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Egypt

Egypt is the motherhood of civilization, a land of refuge and tolerance. This land, which frontiers have not changed for more than 5000 years, witnessed the succession of migrations, currents of ideology, philosophies and religious beliefs.Egypt is a diversified country, an open sky museum: pyramids and temples, monasteries and mosques, oases and deserts…. the waters of the Mediterranean reveal the glory of Alexandria, the Red Sea offers its: coral reefs, fauna, flora and crystalline water. Egypt is going to celebrate the seventh millenarian of its written history, in the year 2000, it will unite with the humanity in watching, from the top of the pyramids, the passage of another millenarian. In the north-eastern angle of Africa between Libya and the Red Sea opposite to the Mediterranean, Egypt extends over 1 million km2 frontiers with Sudan, Libya and Israel.Capital Cairo, 16 millions of inhabitants. Population and religion 64 millions of inhabitants, 90% of Moslems and 10% of Christians, mostly belonging to the Coptic Church. Climate and clothes Moderate climate at the coasts and the delta, hot in the south and the west; night is cold in winter. Light clothes (woolen at night). Protection against the sun. Shoes fit for long walks. Languages Arabic is the official language, English and French are spoken in tourists areas. Time / Hour GMT + 2 (October to March) GMT + 3 (April to September) Telephone Foreign countries to Egypt: 00 international, 20 Egypt, 2 Cairo, 3 Alexandria, 95 Luxor, 97 Aswan, 62 Sharm El Sheikh, 65 Hurghada / El Gouna / Soma / Safaga / El Kosseir / Marsa Alam.. Electric current 220 volts; in some areas 110 volts. Currency and fax Currency change is available in first class hotels.Fax is available in first and second class hotels. Mail A mailed letter to Europe would reach its destination within a week.

 

 

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    Cairo  

Cairo sprang from the foundations of a recent town. recent, according to Egyptian time standards…. This region was originally settled in the Paleolithic and witnessed the development of the Neolithic communities…. This region was, since the predynastic period of the paranoiac era, a very remote extension of On, the center of Rae cult where the priests of Heliopolis worshipped the sun god…. It was there, that the battle opposing Hours to Seth took place, according to the Osirian legend It was also there, that the Persian invaders built in 525 BC the fort of Babylon to control the trade routes of the Old World….In 117 Trojan, the roman governor of Egypt, repaired the old canal originally built by the Pharaohs of the 12th dynasty to link, across the Nile dominated by Babylon, the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea…. During later periods of the roman occupation, a Christian community grew up around Babylon where the world's oldest Coptic churches were built, at the end of the 4thcentury: St. Sergius and St. Barbara. Taking hold of Babylon in 639, Amr Ibn El As, the leader of the Arab army, conquered Egypt and expelled the Romans…gradually, Egypt converted to Islam…the location of Amr's camp, in front of Babylon, became the center of a military city El Fostat or the tent… an extension was to be added by the Abbasssides El Asker or the soldiers... this was followed by another extension added by the Toulounides El Katayea or the tribes … therefore the city grew up in splendour: Amr's mosque, the world's oldest third mosque, the palace of the governor, public bathes, houses, gardens, markets…. In 969 Gohar, the Fatimides army leader built, to the north of El Katayea, a much larger city El Kahera or the victorious (Cairo)... .In 973 El Azhar mosque and Islamic University was built…. Cairo became the capital of Egypt… in 1176 Saladin built the Citadel and surrounded the old city and the capital, with defensive walls.  The reign of Ismail started, in 1865, a new era of modernization: Cairo was enlarged by adding new extensions (Road, Gézira, Giza, Dokki and Heliopolis) ….Wide streets adorned with trees, gardens, Opera house, houses and villas, large hotels ….In 1952, a revolution took place and Egypt became a republic, new cities were built around Cairo to solve the problems of overpopulation (Nasr city, Ramadan city, October city, Shourouk city, Oubour city…). Cairo today is one of the world's largest cities, it is a metropolitan city: many luxurious hotels, wide variety of restaurants, all types of museums, galleries of arts, Opera house and theaters, 5 large universities, sports clubs and stadiums, zoological gardens and entertainment centers (Wonder Land, dream Land, Aqua Park, Crazy Water….), movies and shopping centers, the Old Bazaar of Khan El Khalili, a large net of underground metro, bridges and highways, 2 international airports, floating hotels and restaurants on the Nile, modern hospitals and banks, aviation and tourist agencies, embassies and cultural centers, languages schools and universities…. And above all the welcoming Egyptian people. Explore Cairo  Cairo is a city that never sleeps, it is a 5000 years old megalopolis stretching to the pyramids. Memphis Necropolis In 3200 BC the legendary Pharaoh "Mena" unified Egypt and created the first state in history, his capital was "Memphis"….Parallel to the capital, on the Nile western bank, the "city of the dead" covered a sandy stretch 50-km long…. More than 80 pyramids, hundreds of tombs and mastabas bearing colored paintings which represent the daily life of the ancient Egyptians…. Giza pyramids and the sphinx built 4600 years ago for the pharaohs: Khufu, Khafra and Menkawra  Sakkara steps Pyramid, built 4700 years ago for the pharaoh Djeser, the first rocky construction in history  Egyptian Museum  Built in 1857, under the supervision of August Mariette, it contains the fabulous treasure of Tutankhamen, the hall of mummiesand the largest collection of Pharaonic monuments. Old Cairo Stretching on the Nile eastern bank, Old Cairo is a mixture of the present and the past, Coptic and Islamic monuments: Coptic Museum, the most beautiful collection of Coptic arts (icons, manuscripts, sacerdotal ornaments…)  Islamic museum, the most beautiful collection of Islamic arts (ivory-inlaid wooden doors and screens, mosaic and marble fountains, silver and gold inlaid weapons, colored glass cups…)  St. Serge church, built on the crypt in which the Holy Family stayed, it is regarded as a source of blessings  St. Barbara church built on the southern tower gate of Babylon fort and dedicated for the Virgin, it houses ebony and ivory inlaid wooden screens  St. Mercurius church, houses a collection of 175 rare icons.  Amr's mosque is the oldest one in Egypt, it houses a marble column sent from Mekka in 642  The Citadel and its alabaster mosque.  El Azhar mosque, the oldest Islamic university in the world. Khan El Khalily bazaars, the oldest market in Cairo (spices, fruits, ivory, silver, gold, tissues, restaurants and coffee shops of local type) Modern Cairo Opera house, with its galleries of arts and music halls. Heliopolis, with its commercial centers and gardens. Floating restaurants, navigating on the Nile. Sound and light show at Giza pyramids.

 

 

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Sinai Sharm El Sheikh   ( Ras Mohamed ) Best Diving place in the world

The strategic position of Sinai and its mineral resources had always been of great importance to the pharaohs of Egypt who succeeded to keep Sinai under control. Historical traces of this influence are not the main attraction, Sinai visitors are interested in its beaches and its well known Monastery of St. Catherine  Sharm El Sheikh On Akaba gulf 340 km. to the south -east of Suez     "Sharm El Sheikh" is an important tourstic destination : beaches framed by multicolored mountains from one side and from the other side the blue sky sea , exquisite coral reefs ,luxurious hotels , marinas and diving centers…… Ras Mohamed On the southern peak of Sinai 55 km to the south - west of Sharm El Sheikh… Ras Mohamed is a natural reserve … a refuge for rare forms of life ... the Paradise of divers… Other Tourist centers Leaving Sharm El Sheikh and heading to the north, following the coast, there we have 3 centers known for: their beautiful natural frame, their beaches and their diving sites … these centers are Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba. St. Catherine's Monastery It looks like a rectangular fort, surrounded by high granite walls enclosing the different elements of the monastery…built by the emperor Justinian in 527, it was originally the idea of the empress Helen of Russia. The monastery is lying between 2 sacredmountains: Moses mountain, 2285 meters high, on which the prophet received the "Tables of the law"… and St. Catherine mountain, 2367 meters high, on which the angels placed the body of the saint… discovered 500 years later, the body was taken  the monastery…. The main elements of the monastery are: A small mosque built in the 10th century Moses fountain and the garden  The library containing 3500 manuscripts (Greek, Arabic, Coptic, Armenian, Syrian, Slavic…) which represent the second best world collection after that of the Vatican  The museum containing the treasure: Russian and French cups, reliquaries, icons, crosses, sacerdotal ornaments  The Church of Byzantine Style, built in the 6 Th century, and containing : paintings of the prophets and the disciples, Russian lamps in silver and gold ,icons ……a marble sarcophagus containing the relics of the saint ……..the floor of the church is an Arab mosaic of  marble……

 

 

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Hurghada Red Sea Coast 

 The beaches of the Red Sea are worldwide known: its clear blue waters, colored corals and rare marine life…. Mountains, having different colors and running parallel to the coastline, separated from the sea only by a plain, most of which is suitable for safari. It's moderate climate and enchanting natural beauty blend together to charm the visitors  The Red Sea is surrounded by Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen and Djibouti. Water temperatures range between 18° C and 21° C in winter, 21° C and 26.5° C in summer. Underwater visibility is excellent up to 30 meters, and diving is possible up to 45 meters. The average diving depth, however, ranges between 12 and 25 meters.HURGHADA About 395 km to the south of Suez, Hurghada has a very pleasant climate all year round and offers facilities for fishing and snorkeling, diving and windsurfing. It has camping sites.Hurghada is actually the foremost tourist resort on the Red Sea coast and an international center for aquatic sports. Its unique underwater coral gardens are the best in the world. You can have a day-trip to Giftun Island for snorkeling and fishing or view the marine life through a glass-bottomed boat. When you're not in the sea you can go shopping or have a safari trip by jeep to the Red Sea Mountains.  El Gouna 22 Km. To the north of Hurghada, "El gouna" is one of the largest and most up-to date tourist resorts, housing hotels and restaurants, artificial lakes and marinas, playgrounds, an airport and diving centers….

 

 

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Luxor

During the Memphite period of the Old Kingdom, it was only an obscure town known as Waset or the Scepter (Symbol of sovereignty)…. The power of Waset increased gradually, in 2060 B.C. Mentohotep, Prince of Waset, reunified Egypt and extended its sovereignty to Nubia… even when the Hyksos (asiatic tribes) invaded the Delta and Middle-Egypt in 1785 B.C., Waset did not submit… in 1580 BC. Ahmos, prince of Waset expelled the Hyksos, reunified Egypt and Waset became the capital of the New Kingdom, its god Amun became the supreme state god… during the next six hundred years, Egypt expanded to the south (Nubia and Kush) and to the east (the Euphrate banks), Waset reached the peak of the glory, the city of the one hundred gates: (luxurious palaces, huge temples, large gardens, trading centers, foreign embassies…) it became the cosmopolitan city of the Egyptian empire and the first city of the old world. The decline started in 1095 BC, when the great priest of Amum (Herithor) seized the throne and declared himself pharaoh….The divided Egypt weakened the Empire, strikes came from the south and the east until the Assyrians destroyed Waset in 665 BC leaving the glorious city in ruins. Waset remained forgotten during the periods of the Greek and Roman domination. When the Arabs conquered Egypt in 639, being impressed by the ruins of the palaces and temples in Waset, they named it "Aloksor"or the palaces known today as Luxor. When Champollion discovered the secrets of the hieroglyphic language in 1822, attention was drawn to Luxor. Adventurers, archeologists and visitors started to come, Luxor became a tourist center, a book of history… Explore the historic Luxor Born more than 5000 years ago: Luxor is by far the largest museum in the world. Whenever you walk, you will experience the past and the present at the same time. Built for eternity in granite and sandstone, the tombs and the temples still stand surrounded by houses, markets and hotels. "In the City of the living" Luxor and Karnak temple greet the sunrise. In the "City of the dead" the sunset throws its shadows through the statues and the columns  City of the Living Waset stretched along the eastern bank of the Nile, its houses and palaces did not survive, only the houses of gods are still there: Karnak temple: The largest temple in the world dedicated for Amun. The Pharaohs of the Middle Kingdom built the oldest structures, the latest ones were added during the Ptolemaic period. The most outstanding features are the White Chapel of Sesostris I and the Great Hypo style hall with its 134 huge columns. A long dorms, lined by sphinx statues, connected Karnak temple to Luxor temple. Luxor temple: Lying 3 km to the south of Karnak temple was built for Mutt. During the Opet (new year festival), Amun headed the procession starting from Karnak temple and joined his wife "Mutt" in Luxor temple, the main structures were built by Amenophis III and Ramses II Luxor markets: take you back to the middle ages.  Luxor museum: a very fine and exceptional pharaonic collection exhibited elegantly elouca: sail on the Nile to Banana island. City of the Dead On the western bank of the Nile, stretching parallel to Waset, lies the great necropolis: Mortuary temples of the great pharaohs, hundreds of rocky tombs dug in the mountains (Kings valley, Queens valley, Nobles tombs, workers tombs…) away from the Nile and humidity:  Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, contain the largest tombs dug deeply in the rocky mountains, the tombs walls bear colored paintings and inscriptions showing the journey of the dead to the underworld and his judgment, the tomb of Tutankhamun contains his mummy. The best well-preserved tombs are those of: Queen Nefertari, Prince Amunhirkhopchef, King Seti I, King Tutmoses III, King Amenophis II. Tombs of the Nobles and the workers: The most beautiful tombs of Egypt, its paintings show every aspect of life in Egypt during the period of the New Kingdom: Nakht (52), Menna (69), Sennefer (96), Rekhmara (100), Mahou (57), Ramose (55), Sennedjem (1)   Hatchepsut's temple, unique in its style, 3 successive and overlapping stories framed by the mountain. Nile cruises It goes up the Nile to Aswan (220 KM to the south of Luxor) allowing the passengers to enjoy the sceneries of the Egyptian campaign and to visit the Ptolemaic temples: Esna, Kom Ombo and Edfu  Edfu temple: the best well preserved of all Egypt's temples, built 2325 years ago for the worship of the god Horus.   Kom Ombo temple: The only double temple in Egypt, all the elements of the structure are doubled since it was built forthe worship of two gods: Haraeoris and Sobek.

 

 

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Aswan

Yesterday and today Since the period of the Old Kingdom, Sian was the door of Africa controlling the trade routes from the south to the north…. It was the harbour and the market; its name is derived from Sianite or red granite extracted from its quarries…. Opposite to Sian or Aswan, is Abou or the island of elephants, capital of the first district in Egypt, housing the palace of its governor…. Because of its geographical position, it had been chosen by Erathostenes to calculate the radius of the earth in 230 BC…. Aswan gained more importance, after the high dam construction in 1972, it became a source of electrical energy and a water reservoir…Explore the historic Aswan Born more than 5000 years ago, Aswan has been the market of African products: spices, leathers, ivory, fruits and grains, baskets, mummified and living crocodiles…. It is the sunniest winter resort in Egypt, the Nile flowing through amber desert and granite islands covered with palm trees and tropical plants: Emlephantine island (Abou), and the ancient Nilometer measuring the floods  Botanical island, a small forest of tropical plants and birds  High dam, one of the world's largest dams (2100000 kw) and its lake, the second in the world, spreads to Sudan (500 km. Long)  Philae temple, built 2378 years ago, was transferred in 1972 to Aegilika Island which level is higher than that of the artificial lake… This temple was dedicated to the goddess Isis Lake cruise: it goes up to Abu Simbel (280 km to the south of Aswan) allowing the passengers to visit a series of temples built by the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom (Kalabsha, Wadel Seboua, Amada, Abu Simbel)  The colored and spicy souks of Aswan  The Nubian museum, housing the finest collection of Nubian arts and monuments.  Salvage of the Nubian temples The lower Nubia is the part of the Nile valley lying between the first and second cataract, its ancient name was Kush. Since the period of the Middle Kingdom, Kush was dominated by Egypt and assimilated gradually the Egyptian influence, pharaohs of successive dynasties extended the building of their temples to Kush, today Kush is completely submerged under the waters of the High Dam lake. In 1960, the UNESCO started a campaign to save the so-called Nubian temples, this successful campaign ended in 1972 Abu Simbel temples (280 km to the south of Aswan) Built more than 3250 years ago by the great builder Pharaoh Ramses II, the temples entrances are guarded by the Pharaoh colossal statues. The two temples are completely dug inside the rocky mountain, the salvage took place in 6 phases: Removing 300000 tons of rocks surrounding the temples, cutting the temple into 1036   blocks, and enumerating each one of them, transferring the 15000 tons of enumerated blocks to a higher ground level, reconstruction of the temples, reconstruction of the mountain surrounding the temples (the same phases were applied for the salvage of Philae temple lying between the High Dam and Aswan Dam).  Kalabsha temples (10 km to the south of Aswan) Built by the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom and restored by the Romans, dedicated for Egyptian and Nubian gods. Its original location was 40 km to the south of the actual one, and was transferred in the same way as Abu Simbel's.  Wadel Seboua temples (150 km. To the south of Aswan, 2 km north the original location) Built by Ramses II for Egyptian and Nubian gods.  Amada temple (180 km to the south of Aswan, 3 km north the original location) Built by the Pharaohs of the New Kingdom for Egyptian and Nubian gods. The best well preserved of Nubian temples, it was transferred in one block package on triple railways. Hermes travel was the first company to organize cruises, using a sailing yacht, on the lake to visit the saved Nubian temples…. Actually, it is the only existing sailing yacht on the lake.

 

 

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Alexandria

 Glory and decline Built in 332 BC, by Alexander the great, on the location of the old harbour Rakotis, Alexandria became the capital of the Ptolemaics… an extension was built to join the main land to Pharos island, on which rose the 1st light-house in history  Alexandria grew up and became a cosmopolitan city: harbour and trading centers, the great library, the academy which attracted the best artists and scientists of the Old World: Antophilos (painter), Euclide (Mathematics), Erathostenes (Physics)…. Under the Roman occupation, which started in 48 BC, Alexandria became the second city of the Roman Empire…. The decline started in 383, when Alexandria became a Christian center, destruction of temples, schools and the academy was considered a blow to paganism…. Still, when the Arab army entered Alexandria in 641, it retained some of its glamour: 4000 palaces, 4000 public bathes, 1200 gardens, 400 circus and entertaining centers, 500000 inhabitants.  But it's commercial power as well as its population decreased very quickly…. During the rule of Mohamed Aly and his successors, Alexandria regained its position as a commercial and a military harbour, connected to the Nile by a canal in 1819 The population increased from 6000 to 200 000 persons (50 000 foreigners)…. Today, Alexandria is the 2nd largest city in Egypt (5 000 000 inhabitants) and is one of the best summer resorts on the Mediterranean Sea, with its beaches extending to the length of 40Km, its luxurious hotels, its restaurants, its theaters and park  Explore Alexandria Born 2330 years ago, little remains from its glorious past… the catacombs, Pompey pillar, the roman theatre, Kaytbay fort built on the location of Pharos, Montazah palace…. Many summer resorts exist actually to the west of Alexandria: Agami, Marakia, Marina, Sedy Abdel rahman… and many more, extending to the city of Marsa Matrouh known for its large beaches and its clear blue sea. The recent excavations revealed the glory of Alexandria lying at the bottom of the Mediterranean.

 

 

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Safaga

Soma Bay Soma is one of the latest tourist destinations in Egypt, 45Km to the south of Hurghada. Soma bay is well known as a very rich diving spot.  Actually, a new activity is going on…. Golf, for the time being the game is performed on 9 holes playing ground…. It is planned to enlarge the playing ground up to 18 holes.  SAFAGA  Safaga harbour, 60 Km to the south of Hurghada, is the exporting center of phosphates since it is very close to the phosphates mines…. Actually, Safaga has become a tourist destination specialized in diving holidays: the beaches and the diving spots are still virgin…. It is also an ideal site for windsurf activities…. A large number of luxurious hotels and tourist resorts provide to tourists the best facilities… Safari tours by jeep are organized to the Red Sea Mountains. El Kosseir El Kosseir, 80 Km to the south of Safaga, was the pharaonic harbour receiving precious stones, spices incense and ivory coming from Somalia (the country of Punt)…. Actually, besides being a fishermen village, it is a tourist resort known for its virgin diving spots and its luxurious hotels…. A Turkish fort, from the 16th century, is still standing in the middle of the village. 

 

 

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Marsa ALam

 Lying 270Km to the south of Hurghada, it has several rest houses (such as the Egyptian Shooting Club) and is rich with marine life, being a village with a small harbour, Marsa Alam is the ideal base for a fishing holiday. There are a lot of fine offshore coral reefs… diving facilities are being developed. A natural reserve stretches from here to Gebel Elba in the south.

 

 

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Oases

Surrounded by an ocean of sterile sands, the oases are green islands of fertile soil…. Many projects are executed to create a new valley, parallel to the Nile valley, in this so much promising region (more than 5 millions of feddans are available for agriculture)… Kharga ( 230 Km south to Assiut )  The most advanced and the largest oasis (area 3500 Km2, 60 000 inhabitants)… Hibis, the capital's name in Greek, is divided into amodern city and an ancient one (much smaller in which the narrow streets are roofed)…. Hibis temple, built by Darius the Persian 2500 years ago, was dedicated to Amun… an ancient Christian necropolis is lying north to Bagawat, the ancient capital…. Agricultural projects are very promising: 3000 natural sources of water, 500 artificial water sources, more than 4 millions of feddans are available for agriculture. To the south, the hot water natural springs (up to 43°C), well known for the treatment of rheumatism and allergies Dakhla ( 200 Km to the south west of Kharga ) Almost equal to Kharga (area 1500 km2, 50000 inhabitants).It is a group of 10 settlements, well known for its fruits, apricots, and mangos…. The capital Mut, goddess of Waset, houses the museum of inheritance (showing Dakhla culture and family life)… the ancient capital El Kasr (35 Km from Mut) is a labyrinth of mud-walled houses separated by very narrow alleys… A spring of hot sulfured water is close to the ruins of a temple dedicated to Amun. Baharia ( 330 km to the south -west of Cairo ) Its 10 000 inhabitants are divided between 4 villages, the largest of which is Bawiti famous for its dates…. The other three villages are well known for their water springs (27 °C). There are ruins of ancient temples at El Kasr… At Bawiti, ruins of an.

 

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