Altar is situated in the upper church of St. Mark. As for the Baptistery, it is situated next to the 7 Altars and it dates back to the 5th century, it is made of solid marble and carrying decorations of wavy lines, symbol of hieroglyphic language. Entering the right aisle, there's a door made out of cedar wood and decorated with semi transparent layers of ivory. It dates back to the 11th century A.D.

The Church contains 3 Iconostasis, mad out of wood and covered with ebony and ivory. The 1st iconostasis of St. George's Altar, it's decorated with 17 icons depicting his tortures. The 2nd iconostasis of St. John the Baptist's Altar. It's decorated with 7 icons depicting his tortures. The 3rd iconostasis of Virgin Mary's Altar, it's decorated with 7 icons from left to right they are: St.Paule the Apostle, Archangel Michael, Joan the Baptist, Jesus the Christ sitting on his throne, The Holy Virgin Mary, Gabriel the angel and Peter the Apostle.

The Hanging Church has some relics of saints in order to commemorate them. These relics attract several people to the church. These relics were discovered by a priest called "Fr. Marcus Aziz Khalil" and Mr. Hanna Asaad. The priests of the Church anoint the relics with rose oil, and then they put these relics into a group of circular shapes inside a frame. The outer frame or cover consists of hexangular shapes in order to look like the honey bee cell which is a symbol of the words of the God in the Bible. The Hanging Church contains 7 relics for different saints such as: the relics of St Tadros El Shatpi, St Isac El Dafrawy and St Dimiana

 

Halls & Gates

The Halls & Gates

According to Maqrizi there were eight gates as follows: in the south wall double arched bab Zuweyla, in the west wall e bab el Farag, bab sa'ada and Bab al. Qantara, on the north the Bab al futuh and Bab El Nasr and on the east Bab El Barqiya and bab Al Qarratin (later renamed bab El-Mahruq) there was one more gate, bab Khuhha, Which Maqrizi said its believed to be build after Gawhar El sikili. None of these gates exists today as they were all replaced by later gates when Cairo was enlarged, some by Badr El Gamali, others by Salah El Din. Three of replacements still exist and are well Known: Bab Zuwayla, Bab al futah and bab El Nasr. All due to Badr El Gamali.

Bab El Nasr

This gateway, which is placed at the north east corner of the enclosure of Fatimid Cairo, consists of two great square towers, solid for two thirds of their heights, flanking a very fine arched gateway which is set back 4.54 m. From their front face. At the back of latter are a great square bay, 1077 m. Long and 8.17 m broad covered by an interesting Vault or cross vault and forming a covered roadway between the two towers.

This Vault ends flush with the near face of the towers.

The whole structure measures 24.22 m. in width, 20.47 m in depth and 20. 89 m in height (from the sill of the great gateway) behind the eastern tower, is a massive oblong tower containing a fine spiral staircase 1, 65 m wide leading to the platform over the vaulted roadway.

The square gateway towers are built in three storey, the two lower of which are solid, the lower storey is 6,61 in height, measured from halt-round moulding at its base, or 37 m more if measured from the sill of the entrance.

The seventh course is remarkable for a series of stone circles, placed about 1. 85 m a part run all round the outer faces. The circles are the ends of a series of columns let into the wall as a band between the rubble core and the outer faces of dressed stone.

The second storey which is 6.77 m high to the top of the level is built slightly in retreat on the first, it, is composed of ten courses, almost entirely of stretchers, varying from 95 cm to 23 in length. A remarkable decoration appears here in the form of three shields on the front of each tower and one with a sword on each of the sides next the arch way, half the shields are circular the other half ere round above and pointed below after the fashion of the roman shields. At the summit of this storey on the front and inner faces only in the dating inscription a fine band of Kufic and above, this a curious cornice beveled off above and supported below by a series of modillions almost classical in form.

The lower edge of the cornice thus supported is decorated with a band of simple ornament, recalling the egg and bead motive.

Bab El Futuh

This gate like Bab El Nasr consists of two great towers solid for two thirds of their height, defending a great archway which is set back between them.

The passage way behind this arch, however instead of being roofed by an interesting vault, is covered by a dome of stone voussoris resting on a spherical triangle pendentives of the same curvature. Moreover, the towers themselves are oblong with rounded fronts and are not divided externally into storeys.

The whole measures 22.85 m in width, 25.22 m in depth and 22.33 m in height from the original ground level to the top of the crenellations.

The platform over the shallow dome is reached by a staircase which runs up alongside the inner face of the curtain wall to the east of the gateway. The towers are 7.58 m width, the straight sides measured to the edge of the rounded front, which is formed by a segment of a circle only, instead of being semicircular in plan is 9.26 m.

The courses of masonry average 52 m in height the stretchers from 80 cm to 1.3 m in length and the headers from 23 to 70 cm. In the sixth course from the present ground level we observe a row of stone circles about 45 m in a part running around the tower, they are as we have seen the ends of columns.

The lower solid part of each tower is decorated with three great arched panels one on each side and one on the front, the latter being curved in a plan and higher than the other two.

The panels on the outer sides and front of each tower are perfectly plain and without any moulding, but on the side of each tower next the gateway is decorated with an inner ring of cushion voussoris.

The upper part of each tower is perfectly plain on the outer sides, the smooth surface being broken by a single arrow-slit. The front faces, however are each pierced by three arrow-slit each set in a shallow recess with a semicircular arched head, the whole being surrounded by a large rectangular molded frame.

The gateway; A great splayed semicircular arch is set back 7.7 m between the towers. A rectangular lattice work of slightly.

Bab Zewaila

Bab Zewaila is like Bab el Futh, to which it is closely related, consists of a great arched gateway 4.84 m wide defended by two oblong round fronted towers, solid for two third of their height and placed 9.17 m. Behind the archway is a passageway covered by a shallow dome on spherical triangle pendentives supporting the great platform which extends right across behind the upper rear face of both towers.

The whole structure measures 25.72 m in width, 25.36m from back to front and 20.10 m in height. We see once more the series of circles, the ends of columns let into the rubble core as a band-running around the towers and passage way at the seventh course from the ground level.

The towers have rounded fronts not semicircular in plan but formed of a segment of circle only.

The round front of the towers rested on a rectangular plinth of two courses the outer flanks of these towers are concealed on the west by the Mosque of al Mu'ayyad on the east by a row of houses.

The inner flanks of the towers are decorated with two similar shallow arched panels one within the other within them is much smaller panel composed of a pointed arch.

Distorted squares, each filled with a simple but crisply carved motif, sunflowers, pentagrams, hexagrams, stare, crosses, circles, grilles, decorates the splayed part, the whole being set in a simple border consisting of circle and a lozenge alternately set bock 1.49 m within this semicircular arch is the gate way border 4.85m in width and 6.48m in height, spanned by two horizontal arches.

Above the bracket and flush with its front edge, is a shallow arch of twenty one voussoirs, each with one bold joggle.

And above this in the parapet are five openings with lintels, the whole five being set in a frame which is quite plain except for its top edge.

The upper arch consists of nine voussoirs, the side ones of five. The upper arch, has a scalloped edge where as the side ones have net, but the voussoirs of the upper arch is decorated with a simple medallion a star of eight loops formed by eight nearly complete circles. It is similar to the medallions on Bab El Nasr shield, which, however are composed of six loops only.

In the panel below apex of this arch is a splendid medallion. In the upper part of each tower, above the great arched panel is a rectangular window opening from what was once the tower chamber it is covered by a flat joggled arch, above the great outer arch are five courses of masonry. It was here that herz found the remains of two lines of Kufic inscription under layers of plasters in 1897.

The text contains the shi'a confession of faith followed by several words from Quran.

The central part of the vault was cut through by sultan al Mu'ayyad when he decided to use the towers of Bab Zywayla as pedestals for two minarets of his mosque

 

Markets

It’s a very famous District in Egypt, it is located in El Gamalia area (the center of the Fatimid Cairo), bordered by El Gamalia Street that embraces El Azhar mosque, that separated between El Ghorya and tomb of Al Hussein and Khan El Khalili, it was called once (Al Sharabshen). Its name derived from the name of the last Sultan in the Mamaliks Period (1250-1517 AC), he was called (Abu El Nasr Konswa El Ghory Al Sharkasy), and on this period the architect reached its peak on the ornamentations, Grandiloquence and luxury before it decline gradually starting from the mid 18th century. Actually from the life irony that this great Sultan who made all this progress in the architect built for himself a large and magneficant tomb didn't bury in it because he was killed in a battle called (Marg Dabk) 1517 AC, after leading the Arab armies against the Turkish Sultan Mourad I so they couldn't identify his body from the other dead bodies that scattered throughout the battle field.

El Ghorya is the life prove of the beauty of the architectural elements of all the buildings on that exact period as every building combines a beauty touch and creative thoughts which appears on the ornamentations and they used different materials like the stones, mud bricks and wood with a very high accuracy which shows the depth of the thoughts and the generosity of the environment. El Ghory district managed to revive again the beauty of the architect as it inspires all the architectures in the 20th century with its decorative and artistic touch.

This area encompasses a number of historical monuments belonging to different kingdoms and empires Old Mosques, Sabils, Religious Schools, ancient hotels and other important monuments. Peoples are still living in this area that embraces long-standing commercial and manufacturing activities.

El Mosky

This District was founded by prince Ezz El Din Mosk; he was a prince in the reign of Al Sultan Salah El Din El Ayobe (Saladin). The district starts from El Attaba square and parallel to Al Azhar Street until they reached Al Azhar Mosque and El Hussein Mosque. You can find every thing you had on your mind in this market as it combines all kinds of industries.

The buildings on this district had a French & Belgium architectural characters, which was established in the era of Ismail Pasha influenced by European architecture especially the French, that Ismail Pasha was its fan, for example, the building of the Civil Defense and Fire Department, the Post Office Building and the building of the police station, as well as the Medical Affairs Directorate of Cairo governorate Building, which was the headquarters of the Fund imposed by the Europeans on that time to supervise Egypt spending, also the National Theater as the Egyptian Opera House, which burned in 1968 and the headquarters of the mixed court behind Opera and removed also in the establishment of the Opera garage.

El Mosky Area is considered to be an important market in Egypt as it combines all kinds of products, its streets full of home utensils and the most famous street called (Hamam El Talat) and also the house furnishings exists in El Saba' Street not only that but also you can find all kinds of fabrics in a street called Al Samak all that with a very reasonable prices.

On El Mosky there are two streets, one is totally devoted for the electric instruments and the other is for chandeliers (Darb El Barabra), El Mosky is known for its prices as the merchants in this market sell all the products with retail prices.

When you are walking in El Mosky you have to go to the Perfumery shops on El Mo'ez Le Din Allah Al Fatemy Street, which had all the rare and weird kinds of Perfumery, as you can find different kinds of herbs you would never heard about it from before, once you but your feet on this street you could smell the beautiful incense that almost the smell of all the streets of El Mosky.

You can find all kinds of the traditional food starting from the Beans (fol) to all kinds of stuffed vegetables like eggplant, grapes paper….etc. Also there are a very famous drink called (E'Rk SOS) sold by a man in the street whose wearing a special custom.

On this area there are a lot of ancient mosques and the most famous one El Ashraf Barsbay mosque that built in year 827 AH on the Islamic style as it had the most magnificent dome.

El Mosky also had clothes stores that combine different kinds and styles of outfits, any bride can go to El Mosky to get all what she needs for her wedding.

El Mosky is a market is not only for the Egyptians but also the tourists as they are welcomed once they stepped in the street the vendors tried to help them to know the place easily as it had a multiple entrances and lanes.

Darb Al Barabra

Darb Al Barabra is the most important market in Egypt it combines all the family requirements especially for the occasions like weddings, birthdays and babies shower. The market derived its name from a trope called Barbar coming from the West which accompanies Gawhar Al Sekely and they were working the in military service in the palaces of rich people. Darb Al Barabra is located on the center of Cairo, starting from Al Gaesh Street at El Attaba area until it reaches Port Said, and it said to be called that name because the people of this trope were living in that place. Another people said that this market started from the Mamluk's period and all its habitants were European, therefore called old neighborhood branches but now this street changed its name to El Shahed Kamel Hussein Street on the name of the first martyr on the Suez war.

Darb El Barabra is known for selling Candies since 1885 as the Greeks were the first people who brought this industry to Egypt, its also famous for selling the Utensils used in the happy occasions like weddings, babies shower….etc. As we had in Egypt traditions on the weddings like the Bonbonera (used to serve the chocolate & candies for the relatives) it had a different shapes & colors to satisfy all kinds of tastes, Also the wedding candles, the small flower baskets which is held by the small children in the weddings to spread the flowers upon the bride and the groom.

Also there are shops in Darb El Barabra which sells the requirements of the baby showers as in Egypt the baby shower had a traditional ceremony they used on it the pitcher, dolls and Al Ghorbal (riddle), and also shops sells the crowns which the brides wore on their weddings.

Darb El Barabra also includes lamp shades industry and crystal antiques, all the people walking on this street is waiting for a happy occasion, as they printed the weddings invitations and also the car0ds of the Baby shower with a very funny & innovative.

The customers of this market various between the rich and the poor because for every product there are different shapes & materials which matches with all needs.

 

Shopping

Cairo is one of the famous places in Egypt which have many shopping centers. It is located in and around Cairo. Egyptian products are so varied and can meet various tastes and different levels of in come. It also competes international standards. In Cairo, there are many places where you can do your shopping like the following:

Khan Al Khalili Bazaar situated at one corner of a triangle of markets that go south to Bab Zuwayla and west to Azbakiyyah. The Khan is bordered on the south by Al-Azhar Street and on the west by the Muski Market. This Khan is one of the most interesting bazaars not only in Egypt but in the Middle East. It was named after Prince Jahark as Al Khalili, who was one of the powerful Mamluke princes in the 14 th century.This Market is famous for its unusual, typical oriental souvenirs and handmade crafts. The Medieval atmosphere of this traditional market gives visitors great pleasure and glimpse into what medieval markets were like: Cafes, restaurants, shops and large number of vendors and buyers constitute a dynamic panorama of the place.

Khan Al Khalili

Also, Souk El Tawfiqia is situated between Soliman Basha Street and Ramsses square. It is the most famous market in Egypt which comprises different kinds of fruits and vegetables. Its name derived from El Tawfiqia district that was established by Khedive Tawfiq, the sixth rulers of Egypt from the Alawite family for about more than 120 year, the place carrying his name to be the headquarters of the English residents during the British occupation of Egypt, to be close to Abdeen Palace the place of the government in that period.

Souk El Tawfiqia

El Mosky was founded by prince Ezz El Din Mosk; he was a prince in the reign of Al Sultan Salah El Din El Ayobe (Saladin). The district starts from El Attaba square and parallel to Al Azhar Street until they reached Al Azhar Mosque and El Hussein Mosque. You can find every thing you had on your mind in this market as it combines all kinds of industries.

El Mosky

At dawn on a Friday morning, Cairo's camel market, the Souq al-Gamaal, held hundreds of camels that had been driven across the shifting sands from Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Aswan only for them to end up hauling tourists at the pyramids or swinging by the hooves in a slaughterhouse.

Souq al-Gamaal

It's Egypt's largest camel market, 35km northwest of Cairo, on the edge of the Western Desert, makes for a wild contrast to Cairo city life. Moreover; Kerdasa which is famed for its embroidered cotton and silk dresses (galabeyas) as well as other hand-made products. Hraneya is the main center for hand-made carpets. You can buy from there whatever you need such as, Galabias for sleeping, carpets, jewelery, silver, also they sell silk, cotton and wool textiles as well as leather goods including shoes and bags. In addition to the private sector boutiques, there are public sector stores such as Sednaoui, Omar Effendi, Chemla, and Benzion. In Luxor and also Aswan their are many different bazaars . From Memphis Tours Company you can buy whatever you need with special price

 

Holidays

 

Holiday

Day

New Year day in Egypt.

1st January

Coptic Christmas.

7th January

Eve of Great Bairam in Egypt.

19th December

Great Bairam in Egypt.

20-23rd December.

Islamic New Year (according to Islamic calender).

20th January

Mother's Day ( Egypt ).

21st March

Sham El Nessim in egypt.

9th April

Liberation of Sinai Day (withdrawal of Israeli occupation from Sinai).

25th April

Labour day (International).

1st May

Coptic Easter in egypt.

5th May

Sham El-Nessim (Beginning of Spring celebration).

6th May

Prophet's Birthday (according to Islamic calendar).

31st March

Liberationa day.

18th June

Revolution day (end of monarchy in Egypt ).

23rd July

Wafaa El Nile.

Second Half of August

Armed Forces day (surpise attack on Israeli forces to regain Egyptian land occupied by Israel ).

6th October

Suez City & Nation Liberation Day.

24th October

Opet Festival ( Luxor ) A modern-day recreation of the ancient festival.

4th November

Ramadan begins.

6th November

Bairam (celebration for end of month of Ramadan).

4th - 7th December

Eve of Leaser Bairam in egypt.

15th December

Leaser Bairam.

16-18th December

Christmas Eve (International).

24th December

·         Christmas day (International).

 

         25th December 

·         New year's Eve (International).

 

         31st December 

 

Note:

Muslim Festivals are timed according to local sightings of various phases of the moon and the dates given above are approximations. During the lunar month of Ramadan that precedes the Bairam Feast, Muslims fast during the day and feast at night and normal business patterns may be interrupted. Some restaurants are closed during the day but most tourist attractions and hotels are not affected. Some disruption may continue into the three-day Grand Feast itself.

 

Car Rental

ElAhlamTravel can help you to find various international car rental like Avis car rental and Budget car rental. We also know that frequent business travel involves time away from home and family and we recognize the many sacrifices business travelers often make. That's why we are delighted to be able to play a meaningful role through which you can accrue frequent traveler benefits.

We select only the best car rental companies to provide you with car rental prices that are cheap, and competitive. We are looking forward to satisfying your car rental needs in Egypt.

In most hotels there is a car rental office (usually an international company), but car rental is fairly expensive and self-drive hire is not so common over here you need an international driver's license is to rent a car in Egypt. Traffic conditions are chaotic and it's sometimes difficult for foreigners to drive here, but most of these companies rent out their cars with drivers using fixed prices and in this case you won't need any driving license.

TAXIS

You can find many black and white taxis. These will take you where you want to go, but negotiate the price before you get inside the car. Check with the hotel reception to get an idea about the price.

 

Egypt Tourism Authority

Communication

 

 

Egypt is the leading country in North Africa in the use of information technologies . It is noteworthy that you can contact any country in the world easily as we have world wide telecommunications. Moreover cell service is widely spread in Egypt and we have two great companies that control cell in Egypt , Vodafone and Mobinil.

We have in Egypt 2 satellites, Nile sat 101 and Nile sat 102. Nile sat 101 was manufactured by the European company Matra Marconi Space (Astrium), and it was launched on 28th of April 1998 by the European Launcher , Ariane space using the launcher Ariane 4, from the French Guyana ( Kourou site ).

Nile sat 102 satellite was manufactured by the same company (Astrium) and it was launched on 17th of August 2000 by Ariane 4 launcher. The Nile sat company now is operating the Nile sat system, broadcasting more than 150 digital TV channels and provides additional services like data transmission, Turbo Internet and multi casting applications.

Nile sat delivers more than 240 TV & Audio Channels, Using up to date digital technology presenting a wide variety of Egyptian , Arabic & International Channels.

The Internet is a revolutionary phenomenon in telecommunication and information technology. It has opened new opportunities for a networked society and has established new concepts for human communication and interaction. The social and technical effects of the Internet are enormous in the developed as well as in the developing world.

There are several experiences in the developing countries showing how the networked society is being transformed from a limited experiment within the academic community to a countrywide and global network. These experiments have generated new challenges and opportunities on the technical and business levels.

 

NILE VALLEY

The classic tour

Spend a few days in the capital Cairo, including visits to Giza, Saqqara and Fayoum, followed by a boat trip along the Nile, sailing by the Pharaonic sites of Upper Egypt between Luxor and Aswan. For those with a bit more time to spare, Abu Simbel is an easy day-trip from Aswan, or can be reached via a more leisurely Lake Nasser cruise.

Pyramids in Giza

 

Mediterranean Egypt

A fascinating alternative for those who are already familiar with Cairo and the Nile Valley could include following Cleopatra's footsteps to the great port of Alexandria, along with tripsthrough the Delta and to the monasteries of Wadi el-Natroun. This itinerary could then continue west along the Mediterranean coast, via the World War II monuments at El Alamein, on to Marsa Matruh, and through the desert to the legendary oasis of Siwa.

Cathedral of St. Bishoy in Wadi el-Natroun

RED SEA & SINAI

Sun, beaches, diving and trekking

Vacations on the Red Sea or the Gulf of Aqaba guarantee pure relaxation and holiday fun, perfect temperate weather, and a fascinating underwater world of marine delights. Just inland, the mountain and desert scenery beckons the traveler on a day trip, or a longer adventurous visit, through the spectacular mountains of South Sinai, or to the monasteries of St. Paul, St. Anthony, or St. Catherine.

St. Antony's Monastery

 

DESERTS & OASES

The great oasis circuit

Idyllic nature, spectacular landscapes and cultural highlights off the beaten tourist track can be found on exciting trips to the oases of Bahariyya, Farafra, Dakhla and Kharga. In between these, one experiences the timeless magic of the Sahara Desert. Cairo or Luxor serve as good base from which to begin or end a desert oasis exploration, and a visit to one or both of these could round out a perfect tour through the heart of Egypt.

 Dakhla oasis
 

How to spend a long week-end in Egypt?

An enchanting weekend in Egypt could comprise of one or two days in the cultural metropolis of Cairo, including Giza, Saqqara and Fayoum, followed by a trip by plane south to Luxor or Aswan. Alternatively, a visit to Cairo could be arranged in conjunction with a beach trip to Ain Sukhna, Port Said, Alexandria, or the various beach resorts on the Mediterranean Coast, with a diving expedition to the Red Sea, or with a trip through the desert.

Since the earliest days of humanity, the Nile River valley has drawn in and captivated travelers from around the world. Modern-day Egypt, the inheritor of an unbroken civilization of more than 5000 years, located at the crossroads of the Asian, African and Mediterranean worlds, is a fascinating mixture of modern diversity and ancient splendor. Its cultural treasures are supplemented by over 2500 km of scenic coastline along the Red and Mediterranean Seas, making Egypt an enchanting year-round destination, able to put a smile on the face of even the most jaded of travelers.

Egypt's Advantages are as seductive as they are diverse:the pleasant mild temperatures of air and sea, especially in winter; the hospitality and cheerfulness of its people; the year-round sunshine; the magnificent beaches; the diving and snorkeling resorts and second-to-none reefs and aquatic life; the biblical mountains; the romantic desert oases; and, in between, the fertile valley of the Nile, the second-longest river in the world, packed with life and history. Egypt's diverse and profound spiritual heritage cannot fail to make an impression on her guests. Pharaonic, Coptic, and Muslim, including churches, convents, mosques, temples and elaborate funerary complexes, Egypt's spiritual treasures exhibit an artistic and devotional energy that makes Egypt an unforgettable and profound experience.

Egypt's multifaceted treasures, including the Nile Valley with its pharaonic treasures and its cultural metropolis of Cairo, the bathing and diving paradise of the Red Sea, and the oases and open expanse of the surrounding deserts, each guarantee the traveler an unforgettable experience on their own.

But the uniqueness of Egypt as a holiday paradise lies in the traveler's ability to combine from among all of these, as their heart and calendar dictate.

To help the traveler plan a unique and unforgettable trip through Egypt's myriad attractions, we have summarized the highlights of Egypt's three main tourist attractions-Sightseeing along the Nile, Recreation along the coast, and Adventure in the desert-separately in the map that follows, allowing you to put together your own personalized trip, to pick and choose among the smorgasbord of Egypt's attractions to plan the perfect holiday for you and your family.

Ancient Cradle of Civilization

Imagine you are relaxing on the deck of a boat meandering down the Nile, sitting back in a comfortable wicker chair. It is late in the afternoon, and the waiter has just served hibiscus tea. A gentle breeze wafts across the river. The setting sun bathes sand dunes and cliffs In a soft light of the color of golden honey. Water buffalo, ibis and camels crowd the shore. Fishermen throw their nets, children paddle, and a local farmer ploughs his field. Now and then you sail past villages of loam houses, embedded in palm groves and fields of green sugar cane. Later, a Pharaonic temple entices you to shore. Along this wondrous river, an advanced civilization blossomed 5000 years ago, one of the earliest flowerings of civilization. The traces of this mighty civilization, buildings and statues of unparalleled monumentality and splendor, border the river valley for more than a thousand kilometers , from the fertile Delta region and the glorious harbor of Alexandria in the north, past the great, historic urban center of Cairo on the Giza plateau, to ancient capitals of Luxor and Aswan in the far south. In front of such scenery, a Nile cruise becomes a journey of personal discovery, through a land whose grace gloriously old fashioned contemplativeness nourishes one's imagination and touches the heart.

View on The Nile

Cairo: Pyramids, mosques and modern museums

As was written In the tales of thevArabian Nights, "He who has not seen Cairo has not seen the world." Indeed Egypt's vivacious capital, whose name in English is derived from the Arabic Al-Qahira, "the victorious," is  like no other cityon earth, and embodies 150 generations of history, and an unbroken line of civilization dating back to the Pharaohs. On its western egde, the Great Pyramids rise majestically towards heaven, witnessing a time when faith in immorality truly moved mountains. Cairo's heart, the maze of lanes through the islamic old town, between mighty mosques and caravanserais, the resting place of traders along ancient trade routes, invites us on a fascinating tour through the Middle Ages, in the steps of legendary sultans like Salah el-Din. Nearer the Nile, the metropolis pulsates to the rhythm of modern day life, modern-day Cairo is a dynamic business hub, with a lively arts scene and a world renowned opera house, exquisite shopping, and contemporary museums, and a trendy food and nightclub scene. Just to the south of the city center, in Old Cairo, Egypt's Christian community, the Copts, tend to their precious early Christian inheritance, including the world's oldest traces of monastic communities, and visitors can follow in the footsteps of the holy family during their travels through Egypt.

Alexandria & Mediterranean Coast: grandeur, great heritage and sandy beaches

Alexandria Library

Egypt's legendary port of Alexandria has been at the crossroads of civilization throughout human history, and the stories of its varied conquerors continue to coexist alongside one another in a rich cultural mélange. Founded by Alexander the Great, and famous in ancient times for its scholars, lighthouse and library, Alexandria once again became a focus of cosmopolitan influences In the early 20th century, lying at the intersection of the Mediterranean, Arabian and African worlds. The grandeur of this cultural heyday is still alive today, not only in the books of Lawrence Durrell or Konstantinos Kavafis, but also on the Corniche with its numerous restaurants, famous for their tasty, freshly caught seafood; in the majestic new "Bibliotheca Alexandrina;" and in the city's charming neighborhoods, with cafés, antique markets, and Art Deco cinema-palaces. Alexandria continues to shine as the "Pearl and the Eastern Mediterranean" thanks to its oriental flair and deep historical, cultural and archaeological heritage.

 

From Mediterranean beaches to the historic monuments of central Egypt

West of Alexandria towards Marsa Matruh, magnificent sandy beaches stretch along the shores of a coastline known for its turquoise-blue water. Along this stretch, holiday homes and resorts on the beach are in great demand among locals and Egyptians alike, along a landscape that during World War II was fiercely fought over by Montgomery for the Allies, and Rommel for the Axis powers. Haunting memorials to this conflict around Alamein make a compelling visit for the history buff. The Nile Delta region to Alexandria's east, meanwhile, pampers the senses with lush and verdant vegetation. Ancient ruins, such as those at Tanis and Abu Menas, and sights, such as the history-steeped Rosetta, and the Coptic monasteries of Wadi el-Natroun, offer the opportunity for true exploration, beyond the well-trodden tourist track. South of Cairo, pearl upon pearl of Pharaonic architecture lie threaded along the left bank of the Nile, including Memphis, the Necropolis of Saqqara, and the pyramids of Dahshur, El-Lisht and Meidum. Further up river, in Central Egypt, not far from El-Minya, are the rock gravesof Beni Hassan and Tell El - Amarna, as well as archeological remainders of the residential city of the heretic Pharaoh Akhenaton. Beyond Assiut, around Sohag, are more monasteries whose roots date back to the 5th century AD. Further, south, at the borderwith Upper Egypt, lie the two outstanding temples of Abydos and Dandara.

Cathedral of St. Mark Coptic Orthodox

The sacred heart of ancient Egypt: Luxor and the West Bank

The start and climax of every journey to Upper Nile is the small town of Luxor. The grand temples and funerary cities found there, tributes to the advanced civilization based around the ancient capital of Thebes, have been impressing visitors for millennia. The magnificent columned halls in the temple of Karnak, which for many centuries functioned as the country's central sanctuary of the god Amun, leave visitors in awe. Over the river in the various valleys of the Necropolis of Thebes, one is overwhelmed by the gigantic size and spiritual devotion of the mortuary temples of rulers such as Ramses II or III, and Queen Hatshepsut. One of these valleys, the spectacular Valley of the kings, where the glorious rulers of the New Kingdom Were laid to rest more than 3000 years ago, was where, in 1922, Howard Carter brought to light the legendary treasures of Tutankhamun, whose glorious funerary regalia continue to inspire a global audience.

Karnk Temples 

Grande finale deep in the south: Aswan and Abu Simbel

Continuing the journey to the south, three great temples await your visit- the temple of Esna, devoted to the ram-headed god Khnum, the Horus sanctuary in Edfu, and the Ptolemaic double temple of Kom Ombo. The next port of call is Aswan, where there is much more to be seen in the way of Pharaonic sites-in particular the Temple of Philae-alongside more modern wonders, such the High Aswan Dam, backing up behind it the massive Lake Nasser. In Aswan, a lasting impression is left by the enchanting river scenery of the First Cataract, where the rushing waters of the Nile flow dramaically through a rocky descent. Later on, after a sunset sail on the traditional Egyptian sailboat, the Felucca, a stroll through the botanical garden on Plants Island (Kitchener's), or five o'clock tea on the terrace of the Old Cataract Hotel, steeped in royal and colonial history, it's easy to understand why Aswan continues to attract Europeans in search Of a respite from their cold winters. The grand finale of a journey into the deep south of Egypt is the awesome Temple of Ramses II in Abu Simbel. Its colossal statues reign supreme above Lake Nasser, having been saved from the rising water behind the new dam in the 1960s thanks to a monumental engineering achievement, and proclaim to the world the eternal Fame of their creator and his realm.

Abu Simbel Temple

RED SEA & SINAI .. Aquatic Paradise

If the deep chill of a prolonged winter has left you down and discontented, then a dose of Egypt's Red Sea aquatic paradise could be just what is needed to revive the spirit and please the soul. Blessed with blue sky all year round, a pleasant temperate climate, conveniently accessible only a few hours direct flight from Europe, fine sandy beaches lining a sumptuous tropical sea stretching nearly 1500 km down Egypt's eastern coast, with coral reefs renowned by experienced divers as amongst the best in the world, Egypt's Red Sea coast has treasures aplenty to draw you in, and keep you coming back. Back on land, the attractions are just as compelling: holiday resorts with quality, affordable accommodation, the opportunity to invest your own piece of paradise through an attractive market in beachside holiday homes, and a fascinating bouquet of shopping, sport and leisure activities. And inland, directly adjacent to the beaches, spectacular desert mountains rise up dramatically, perfect for both trekking and seeking one's inner peace of mind. Sound tempting? Come catch the excitement; a warm welcome of "Egypt's Riviera," the Red Sea and Sinai coasts, awaits you!

Red Sea

 

Hurghada: the cradle of holiday tourism for swimming and diving

This former Fishing village, about 400 km south of Suez, became a booming tourism destination on the west coast of the Red Sea in the space Of a single generation. Today, it offers ideal conditions for all kinds of water sports, as well as miles and miles of pristine coastline with quality accommodation, restaurants and entertainment to suit all tastes. Even the most experienced of international travelers will be delighted by Hurghada's beach scene and lively nightlife. A wide variety of attractions, including the sea aquarium, panorama submarine ride, and two superb golf courses mean that Hurghada truly has something for everyone. Well worth a day-trip are the offshore islands and the inland desert mountains.

Hurghada

El Gouna: perfect holiday atmosphere with the turquoise- blue lagoon

Lying just 20 km north of Hurghada, the modern holiday resort of El Gouna, developed from scratch as a holiday paradise, is the perfect destination for tranquil family vacations or long-term stays. The resort includes 14 exclusive hotels, numerous private villas and apartments, restaurants, discos, shopping malls, a stylishy designed 18 hole golf course, and numerous diving and leisure centers. The resort stretches over an extensive archipelago of artificial islands, and it is easy to get around by bus, bike or foot. This small but cosmopolitan city, conjured out of the desert sand in a harmonious mixture of architectural traditions, drawing upon some of the finest regional and international architects, has been internationally acclaimed for its environmentally friendly operations

El Gouna

Marsa Alam & Port Ghalib: where the future has already begun

130 km south of El Quseir, the latest of Egypt's world-class holiday destinations is quickly making its mark. Marsa Alam began in the 1990s as the first Red Sea resort in the far south. Blessed with a rich abundance of unspoiled beaches and enchanting sea life, the area has tremendous promise. Today, this majestic setting has been made accessible to travelers through an extensive resort complex with its own airport and several high quality hotels. 60 km further north, the latest flagship project in the region, Port Ghalib, is situated at the junction of the coast and an artificial arm of land extending out to sea. With its yachting club and harbor boasting world-class facilities, this top class holiday resort is positioning itself as a central hub for water sports in this part of the Red Sea.

Marsa Alam

Sharm el-Sheikh: pure pleasure and colourful activities under water and on land

A few decades ago, Sharm el-Sheikh was just another minor fishing village. Modern- day Sharm, close to the southern tip of Sinai Peninsula, has securely positioned itself as an international destination of choice among divers and holidaymakers alike. The original epicenter of this pulsating " Riviera on the Red Sea" is Naama Bay, around which extensive world-class tourism infrastructure has been developed over a series of adjacent bays, now including the area between Sharm El-Maya up to Nabq Bay. Other than the flat sandy beaches and the myriad of leisure options over this holiday paradise along more than 25 km in coastline, the reefs at Ras Umm Sid and the nearby Ras Mohammed National Park are enchantingly rich feasts for the eye.

Naama Bay in Sharm EL-Sheikh

Dahab & Inland: relaxation in paradise for backpackers accessing adventure in the South Sinai Mountains

Along the east coast of the Sinai, the rugged, majestic mountains rise spectacularly away from the coast. Like prehistoric giant dragons, the summits push forward with their high, serrated combs, plunging coastward almost of the shores of the Gulf of Aqaba. Dahab, the tourist center of the area, with its Bedouin camps and golden beaches, has kept the easygoing charm of a 1970s hippy idyll, even though it now boasts numerous luxury hotels. The Ras Abu Gallum National Park diving area here is breathtakingly magnificent. Not far inland, some spectacular Sinai sites are ready to be explored, including the Colored Canyon, a twisting canyon filled with multi-hued red stone, and Mount Sinai, where Moses received the Ten Commandments, at the foot of which lies the legendary St. Catherine's Monastery.

Dahab

Nuweiba & Taba: two ports for relaxation and recreation in the north of the Gulf of Aqaba

About 90 km north of Dahab lies Nuweiba, a comparatively calm hideway for nature lovers. Like elsewhere in Sinai, Nuweiba has made a name for itself based on its fine sandy beaches with wonderful multi-colored reefs in front of cragged cinnamon- colored mountains. Taba Heights a resort town adjacent to the international border, offers the same attractions set in a planned resort community boasting on international quality golf course a numerous fine dining options. Both Nuweiba and Taba offer excellent hotel resorts, and great sporting activities above and below water for those seeking active holiday pursuits. In addition, a wide variety of guided camel and desert tours are available to lure the traveler into sampling inland attractions.

Taba

S U D A N... DESERTS & OASIS... Untamed Mystery

Kharga, Dakhla, Farafra, Bahariyya and Siwa: the oases of Western Egypt appear to be islands not only in the seemingly endless expanse of Saharan sand, but also in time. This is where fairy tales come true: seeing the sunrise from the back of a camel, or the spectacular views from on top of a sand dune into the majestic expanse of desert. Noon in the quiet shade of palm groves, or perhaps in the cool spring-fed pool at one of the region's splendid eco-lodges, waiting until a ripe date from an overhanging palm tree drops into one's open mouth; a late afternoon walk through Pharaonic temples or between mud brick houses in ageless villages; and nights spent at a campfire in front of a Bedouins' tent, enchanted by garlands of tales, with nothing above but the twinkling stars of a clear desert sky.

Siwa

Fayoum: Cairo's front garden - a natural paradise with a storied past

The oasis closest to the Nile valley lies only a one hour drive south Cairo. Due to the fertility of the region, Fayoum has always served as the breadbasket for the capital. Fayoum makes a worthwhileday trip, if only to see the verdant vegetation and rural tranquility. The Fellah, rural peasants continue to work the fields, and the women and children line up in front of mud brick houses bordering palm-edged canals, appearing just as graceful and timeless as did their ancestors depicted on the wall-reliefs of the surrounding ancient tombs. The 230 km2 Qaroun Lake and the adjacent Wadi El- Rayan nature reserve are valuable protected areas, and the migratory birds these areas attract will be of particular delight to bird lovers. In Wadi Al-Hitan, one can marvel at the gigantic skeletons of prehistoric whales, washed up when the Mediterranean Sea extended far south of its current shoreline. In addition, those seeking cultural diversions will be interested by the range of historical sites on offer, particularly the pyramids of Hawara and El Lahun.

Wadi El-Rayan

Bahariyya: palm groves, spa waters and the golden mummies

Known as the " Northern Oasis," this approximately 4000 km2 desert depression , set in black volcanic rock and reachable from Cairo within seven hours drive, has been well known since ancient times for its ore mines, its fertile gardens, its healing waters, and its spectacular vistas of jagged black volcanic formations jutting from the desert floor below. The site became world famous when an enormous necropolis dating back to Greco- Roman times was discovered by chance here towards the end of the 1990s.The yombs contained thousands and thousands of preciously decorated mummies, a sensational find, which gave the area the name of the " Valley of the Golden Mummies."

Bahariyya Oasis

Farafra: an island of green on the edge of the White Desert

In this, the smallest and the most isolated oasis, the traveler can visit several sulphur springs, and marvel at Qasr El-Farafra, the region's only settlement, a fortress ruin surrounded by palms. The biggest attraction, just 30 km north, is the "White Desert," a landscape of surreal beauty, in which wind and weather, over time, have carved and chiseled a gigantic sculpture park out of the chalk-white limestone rock.

Farafra 

Dakhla: traditional loam architecture in front of a spectacular rock backdrop

The Dakhla oasis served as a granary to the Romans, and until today, resembles a fairy tale idyll over vast stretches of territory. Two of the most beautiful of all the 14 settlements are Balad, meaning " village of loam," and El Qasr, meaning " the citadel," consisting of narrow, shady lanes. The lush green of the many orchards, and clover, rice and peanut fields, is a charming contrast to the honey-colored dunes and rock quarries glowing in pale-pink pastel in the surrounding desert. From the heyday of ancient times, several temple and tomb sites are still discernible.

Dakhla oasis

Kharga: once a caravan station, today a prosperous provincial center

The southermost oasis of the Western Desert was once an important station on the Darb el Arbain- the Forty Days Road- connecting camel and slave traders between the markets of northern and southern Africa. Today, it is the adminstrative capital of the "New Valley" province and, alongside extensive palm groves and fields, boasts several independent settlements such as Qasr Kharga, Bulaq and Baris. Highlights among ancient sanctuaries include the early Christian necropolis Al-Bagawat and, from Persian times, the Hibis Temple.

Siwa: Egypt's westernmost oasis lures travelers with baths, lakes and legendary temples

A special and enchanted place, the oasis of Siwa lies 500 km west of the Nile, 300 km south of Marsa Matruh, and several meters beneath sea level. 2700 years ago, while Roma was still a village and Homer had just completed the lliad, Siwa already enjoyed great renown within the entire Mediterranean world as home to the Oracle of Amun Re. World fame was gained in 331 AD when Alexander the Great chose to stay here and consult the oracle. The feeling of something legendary and surreal continues to adhere to this oasis until today. The plethora of natural attractions, including date and olive groves, lakes surrounded by reeds, table mountains and sand dunes, and gushing springs beckoning bathers to swim heighten Siwa's charm. Home to delightful, quality accomodation in eco-lodges, Siwa in addition boasts two picturesque hilltop castles, several ancient sites and a very distinctive culture strongly influenced by Berber traditions.

Siwa

The Pharaonic inheritance: Giza, Saqqara and the Egyptian Museum

In Egypt's Capital, Africa's largest metropolis, and the urban center of the Arab world, Orient and Occident unite in a fusion of the past, present, and future in a fascinating mixture. The attractions of this "mother Of cities" are endless. To be sure, each newcomer must first make a pilgrimage to the Great Pyramids of Giza, the last remaining of the seven ancient wonders of the world. A visit to the grave chambers deep inside the Pyramids, the Solar Boat Museum, and the enlightening Sound & Light Show in front of the Sphinx will provide an unforgettable glimpse of the unique culture of the Pharaohs. The royal Necropolis of Saqqara proves to be no less astonishing. Here, pioneering works of art tell of the riches and creative spirit that existed in neighboring Memphis, the first capital of the ancient Kingdom. Highlights here include the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the many mastabas with their fantastic relief decorations, or the Serapeum, resting place of the holy Apis bulls. A short excursion leads to Dahshur, a comparatively quiet site, far from the crowds, where a monumental grave in perfect pyramid form was erected for the first time ever. Back in Cairo's modern center, a single visit may not do justice to the Egyptian Museum, filled with thousands of the most precious items from antiquity, in particular the legendary treasure of Tutankhamun.

Sphinx

Modern metropolis, islamic and Old Cairo

Over 1000 years old, UNESCO has selected over 600 architectural monuments in Cairo's Islamic town as being worthy of particular protection, and inclusion in the list of world cultural heritage sites, including mosques like Sultan Hassan, Ibn Tulun or Al Azhar and the towering Citadel. Al Muizz road, stretching for two kilometers between the ancient enormous city gates of Bab Al-Futuh and Bab Zuwaila, meanders past a particularly exquisite selection of ancient monuments, including mausoleums, mosques, schools caravanserais (ancient trader's hostels), fountains and bath houses. A shopping adventure becomes a joy ride for the senses in the adjacent bazaars, particularly Khan el-Khalili, al-Muski and the Tentmakers Market, khayyamia, or even in markets further afield like Kerdassa and Fustat. Further highlights include the Islamic Museum, the Gayer-Anderson House, a perfectly restored ancient  Cairo home, the fine collections for ceramics at the Museum for Islamic Ceramics, and the Mahmoud Khalil Museum with its impressive collection of impressionist works. Only a little further south, on the banks of the Nile, the district of Old Cairo looks back on nearly 2000 years of history. Worthy of a thorough inspection here are the ancient gate towers of the Roman Fort Babylon, the Coptic Museum and a number of historically important religious sites, including Mari Girgis, the St. Barbara, the Hanging Church, and the Moallaqa churches, the Ben Ezra-Synagogue and the oldest mosque in Egypt named after the military commander,Amr Ibn al-As. Entertainment of a different variety can also be found in the city's many world-class shopping malls and a selection of a well-maintained golf courses on the outskirts of town. Further recommendations include an afternoon floating along the Nile abroad of Felucca, or an evening performance from the diverse cultural events taking place at the modern Opera House.

Babylon

LUXOR... Sacred places bound to catch the eye

El Uqsur, as modern-day Luxor was originally known, is the ancient capital of Thebes, which, together with the extensive necroplois on the opposite bank of the river, forms a focal point of ancient Egyptian culture. The cpentral Luxor Temple complex presents itself is a 260 m long sequence of grandiose gates, courtyards and columned halls.
More breathtaking still is the 40 hectare temple district of Karnak. For over 1700 years, well into Roman times, Karnak was extended by almost every ruler. Highlights include the gigantic pylons and obelisks, and the Amun temple with its phenomenal columned hall. The size and scale of Karnak are impressively conveyed every evening during the Sound & Light Show on the shore of the Holy Lake. The charm of the small town is best experienced in a one-horse open-top " Caleche" trotting through the quiet streets. Also recommended are the various museums for mummification and archaeology. Worthwhile day trips from Luxor include the temples of Dandara and Abydos in the north, Esna to the south, or eastwards to the Red Sea.
 

Tombs, temples and colossi: boundless amazement on the shores of the hereafter

As with the Pyramids near Cairo, the necropolis of Thebes lies with a westward orientation, where the sun, tracing the movement of Osiris into the netherworld, disappears behind the sandy horizon. Until today, the tombs and mortuary temples tell of the immense faith and energy of their buliders. Among the extraordinary attractions of the Theban Necropolis, over which the two twin columns, the Colossi of Memnon, lay watch, are the Temple for Ramses II (Ramesseum), Ramses III (Medinet Habu) and Queen Hatshepsut (Deir El-Bahari), the settlement of the necropolis-workers including their graves (Deir el-Medina) and the graves of the nobles (Sheikh Abd el-Qurna).
Pyramids
In the Valley of the kings oay one's respects to several of the 60 Pharaohs of the New Kingdom buried here. Those who take advantage of a bird's eye view of the scenery via an early morning hot-air balloon flight above the bare desert mountains bring home with them a truly unique perspective on this ancient wonder.
 

Cruises on the Nile and lake Nasser

The beauty of the Upper  Nile Valley, in the far south of Egypt, is the best appreciated from the deck of the cruise ship. The bucolic riverside scenery passes by in wide-screen cinemascope, delighting the viewer. In between, on occasional landward excursions, the visitor takes in various Pharaonic sites of interest, passing Esna, Edfu and Kom Ombo by the route between Aswan and Luxor. Prospective passengers can select from a variety of ships and trips, including a kne-way route, or the more leisurely round-trip.
lake Nasser
A romantic alternative for adventurersis the overnight journey on board a Felucca, a traditional sailing boat, from Aswan down the Nile to Edfu and/or Esna. Anothet of Egypt's nautical attractions is the opportunity to take a cruise on Lake Nasser, aboard a selection Of cruise ships, some of which pamper the travel in utmost luxury. During the several day trip southwards from Aswan, passengers in small groups, far from the hustle and bustle of the better visited sites further north, pay visits to some highly interesting ancient temple complexes, first and foremost of which is Abu Simbel.
 

ASWAN.. Fluvial idyll at the First Cataract

Aswan, Egypt's southernmost city, once the gate to inner Africa, and today the last port of call for all river cruises, is today particularly famous for its two dams:
the barrage dam,completed during the colonial period in the early 1900s, and the more dramatic High Aswan Dam, an epic engineering accomplishment achieved in the decades following independence. Aswan's quarries delivered the granite, as a great unfinished obelisk attests, for the Pharaonic monuments downriver. Lovers of ancient architecture pay their respects to the sanctuary of Philae with its Isis and Hathor Atemples, and the Trajans Kiosk. Further sites not to be missed include the temple of Beit el-Wadi and Kalabsha, the Nubian Museum, and the Nilometer on Elephantine Island. Charming insights of everyday life today are gained by a stroll through the restored bazaar or a visit to one of the Nubian villages in the area, including a traditional evening. But the Nile is the center of attention in Aswan, and a romantic Felucca ride by the light of the setting sun, perhaps including a walk through the botanical gardens on Plans Island (Kitchener's), or, on the western shore, a walk up to Agha Khan's mausoleum, or to the rock-graves and the ruins of St. Simeon's Monastery, is not to be missed.
 

ALEXANDRIA & THE MEDITERRANEAN COAST

A metropolis with a rich heritage: ancient library and lighthouse
The venerable old port City of Alexandria, on the northwest edge of the Nile Delta, was established as a commercial capital and center of Hellenistic learning in the days of the Ptolemies. Today, it remains a fascinating place, with a wealth of interesting facets to explore.
The harbor entrance, once the site of the legendary lighthouse of Pharos, attracts attention today due to the Ottoman Citadel of Qaitbey. The principal ancient sites of Alexandria include the catacombs of Kom El Shuqafa, the early Ptolemaic tombs of Anfushi, and Pompey's famous pillar watched over by two Sphinxes, the roman Amphitheatre of Kom El Dikka, the villa al-Tuyur with its beautiful mosaics, and the Greco-Roman Museum. Further into the city, districts with an oriental flair, such as Anfushi or Gumruk, characterized by narrow lanes, busy bazaars and huge mosques, invite visitors for a leisurely stroll. Reminders of Alexandria's cultural flowering that took place during the early 1900s can be found in the Art Nouveau façades, cinemas and cafés in the central district of El-Manshiya, the jewel of a museum dedicated to the life of Alexandria poet Constantine Cavafy, as well as much praised sea-food restaurants and seaside villas on the way to the elegant suburb of Montazah. As a testament To Alexandria's proud history and bold outlook into the future, the new " Bibliotheca Alexandrina" is a dramatic monument to the post-modernist architectural style.
Through the idyllic Nile Delta to the monasteries of Wadi el-Natroun
In the evergreen, picturesque agrarian country of the Nile Delta around Alexandria, several important attractions can be found, including the ruins of the ancient metropolis Tamis. Located on the western arm of the Nile is Rosetta, world famous due to the discovery of the stone that bears its name that enabled Champollion to decipher the ancient hieroglyphic language of the Pharaohs. In the desert in Wadi el-Natroun on the way back to Cairo, four monasteries-Anba Bishoi, Anba Maqar, Al-Suryani and El-Baramus-bear witness to the time when early Christian monasticism was centered here, and boast churches filled with precious frescoes and icons dating back a 1000 years.
 

The Mediterranean: El Alamein, Marsa Matruh

Fine, pristine, sandy beaches, next to clear, turquoise water are the trademarks of Egyptian Mediterannean coast from Agami in the east, not far from Alexandria, to Sallum in the west, near the border with Libya. Throughout this stretch of coastline, numerous villas, hotels and resorts offer the necessary infrastructure for a carefree summer holiday. Numerous sights and diversions provide the traveler with plenty to do, including the Ptolemaic lighthouse at Borg El-Arab, the ancient-world ruins of Abu Menas, or the famous and notorious battle scene of El-Alamein with its deeply moving memorials. Of special charm is the brand-new Porto Marina resort, 105 km west of Alexandria. As the first international caliber yacht marina on the Mediterranean coast of  North Africa, the Porto Marina complex, including a hotel, golf course, spa complex and Venice Canal Mall, is rightly considered the Mediterranean Gateway To Egypt.

RED SEA

Hurghada
A booming holiday town on the West coast of The Red Sea
This former fishing port lies approximately 80 km southeast of Sharm el-Sheikh,and is considered the cradle of holiday tourism on the west coast of the red Sea. No other destination in the region attracts more sun-loving northerners, and it is easily reachable via numerous direct flights from Europe.Hurghada consists of numerous parts: south of the historical center of Dahar, separated from the sea by a mountain rock, possessing picturesque loam houses and bazaars, lies the port and hotel district of Sakkala.
New and South Hurghada follow, 30 km of coastline peppered with lodging options of all categories and all price ranges. Hurghada also offers a wide choice in gastronomy and sports, including, for example, two excellent golf courses. Appealing to all generations are the local museum and sea aquarium, a trip in the glass-bottom boat or panorama submarine, and all sorts of water sports like wake-boarding or kite-surfing. Not far away are several islands, including Giftun and Magawish, that entice with offers of snorkeling and fish barbecues. Highlife also prevails in the four and five star complexes in the bordering neighbourhoods os Sahl Hasheesh, Makadi and Soma Bay. Just inland, travelers experience the endless silence of the desert via day or over night tours through the mountainous hinterland, taking in, for example, the two Roman quarries of Mons Claudianus and Porphyrites.
 
 
 
Marsa Alam & Port Ghalib
Young and sophisticated: two rising stars on Egypt's holiday map
This newest draw for sun-seeking tourists on Egypt's Red Sea coast is located at Marsa Alam, 132 km south of El Quseir, where once the merchant fleets of the Pharaohs set sail toward the Horn of Africa. In the 1990s, there arrived here the first diving camps, followed by eco-lodges sprouting from the desert soil. Since then, more established tourism infrastructure has arrived, including several four and five-star establishments, diving centers offering exquisite comfort and professional expertise, and an international airport for charter flights connecting this remote region with the rest of the world.
The diving here is fantastic: the reefs of Abu Dabab, Elphinestone, Delphinhaus, Samadai, Sataya and Wadi el Gemal guarantee many magical moments. Worthwhile excursions on land include taking in the old emerald mines, and the National Park at Gebal Alba, the only part of Egypt to catch part of the southern monsoon. Port Ghalib, 60 km north of Marsa Alam, opened in 2005 as a flagship holiday destination for the future. As a top class hotel resort, it offers various sport and entertainment programs and features its very own yachting harbor and club. 
The additional advantage of these two new destinations is the close proximity of the Nile Valley with its Pharaonic treasures.
 
 
 
El Gouna
Stress-free, pampered holidays or wntire winters in the city of lagoons
There Is hardly a sport that cannot be indulged in at this tourist haven: wakeboarding, waterskiing, windsurfing, kite-surfing, sailing, ultra-lighting, paragliding, deep-sea fishing, riding, golf, tennis, squash, go-kart driving and, lastbut not least, diving and snorkeling. In addition, there is an open-air cinema, a marina, a nautical museum including an aquarium, an artist's village and a handicraft market, even a school, a church, a mosque, a modern hospital, an airfield and a radio station. All this and more lies scattered across the islands of a gorgeous lagoon, interconnected by bridges and canals.
El Gouna's excellent reputation as an ideal family destination is based upon the 10  km of sandy beaches and its 14 world-class hotels, each one completely different in design, yet fitting into a harmonious aesthetic of the village as a whole, all meeting the highest requirements in comfort. One innovative service offered is the "Dine Around" program, in which hotel guests can dine around town in 20 exquisite restauranta, where culinary treasures can be sampled to one's heart's desire, as part of their hotel packages.
Those that undertake a trip to the monasteries of St. anthony ans St. Paul, both early centers of the Coptic faith, make a journey in time to the roofs of Christianity and the monastic tradition.
 

SINAI

Sharm el-Sheikh
High Life on the beach, in the city, and under water
This is the most frequented holiday location on the Sinai Peninsula, and it offers all the enjoyment a holiday-maker desires. Year round sunshine, fine and shallow beaches, and fantastic diving and snorkeling areas make Sharm an ideal destination. Car-free boardwalks and an immensely varied hotel scene produce a welcoming environment.And the comprehensive dining and entertainment scene, a stimulating symbiosis of exclusive restaurants, bars and cafés, discos and nightclubd, guarantee culinary enjoyment and amusement till the early morning. The broad promenades of Sharm ooze Mediterranean flair; in the evenings, thanks to the snazzy shopping arcades, dazzling music, and animation programs, the town becomes more of a mini Las Vegas.
The center for fashionistas is Naama Bay, ehere many of the first class hotels and holiday resorts are found. The neighboring bays of Garden, Tiger, Shark and Nabq Bay also boast many attractions for tourists. At the foot of a rock escarpment Overlooking the city lies the historic harbor district of Sharm El-Maya. Next to it is Ras Umm Sid, where one of the most magnificent reefs of the region can be found. Just beyond the city limits, diving and snorkeling connoisseurs go crazy for the brilliant fauna and flora on display, especially at Ras Nasrani and in the Ras Mohammed National Park.
One can even sample Sharm's underwater glories while staying dry via a glasd bottom boat, which every hotel reception will gladly help organize.
 
 
 
Dahab
Time out on the "Golden Beach"
In this central holiday location on the west coast of the Gulf of Aqaba, holidaymakers are surrounded by a noticeably calmer pace of life. Decades ago, those on the hippy trail adopted the local Bedouin settlement of Assalah as their paradise. Now welcoming visitors from all backgrounds, including backpackers, families and honeymooners, Dahab's charm lies in its casual atmosphere of cafés, beach bungalows, and camping sites. Visitors today race on around on surfboards, or whiz by on quad bikes, and afterwards, under the palms of Ghazala Bay, celebrate by chilling out playing Backgammon and smoking a water pipe or doing yoga.
Offering a more luxurious stay are the four and five star hotels which developed in recent years just to the south of the traditional center. Dahab is also famous among divers, snorkelers and underwater-photographers, who are drawn to the coral reefs of Abu Gallum and Gabr El-Bent, as well as the 80 m deep crater named the Blue Hole.
 
 
The mountainous world of southern Sinai
In the tracks of Moses and St. Catherine
Sinai is noteworthy not only for the brilliance of its beach and aquatic offerings. Just as highly recommended is a camel ride, jeep trip, or trekking tour through the grandiose mountain scenery of the hinterland. Prominent sites include the White or the Colored Canyons, a trip through the Wadi Ghazala to the Blue Desert, the Ain Khudra and Feiran oases, or the Pharaonic temple of Serbit El-Khadim. At the end of such outings, the Bedouin guides love to serve up a delicious open-air desert dinner.
A visit to St. Catherine's Monastery, site of the biblical burning bush, and until today an active and important religious center, leaves a lasting impression on the visitor. Also not to be missed, for those in good health, is a climb up to the summit of Mount Sinai, 2285 m above sea level, from which the landscape of the South Sinai presents itself in its whole magnificence.
 
 
 
Nuweiba & Taba
Two peaceful retreats for nature lovers
Tourism here, like in Dahab, originated with the hippy generation of the 1970s. Between Nuweiba and Jordan's Aqaba there is a daily car and passenger ferry service. The beaches here are still as beautiful, and the mountains in the background just ad spectacular, ad before. But to the traditional offerings of camp sites and other simple overnight accomodation have been added several high-class hotel options. Further north along the coast, a number of beach camps, where the rugged imdividual traveler is still the norm, and hotel resorts have sprung up.
The diving areas are spectacular, and in most places there is a great choice of water sports on offer, including windsurfing, wake boarding, jet and water-skiing. Most hotels offer help in arranging guides with jeeps or camels for excursions into the hinterland. A number of top-class hotels await the sophisticated traveler in the border town of Taba. The highlight of this area is called Taba Heights, a 4.5 km2 hotel village of the highest standards, and a perfect destination for family holidays, with its own golf course and international yachting harbor. A popular destination for boat trips is Pharaoh's Island, where the remains of the castle fortress bring back the memory of the famous times of the Arabian ruler Salah el-Din.
 

DESERTS & OASES

 

 

El Fayoum
Fertile paradise since Pharaonic times
The historically rich oasis of El Fayoum covers an area of approximately 1800 km2. From the air, it resembles a green bud on the stalk of the Nile. The swampy depression, a preferred hunting ground throughout history, from the Pharaohs to mre contemporary kings, was transformed into fertile agricultural country more than 3500 years ago through the construction of channels and dykes. Until today, Bahr Yusuf, a river dug in ancient times during the 12th Dynasty, supplies the area with Nile water, and keeps the area lush. Impressive evidence of the former Middle Kingdom's boom years can be seen at the temple of Medinet Madi and the pyramids of Sesostris ll at El Lahun and Amenemhet lll at Hauwara.
Waddi El-Rayan
The latter was once part of a complex that included the extensive legendary labyrinth made up of over 1500 rooms that the Greeks had designated as one of the wonders of the world. Remnants of the region's Roman past can be seen in the famous mummy portraits, which were found in great numbers in local tombs, in addition to the ruined Roman cities of Dime, Tebtynis, Dionysias and Karanis/Kom Auschim. Until today, still turning on the main square of Medinet El-Fayoum, once an ancient city dedicated to the god Sobek, are two noisily creaking wooden water-wheels.
Fayoum is shaped by the 230 km2 saltwater Lake Qaroun, around the shores of which lives a wonderful and varied bird kingdom, and around which cozy restaurants welcome visitors. Well worth a visit are both Tunis Village, a center for pottery, and, further west in the heart of the desert, Wadi Al-Hitan, the " Valley of the Whales," famed for its 20 m long fossilized whale skeletons.
 
 
Bahariyya
Lush Verdant gardens around the "Valley of the Golden Mummies"
While its history goes far back as far as Pharaonic times, this oasis at Bahariyya, consisting of eight villages 360 km southwest of Cairo, was hardly known until the end of the 20th Century. The main attractions were the temple built for Alexander the Great during his lifetime, the 400 hot and cold mineral and sulphur springd, and the peaceful padtoral oasis setting. Then, in 1996, a sensation was caused by the chance discovery of an archaeological treasure when a donkey fell through the roof of burial chamber on the border between the twin settlements of El- Bawiti and El- Qasr.
oasis at Bahariyya
It was subsequently discovered that this was part of a Ptolemaic-Roman necropolis, in which thousands of intricately, individually decorated mummies were stored. While the excavation site is not open to the public, some mummies are exhobited in El-Bawiti. Other local attractions include the old British fortifications on the Jebel Al-Ingleez, the Jebel Maghrafa, where a gigantic dinosaur skeleton was discovered, and the rock formations of the Black Desert. Last but not least, an overnight stay in a Bedouin tent under the wondrous twinkling night sky is entirely unforgettable.
 
 
Dakhla
An oasis of magnificent beauty and ancient history
 Dakhla oasis
About 300 km south-east of Farafra, the Dakhla oasis is 120 km in length, and exhibits for its guests a fascinating landscape . More than 500 wells provide sumptuous vegetation for a variety of animal life. Nestling against the foothills of spectacular cragged desert mountains are places whose roots go back to medieval, even Pharaonic, times. Particularly picturesque are the village of Qalamon and the old fortified city of El-Qasr, both built entirely of loam with a labyrinth of lanes covered in reed mats. The modern capital Mut also has an historic losm castle in its midest, in addition to a folklore museum. Additional sites worth a visit are the Roman temple of Deir El-Hagar, the roman tombs of Al Mozawaka and Bashendi, the pharaonic tomb of Balad, and, in the extreme south, the oasis of Baris. A warm bath in the sulpher spring at Ain El-Qasr, or a picnic at the palm-fringed salt-lake of Bir Al-Gabal, will soothe even the weariest of travelers.
 
 
 
Kharga
The center of the New Valley: both modern and full of history
Egypt's southenmost oasis, covering an area of about 299 x 30 km, with around 60,000 inhabitants, is the largest and the most densely populated of Egypt's oases. A considerable part of the land is arable, a brilliant achievement considering that Kharga is one of the hottest places on earth receiving nearly 4400 hours of sunshine per year.
Kharga oasis
The province's capital has an aura of modern functionalism. More attractive is the Hibis Temple just 2 km to the north, considered the best conserved Persian place of worship in the whole of Egypt.The fortified temple of Qasr Ghuwata was also completed under the rule of Darius l, around 500 BC. Dating back to Roman times in Qasr El-Zayyan, and, far south in the midest of grandiose sand dunes, is the Osiris Temple of Dush. Over 100 funerary chapels of the necropolis El- Bagawat, all elaborately decorated, are of the early Christian origin. After extensive sightseeing, a bath in the hot thermal springs of Nasser and Bulaq promises to relax the weary traveler, in addition to providing health benefits, particularly the alleviation of rheumatism and allergies.
 
 
Farafra
Warm springs and a desert full of white, surreal sculptures
After the long desert journey, there's no Doubt that every traveler will appreciate the refreshing shade of the palm groves in this oasis, half way between dakhla and bahariyya. A bath in the sulphur springs of Bir Setta or El-Mufid washes both sand and fatigue from the limbs.
 Farafra oasis
The trip to the necropolis of Ain Besai, 15 Km Southwest of the settlement, reveals chapels and rock tombs from the Roman and early Christian eras. And a visit to Badr's museum, a local artist's studio full of original paintings, figures and objects, fires ones's imagination. Visitors to the White Desert stare in amazement at the deserted dream landscape, 20 minutes drive north of Farfara, where the winds ot time have sculpted  the limestone rock into bizarre shapes-mushrooms, cones, columns, and table mountains. As if produced by the gigantic hands of surrealist artists, the white formations lie scattered over a flat area covering roughly 30 km , and, particularly at dusk and dawn, shine in luminous pastel colors.
 
Siwa
Where the Gods once blessed Alexander the Great
A good three hours' drive from the coast, rising like a jewel of a mirage, the most remote of Egypt's five oases appears out of nowhere in the Western Desert.
Siwa oasis
Where Alexander the Great once received confirmation of his right of rule over Egypt by divine oracle, today over-stressed contemporaries enjoy total solitude. The heart of the 2400 km2 oasis was once the fortress-like ancient town of Shali. The view from its highest point across the clay houses to the glittering lakes on the horizon is stunning. Siwa's archaeological highlight is the ruined city of Aghurmi with its two Amun-sanctuaries. Comfort for body and soul means a bath on the island of Fatnis , or in the pearly mineral water of "Cleopatra's fountain." At the foot of Djebel Dakhrour, relief for rheumatism sufferers is brought about by submersion up to the neck in warm sand. Meanwhile, souvenir hunters search successfully for authentic silver trinkets, pottery and woven ware at the at the local handicraft market. Nature lovers ride a bike or take a karretta, the donkey cab, to the shady palm-groves and watch the colorful multitudes of rare birds on the lake shores. Especially attractive for those interested in ancient customs are the Siwa Museum and the annual festival for the date harvest in October. Perhaps the closest you come to nsture in Siwa is by spending your nights staying in one of the splendid eco-lodges for which Siwa in recent years has gained fame.
 

 

 

PRACTICAL INFORMATION FOR TRAVELLERS

Passport and visa requirements
• To enter Egypt you need a valid passport and a visa, for which a fee is payable. Depending on the regulations applying to your country of origin, visas can be obtained from Egyptian consulates abroad. In many cases, you can also obtain a visa at any international airport or major part of entry into Egypt. Visitors to the Gulf of Aqaba and St. catherine's entering Egypt by overland routes are granted free 14-day residence permits, so do not need visas.  
 
Health regulations and medical facilities
• You do not need a vaccination to visit Egypt unless you come from a high-risk area, in which case you must have valid vaccination certificates. Egypt has excellent medical care: you will find highly qualified doctors and well-equipped hospitals in all major cities. Pharmacies (drugstores) are generally open 24 hours a day, although patients with special prescriptions are advised to fill them before travelling.   Language • Egypt's official language is Arabic, but many other languages are also spoken, including English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.
 
Personal safety
• Crime is rare in Egypt, and u will find trained, English-speaking Tourist police at most tourist venues.
 
Climate
• The climate is moderate all year round. Midsummer can be hot, but is rarely humid. Winter is generally sunny and pleasant, but temperatures fall at night, especially in the desert. Heavier rainfall is usually confined to January and February.   Clothing • In summer, you only need light cotton clothing, a hat, sun cream and sunglasses. In winter a sweater is recommended. While there is no explicit dress code in the cities, women will feel more comfortable if they do not wear shorts or leave their shoulders uncovered. This is especially important when visiting churches and mosques.
 
Currency and payment
• The national currency is the Egyptian pound (LE), Known as Guineh in Arabic. Each pound is divided into 100 piasters with different banknotes. ATM machines are found in cities, large towns and some hotels. Major hotels and large stores also accept credit cards and travellers' checks. There are no limits on the amount of foreign currency you can bring into or take out of Egypt: Money can be changed at banks and foreign exchange offices.
 
Local transport
• Transport is plentiful, with taxis in major cities (Cairo has a fleet of metered yellow cabs). You can hire a car in major cities and at most airports. EgyptAir runs frequent connecting flights among Egypt's tourist cities, and a high-speed train service links Cairo with other major cities offering a sleeping service over longer distances. Most destinations are also served by air-conditioned buses or coaches.
 Accommodation Choose from a wide range of hotel accommodations: deluxe, budget, eco-lodge or camp.
 
 Food
• Egyptian cuisine is delicious: mildly spicy, with a wide range of dishes to suit all tastes and budgets. Try stuffed pigeon with rice, grilled meat kebabs and kofta, or molokhaya soup with fresh baladi (Egyptian bread). Fresh seafood is served on the coast and along the Nile. International and vegetarian cuisines are also well represented.
 Photography • Visitors can take photos freely except in restricted areas such as airports, ports and military zones. Some museums and historic sites restrict photography for the protection of antiquities, and may make a charge. If in doubt, ask.
 Shopping • Egyptian handicrafts reflect the country's history. Souks and galleries sell handmade goods such as blown glass, pottery, jewelry, papyrus, carpets, leather goods, scarves, cotton textiles, alabaster, perfumes and spices. Modern goods can be found in stores and shopping malls.
 
 Children
• Egypt offers a wealth of activities for children and young teenagers, with theme parks, libraries and museums for children, kids' club in many resorts and a host of sporting activities (swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, sailing, hiking, kite surfing, windsurfing, golf courses, diving…). Many hotels offer a babysitting service.
 Entertainment • There is plenty to do in Egypt. Enjoy the many museums of history, art and culture, or experience the "Sound-and-Light" Shows at some of Egypt's most beautiful historic sites. Enjoy the opera houses of Cairo or Alexandria, or watch traditional dancing as you cruise down the Nile. Nightclubs play eastern and western music, or feature shows and live bands. For a truly special experience, spend a night in the desert being entertained by desert folklore.
   
Communications
 • Telephone: you can make local, national and international calls from public phones using affordable, prepaid cards. Take advantage of social tourist cell-phone rates, or use your own mobile phone via your operator's international roaming service. • Post: you can buy stamps and post letters at post offices or from your hotel. Post offices are closed on Fridays. • Internet: very popular in Egypt, via cybercafés or wireless access (wifi) in most major cities.   Business hours and public holidays • Government offices and banks are generally open between 9.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. every day except Friday, Saturday and public holidays. Most shops are open from 10.00 a.m. to 10.00 p.m., except on Sundays. Times may vary in shopping centers and during Ramadan.  
 
 
Public holidays(fixed dates)
• January 7: Coptic Christmas Day  
• January 25: January 25 Revolution Day and Police Day
 • April 25: Sinai Liberation Day  
• May 1 : Labor day
 • July 23: Revolution Day ( commemorating the abolition of the monarchy in 1952)  
• October 6: Armed Forces Day   Public holidays(dates vary according to the Muslim calendar)
• Eid al-fitr: marks the end of Ramadan
• Eid al-Adha: Feast of sacrifice (ca. 70 days after the end of Ramadan )
• Ras el sana Hijria: Islamic New Year
• Mawlid al-Nabi: Birthday of the Prophet Mohammed  
 
  Time zone and voltage
• Egypt is GMT +2(+3 during summertime). Voltage: 220V.
 
Useful numbers
•Tourist Police - 126  
• Fire Service - 180
• Ambulance - 123
• Flying Hospital – 37766393/2
• Directory Inquiries – 140
• Cairo Airport shuffle bus service – 19970  
 
On Departure
• You may buy and export Egyptian goods, but it is strictly forbidden to trade in or export antiquities.      
 

Tourism Map of EGYPT


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