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Pre departure information PDF Print E-mail


Pre Departure information

Thanks for choosing to travel with Timeless Egypt!

This information has been compiled to make sure you are completely prepared for your trip. Reading this information may help avoid any delays or inconveniences to you, and the rest of your group once you are on your Timeless Egypt trip.
The philosophy of Timeless Egypt is simple: to provide excellent value for money for budget conscious and Adventurous travelers without compromising their experiences, and providing quality transportation, Accommodation, sight seeing and information services. We hope that our philosophy will meet your Expectations and the following information will help you enjoy a memorable journey in Egypt.
Country Profile
Area: 1.001.449 sq km
(622.272 sq mi)
Population: 76.5 million
Capital City: Cairo
Language: Arabic
Religion: Islam 80 %- Christianity 20%
Government: Republic
GDP: US$ 247 billion
GDP per head: US$ 3.600
Inflation: 3 %
Visas and Customs
Visa requirements change periodically, therefore you need to check the requirements before traveling.
All visitors to Egypt are required to have a visa and a passport valid for six months. Visas can be arranged Through Egyptian embassies worldwide. Visitors from the US, Canada, EU and GCC countries may be able to purchase a visa stamp upon arrival at many large airports. One-month visitor's visas can be extended.
If you plan to leave Egypt and return later, or your tour makes two or more entries into the country, you need a multiple entry visa. If you apply for a multiple visa through the Egyptian embassy in your country, check your passport when it is returned to you to make sure that you have been issued the correct visa. Please also note that a multiple entry visa cannot be obtained on arrival in Egypt.
It is your responsibility to ensure you have the relevant documents/visas and Timeless Egypt will accept no responsibility for being refused entry through incorrect documentation.
Please remember that you have to declare your video camera upon the entry of the country.
Your passport should be valid for at least six months after you have finished your trip. You should have at least one blank page for every country to be visited, as some visas and entry and exit stamps can be large and some take up a whole page. Before starting your trip, it is very important to take a photocopy of the information pages of your passport (including visas for your trip) and your travel insurance policy.
Travel Insurance
Travel Insurance is compulsory for all trips. You must be adequately insured for medical, hospital, baggage and personal expenses, any necessary extra travel (rejoining trip or repatriation) as well as curtailment and cancellation. Please note that insurance provided by credit card companies is not acceptable as this very rarely provides adequate cover.
Before you leave:
Before you leave your country, we recommend you to make sure you have the followings with you:
Airline or transportation ticket
Tour voucher
Insurance policy
Visas (if necessary)
Label on your backpack & travel bag
Vaccination certificates
Pre-departure information
Safety & Security
Money; Working out your Budget
You are highly recommended to prepare a list of necessary belongings to be taken with you before your journey.
What to pack;
Clothing: As a general guideline, clothing should be lightweight, loose fitting, hard-wearing and easily washed.
In Egypt’s hot summer months, cotton clothing is much more comfortable than man-made materials like nylon.
You should bear in mind that Egypt has conservative attitudes towards dress, particularly in remote areas.
Make sure you allow for climate changes and remember that even in very hot countries, night-time and early morning temperatures can be extremely cold. Therefore we advise you to bring the following clothing with you:
Depending on the season; a warm jacket or wool sweater, a rain jacket, hiking boots, thick socks, flip-flops or Waterproof sandals, shorts, light slacks (men), loose-fitting pants or long skirts (women), short sleeves, t-shirts, hat, underwear and socks. A sleeping bag, torch (flash light) is necessary if you’ll be joining the Felucca Safari trip.
Luggage: A frame backpack instead of a suitcase or trunk. A daypack is also a must.
Toiletries: Towels, soap, toothbrushes, talcum powder, razors, deodorant, tampons, sunscreens.
Lenses (bring enough extra pairs and solution glasses (and a copy of your prescription in case you need emergency replacements), a role of toilet paper.
First-aid kit: Bandages, pain reliever, antibiotic cream, a thermometer, a Swiss Army knife and tweezers (not in hand baggage in the plane), moleskin, decongestant, insect repellent, burn ointment.
Others: Converters and adapters, camera, films, flash, batteries, money belt and additional belongings that you think will be useful during your journey.
Arriving in Cairo
The meet and greet service is included in the price of the tour.
You’ll be met by our local representative in Cairo who arranges the transfers from the airport to your hotel in Cairo.
Please also note that you can call the following numbers in case of emergency:
0020 100 3024950 or 0020 0122 2550224
Pre accommodation
Should you require pre or post tour accommodation, please notify us at the time of booking. Unless a room is immediately available, most hotels will not allocate your room until at least mid day, it may be later than this if the hotel has had high occupancy the previous night. Pre and post tour rates are as follows:
Double & twin GBP 13, Single GBP 20 (per person including breakfast).
Safety/ Security
In general, travel to Egypt is surprisingly safe, group travel even more so. However thieves are still about and you should always use your common sense. Take at least the same precautions you would take if traveling around your own country. DO NOT worry yourself sick but at the same time be prudent and keep your valuables in a safe secure place whenever possible. All money and travel related documents should be kept in a secure place, NOT in your luggage. Concealing them under your clothing in a cotton pouch or money belt or pockets sewn inside loose clothing is recommended.
DO keep alert at all times and don’t be lulled into a false sense of security if nothing happens. DO listen to your tour leader’s advice at all times and heed any warnings given. Most of our hotels have safe deposit boxes in the rooms or a safe at reception, where we suggest you deposit your valuables on arrival. If using the reception safe, put your valuables into a sealed envelope and sign across the seal to make sure it is not opened. Get a receipt on all occasions.
Timeless Egypt cannot accept responsibility for any valuables left in safe deposits in hotels.
Money & Exchange
The local currency is Egyptian Pound (1 US$ is about Egyptian L.E6 and 1GBP about 9.9 L.E). An ATM card or a credit card will often get you the best possible conversion rates. Most towns in Egypt have ATMs that are linked into major international networks.
For your personal spending money, you should bring travelers cheques in a currency such as US Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Euros. If you prefer to use travelers cheques, the most widely accepted brands are VISA, Thomas Cook or American Express. Travelers cheques are not accepted everywhere and cash is more convenient, but it is difficult to replace if lost or stolen.
Generally the most convenient way of carrying your spending money is by having at least 1 or 2 credit or debit cards. The majority of cards (Visa, Diners Club, MasterCard, American Express and Maestro, Plus and Cirrus for debit cards) are accepted in most large cities and tourist areas. Cash advances are usually no problem even though higher fees will apply and money is often paid in local currency not US Dollars. ATMs (Automatic
Teller Machines) are becoming more common. Remember, if the ATM doesn’t work after the first two tries; find another machine, as it may retain your card the third time. Always make sure no one else sees your PIN number when using ATMs. It is difficult to specify the money that you can spend per day, however as a general rule US $20 to $30 or GB £15 to £25 per day can provide you with additional meals and optional entrances. For the Extra optional tours Timeless Egypt only accept cash.
Eating and drinking
Like any crossroads culture, Egyptian cuisine has picked and chosen those ingredients and food that grow best as well as best meet the flavor and nutritional needs of their people. Bridging Africa and Asia as it does, Egypt has a lot from which to choose.
The shish kebab style is extremely popular and is served either with or without the skewers but always with traditional accompaniments: greens and tomato salad, tahini sauce and pita bread. So you can stuff your own sandwich if you want. Bread is always whole wheat pita, coated with coarse ground wheat, round, fragrant and sheer heaven when hot from the oven. Often pita plus a dipping sauce, tahini, hummus or babaganoush, makes a fast food meal and a healthy, delicious one at that.
The traditional and ubiquitous salad is chopped tomato, coriander, mint, little hot green peppers (not jalapenos but close) and onions, coated with garlic oil. It's great for digestion but death on the breath. Bring mints. Other veggies that grow well and show up all the time include beans, mostly chick pea and fava, which are eaten stewed for breakfast, hearty stewed for lunch and dinner and ground and pasted for tahini and hummus with great amounts of garlic.
Eggplant, mashed as the main ingredient in babaganoush, is also used in Egyptian moussaka with a mild white cheese. Okra, cabbage, cauliflower and potatoes show up frequently, stewed with tomatoes and garlic. Rice is a universal constant and was consistently wonderful, even for breakfast! The grains mix short basmatilike rice with longer brown and nutty tasting rice.
Grilled pigeon is the acclaimed delicacy and like any small game bird is long on flavor but short on ease of eating. You can taste fish on the Red Sea, i.e. perch and tuna, both fried, but flavorful without excess oil.
Of course, when you think "Orient" you think spices. Egyptian bazaars display staggering amounts, sculptured into colorful spice pyramids, from yellows of saffron and ochre's of curries to deep blues of powdered indigo dye. Food is usually spiced but not spicy. Cumin and salt are found on restaurant tables.
Middle Eastern desserts are nothing special; they do bake but, to the Western taste, figs date and nut fillings in largely unsweetened dough aren't a dessert. Better to eat the fresh figs, dates (of which there must be 200 different types and grades), oranges and pomegranates without baked modifications. Speaking of fruit, juice bars abound in the streets and fresh squeezed oranges sweetened with cut sugar cane is heaven in a hot climate.
Although Egypt is a Muslim country, most of the hotels serve alcoholic drinks (during Ramadan, some hotels will close their bars). Locally produced spirits and wine are OK, and the local beer “Stella” is quite good.
Although Egyptian eating habits may seem erratic, most natives begin the day with a light breakfast of beans (or bean cakes), eggs, and/or pickles, cheeses, and jams. Most families eat their large, starchy lunch around 14.00-17.00 hrs and follow it with a siesta. They may take a British-style tea at 17.00 or 18.00 hrs and eat a light supper (often leftovers from lunch) late in the evening. Dinner parties, however, are scheduled late, often no earlier than 21.00 hrs, with the meal served an hour or two later. In restaurants lunch is normally 13.00-16.00, dinner 20.00-24.00 hrs.
A basic lunch and dinner (main meal + salad) in a local restaurant will cost you between £3 and £6 (US $5 and US $10), a soft drink about £ 0.50 (US $0.90).
The beer prices differ depending on the region (town) and the atmosphere of the bar-pub-restaurant etc. A bottle of beer will cost you around £1.50 (US$2.50) and bottle of wine will cost approx. £ 6 (US$ 11) in a backpacker pub and bar.
Egypt offers an incredible selection of shopping. Shopping ranges from the famous Khan el-Khalili 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.
You can also try some of the famous street markets, like Wekala al-Balaq, for fabrics, including Egyptian cotton, the Tentmakers Bazaar for appliqué-work, and Mohammed Ali Street for musical instruments and, although you probably won't want to buy, the Camel Market makes a fascinating trip.
Cokes, batteries, water and similar items can usually be purchased much cheaper in supermarkets. But of course, many items which the travelers will wish to purchase such as gold cartouches, Egyptian theme clothing or t-shirts and statues replicas are souvenirs by definition and must be purchased, for the most part, from a market that caters to tourists.
A considerable aptitude for negotiation will unquestionably result in lower prices in areas which cater to tourists, such as the Khan and tourist shops around the pyramids and old or Coptic Cairo. Most everywhere else such as grocery stores, shopping malls and the shopping area downtown, prices are fixed and not really negotiable at all. In some of the shops, one might make a friendly effort to secure a small discount, but a strong attempt at negotiation will probably offend the sales person.
Please also bear in mind that haggling is a way of life in the Middle East. Haggling should always be relaxed and can be a lot of fun – you will find most shop owners are very friendly and will probably invite you in for a cup of tea to break the ice before the haggling starts.
Opening hours
Normally shops and department stores are open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. with possible variations from town to town (except for the Ramadan period).
Banks in Egypt are open Sunday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and they are closed on Friday and Saturday. Post Offices are open from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. They are closed on Friday.
Many workers in Egypt are very poorly paid and depend on tips for their main income. Whilst we fully understand that some nationalities are not accustomed to tipping, this is a normal part of culture in Egypt and requests for tips can be infuriatingly persistent.
Tipping is a way of life in Egypt. Everyone tips everyone, and Egyptians also tip each other. Timeless Egypt will collect 1.7GBP or $3 US per day per person to cover tipping for services provided during the tour e.g. drivers, waiters, bell men/ porters, hotel staff etc. We will collect the tipping kitty in advance to avoid unnecessary hassle during the tour. (Not included the tipping for the tour guides)
Environmentally Friendly Tips
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the countries you visit is positive rather than negative.
Don’t prejudge: Things overseas will almost certainly be different. That doesn’t make them worse or inferior, just different. Communicate: Don’t expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don’t worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language. Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning when you leave the hotel room and don’t waste water. Remove superfluous packaging: Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home. Don’t litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you’re traveling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to make it even worse than it already is. Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help keep the rivers and seas (and therefore the water supply) free from pollution.
Respect local cultures and traditions: You may find that what is acceptable at home may be offensive overseas. Local people tend to be extremely welcoming, especially if visitors display respect for their values and traditions. It’s important to follow dress and behaviors guidelines (your tour leader will help). Don’t attempt to bring back materials, plants or animals:
Don’t buy animal skins or coral; they look much better where they belong – on the animal or in the sea. Be careful not to damage wild plants or disturb wildlife. Dispose of toilet paper properly: Many countries lack modern plumbing systems so when a rubbish bin is situated by the toilet, please deposit all used paper into that bucket rather than the toilet bowl! When going to the toilet ‘in the wild’ please burn or bury all toilet paper.
Time Keeping
Punctuality is very important and throughout the trip the tour leader will give you the time to meet in reception or at a meeting point. All bags must be in the lobby at the specified time, so please don’t be late as it is very annoying for the rest of the group and our crew.
There are usually Laundromats or laundry services in or near our hotels, although hotel services can be pretty costly. Most hotels do not like guests washing and drying their clothes in the hotel rooms, so take care not to be too obvious where you hang them!
Contacting Home
E-mail is the easiest way to stay in contact with family and friends, and Internet Cafés can be found either in, or close to the places we stay. Most mobile phones work in Egypt, and International phone cards are readily available for use from a public phone.
Egyptian summers are hot and dry in most of the country and humid in the Delta and along the Mediterranean Coast. In recent years the humidity has spread to Cairo and the city swelters in August. Winters are mild with some rain, but usually there are bright, sunny days and cold nights.
There is a short spring and autumn and during the 50 days (khamseen) between the end of
March and mid-May, dust storms can occur sporadically.
If you are traveling between November and March on a tour that includes trekking in the Sinai or cruising on the Nile you should expect temperatures to fall considerably at night. At this time of year temperatures can often fall below freezing near Mt. Sinai.
Electrical Adaptors
Buy an electrical adaptor for your mobile phone, camera and other electrical equipment before you leave home, as adaptors can be difficult to find in Egypt.
All appliances require a double round pin type plug for 220 volts AC, 50-hertz.
Please bear in mind that star ratings utilized in Egypt are not directly comparable with the European standards

Optional Extras
Egypt is one of the best adventure destinations in the world offering numerous optional activities and excursions. There are plenty of good opportunities for swimming on the many fine beaches along Egypt's Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts. Diving and snorkeling are by far the most popular organized activities in Egypt, and the Red Sea is said to have some of the best scuba diving in the world. The waters of Egypt teem with underwater life and the corals, crustaceans and fish come in all sorts of vivid colors and shapes. Camel and jeep safaris are also popular, either in the Western Desert with its fantastic sand landscapes or in the rugged, rocky surrounds of Sinai. Please find below the entrance fees to the museums and historical sights (prices are in Egyptian Pound):                                                            
Giza Pyramids E£ 40
Sphinx Free
Sakkara E£ 35
Philae Temple E£ 35
Unfinished Obelisk E£ 20
High Dam E£ 8
Komombo E£ 20
Edfu Temple E£ 35
Karnak Temple E£ 40
Luxor Temple E£ 35
Colossi of Memnon Free
Valley of the Kings E£ 55
Valley of the Queens E£ 20
Hatchepsut E£ 20
Egyptian Museum E£ 40
Citadel E£ 35
Below are some of the optional tours available in Egypt:
Horse riding at the Pyramids
Camel riding at the Pyramids
Sound & light show at Karnak or Philae Temple
Camel trek to St. Simeon’s Monastery
Dinner in Nubian Village
Balloon flight over West Bank in Luxor
Snorkeling in Dahab
Introductory Scuba Dive
Tour of Abu Simbel
Please apply to your tour leader for the current prices and the details of the activities.
Please bear in mind that star ratings utilized in Egypt are not directly comparable with the European standards. The hotel selection is 5, 4 and 3 star locally rated and the main criterion in the hotel selection process is Cleanliness, private bath-room facilities, usually but not always air-conditioning and central location. Your Tour Leader will organize the rooming arrangements when checking into the hotels.
Egyptian language is Arabic.
Below you will find some important phrases that will make your travel easier:





Good morning

Sabah al khaer

Good evening

Masa al khaer


Tesbah ala care

Thank you



Men fadlak

No thank you

La Shokran

How are you?


How much?


My name is ----

Ismy ----

What is your name?

Esmak ay?

Nile Cruise Ship
On the Nile Cruise Ship there is ample deck space, a large sundeck with a swimming pool and a spacious shaded seating area with its own bar. It is here you will witness the most fabulous views of the majestic River Nile. Open Buffet meals are served in the air-conditioned restaurant and there is a lounge bar where you can enjoy your evening listening to music or playing cards. The air-conditioned twin-bedded cabins each have a private en-suite bathtub, shower, toilet and sink. The rooms offer a large panoramic view of the river.
Nile Felucca
Feluccas are a traditional Egyptian sailboat that have sailed the Nile for thousands of years. They are simple sailboats with no engines and no onboard washroom facilities. There is a single deck on which you can stretch out during the day under a shade awning. Each felucca sleeps 6-8 people and is crewed by a Captain and a Deckhand,
Both of whom have grown up along the banks of the Nile. As well as being experienced sailors, they cook up some of the finest in simple vegetarian cuisine. You may be served a lunch of Egyptian style bread, white cheese, hummus and tomatoes or a dinner of pasta with fresh vegetables and tomato sauce. The deck is covered with mattresses and cushions where you will sleep side by side across the boat. Blankets will be provided if you are not traveling with your sleeping bag. Towels and toilet paper are not provided so be sure to pack as if you were camping.
Board the Felucca in Aswan. Enjoy the Nile scenery while sailing down the Nile. The Captain will dock for washroom breaks, meals and overnight. There will be a campfire along the banks of the Nile where you can relax and enjoy some traditional Bedouin music in the evening. Spend the night on the Felucca.
Begin sailing in the early morning. The boat will sail all day stopping for breaks along the way. Spend the night on the Felucca.
In the morning you will check off the Felucca and meet your local guide to visit Kom Ombo temple. Next you will be transferred by van to Edfu temple with your guide.

*Be sure you have taken a nap before this excursion as you will not be sleeping on the mountain this night. Bring easy walking shoos and torch (falsh light) food and drinks for the hike because you will need energy
   along the way.
Depart from Dahab by bus around 10pm for the 2.5 hour trip to the base of Mount Sinai. Begin climbing the mountain at night by the light of your flashlight and the moon. There are no washroom facilities along the route so bring toilet paper with you. You will reach the peak before sunrise (2285 m high) and witness the spectacular view from the top.
Descend the mountain until you reach St. Catherine's Monastery, (opens at 9am), and spend 1 hour there. Return by bus back to Cairo.

The heart of Egypt for more than 1000 years, Cairo embodies all things Egyptian. It's in Cairo where the medieval world and the contemporary western world come together in a confusion of brick houses and towering modern office buildings, of expensive cars and donkey-drawn carts. Nobody really knows how many people live in Cairo, but estimates put it at about 16 million and the city's many squatter camps and slums accommodate around 5 million people. Housing shortages are common and the traffic is chaotic, but the government has begun a campaign to ease these pressures by opening an underground metro system and constructing satellite suburbs.
Islamic Cairo (which is no more Islamic than the rest of the city) is the old medieval quarter, and stepping into its neighbourhoods is like moving back six or seven centuries. This is the most densely populated area of Egypt, and probably the whole Middle East. Districts like Darb al-Ahmar are full of tiny alleyways, mud-brick houses, food hawkers, goats, camels and donkeys. The streets are lined with mosques and temples, and the air is filled with the pungent smells of tumeric and cumin, animals and exhaust. Some of Islamic Cairo's highlights include the Mosque of Ibn Tulun, dating from the 9th century and the city's oldest intact and fully functioning Islamic monument; the 15th century Mosque of Qaitbay, considered the jewel of Mamluk architecture; Al-Ashar Mosque, the keystone of Islam in Egypt; and the Citadel, an awesome medieval fortress that was the seat of Egyptian power for 700 years. The Citadel has three major mosques and several museums.
Coptic Cairo was originally built as a Roman fortress town. Pre-dating the founding of Islamic Cairo by several hundred years, it was home to one of the worlds first Christian communities and is also a holy place for Jews and Muslims. The sole remaining section of the Fortress of Babylon includes two towers which were built in 98 AD. They originally overlooked an important port on the Nile before the river changed course. The Coptic Museum at the foot of the towers explores Egypt's Christian era from the years 300 to 1000. The stunning collection includes religious and secular art, stonework, manuscripts, woodwork, glass and ceramics.
Giza is located on the west bank of the Nile and takes in an 18 km radius that includes the Great Pyramids. The pyramids are one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and are still a truly overwhelming sight. They have survived the rise and fall of great dynasties and conquerors, and share the flat desert surrounds with the Sphinx and a number of smaller pyramids and temples.
Great Pyramid
How it was built is a question that may never be answered. Herodotus said that it would have taken 30 years and 100,000 slaves to have built it. Another theory is that it was built by peasants who were unable to work the land while the Nile flooded between July and November. They may have been paid with food for their labour.
The flooded waters would have also aided in the moving of the casing stones. These stones were brought from Aswan and Tura and the water would have brought the stones right to the pyramid. This pyramid is thought to have been built between 2589-2566 BC. It would have taken over 2,300,000 blocks of stone with an average weight of 2.5 tonnes each. The total weight would have been 6,000,000 tonnes with a height of 140 m. It is the largest and the oldest of the Pyramids of Giza.
Not much is known about Cheops because the tomb was robbed long before archaeologists came upon it. Any information about him was taken with the objects inside the tomb. He is thought to have been the ruler of a highly structured society and he must have been very wealthy. He was buried alone in this massive tomb. His wives may have been buried nearby in smaller mastabas.
On Cheops' southwest diagonal is the Chephren (Khafre). Although it is smaller, a steeper angle results in the illusion that they are the same size. The notion that this was done on purpose to out-do his father is without question. As it occupies the central point, (it has the illusion of greater size), and still has some of its casing stones intact, it is frequently misreferred to as the Great Pyramid. This is something that would no doubt please Chephren were he to know about it.
In a depression to the south of Chephren's pyramid sits a creature with a human head and a lion's body. The name "sphinx", (which means "strangler"), was first given by the Greeks to a fabulous creature which had the head of a woman, body of a lion and wings of a bird. The Sphinx appears to have started in Egypt in the form of a sun god. The Egyptian sphinx is usually a head of a king wearing his headdress and the body of a lion. There are however sphinxes with ram heads that are associated with the god Amun.

Step Pyramid
Across the great court of the pyramids complex of Zoser, (2667-2648 BC) the second king of the 3rd Dynasty, stands the Step Pyramid, It is located at Sakkara close to modern day Cairo and is believed to have been created by one man, Imhotep. He has been called Doctor, Sage, Architect, Astronomer and High Priest. During an excavation in 1924-26, a pedestal of a statue of Zoser was found. This complex represents the first major work in stone. On the Pyramid, most of the outer casing is gone. In some places the core masonry has disappeared as well. It is obvious there were different stages of construction.
Citadel of Saladin
One of Cairo's most popular tourist attractions is the Citadel, located on a spur of limestone that had been detached from its parent Moquattum Hills by quarrying. The Citadel is one of the world's greatest monuments to medieval warfare as well as a highly visible landmark on Cairo's eastern skyline. Particularly when viewed from the back side (from north) as it reveals a very medieval character.
Mohamed Ali (Alabaster) Mosque
Designed by the Greek architect Yussuf Bushnaq, the Mohamed Ali Mosque in the Citadel was begun in 1830 (finished in 1857) in the Ottoman style by Mohamed Ali Pasha (ruler of Egypt and founder of the country's last dynasty of Khedives and Kings). The mosque is the Tomb of Mohamed Ali and is also known as the Alabaster Mosque because of the extensive use of this fine material from Beni Suef. Its two slender 270 foot minaret are unusual for Cairo. From the arcaded courtyard, visitors have a magnificent view of the Sultan Hassan, Ibn Tulun Mosques as well as Cairo itself. Perhaps because of its location, it is one of the most frequented mosques by tourists.
The Hanging Church
The hanging church (El Muallaqa, St. Mary) derives its name from its location on top of the southern tower gate of the old Babylon Fortress with its nave suspended above the passage (Muallaqa translates to "suspended"). It is the most famous Coptic Christian church in Cairo as well as the first building in Basilican style. It was probably built during the patriarchate of Isaac (690-92), though an earlier church building may have existed elsewhere dating as early as the 3rd or 4th century. By the 11th century AD, it became the official residence of the Coptic patriarchs of Alexandria. The church, which measures 23.5 meters long x18.5 meters wide x 9.5 meters high, can be reached by 29 steps. It became known to travelers during the 14th and 15th centuries as the "staircase church" because of these steps, which in turn lead to an open court.
Aswan, Egypt's southernmost city, has long been the country's gateway to Africa. The prosperous market city straddles the crossroads of the ancient caravan routes, not far above the Tropic of Cancer. In ancient times it was a garrison town known as Swenet,
(meaning "trade"), and was also important to the early Coptic Christians. The main town and temple area of Swenet were located on Elephantine Island in the middle of the Nile, (the island known then known as Yebu, and later renamed by the Greeks). The temples and ruins here are not nearly as well preserved and impressive as those elsewhere in the country but there are other good reasons to visit. If you're not "tombed out", a visit to the history, art and Nubian culture from the Tombs of the Nobles is worthwhile, and a highlight is the Nubian Museum, showcasing history, art and Nubian culture from the prehistoric to the present. The Nile is glorious here as it makes its way down from massive High Dam and Lake Nasser. Enjoy watching the feluccas glide by as the sun sets over the Nile. It is an experience you are unlikely to forget.
The world famous High Dam was an engineering miracle when it was built in the 1960's. It contains 18 times the material used in the Great Pyramid of Cheops. The Dam is 3,600 m long x 980 m thick at the base x 111 m tall. Today it provides irrigation and electricity for the whole of Egypt and together with the old Aswan Dam, built by the British between 1898 and 1902. From the top of the 3.2 km long High Dam you can gaze across Lake Nasser, the huge reservoir created when it was built, to Kalabsha temple in the south and the huge power station in the north.
The Island of Philae, measuring 457 m from north to south and 146 m from east to west, was the center of the cult of Goddess Isis and her connection with Osiris, Horus and the Kingship during the Ptolemaic period of Egyptian history. It is covered with temples, courts and ancient structures of one kind or another. The banks of the river are largely built up with quay walls and high terraces.
Before the High Dam was built, the temples and structures on Philae were flooded each year from December to April and had to be visited during this time by boat through the passage of Kiosk of Trjan and into the court of the Temple of Isis. In the 1970's, the architectural structures of the original island were moved to their present position on the Island of Agilkia, to the northwest. When Philae was going to be flooded by the construction of the High Dam, the new location was carefully landscaped to make it resemble Philae as closely as possible.
Built on the site of the ancient city of Thebes, Luxor is one of Egypt's prime tourist destinations. People have been visiting the magnificent monuments of Luxor, Karnak, Hatchepsut and Ramses II for thousands of years.
Luxor Temple
Luxor temple was built by Pharaoh Amenhotep III (1390-1352 BC) on the site of an older temple built by Hatchepsut and added to by Tutankhamun, Ramses II, Nectanebo, Alexander the Great and various Romans. Excavation work has been under way since 1885.
Karnak Temple
Karnak describes a vast conglomerate of ruined temples, chapels and other buildings of various dates.They are a spectacular series of monuments that were the main place of worship in Theban times. They can be divided into three categories; the Amun Temple Enclosure, which is the largest; the Mut Temple Enclosure on the south side; and the Montu Temple Enclosure. Theban Kings and the god Amun came to prominence at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom. From that time, the temples of Karnak were built, enlarged, torn down, added to and restored for more than 2000 years. The Open Air museum is located to the north of the first courtyard across from the sacred lake and houses hundreds of artifacts that were discovered in the floor of Karnak temple.
Temple of Hatchepsut
The mortuary temple of Queen Hatchepsut is one of the most dramatically situated in the world. The Queen's architect, Senenmut, designed it and set it at the head of a valley overshadowed by the Peak of the Thebes, (the "lover of silence" where the goddess presiding over necropolis lived). A tree lined Avenue of Sphinxes led up to the temple and ramps led from terrace to terrace. The porticoes on the lowest terrace are out of proportion and colouring with the rest of the building. They were restored in 1906 to protect the celebrated reliefs depicting the transport of obelisks by barge to Karnak and the miraculous birth of Queen Hatchepsut.
Valley of the Kings
The lonely statues of the Colossi of Memnon are the first things most people see when they arrive on the West bank, through the Valley of the Kings. The West bank includes the spectacular tombs of Nefertari and Tutankhamun, the main attractions. From Thutmose I (18th Dynasty of the New Kingdom period) all the kings and occassionally high officials were buried in the secluded wadi (dry gully), which is today called the Valley of the Kings. The Valley is actually composed of two separate branches. The main eastern branch is where most of the royal tombs are located. In the larger, westernly branch, only a few tombs were cut. The Valley is hidden from sight, behind cliffs which form the backdrop to the temple complex. Through the most direct route to the valley is a rather steep climb over the cliffs. There is a much longer, shallower route existing along the bottom of the valley. This was quite possibly used by funeral processions, pulling equipment by sledges to the rock-cut tombs in the Valley.
Hurghada was founded in the early 20th century and until a few years ago remained a small fishing village. Today it has become the foremost tourist resort of the 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 and above all diving or snorkelling. The unique underwater gardens offshore are some of the finest in the world, justifiably famous among divers. The warm waters here are ideal for many varieties of rare fish and coral reefs, which can also be observed through glass bottom boats. Hurghada is one of the biggest resort destinations on the Red Sea. It has a beautiful crescent shaped bay, rugged mountains and excellent beaches. The main attraction is a nearby coral reef-one of the finest in the world. Local dive centers accommodate both snorkelers and scuba divers. Just 5 km north of town is the Marine Museum. It has excellent marine life displayed so expect to spend at least 2 hours discovering the museum.

Dahab is located 85 km north of Sharm el Sheikh which is on the Gulf of Aqaba near the southern tip of Sinai. It is a small Bedouin village with some of the top dive spots in the world. Dahab means "Golden" in arabic and it truly manages to surpass its name. It boasts excellent accommodations and beachfront restaurants, turquoise sea, swaying palms and golden sand. About 10 km from the town is the famous Blue Hole for scuba diving and snorkelling. Towards the Israeli border is the Island of Coral where the Crusaders built a fort and the remains can still be seen today.

St. Catherine's Monastery
Located at the foot of Mount Moses, St. Catherine's Monastery was constructed by order of the Emperor Justinian between 527-565. It is a spectacular natural setting for priceless works of art, including Arab mosaics, Greek and Russian icons, Western oil paintings, wax paintings, fine sacerdotal ornaments, marbles, enamels and chalices.

Mt. Sinai
After 8,000 years at the heart of history, experience the continuing contrasts. Sinai is where rock meets coral reef and the desert stops at the sea. It is the grandeur of granite meeting golden beaches. Here you will discover rare birds, spectacular sunsets and starry nights. There is still speculation about which mountain exactly is Mount Sinai. Mount Moses, with ancient St. Catherine's Monastery at it's foot, is traditionally considered to be the peak that Moses climbed.

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