Profile Of Egypt

Egypt

 

A visit to the cradle of civilization is an experience of a lifetime. Egypt enchants every traveler with its culture and heritage dating back to more than fifty centuries. There is more to this country than merely the pharaohs, the great pyramids, the mummies and the mighty Nile. The bustling cities, the night life, exotic cuisine, the awe-inspiring archaeological sites, the sunny shoreline; all provide opportunities to unwind without a cause for worry.

                                  

Banking

 Credit cards: Credit cards like American express, Diners Club, MasterCard and Visa are accepted in most tourist establishments. Currency restrictions: The importation and exportation of local currency is limited to 100 Egyptian pounds for non-residents. The importation of foreign currency is not limited and the exportation of foreign currency is permitted up to the amount imported and declared on arrival, Banking hours: 8:30am - 2pm Sunday to Thursday, closed Friday, Saturday and most holidays. For the list of the major banks in Egypt .

 Climate

 Egyptian summers are hot and dry while the fall and winter seasons are moderate and the spring season windy. Some rain falls along the coast.

 Clothing

 

Light cottons and comfortable shoes are recommended for the hot summer months. Hats, Sunglasses and sunscreen are recommended for protection against the harsh rays of the sun. Egypt is religious country; therefore, modest dress is essential. Short dresses should be avoided, particularly when visiting religious sites such as mosques.

 Communication

The communication system in Egypt is large but inadequate for present requirement needs. Domestic principal centers are Alexandria, Cairo, Al Mansurah, Ismailia, Suez, and Tanta, connected by coaxial cable and microwave radio relay. International satellite earth stations include 2 Intelsate, 1 Arabsate, and 1 Inmarsate; 5 coaxial submarine cables; tropospheric scatter to Sudan; microwave radio relay to Israel; participant in Medarabtel.

Egypt country code is +20.

 

Culture

 A comprehensible knowledge of Egyptian religion is indispensable for anyone who wishes to grasp the essence of the Egyptian civilization. Religion had deeply dominated all aspects of Egyptian culture---art, science, government, and law. In short, religion was the womb of Egypt’s ancient culture.   Egyptian religion can be characterized by its infinite complexity and diversity. This diversity is justified by the constant growth of religious beliefs over the many centuries during which new ideas were introduced without ever discarding any old ones (except during the reign of Akhenaten). Therefore, to the ancient Egyptian this diversity of beliefs and gods was acceptable; because of which each divine power was approached through a variety of images related to nature, animal and human life.

Painting has been a part of Egyptian life for as long as the 24th century B.C. Contemporary Egyptian painting has been heavily influenced by western art and it wasn’t until midway during the last century that Egyptian painters began to break away and hold their own. Gazbia Serri, Inji Eflatoun, Abdel Wahab Morsi, Adel el-Siwi and Wahib Nasser are only a few of the artists who have brought their country world fame and glory.

Music is a very important part of Egyptian culture. Elements of western pop music are increasingly being integrated into contemporary Egyptian music and contemporary musicians are experimenting with newer styles.

 

Currency

Shilling Egyptian pound is the national currency.

1 Egyptian pound=100 piastres.

All major banks have exchange facilities.

Banking hours are 8:30am to 2pm from Sunday through Thursday. Banks are closed on Friday, Saturday and most holidays.

 

Food

 Most hotels serve local dishes. The typical Egyptian foods are rice, Pita bread  (aysh) and fava beans. Special dishes include roasted Ground lamb like kebab , vegetable casserole, and stuffed, grilled pigeon. Desserts like Ahwa and Baklava are local favorites. Italian and French cuisine can be found in hotels and restaurants. Locally brewed beer and bottled sodas may be found throughout the country. Do not miss out on Egyptian coffee. It is well known delicious taste.

 

General

 Area: 1,001,450 sq km (391,191 sq miles).

Population: 62,359,600.

Capital: Cairo.

Language: Arabic.

Time: GMT - 2, EST - 7.

Electricity: 220 volts.

 

Geography

 

Land boundaries: total 2,689 km, Gaza Strip 11 km, Israel 255 km, Libya 1,150 km, Sudan 1,273 km , Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Libya and the Gaza Strip Coastline: 2,450 km Terrain: vast desert plateau interrupted by Nile valley and delta Comparative area: slightly more than three times the size of New Mexico , Map References: Africa

Natural hazards:

Periodic droughts

Frequent earthquakes

Flash floods

Landslides

Hot, driving windstorm (Khamsin)

Dust storms

Sandstorms

 Health

 

Yellow Fever: A valid Yellow Fever inoculation certificate is required if the traveler is arriving from or via an infected area or if he/she has passed through that area by any other means than a scheduled flight. Vaccination is effective for 10 years and is usually only performed in specialized clinics or hospitals. Infants under 1 year of age are exempt.

Malaria: Malaria is prevalent in rural areas of the Nile delta, the El Faiyum area, the oases and the southern part of Upper Egypt. But,

Main tourist areas including cruises are not at risk.  However, if you are one of those travelers who want to be sure then an insect repellant might be a good idea.

Hepatitis A:   'Infectious hepatitis' or Hepatitis A is a viral inflammation of the liver acquired by consuming contaminated food and water. The symptoms are a slight febrile disorder, loss of appetite and jaundice. Almost everyone recovers within about 2 months.

Precautions include immunization and avoiding salads, unpeeled fruit, sharing crockery and cutlery.

Food precautions: Avoid unpeeled fruit, badly cooked meat, ice cubes (the water may not be boiled), untreated milk and ice cream.

Take extra salt if traveling in hot climates.

Drink precautions: Make sure that the water you are drinking is clean and pure. If not then avoid it. Bottled water, soft drinks (sodas) and beer are usually widely available.

For all health requirements and recommendations, travelers should check with a local Department of Health clinic or U.S Department

of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

Passport/Visa

 All visitor to Egypt are required to hold a valid passport and visa.

 

Shopping

 Shopping in bazaars is really fun. Traditional Egyptian accessories and gifts are easily available. Bargaining is common practice in all bazaars. Never offer a price that you are not willing to pay. Shopping hours are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., extended during the summer. Khan El Khalili, Cairo’s famous bazaar, and some others have more flexible hours, but are closed on Sundays. Best shopping times are late morning and early evening. For more information, please go here

                        

Tipping

 Some restaurants will have service charges of about 10%. If they do not then 10% to 15% tip is appropriate. Hospitality workers are paid a pittance so a $ 2 per person tip is recommended. It is customary to offer your driver and tour director gratuities of $2 or $3 per person per day in order to show your appreciation.

 

Transportation

 Air: Domestic air travel is fast but expensive.

Public Transportation: There's a very good system of public and private transport in Egypt. Buses and minibuses are cheaper and operate throughout the country. The 5000 km of rail connects just about every town in the country from Aswan to Alexandria. Taxis can be found easily in the main towns and cities. Decide the fare before the journey starts. Many taxis traveling from town to town operate under a share system and wait until they are full before departure.

Car Rental: Car rental is fairly expensive and self-drive hire is not common. If you decide to drive by yourself, remember that in Egypt left hand drive is the normal (as in UK, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia etc.) Roads are poorly signposted. Areas like the south of Aswan, near the border with Sudan and much of the Western desert cannot be entered without permission from the concerned authorities.

With the exception of those, which interlink major cities, most of the roads are unsealed with limited fuel supplies.

Car rental companies: + Avis - Cairo - Tel: 291 4255 extension 4249 + Hertz - Cairo -

Tel: 291 4255 extension 3629.

                                           US Embassy

 URL: http://www.usembassy.egnet.net

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