Egypt

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Egypt is in north-eastern Africa with its capital located in its largest city, Cairo. Egypt also extends into Asia by virtue of holding the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is bordered by Israel and the Gaza Strip to the north-east, by Sudan to the south and by Libya to the west. The country is bounded by the Mediterranean and Red Seas (to the north and east respectively) and geographically dominated both by the Nile River and its fertile well-watered valley, and by the Eastern and Western deserts. Egypt is perhaps best known as the home of the ancient Egyptian civilization, with its temples, hieroglyphs, mummies, and - visible above all - its pyramids. Less well-known is Egypt's medieval heritage, courtesy of Coptic Christianity and Islam - ancient churches, monasteries and mosques punctuate the Egyptian landscape. Egypt stimulates the imagination of western tourists like few other countries and is probably one of the most popular tourist destinations world-wide. (less...) (more...)

Population: 85,294,388 people
Area: 1,001,450 km2
Highest point: 2,629 m
Coastline: 2,450 km
Life expectancy: 73.19 years
GDP per capita: $6,700
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About Egypt

History

The regularity and richness of the annual Nile River flood, coupled with semi-isolation provided by deserts to the east and west, allowed for the development of one of the world's great civilizations. A unified kingdom arose around 3200 B.C. and a series of dynasties ruled in Egypt for the next three millennia. The last native dynasty fell to the Persians in 341 B.C., who in turn were replaced by the Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines. It was the Arabs who introduced Islam and the Arabic language in the 7th century and who ruled for the next six centuries. A local military caste, the Mamluks, took control about 1250 and continued to govern after the conquest of Egypt by the Ottoman Turks in 1517. Following the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, Egypt became an important world transportation hub, but also fell heavily into debt. Ostensibly to protect its investments, Britain seized control of Egypt's government in 1882, but nominal allegiance to the Ottoman Empire continued until 1914. Partially independent from the UK in 1922. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1971 and the resultant Lake Nasser have altered the time-honored place of the Nile River in agriculture and the ecology of Egypt. A rapidly growing population (the largest in the Arab world), limited arable land, and dependence on the Nile all continue to overtax resources and stress society. The government has struggled to prepare the economy for the new millennium through economic reform and massive investment in communications and physical infrastructure.

Climate

Egypt's climate is generally classified as desert. It is an extension of the great Sahara that bands North Africa, and except for the thin strip of watered land along the Nile River, very little could survive there. As the ancient Greek historian Herodotus stated: "Egypt is the gift of the Nile".

Beware that from March till May, sand storms may occur, particularly during daytime. These storms not only make the air sandy, but also temporarily raise the temperature.

Generally, the summers are hot and dry and the winters are moderate. November through March are definitely the most comfortable months for travel in Egypt. Only the north coast (stretching from the sea to 50 km southwards) receives a little rain in winter; the rest of Egypt receives negligible or no rain. So, you won't need wet weather gear!

Thunderstorms along with heavy rain showers that often last several hours are not uncommon in Alexandria, Marsa Matruh and all other northern coastal areas, and even the Delta. In some years the rainstorms can last for a whole day or so, though the rain tends to be less heavy. Hail is also not uncommon, especially out in the desert where the weather is usually colder and allows for ice to fall and even frost to form on non-rainy days.

In the Sinai Mountains and also the Red Sea mountains, which stretch along the east side of the country along the shore of the Red Sea, there is generally more rain than the surrounding desert, as rain clouds tend to develop when warm air evaporates and rises as it moves across higher terrain. Floods in these areas are a common weather phenomenon as so much rain can fall in a very short amount of time (often a day or two), with thunder and lightning as well. Because of the desert and lack of abundant vegetation, the water from the rain quickly falls down across the hills and mountains and floods local areas. In fact, every year there are stories in the local newspapers about flash floods in areas of the Sinai and also in Upper Egypt (southern Egypt) such as in Assiut, Luxor, Aswan, Sohag, etc. These floods, however, only generally happen two or three times a year, and do not happen at all in some years. When they happen, though, it is often in early times of the season such as in September or October, or in late winter such as February. Because of this risk, one should be careful when venturing out into the desert or camping in certain areas, as water can suddenly rush down from the nearby mountains and hills. It can sometimes carry a quite strong current that has been known to break down homes of rural people who build their homes from mud, bricks, and other weak materials. Some people drown in the floods, which is strange for a desert country that doesn't receive much precipitation.

Also, in higher elevations such as on top of the Sinai mountains, temperatures can drop much more than the surrounding areas, allowing for snowfall in winter months, since temperatures can drop down to below freezing, as well as formation of frost even in the low lying desert areas where the temperatures are generally several degrees colder than in the cities.

December, January and February are the coldest months of the year. However, winter days of southern places at the Nile Valley are warmer, but their nights are as cool as northern places.

Visitors should be aware that most houses and apartments in Egypt do not have central heating like countries with colder climates, because the main weather concern in Egypt is the heat. Therefore, even though the weather might not be so cold for a western traveller, inside the apartment it might be colder at day but the temperature indoors is more stable than outdoors. In Cairo, in indoor buildings without air-conditioning, temperatures are about 17°C (63°F) in the coldest winter days and about 34°C (93°F) in the hottest summer days.

Notable climatic features:

  • Alexandria is the rainiest place
  • Assiut is the driest city
  • Aswan and Luxor have the hottest summer days
  • Saint Catherine (mountainous area in south Sinai) has the coldest nights and coldest winters

Cities or resorts with coolest summer days:

  • Marsa Matruh
  • Port Said

Places with least temperature fluctuation:

  • Port Said
  • Kosseir
  • Ras El Bar (a coastal town near Damietta)
  • Baltim (at the northern coast at the center)
  • Damietta (at the eastern end of the Nile basin at the northern coast)
  • Alexandria

Cities or resorts with warmest winter nights:

  • Marsa Alam
  • Kosseir
  • Sharm el Sheikh

Cities with most temperature fluctuation between days and nights:

  • Luxor
  • Minya (central at the Nile valley)
  • Sohag (southern at the Nile valley)
  • Qena (southern at the Nile valley)
  • Assiut (southern at the Nile valley)

Activities

There is a lot to do for the foreign traveller in Egypt. Apart from visiting and seeing the ancient temples and artefacts of ancient Egypt, there is also much to see within each city. In fact, each city in Egypt has its own charm of things to see with its own history, culture, activities, and people who often differ in nature from people of other parts of Egypt.

Cairo, for instance has so much to do and see. Besides the ancient Egyptian history, there is the history of Romans, Greeks, Byzantine Empire, Islamic empire, Ottomans, and finally modern Egyptian history.

Jewish and Christian History To see more about Egypt's Christian and Jewish history, go to a local tourist office and ask them to give you names of local Churches and Jewish Synagogues. There is at least two Jewish synagogues dating back many years ago, when Egypt had a population of a few hundred-thousand Jews in the country, who eventually left during the formation of Israel.

There is a lot of old and interesting Churches to see in different areas of Cairo, including downtown Cairo, Heliopolis, Korba, Shubra, Abbasiya, Zamalek, and Maadi. Some of these churches have been around for several hundred years and their architecture resemble that of Churches in Western countries, often built by Europeans who built much of the city's architecture in the 19th century as a resemblance to modern buildings of Europe at the time.

Modern Cairo If you want to see modern Cairo, try walking in the streets of Zamalek, Maadi, Mohandiseen, or Heliopolis where you will see some of the more modern buildings and get to experience the way of life in Egypt.

Cairo Tower is the tallest building in Egypt, and you can go up the tower and have a nice dinner with a full view of Cairo from above. There are telescopes which enable you to see magnified sections of city in more detail and allows the traveller to see much of the city in a short amount of time.

Local Cafes/Coffeeshops and Restaurants For social times, try sitting in one of the local cafes restaurants where you can meet and interact with fellow Egyptians. There are numerous coffeeshops/cafes and restaurants all over Cairo all catering for different tastes and backgrounds and range from the very budget to the very expensive.

Local chains include, Coffee Roastery, Cilantro, Grand Cafe, Costa Coffee and many other places. Generally each area of Cairo has its cafes and restaurants.

Sporting and Recreational Clubs: If the heat is too much, you can go to one of the famous sporting clubs such as the Gezira Club located in Zamalek, or the Seid Club (otherwise known in English as the Shooting Club) located in Mohandiseen, where you can have a dip at the swimming pool or otherwise enjoy sitting in the shade and comfort of lush trees and gardens. Entrance for foreignors can be gained by buying a one-day ticket for 20-30 Egyptian pounds which enables the person to enjoy all the facilities of club including playing any sports. There are of course changing facilities and restaurants inside the club where one can enjoy a meal or a drink after engaging in any activity.

Nightlife: If you enjoy nightlife, there is quite a few nightclubs and discos where you can drink and dance to some of the most modern tunes in the west as well as listen to some Arabic music. The music varies from Dance and Trance to Hip Hop, Rap, Techno, as well as Rock and Pop. These clubs are usually located inside five-star hotels or at areas such as Mohandiseen and Zamalek.

Examples include: The Cairo Jazz Club (mohandiseen) Purple (on a boat in Zamalek) Hard Rock Cafe (inside the grand hay-at Hotel in Garden City) L'Obergine (pub and bar in Zamalek)

Desert Adventures: For other adventures, try going to the Haram District of Cairo, and look for any horse-riding stables. There, you can rent a horse for a few hours and ride, or even ride a camel out in the desert by the pyramids and the Sphinx. The best time to do this is at night when you can see all the stars shining together in the sky and capture the magical feeling of the place. You will be with a local guide riding with you on another horse or camel, or you might even be joined a group of other individuals or groups of friends who enjoy riding horses in the desert by the pyramids like yourself.

Nile Boat: Try rending out a Feluca boat (small boat that can carry up to 20 individuals) in the Nile of Cairo. There you can experience the beauty of the Nile and the surround scenery, where you can see the city and its buildings and streets from within the water around. Depending on the weather, you can do this either day or night, but you will need to go to the Giza District and walk along the corniche area of the Nile and ask any of the locals for renting this boat.

Islamic Cairo/Fatimid Cairo: For those interested in the Islamic architecture and history, try going to Islamic Cairo, ( el Gamalaya district or Khan El Khalili. There you will see numerous buildings and some mosques and see how buildings and houses were built in the Islamic Era of Egypt. There is also a Souk or (Bazar) where you can buy lots of different souvenirs and items.

  • Alexandria. Since Alexandria was founded in 332/31 B.C. by Alexander the Great “the pearl of the Mediterranean” has been one of the major sites of Egyptian history. After the death of the Macedonian king the city developed under the Ptolemies into the intellectual and cultural center of the entire Hellenistic world. Great scholars lived and worked in the Museion

Food

Egypt can be a fantastic place to sample a unique range of food: not too spicy and well-flavoured with herbs. For a convenient selection of Egyptian cuisine and staple foods try the Felfela chain of restaurants in Cairo. Some visitors complain, however, that these have become almost too tourist-friendly and have abandoned some elements of authenticity. A more affordable and wider-spread alternative is the Arabiata restaurant chain, Arabiata is considered by locals to be the number one destinations for Egyptian delicacies as falafel and fūl too.

Oddly enough, beware of any restaurant listed in popular guidebooks. Even if the restaurant was once great, after publication, they will likely create a "special" English menu that includes very high prices.

As in many seaside countries, Egypt is full of fish restaurants and markets so fish and seafood are must-try. Frequently, fish markets have some food stalls nearby where you can point at specific fish species to be cooked. Stalls typically have shared table, and locals are as frequent there as tourists.

Hygiene

Be aware that hygiene may not be of the highest standards, depending on the place. The number of tourists that suffer from some kind of parasite or bacterial infection is very high. Despite assurances to the contrary, exercise common sense and bring appropriate medications to deal with problems. "Antinal" (Nifuroxazide) is cheap, effective and available in every pharmacy. "Immodium" or similar products are prescription drugs only.

Although Antinal is very effective, sometimes when nothing else is, the elderly should check the brand name with their doctor before relying on it as it contains a high concentration of active ingredient that is not approved by the US FDA or the British regulatory pharmaceutical body.

Local dishes

Many local foods are vegetarian or vegan compliant.

Classic Egyptian dishes: The dish fūl medammes is one of the most common Egyptian dishes; consists of fava beans (fūl) slow-cooked in a copper pot (other types of metal pots don't produce the right type of flavor) that have been partially or entirely mashed. fūl medammes is served with cumin, vegetable oil, optionally with chopped parsley, onion, garlic, lemon juice and hot pepper, and typically eaten with Egyptian (baladi) bread or occasionally Levantine (shāmi) pita.

One should try is the classic falāfel which is deep-fried ground fava bean balls (but better known worldwide for the ground chickpea version typically found in other cuisines of the Middle Eastern region) that was believed to be invented by Egyptian bedouins. Usually served as fast food, or a snack.

koshari is a famous dish, which is usually a mixture of macaroni, lentils, rice and chickpeas, topped with tomato sauce and fried onions. Very popular amongst the locals and a must try for tourists. The gratinated variation is called Tâgen.

Additionally, hummus, a chickpea based food, also widespread in the Middle East.

kofta (meat balls) and kebab are also popular.

Egyptian cuisine is quite similar to the cuisine of the Middle Eastern countries. Dishes like stuffed vegetables and vine leaves, shawarma sandwiches are common in Egypt and the region.

Exotic fruits

Egypt is one of the most affordable countries for a European to try variety of fresh-grown exotic fruits. Guava, mango, watermelon and banana are all widely available from fruit stalls, especially in locals-oriented non-tourist marketplaces.

Drinks

See also Stay healthy:Fluids section for hygiene and related info.

Water

Bottled water is available everywhere. The local brands (most common being Baraka, Hayat, Siwa ) are of the same price as foreign brand options which are also available: Nestle Pure Life, Dasani (bottled by Coca-Cola), and Aquafina (bottled by Pepsi). Evian is less available and is expensive. A note on the local brand Baraka: while it is perfectly safe to drink this brand of bottled water, some may notice a very slight baking soda aftertaste, due to the high mineral content of its deep well water source.

No matter where you buy bottled water from (even hotels are not entirely reliable), before accepting it, check that there is a clear plastic seal on it and the neck ring is still attached to the cap by the breakable threads of plastic. It is common to collect empty but new bottles and refill them with tap water which drinking a bottle of might make you ill. Not all brands have the clear plastic cover but all the good ones do.

Safety of bottled water

It is important not to buy strange brands, as they may not be safe for drinking. In 2012 the Ministry of Health ordered the following bottled water brands to be taken off shelves: Alpha, Hadir, Seway, Aqua Delta, Tiba, Aqua Mina and Aqua Soteir.

As of 2013, some of the previous ones were licensed, but the Ministry of Health warned against other unlicensed brands:

  • unlicensed, unsafe brands: (Safa, el Waha, Ganna, Sahari, Life, el Wadi, Zamzam ).

However, the Ministry of Health stated that as of 2013, there are only 17 licensed brands that are safe to drink. These are:

  • 17 licensed safe brands: (Hayah, Safi, Aqua Siwa ,Siwa, Aman Siwa, Organica, Nahl, Aqua Sky, Mineral, Vira, Nestlé, Baraka, Alpha, Aquafina, Tiba, Aqua Delta, Dasani, Aqua Paris ).

Of the licensed brands, locals commonly advise tourists to avoid Baraka if possible, as it contains a high concentration of mineral salts and has something of an off flavor.

Juices

Juices can be widely found in Egypt - àSàb (sugar cane; قصب); licorice (`erk sūs  عرق سوس); sobya (white juice; سوبيا); tàmr (sweet dates; تمر) and some fresh fruit juices (almost found at same shop which offer all these kind of juices except licorice may be which you can find another places).

Hibiscus, known locally as karkadē (كركديه) or `ennāb (عناب), is also famous juice specially at Luxor which is drunk hot or cold but in Egypt it is preferred to drink it cold.

Hibiscus and licorice should not be consumed excessively as they may not be safe for those suffering low blood pressure or high blood pressure. Hibiscus may lower blood pressure, while licorice may raise blood pressure.

Alcoholic drinks

Egypt is a predominantly Muslim nation and alcoholic drinks are religiously forbidden (haram) - though not legally - for strictly observant Muslims. That said, Egyptians tend to adopt a relaxed and pragmatic view towards alcohol for non-Muslims and foreigners. It is tolerated by the vast majority of Egyptians and consumed by a sizable number of them. Places which sell alcoholic beverages require special license and pay extra taxes to operate. Alcoholic beverages and bottled drinks are readily available throughout the country (especially in larger towns and cities, as well as tourist centers). Please note, however, that public drunkenness (especially the loud and obnoxious variety) is definitely not appreciated - without caution, you may end up drying out in a police cell. [2] Try to be a good ambassador: if you must get "tipsy", confine it to the hotel or very nearby! It's actually quite rare to see drunken tourists even in the touristic areas. It is illegal to drink alcohol in public and it's advisable not to attempt to drink in streets; however, on the New Year's Eve of 2013, many Egyptians in Cairo were seen drunk and holding alcoholic beverages in the streets.

The cheapest alcoholic beverage is beer. Common brands are: Stella (not artois) and Sakkara which are common lager beers in Egypt (approx. 4%), both brewed by Heineken's Egyptian subsidiary, Ahram Beverages Company [3]. Other local brands are available, most with a higher alcohol variant that have claimed levels of 8% or even 10%. Foreign brands made under license in Egypt include Heineken and Meister but are slightly more expensive.

More expensive alcoholic beverages than beer are the carbonated Vodka cocktails, with 10% alcohol, specifically ID Double Edge which is popular with people who drink alcohol.

Do not buy anything you don't know or suspect, as there might be a risk that it may be counterfeit and have methyl alcohol (a cheap poisonous type of alcohol which causes blindness).

Restrictions on Alcohol

Egyptian laws towards alcohol are officially quite liberal compared to most Islamic countries, except for the month of Ramadan when alcohol is strictly forbidden. During Ramadan only holders of foreign passports are allowed to buy alcohol, by Egyptian law. However, the enforcement of this law is by no means consistent. In tourist areas like Luxor, alcohol is sold even during Ramadan, and those who look like foreigners will not be asked to show passports or other documentation.

During Ramadan alcohol is often sold only in Western-style hotels and pubs/restaurants catering especially to foreigners. A few days of the year, as the day of the full moon the month before Ramadan, alcohol is completely banned. Also some hotels and bars catering to foreigners will stop serving alcohol during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan - phone ahead to make sure alcohol is still being served in order to avoid disappointment.

Shopping

Money

The local currency is the Egyptian pound (EGP), which is divided into 100 piastres. (The currency is often written as LE, (short for French livre égyptienne) or by using the pound sign £ with or without additional letters: E£ and £E. In Arabic, the pound is called genē [màSri] / geni [màSri] (جنيه [مصرى]), in turn derived from English "guinea", and piastres are known as ersh (قرش).

  • Coins: Denominations are 25pt, 50pt and 1 pound. You won't really need to know the name piastre, as the smallest value in circulation as of 2014 is 25 piastres, and this is almost always called a "quarter pound" (rob` genē ربع جنيه), and the 50 piastres, "half a pound" (noSS genē نص جنيه).
  • Paper money: The banknote denominations are 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 pounds.

In Egypt, the pound sterling is called, genē esterlīni (جنيه استرلينى).

The Egyptian pound has been devaluing gradually over the last several decades. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Egyptian pound was rated almost the same as the British pound sterling. Since 2011, the exchange rate has become relatively unstable and inflation sped up. As of 2014, the Egyptian pound is worth about 11 times less than at its peak.

  • Exchanging money and banks

Foreign currencies can be exchanged at exchange offices or banks, so there is no need to resort to the dodgy street moneychangers. Many higher-end hotels price in American dollars or euros and will gladly accept them as payment, often at a premium rate over Egyptian pounds. ATMs are ubiquitous in the cities and probably the best option overall; they often offer the best rate and many foreign banks have branches in Egypt. These include Barclay's Bank, HSBC, CitiBank, NSGB, BNP Paribas, Piraeus Bank, CIB, and other local and Arab Banks. Bank hours are Sunday through Thursday, 08:30-14:00.

Banknotes are available in denominations ranging from EGP5 to EGP200, while coins were rather rare until new 50-piastre and EGP1 coins were introduced in the summer of 2006. Counterfeit or obsolete notes are not a major problem, but exchanging pounds outside the country can be difficult. American Express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted, but only bigger hotels or restaurants in Cairo and restaurants in tourist areas will readily accept credit cards as payment. Traveller's cheques can be exchanged in any bank, but it could take some time.

Tipping

Because of the economic situation of the country with an ever-expanding population and depletion of resources, this means that a lot of people may be unemployed (a rate much higher than in more developed countries). Even those who are employed in the service or hospitality industry (restaurants, hotels, bars, etc.) are most likely underpaid as their wages do not really reflect the value of the work they do. It is even more difficult for them to make a living with the problem of nonstop inflation, which means prices for everything even basic commodities like food and water keep rising steeply, while their wages remain the same and if they do rise, will not even rise to a fraction of the increase that prices have risen to.

This means that 90% of people who work in the service/hospitality industry try to make their main source of income from living off of tips. In fact, for these people, tips form a large majority of their income because without tips, their monthly wages/salaries would simply not be enough for them to survive in a place where prices rise steadily and salaries remain the same.

Bear in mind that these people quite often live hard lives, often responsible for feeding large families and may very well live in poverty simply because their income from work is not sufficient for them to live easy lives. Many of them are forced in these jobs because otherwise they would not find another job at all in a country with such high unemployment rates and overpopulation.

Thus, almost everyone at your hotel asks for a tip, even if all they did was a small thing. You don't have to pay huge tips as often smallest bills are appreciated. However, you do not have to tip if you feel that you haven't received any service or help at all or if you feel that the service was bad. Nobody will ever take offense or be disrespectful if you did not tip them.

  • Bathroom attendants: EGP3
  • Cruises: EGP30/day, to be divided by all staff on board
  • Guide: EGP40/day
  • Hotel bellman: EGP10 for all bags
  • Hotel doorman: EGP10 for services rendered (such as flagging down taxis)
  • Restaurants: In fancier restaurants, a service charge (10-12%) is added to bills, but a 5-10% tip on top of that is common. In fast-food places, tipping is unnecessary
  • Taxi drivers: not necessary especially if you agreed the fare in advance, not more than 10% of the metered fare
  • Site custodians: EGP5 if they do something useful, none otherwise
  • Tour drivers: EGP10/day

If you ask a stranger for directions, tips are not necessary and may even be considered offensive. Officials in uniform, such as police officers, should not be tipped. Remember that bribery is technically illegal, but it is likely that nothing will happen to you. Last but not least, be aware that as a foreign tourist, you are seen by many as easy money and you should not let yourself be pressured into tipping for unnecessary or unrequested "services" like self-appointed tour guides latching on to you.

Shopping

Egypt is a shopper's paradise, especially if you're interested in Egyptian-themed souvenirs and kitsch. However, there are also a number of high quality goods for sale, often at bargain prices. Some of the most popular purchases include:

  • Alabaster Alabaster bowls, figures, etc. are common throughout Egypt.
  • Antiques (NB: not antiquities, the trade of which is illegal in Egypt)
  • Carpets and rugs
  • Cotton goods and clothing Can be bought at Khan El Khalili for around 30-40 EGP. Better quality Egyptian cotton clothing can be bought at various chain stores including Mobaco Cottons and Concrete which have many branches throughout the country. The clothes are expensive for Egypt (about EGP180-200 for a shirt) but cheap by Western standards given the quality.
  • Inlaid goods, such as backgammon boards
  • Jewellery Cartouches make a great souvenir. These are metal plates shaped like an elongated oval and have engravings of your name in hieroglyphics
  • Kohl powder Real Egyptian kohl eye makeup (eye-liner) can be purchased at many stores for a small price. It is a black powder, about a teaspoon worth, that is generally sold in a small packet or a wood-carved container and it is generally applied liberally with something akin to a fat toothpick/thin chopstick to the inner eyelids as well as outlining the eye. Very dramatic. A little goes a very long way, however! Cleopatra would have had her eye makeup applied by laying on the floor and having someone drop a miniature spoonful of the powder into each eye. As the eye teared up, the makeup would distribute nicely around the eyes and trail off at the sides, creating the classic look. However, beware that most of them contain lead sulfide, which is a health concern. Ask for a lead-free kohl.
  • Lanterns (fanūs; pl. fawanīs) Intricately cut and stamped metal lanterns, often with colorful glass windows, will hold a votive candle in style.
  • Leather goods
  • Music
  • Papyrus (bardi) However, most papyrus you'll see is actually made of a different type of reed, not actual "papyrus", which is extremely rare. Know what you are buying, if you care about the difference, and haggle prices accordingly. If in doubt, assume it is inauthentic papyrus you are being offerred for sale.
  • Perfume - Perfumes can be bought at almost every souvenir shop. Make sure that you ask the salesman to prove to you that there is no alcohol mixed with the perfume. The standard rates should be in the range of 1-2 Egyptian Pounds / gm
  • Water-pipes (shīsha)
  • Spices (tawābel) - can be bought at colourful stalls in most Egyptian markets. Dried herbs and spices are generally of a higher quality than that available in Western supermarkets and are up to 4 or 5 times cheaper, though the final price will depend on bargaining and local conditions.

Important note: When shopping in markets or dealing with street vendors, remember to bargain. This is a part of the salesmanship game that both parties are expected to engage in.

You will also find many western brands all around. There are many malls in Egypt, the most common being Citystars Mall, which is the largest entertainment center in the Middle East and Africa. You will find all the fast food restaurants you want such as Mcdonald's, KFC, Hardees, Pizza Hut, etc. Clothing brands such as Morgan, Calvin Klein, Levi's, Facconable, Givenchy, Esprit, and more.

In Egypt, prices are often increased for foreigners, so if you see a price on a price tag, it may be wise to learn the local Eastern Arabic numerals:

They are written from left to right. For example, the number (15) would be written as (١٥).

Shopping in Egypt ranges goods and commodities that represent souvenirs of Egypt's ancient as well as modern things. These include items such as small pyramids, obelisks, and souvenir statues which can be bought at more touristic areas such as Khan El Khalili and Islamic Cairo.

You can also do general shopping in Cairo for clothing items and other goods such as in the modern shopping malls of City Stars, City Center, or Nile City (all of which contain some of the most famous designer brands of the world, including Guess, Calvin Klein, Armani, Hugo Boss, etc.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Egypt on Wikivoyage.

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Hurghada is a resort town on the Red Sea Coast of Egypt.

Interesting places:

  • New Marina
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Dokki and Mohandiseen are districts in Giza suburb on the west bank of the Nile River, part of Greater Cairo.

Interesting places:

  • Great Sphinx of Giza
  • Pyramids at Giza
  • Giza Zoo
  • Dreamland Golf Course
  • Mall of Arabia
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Dahab is a town in Egypt, located some 85 km (53 miles) north of Sharm el-Sheikh on the Gulf of Aqaba, near the southern tip of Sinai. It is a place that many have fallen in love with over the years, and return to time and time again.

Interesting places:

  • St Catherine\'s Monastery
  • Mount Sinai
  • Dahab Bay
  • Blue Hole
  • Dahab Beach
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Interesting places:

  • Wadi Gimal National Park
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Luxor is the premier travel destination in Upper (southern) Egypt and the Nile Valley. The dynastic and religious capital of Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom Egypt, Luxor has much to offer the traveller, from vast temples, to ancient royal tombs, via spectacular desert and river scenery and a bustling modern ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • Luxor Temple
  • Karnak
  • Deir el-Bahri
  • Valley of the Kings
  • Medinet Habu
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Alexandria is Egypt's second largest city (3.5 million people), its largest seaport and the country's window onto the Mediterranean Sea. It's a faded shade of its former glorious cosmopolitan self, but still worth a visit for its many cultural attractions and still-palpable glimpses of its past.

Interesting places:

  • Montazah Palace
  • Bibliotheca Alexandrina
  • Montazah Beach
  • Abul-Abbas Mosque
  • Manshia Square
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El Gouna is a self-sufficient, fully integrated resort town of 24,000 on the Red Sea coast just north of Hurghada. El Gouna’s luxury facilities include a landing strip, 3 international standard marinas, internationally acclaimed universities and schools, an 18-hole championship golf course, 17 hotels, 2 spas, ... (read more)

Interesting places:

  • El Gouna Beach
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States in Egypt

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Popular cities:

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Points of Interest in Egypt

Highlights of any visit to Egypt include famous archaeological sites from both Lower (North) and Upper (South) Egypt. The most famous are:

Cairo:

  • the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx
  • the Egyptian Museum
  • the pyramids and temples of Saqqara and Dahshur
  • Citadel of Salah El Din and Mosque of Mohamed Ali
  • Khan al Khalili bazaar and al Hussein Mosque

Alexandria: Alexandria, with several historical sights and the stunning new Bibliotheca Alexandrina, is the country's main summer attraction for Egyptians escaping the summer heat and looking for a place to spend the summer vacation. Tourist attractions include Roman and Greek monuments, Bibliotheca Alexandria, Qa'edbay's Castle, and Qasr El Montaza (El Montaza Palace).

Luxor:

the temples of Luxor and the West Bank across the Nile

  • the Valley of the Kings
  • the Temples of Abu Simbel

Aswan:

In Aswan, you can see even more temples and ancient monuments. You can also see Geziret El Nabatat (The Island of Plants). This is an island in the Nile River of Aswan which was planted by rare species of plants, trees, and flowers.

Perhaps the most popular activity in Luxor and Aswan is to do the Nile Cruise on a ship from Aswan to Luxor. It enables you to stop at each location along the Nile where you can see all the famous ancient monuments as well as experience being in the Nile River inside a five-star hotel boat.

  • The Red Sea resorts at Sinai peninsula, including Dahab, Hurghada, and Sharm el Sheikh. The Red Sea offers some of the best dive locations in the world.
  • The sights of the Sinai peninsula, including Saint Catherine's Monastery and Mount Sinai.
  • The western desert and the oases there, including Siwa,
  • Memphis, with some relics of ancient Egypt - including a huge statue of Ramesses II, evoking the image which inspired Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Ozymandias

Great Sphinx of Giza - Giza

Luxor Temple - Luxor

Tahrir Square - Cairo

Hadaba Beach - Sharm el Sheikh

Montazah Palace - Alexandria

Kitchener\'s Island - Aswan

Saint Catherine\'s Monastery - Santa Katarina

St Catherine\'s Monastery - Dahab

Temple of Queen Nefertari - Abu Simbel

New Marina - Hurghada

Temple of Edfu - Edfu

Taba Beach - Taba

El Gouna Beach - El Gouna

Agiiba Beach - Marsa Matruh

Military Museum - Port Said

Wadi Gimal National Park - Marsa Alam

El-Quseir Fortress - El Quseir

Monastery of St. Anthony - Ain Sokhna

Meidum Pyramid - El Faiyum

Pyramids at Giza - Giza

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