In the 5th
century BC Herodotus wrote of Egypt that "nowhere are there so many
marvelous things..nor in the world besides are to be seen so many things
of unspeakable greatness".
True his words, Egypt
today remains the one country in the world that everyone should visit at
least once in their lifetime. For very obvious reasons: the Pyramids of
Giza, which are the only surviving of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Egypt does not need an
introduction. It was the introduction to human civilization itself, and
has all the evidence to show for it.
From the Nile Valley, to
the solitary deserts, to the diversity of the Sinai desert, to the
exotic underwater life of the Red Sea, to the Mediterranean beaches, it
is fast becoming popular as people begin to appreciate the rich
diversity that Egypt offers.
Egypt is the land of the
Pharaohs, and offers friendly people and incredible sights, including
the temples, Pyramids and monuments that you have always been dying to
see. The source of economic, social, political and religious life, Egypt
gave birth to the world's first nation state and a powerful civilization
that invented writing and elected the first stone monuments.
Egypt is at the centre of
the Arab world and has played a central role in the region's political
situation in modern times. After three wars in 1948, 1967, and 1973,
peace was achieved with Israel in 1979 leading to Egypt's expulsion from
the Arab League (restored in 1991). Egypt has since played a vital role
in the Middle East peace process.
Hurghada and Sharm El
Sheikh, on the Red Sea Riviera, are doors to a magical underwater world
of Technicolor fish and coral that draws divers from around the world,
while other adventurous travelers head inland. Here, you can discover
monasteries amid the arid mountains of Sinai and home to the hardy
nomads whose camel trains still wander the Saharan sands.
This is why Egypt is now
considered today as the best destination in the Middle East and Africa.
Egypt links two
continents, stretching across the north - eastern corner of Africa and
the south - western edge of Asia. It covers a total area of 1,001,450
square kilometers and is bordered on the north by the Mediterranean Sea,
on the east by the Gaza Strip and Israel, on the south by Sudan, and on
the west by Libya. More than 90 % of the country consists of sandy
deserts in the North and rugged mountains in the south, with summits
looming more than 2,100 meters above the Red Sea. The peninsula is home
to Mount St. Catherine, the highest elevation in Egypt, and Mount Sinai
where according to the Old Testament Moses received the Ten Commandments
The Nile River enters
Egypt from Sudan and flows north for about 1,545 kilometers to the
Mediterranean Sea. For its entire length, from the southern border to
Cairo, the Nile flows through a narrow valley lined by cliffs. Lake
Nasser, the world's largest man - made reservoir formed by the Aswan
high dam, extends south across the Sudan border. The lake is about 480
kilometers long and is about 16 kilometers across its widest point.
Egypt is known for its
year around sun and warm, bright climate most of the year. Egyptian
summers are hot and dry across most of the country and humid in the
Delta and along the Mediterranean Coast. Winters are mild with some
rain, but usually there are bright, sunny days and cold nights.
Culture and people:
Egypt is a Middle Eastern
country and has Middle Eastern customs. Whether Muslim or Christians,
Egyptians are deeply religious by nature, and religious principles
govern their daily lives. Combined with religious belief is commitment
to the extended family. Each family and for the behavior of other
members, creating an environment that would be envied by many people in
the West. Certainly, the result is that the city of Cairo is safer than
any western metropolis.
When westerners visit
Egypt, they are often apprehensive. Their views of Egyptians and Arabs,
formed by unkind and untrue media stories, often bear no relation to
reality. Travelers are often surprised by their gracious, welcoming
reception and take home with them good feelings about Egypt and its
population. Egyptians are extremely hospitable and friendly by nature,
and they will at times go out of their way to help you out.
The legendary Egypt is
bountiful with ancient sites to visit which could be divided into six
different tourist super sites. Each has its own flavor, and mostly each
serves a different purpose. Surprisingly, or perhaps not, most of these
tourist areas do not depend on ancient monuments to sustain them. In
fact, only Luxor is completely dependent on this trade.
The first super - site is
Cairo and the immediate area around the city. Cairo has everything:
great hotels, entertainment, restaurants, and all manner of monuments
from throughout the history of Egypt; it is often the entry point for
most people visiting Egypt.
Next is Alexandria and
Egypt's Northern coast overlooking the Mediterranean Sea and extending
to Marsa Matrouh in the West. The area is home to the remains of
invasions from the West. It has a Mediterranean feel about it, and to
the people of Cairo, a somewhat cooler climate.
The cities along the Red
Sea serve as another site of attraction, and include mainly the cities
of Hurghada and El Gouna. These areas contain just about everything a
tourist would like to have, with exception of ancient monuments. They
make up for that with every variety of water sports, several golf
courses, clubs, casinos, and more. The Red Sea area has less of an
Egyptian feel, but not as European as South Sinai.
In the Sinai Peninsula,
Sharm El Sheikh is the best diving and nightlife spot, with more of a
European style and feel. Tourists could opt for desert safaris or mount
trekking, and there are several magnificent Christian monuments nearby.
Upper Egypt serves as the
best site to witness the glory of the Ancient Egyptians. The cities of
Luxor and Aswan are home to a vast number of temples and museums, and
might be thought of in the same regard as a theme park, where the
attractions just happen to be real monuments. Travelers mostly enjoy a
Nile cruise between the cities of Luxor and Aswan.
Last but not least, Egypt
is renowned for its deserts and oases, where camping and desert safaris
are most popular. There are six main oases along with the principal
Western Desert in the east. Some ancient relics can be seen in the
desert, and the area is home to several rudimentary tribes.
Serving as a crossroad for
the world's greatest religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam,
Egypt is abundant with religious sites to visit, from synagogues to
ancient churches, monasteries, and mosques, the architecture of which
was influenced by the many foreign invasions.
Sports & recreation:
Over the past decade,
Egypt has been a melting pot for those seeking to indulge in sports
activities. Most prevalent is diving and scuba diving in the Red Sea,
along with water skiing, water surfing, and parasailing. Yachting has
become a favorite in this area, with its high demand and the development
of several marinas across the Egyptian coasts. During the past few years
golf courses have been built all over the country, bringing in more
tourists and investors.
Cairo has been the
entertainment capital of the Arab world for more than a century. Today,
this has expanded to include Sharm El Sheikh, Hurghada, and newly
developed projects along the North Mediterranean Coast. During the
summer season, Cairo turns into a city that does not sleep, especially
with the influx of tourists from all over the Middle East and Europe.
Clubs, casinos, theatres, and restaurants open their doors until the
early hours of dawn. Alternatively, one could take a felucca down the
Nile just before sunrise or a horse carriage along the Nile.