and the area around it are considered to be the heart of Egypt,
and one may find almost every aspect of Egypt represented in the
area, including some of the most famous Pharaonic, ancient Christian
and Islamic monuments.
Cairo offers an incredible selection
of shopping, leisure, culture and nightlife. Shopping ranges from
the famous Khan el-Khalili souk, (or bazaar) largely unchanged since
the 14th century, to modern air-conditioned centers displaying the
latest fashions. All the bounty of the East is here - particularly
good buys are spices, perfumes, gold, silver, carpets, brass and
copperware, leatherwork, glass, ceramics and mashrabiya. Try some
of the famous street markets, like Wekala al-Balaq, for fabrics,
including Egyptian cotton, the Tentmakers Bazaar for appliqué-work,
Mohammed Ali Street for musical instruments and, although you probably
won't want to buy, the Camel Market makes a fascinating trip.
of Pyramids from the Mena House Hotel
you need a break from city life, try a round of golf on the famous
Mena House course overlooking the Pyramids,
watch the horse racing at the Gezira Club or visit the Zoo and the
Botanical Gardens. Take a trip on the Nile in a felucca or ride
on horseback from the Giza Pyramids
to Sakkara. For a day trip outside Cairo
visit Haraniyya village and see the beautiful tapestries and weaving
produced by local people. If you wish, you may get away from it
all at the top of the Cairo Tower,
a modern 187 meter-high tower with views of the city from all sides,
topped by a revolving restaurant.
Cairo comes alive at night, which
is the best time to shop, eat delicious Middle Eastern cuisine,
or simply watch the world go by from a pavement cafe. You can dine
in a floating restaurant on the Nile, sample an apple-flavored shisha
waterpipe at a coffee-shop or see oriental dancers and cabarets
at a luxury hotel. The splendid Opera House complex houses several
galleries (including the Museum of Modern Art), restaurants and
concert halls. Listening to Arabic music under the stars, in the
open-air theater, is a magical experience. At El-Ghuriya, in the
heart of Islamic Cairo you can watch
folk musicians and whirling dervish dancers. And don't forget the
most essential after-dark experience, the Sound and Light show at
the Pyramids, a dramatic fusion
of light and music recounting the story of antiquity.
Islamic Cairo is not the oldest
section of Cairo, as that distinction
belongs to Old Cairo. Westerners
visiting Cairo many not wish to
think in terms of Islamic here, but rather medieval. Indeed this
area encompasses the medieval history from beginning to end.
Old Cairo actually predates Cairo
itself to old Babylon and the Romans. Located here are some of the
oldest Christian Churches in the World, as well as one of the oldest
Giza is where the Great Pyramid is located, but there is more to
the west bank of the Nile. Several important districts are located
here, along with wonderful restaurants and great shopping opportunities.
was founded in the early 20th century, and until a few years ago,
remained a small fishing village. But today, it has gone on to become
the foremost tourist resort of the Red Sea coast and an international
center for aquatic sports. If it takes place in or on the water you
can do it here : windsurfing, sailing, deep-sea fishing, swimming,
but, above all, snorkeling and diving. The unique underwater gardens
offshore are some of the finest in the world, justifiably famous amongst
divers. The warm waters here are ideal for many varieties of rare
fish and coral reefs, which may also be observed through glass bottom
boats. This area has many fine accommodations, usually offering warm
and efficient service. Restaurants are mostly along the main road.
While in Hurghada, don't miss the
museum and aquarium, with their complete collections of flora and
fauna of the Red Sea.
Today, Hurghada is known as a party
town, particularly among Europeans. Locals and others will tell you
that life begins at night in Hurghada,
with the many, many clubs. They are particularly frequented by the
young, but certainly many others of all ages. One may often find a
rousing party centered around the visitors from a tour group taking
over the action of a particular bar. They are easy to find along the
main street, along with loads of inexpensive and expensive hotels.
Pubs, Restaurants and Internet Cafes line the Main Street
is also a beach resort, where thousands of older Europeans and others
come with their families to enjoy the sun and fun of private resort
beaches, some all inclusive. Many of these hotels offer so many
activities and facilities that one may never need to leave the resort.
Often, the larger resorts have zoos, playgrounds, discos, bars,
a number of pools and even small theaters.
is also a city under development. Many new hotels and construction
are taking place, and we can expect to see some great new hotels,
restaurants and other facilities in the near future. Actually this
is a busy section of the Red Sea in general. Safaga is just south
of Hurghada, and Soma Bay with its
beautiful Sheraton is even closer to the South. To the North is
El Gouna, a highly organized resort community. Together, these communities
and resort areas offer just about everything a visitor might wish
for, from raucous parties to isolated scuba diving, with golf, bowling
and fishing in between.
near Hurghada offer all kinds of fun
and excitement. Take a day trip to Giftun Island for snorkeling and
a fish barbecue, or view the Red Sea from a submarine! When you're
not in the sea you can shop in the boutiques, relax in the luxury
holiday villages or visit the Roman Mons Porphyrites (mountain of
porphyry) remains at nearby Gebel Abu Dukhan (Father of Smoke). Day-trips
or safaris to explore the Red Sea Mountains by camel or jeep are also
available. Other nearby islands and destinations include the Shadwan
Island (Diving, snorkeling, fishing but no swimming), Shaab Abu Shiban
(Diving, snorkeling and swimming), Shaab el-Erg (Diving, fishing and
snorkeling), Umm Gammar Island (Diving and snorkeling), Shasb Saghir
Umm Gammae (Diving), Careless Reef (Diving), Abu Ramada Island (Diving),
Shaab Abu Ramada (Fishing), Dishet el-Dhaba (Beaches and swimming),
Shaab Abu Hashish (Beaches, diving, snorkeling, swimming and fishing),
Sharm el-Arab (Diving, swimming and fishing and Abu Minqar Island
(Beaches and swimming).
has often been called the worlds greatest open air museum, as indeed
it is and much more. The number and preservation of the monuments
in the Luxor area are unparalleled
anywhere else in the world that know of. Actually, what most people
think of as Luxor is really three
different areas, consisting of the City of Luxor
on the East side of the Nile, the town of Karnak
just north of Luxor and Thebes,
which the ancient Egyptians called Waset, which is on the west side
of the Nile across from Luxor.
Right - The west bank across the Nile from Luxor.
To say that the Luxor area is a
major attraction for tourists in Egypt would be an understatement.
It has been a tourist destination since the beginning of tourism.
Even in ancient times, during the late Dynasties of the Greek and
Roman periods, the area drew tourists, and has been doing so ever
since. Today Luxor is well equipped
to accommodate tourists with many hotels and in general a tourist
industry ready and willing to serve the people from many countries
that descend on this area of the Nile Valley every year.
Within Luxor, there are only three
main streets consisting of Sharia al-Mahatta,
al-Karnak and the Corniched, next
to the Nile. The street in front of the train station is Sharia al-Mahatta
and runs away from the Nile where it meets the gardens of Luxor
Temple. Sharia al-Karnak, or Maabad
al-Karnak which means Karnak
Temple Street runs along the Nile from Luxor
Temple to Karnak Temple. However,
Sharia al-Karnak is known as Sharia
al-Markaz where it meets Sharia al-Mahatta street, and to the south
around the temple it is known as Sharia al-Lokanda. Along this street
one will find the colorful signs of restaurants and cafes, as well
as bazaars where the usual variety of Egyptian souvenirs can be found.
Of interest is the alabaster, which is plentiful along the west bank
and miled not far from here. Also look for the clay pots used by the
locals for cooking, which are more unusual.
at the Nile
today is a city of some 150,000 people and is governed by special
statues that allow it more autonomy then other political areas of
Egypt. One thing you might notice is that various government and
other buildings confirm to an 'ancient' building code. Particularly,
the National bank of Egypt (located near the winter palace), the
spa south of the police station, and the railway station are all
designed to appear as pharaonic constructs. All of this occurred
after the Egyptianization of the modern town resulting mostly from
the mania that resulted from Howard Carter's discovery of the Tomb
of Tutankhamun. As one might think, the city has all the amenities
tourists might expect, including a variety of hotels, bars, nightclubs
Luxor proper on the East Bank, one
of the first stops must be the Temple
of Luxor built by Amenophis
III. Head south on Sharia al-Karnak
to reach the temple, which was connected to the Karnak
Temple via a long stone processional street called a dromos. The dromos
(Picture at right) was built by Nectanebo I, and originally was lined
on either side by sphinxes. In front of the Luxor
temple, the dromos is well preserved, and on the way to the entrance
one passes by a Roman chapel of burnt brick dedicated to the god Serapis,
which was built during the rule of Hadrian. There is a path that leads
to the Nile side of the Temple where one enters the complex.
leaving Luxor, head back to Sharia
al-Karnak and go north towards
Karnak. Down the road, near the
police station which is near the tomb is the oldest mosque in Luxor,
the El-Mekashkesh Mosque. It contains the remains of a 10th century
Islamic saint who rumor has it was a monk prior to converting to Islam.
The mosque is a popular pilgrimage destination. Here also is the Franciscan
Church and its schools, one for boys and the other girls. Beyond this
lies a great Coptic basilica.
At the Police station, head towards the Nile Corniche. Here, opposite
the Mina Palace Hotel you will find the Mummification Museum, which
has most anything you would ever want to know about mummifications.
From here, head north towards Karnak.
halfway to Karnak, you will discover
the Luxor Museum. (The image at
left is a Block Statue of Iamu Negh from the Luxor
Museum). It should certainly be visited if you plan a well rounded
and educated experience. While this is a small museum, most of the
relics are from the surrounding area and provide considerable insight
to the monuments you will visit. From the Museum, head back to Sharia
al-Karnak and continue north towards
Karnak. After crossing a small
bridge one will begin to see the excavated dromos off the road and
running through a small village. A little further on you will pass
the ruins of the Temple of Mut where another dromos leads to the gateway
of the tenth pylon. The road finally arrives at the domed tombs of
two saints, Sidi Ahmed and Sidi Ali, where a road leads past the Department
of Antiquities leads to the main Temple of Karnak
entrance. This road is built along a canal that once connected the
Nile to the Temple. There was a dock in ancient times, but now all
that is left is the quay and the raised dais. Just past that is a
red brick Roman dock and past that two paved ramps led to the river
bank. They are bordered by stone parapets, and were built during the
rule of Taharqa. Past these is the Chapel of Achoris, which received
the sacred boat of Amun when it was used in ceremonies.
arrive at the entrance one follows the dromos with its crio-sphinxes.
They have the head of a Ram and the body of a lion and are symbolic
of the God Amun. Arriving at the temple, there is a statue of
Ramesses II with his son between his feet.
To the right is a structure that has red steps, a red front
colonnade and red brick walls. Inside there are pedestals. inscribed
with the names of Roman emperors, that once held their statues.
This was a Roman chapel dedicated to imperial worship. After
leaving the Temple complex on the left is the Franco-Egyptian
Center which has managed the temple complex since 1967. Down
on the shore of the Nile is the Centre National dl la Recherche
Scientifque, or CNRS, which houses the French and the Chicago
House, a project of the University of Chicago is near by. After
this, you will wish to take a boat trip over to the West bank.
This trip had a special meaning to the Egyptians, for they were
more crossing the way to the West and life, then to a necropolis.
The Valley of the Kings
is as good as any to try first, with tombs from the 18th and
19th Dynasties. Outside the Valley
of the Kings, the road leads past Antef, named for the 11th
Dynasty prices who were buried here. Some tombs can still be
seen as one heads towards the Temple of Seti I. Most of what
is left of Seti's Temple is the view. The court is entered by
the ruined gate of a pylon The court has what is left of a palace
on the south side. The road continues south passing Dra-Abu
Luxor Sound and Light Show
simplicity of sun, sea and sand. The luxury of five-star hotels,
water sports, shopping and entertainment. This is Sharm
el-Sheikh, one of the most accessible and developed tourist
resort communities on the Sinai peninsula. All around are Bedouins,
colorful tents, mountains and sea. There are small, intimate
hotels with modern designs, as well as larger hotel complexes
belonging to International chains, plus about all the amenities
one could expect of a tourist center, including casinos, discos
and nightclubs, golf courses and health facilities.
fact, with diving and snorkeling, windsurfing and other water sports,
horses and camel riding, desert safaris, and great nearby antiquities
attractions, it is almost impossible for a visitor to ever suffer
miles south the southern section of the town stands on a cliff overlooking
the port. and is a great view.
Na'ama Beach is one of the center of the tourist activities. Located
just north of Sharm, this area is developing into a resort town
of its own. Most hotels at Na'ama Bay have their own, private beaches
with comfortable amenities such as chairs, shades and even bars.
Shark's Bay is also nearby, and again is a growing resort community
with more and more to offer, along with several diving centers.
The small harbor known as Sharm el-Moiya is located next to the
civil harbor, has accommodations for boats, and includes a Yacht
Club with rooms.
For those who live to shop, the Sharm
el-Sheikh mall provides shops with both foreign and local products,
including jewelry, leather goods, clothing, pottery and books.
It has been said that this is a must visit for all diving enthusiasts.
There are many diving sites along the 10 mile beach between Sharm
el-Sheikh and Ras Nusrani.
Egypt's sunniest southern city and ancient frontier town located about
81 miles south of Luxor, has a distinctively
African atmosphere. Its ancient Egyptian name was Syene. Small enough
to walk around and graced with the most beautiful setting on the Nile,
the pace of life is slow and relaxing. Days can be spent strolling
up and down the broad Corniche watching the sailboats etch the sky
with their tall masts or sitting in floating restaurants listening
to Nubian music and eating freshly caught fish.
In Aswan the Nile is at its most
beautiful, flowing through amber desert and granite rocks, round emerald
islands covered in palm groves and tropical plants. Explore the souk,
full of the scent and color of spices, perfumes, scarves and baskets.
View the spectacular sunsets while having tea on the terrace of the
Old Cataract Hotel (Named due to the location of the Nile's first
cataract located here). Aswan has
been a favorite winter resort since the beginning of the nineteenth
century, and it's still a perfect place to get away from it all.
Every night Nubian dancers and musicians perform in the Cultural Center,
just off the Corniche. Folklore troupes recreate scenes from village
life and perform the famous Nubian mock stick-fight dances.
at the Cultural Center
is a strategic location which currently houses a garrison of the Egyptian
army, but which has also seen ancient Egyptian garrisons, as well
as that of General Kitchener, Turkish troops of the Ottoman empire
and the Romans.
The city proper lies on the east bank of the Nile. Relax here, visit
a few mosques, but then prepare for an adventure. The bazaar runs
along the Corniche, which continues past the Ferial Gardens and the
Nubian Museum, and continues on to the Cemetery, with its forest of
cupolas surmounted tombs from the Fatimid period. Just east of the
cemetery in the famous area quarries is the gigantic Unfinished Obelisk.
Just to the south of this, two Graeco-Roman sarcophagi and an unfinished
colossus remain half buried in the sand.
The most obvious is Elephantine Island, which is timeless with artifacts
dating from pre-Dynastic times onward. It is the largest island in
the area. Just beyond Elephantine is Kitchener's Island (Geziret el-Nabatat).
It was named for the British general Haratio Kitchener (185--1916)
and was sent to Egypt in 1883 to reorganize the Egyptian army, which
he then led against the Sudanese Mahdi. But the island is known for
its garden and the exotic plants the Kitchener planted there, and
which continue to flourish today.
On the opposite shore (west bank), the cliffs are surmounted by the
tomb of a marabut, Qubbet el-Hawwa, who was a local saint. Below are
tombs of the local (pharaonic) nobles and dignitaries.
Upriver a bit is the tomb of Mohammed Shah Aga Khan who died in 1957.
Known as the Tomb of the Aga Khan, it is beautiful in its simplicity.
A road from there leads back to the Coptic Monastery of St Simeon,
which was built in the sixth century in honor of Amba Hadra, a local
Just up river a bit, there is also the old Aswan
dam, built by the British, which was enlarged, expanded, but unable
to control the Nile for irrigation.
and the Northern Coast
Northern Coast, is the Egyptian North Western gate stretching 525
Km on the Mediterranean east to Sallum on the Libyan boarder.
This was a rain-dependent agricultural land in the Roman era. Having
good faith in the prosperous future of this region, the government
spares no effort to develop it. Many comprehensive planning studies
have been conducted. Many luxurious tourist spots have been built.
In 1978, the process was unleashed.
In spite of miles of white sand beaches and azure sea, Egypt's Med
is still undeveloped and relatively unpopulated. There are fine
beaches all along the coast from Alexandria
to Mersa Matrouh, including the resort of Sidi Abdel Rahman, a secluded
bay with clear waters and a selection of villas and hotels. At Mersa
Matrouh itself, the natural bay and long white beach make for good
sunbathing and swimming in calm transparent waters. Hired bicycles,
carettas or open- sided tuf-tuf buses will take you to other good
bathing spots nearby including the outstar beach at Al-Abyad and
Ageebah cove, surrounded by beautiful scenery. As well as beaches
there are other attractions in the Mersa Matrouh area : Cleopatra's
Bath, a rock-hewn whirlpool bath off- shore which was supposedly
used by Antony and Cleopatra, a ruined temple fort built by Ramses
II, an early Coptic chapel and "Rommel's Hideout", a cave
where the general planned his military campaigns and which has now
been tumed into a military museum.
At Abu Qir, a small fishing town, you can sunbath, fish, swim and
eat fresh seafood. To the west of the city try the resorts of Agami
integrated tourist villages are there, including beaches, houses,
public service units. Moreover, 121 private locations are under
study, besides the three models executed by the Ministry of construction,
i.e. "Marakia", "Marabella" and "Marina"
to its marble-like nature, "Marakia" was originally known
as "Marmarina" in the old times. The name is extracted
from the Arabic word "marmar" which means marble. Clear
sea and pure sand are its two main characteristics. It is 240 feddans
& consists of three main parts; namely, beach, housing units
and public service units. The beach is 1500 meters long; its downstream
surface is 100 meters.
A pedestrain road separates it from the housing units. This stretches
400 meters, and consists of five-region on -shore 1945 units; 1267
cabins, 72 villas and 31 houses. The public service units are in
both the middle of the village and at its main entrance, including
administrative, emergency, communication, commercial, and entertainment
services. Restaurants, cinema and an open theater. At the village
entrance, a 800-person capacity mosque has been built. Large surfaces
were devoted for sportive courtyards and public gardens. That is
not all, there are further expansions.
may imagine "Marina" by the meaning of its name : the
beautiful sea. It is 15 Km from "Marakia", 750 meters
long on the beach and its downstream surface is 800 meters. Its
total surface is about 143 feddans. Many service units are constructed
on the beach. The housing unit consists of 34 villas, 264 flats
and 672 cabins. A center for administrative, commercial, medical,
religious and entertainment services is found in the middle of the
male 51.15 %
female 48.85 %