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May/10

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Information About Egypt

Cairo

(Arabic: Al-Qāhirah), which means “The Vanquisher” or “The Triumphant”, is the capital city of Egypt. it is typically called simply by the name of the country, Masr (Egypt). It has a metropolitan area population of officially about 16.1 million people.
Cairo is the seventh most populous metropolitan area in the world. It is also the most populous metropolitan area in Africa. Cairo offers an incredible selection of shopping, leisure, culture and nightlife. Shopping ranges from the famous Khan el-Khalili (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. 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.

Alexandria

The second largest city in Egypt, Alexandria, known as “The Pearl of the Mediterranean”, has an atmosphere that is more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern ; its ambience and cultural heritage distance it from the rest of the country although it is actually only 225 km. from Cairo.
Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, Alexandria became the capital of Graeco-Roman Egypt, This area along the coast about 15 miles east of Alexandrias old district along the Corniche is where many of the modern Alexandrian hotels are located, as well as one of the elegant heritage hotels. Khedive Abbas II built the Salamlik as a residence. Here also is the magnificent Montaza Palace.

El Alamein

located about 66 miles east of Alexandria is mostly a port facility for shipping oil. However, it was once described by Churchill as having the best climate in the world. There are several hotels and a beach resort .There is also a war museum with collectibles from the Battle of El Alamein and other North African battles. The only historical interest in this village would be related to WW II, and includes an Italian and German military cemeteries on Tell el-Eisa Hill just outside of town.

Mersa Matrouh

Mersa Matrouh lies 290 km. West of Alexandria and 222 km. from Sallum. The distance from Cairo to Matrouh is 524 km. It lies on a bay on the Mediterranean and is distinguished by its seven km. long beach, which-as all visitors have testified-is one of the most beautiful in the world.
The beach is famous for its white soft sands and calm transparent waters, for the bay is protected from the high seas by a series of rocks forming a natural wave-breaker, with a small opening to allow light vessels in.
This beach dates back to the days of Alexander, the Macedonian, when it was known as “Paraetonium” and also as “Amunia”. It said that Alexander the Great stopped there during his historical expedition to pay tribute, and sacrifice, to the god Amun, at Siwa, so that he becomes Amun’s son and his rule be a historical continuation of the pharaohs. There are ruins of a temple from the time of Rameses II (1200 B.C.) in Matrouh.

Fayoum

The Fayoum is a wonderful area of Egypt with a rich and interesting history. It is an area where Egyptians often vacation and which is constantly growing more popular among Europeans. This 692 sq. mile depression was a lush paradise during prehistoric times. It’s water level was eighty-five meters higher than today (currently 45 meters below sea level) and the Nile regularly flooded through the low mountains separating it from the Fayoum. At 215 square km, the current lake Qaroun remains Egypt’s largest salt water lake. The prehistoric people who lived here were, at first, nomadic hunters and gatherers, but later began harvesting plants near the lake. This developed into what is said to be the earliest agricultural area in the world, where fences were erected and guarded warehouses built. It has remained an agriculture center, well known for it’s fruits, vegetables and chickens.

Port Said

The origins of Port Said is that of a working camp founded in 1859 by Said Pasha to house men working on the Suez Canal. By the late 19th century, it was an important port where all the major maritime powers had consulates. Much of the city was built on a section of Lake Manzala which was reclaimed by landfill.
Canal from Port Said is Port Fuad, which is really only a bedroom community to Port Said. However, if time permits is is a very pleasant place to take a stroll among the gardens and sprawling residences located there.
There is also a Military Museum, Along with some small displays of pharaonic and Islamic wars are artifacts from the Suez Crises and the 1967 and 1973 wars.

Suez

It has been a commercial port since the 7th century. The spice trade and pilgrimages to Mecca made it prosperous throughout the middle ages. The opening of the Suez Canal ensured its development as a modern city. Today, it is one of Egypt’s largest ports.

Ismailia

The Ismailia Governorate consists of an area of approximately 4482.8 km2 or 0.46% of Egypt’s area, along the west bank of the Suez Canal. It has 70 km along the east coast.
The Ismailia Governorate is the capital of the Canal region where the Suez Canal Authority has its headquarters, it is located on Lake Timsah along the coast of the Canal, half-way between Port Said and Suez. Ismailia City is approximately 120 km from Cairo by the direct route “desert highway” or 135 km by the countryside road. All parts of the Governorate are joined with an integrated network of roads. This enables traffic to join the city of Ismailia with its suburbs.

Luxor

Is considered the greatest outdoor museum in the world , it contains nearly one third of the world’s antiquities. There is hardly a place in luxor which has not a relic that reflects the greatness of the ancient Egyptians and their civilization that dates to seven thousands years ago. Luxor is part of ancient “thebes” that the renowned greek. Poet homer describes as the city of one hundred gates. The arabs called it “luxor” the city of palaces – because they were impressed by its magnificent edifices and huge buildings. Luxor is located 670km south of Cairo. The city of the living on the east bank where sunrise is the source of life and growth, and the city of the Dead on the west bank where sunset symbolizes the eclipse of life. Recently, a bridge connecting the east and west banks has been constructed to speed up tourist traffic to the west bank. The visitor of luxor can make a journey to enjoy the wonderful tourist sites of luxor soaring in a balloon above the temples on the east and west banks.

Aswan

Aswan, 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. Aswan has been a favorite winter resort since the beginning of the nineteenth century, 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.

Hurghada

Hurghada 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.
Hurghada 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.
Islands 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)

El Gouna

22km from Hurghada International Airport, El Gouna & There are several Golf areas in the Red Sea, El Gouna is rich with spas and fitness centers. You can still have the sun, fun, and surgery at the same time with a state-of-the-art You can enjoy your sports life in El Gouna. Choose from an astounding array of sports and go play: kitesurfing, sailing, windsurfing, diving, golf, tennis, parasailing, bicycling, deep sea fishing, beach volleyball, walking, hiking, horseback riding, aerobics, pilates, yoga on the beach, weight training, go karting and squash.

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.
Safaga with several tourist villages specializing in diving holidays, a handful of hotels and some excellent fish.
Safaga is a great place to dive. Some divers even claim Safaga’s offshore reefs offer better diving than Sharm el Sheikh or Hurghada. The reefs are still relatively unspoiled and have not suffered from the masses.

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.

El Quseir

As the majority of visitors passed through immigration at Hurghada airport and dispersed to the nearby hotels or liveaboards, we had another one and a half hour coach journey through the desert, as we were heading for the less well-known resort of El Quseir. Approximately 120 km south of Hurghada and 220 km east of Luxor, 500 km south of Suez, 80 Km South of Safaga, Red Sea , Quseir is one of the oldest ports in Egypt.
It is from the port of Quseir that Queen Hatsheput’s famous expedition is thought to have set sail for the fabled Land of Punt in search of precious metals, exotic animals and rare plants, the most important of which were the incense trees the Queen planted in front of the mortuary temple on the West bank of the Thebes.
The main reason for the reef still being in such good condition is that the number of divers in the water at any one time is limited to twenty. This is controlled by divers recording what times they want to dive, Numerous other sites are available by jeep safari.

Marsa Alam

Between the Red Sea coast road and the road from Edfu which sits on the Nile river about 230km (142mi) inland. This road, which was probably originally built byPtolemy II in the Greek period, passes through some historic landscape where the ancient Egyptians mined much of their gold. Several gold mining operations are known. Just off this road are found two areas, called Wadi Barmiya, and about about 30 kilometers further into the mountains. Wadi Baramiya extends into another larger Wadi named Miya, where a temple was built by, among others, Seti I. Both areas were probably gold mining communities.

Zafarana

Is simply a small village that many go through to reach the monasteries of St. Anthony and St. Paul, nearby. It is a quite little village, but the area is being rapidly developed into Red Sea Resorts. 62 Km South of Ain Sukhna, Red Sea.

Ain Sukhna

It was named after the nearby sulphur springs. This popular weekend resort has fine beaches and coves, coral reefs and fishing and water sports.

Sharm El Sheikh

The 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. In 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 from boredom.
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.

Ras Om El Seed

Famous for its coral reefs, has a very high cliff where many hotels are situated, As you might expect in such a prime diving location, there is a large selection of private companies offering diving courses at all levels and it is one of the cheapest places in the world to pick up a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) qualification.
On top of the cliff, in El Hadaba, villas, apartments and recently constructed condominiums are providing the Sharmers with accommodation and offices. The area is developing with new hotel establishments. The municipality, the post office and telecommunication center are located here. Downhill in Sharm el Moya in the suq one can stroll the many bazaars, supermarkets and restaurants.

Dahab

Dahab is one of the most attractive resorts in South Sinai. Characteristic for Dahab is a shore covered with fine golden sand that might have given Dahab its name: “Gold”. It lies half way between Sharm el Sheikh in the South and Nuweiba in the north.
Dahab consists of two bays. El Qura Bay and Ghazala Bay. In the latter one the Bedouin village El Assalah is located. Within the years the area has developed into a tourist center with camps, motels, restaurants, and bazaars. The Muzeina Bedouins moved and gave place to globetrotters from all over the world to meet in a lively atmosphere exchanging experiences and travel stories in numerous restaurants and cheap accommodation. The spirit in El Assalah reminds of the late 60s. In the southern bay of El Qura is the town center, below on the golden beaches of the bay, the hotels are situated.
Not far from the Blue Hole other luxury hotel complexes are under development. Due to the strong wind, Dahab is an excellent place for water sports and a perfect location for windsurfing. Dahab is famous for its deceptive deep dive sites such as the Blue Hole, the Canyon and the Lighthouse.
lagoon is the “blue hole” which gives the site its name. A shallow lip at about 6m leads from the lagoon to the outer reef; deep within the hole, an arched passage also links the reef face to the hole itself.

Nuweiba

Nuweiba means, “bubbling springs” in Arabic and it is one of the big oases in South Sinai. is located 180 km north of Sharm el Sheikh and only 110 km from Saint Katherine. 70 km south of Taba , Nuweiba is just recently discovered by tourist investors establishing hotels along the coastline south and north of Nuweiba, connecting it with Taba in the north and Dahab in the south.

Taba

Taba is an international border settlement. Within less than an hour one can cross from luxury Eilat into the fascinating wilderness of the Sinai. From here service taxis and car services provide transportation to the coastal towns of South Sinai. Since November 2000 Taba Airport is open to charter flights that makes a visit to this part of the Sinai even more attractive. Due to the Peace Treaty of 1979 an agreement allows visitors to enter South Sinai on a 14 days visa. This visa, which is free of charge at present, covers the area from Taba to Sharm el Sheikh (Ras Mohamed excluded) and St. Catherine.

St. Catherine

Isolated and protected by the surrounding majestic mountains the monastery St. Catherine is the major attraction for tourists visiting the area. At the foot of the mountain where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments, lies the monastery. Early Christian hermits, searching seclusion from worldly affairs, were living around the holy mountain since the early times of Christendom.
After her visit to the impressive site of the Burning Bush Empress Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great, decided in 330 AD to let a chapel be build at the site; and dedicated it to the Virgin Mary.
Many travelogues from early pilgrims talked about the massacres among the monks. Finally in 527 AD Emperor Justinian ordered the construction of a fortress. Above the heavy wooden entrance wooden frames carry the names of Justinian, his wife Theodora and the architect’s Stephan’s , St. Catherine is among the oldest Christian monasteries, and the smallest diocese in the world. The Monks today are Greek Orthodox and of different nationalities. The wealthy monastery has branches in Cairo, Cyprus and Crete.

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