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Egypt Travel Guide

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Egypt Travel Guide

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Egypt is known for its mighty Nile and magnificent monuments, sand-covered tombs and austere pyramids. The old saying that Egypt is the gift of the Nile still rings true, as without the river there would be no fertile land, no food and a lot less electricity. Luckily for visitors, a cruise on the Nile river is also the perfect way to see many of Egypt’s most spectacular ancient monuments. Visit the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, where Tutankhamun’s tomb was unearthed and see the glittering finds in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Hop off a Nile boat to visit Dendara, Edfu or one of the other waterside temples, cross Lake Nasser to see Ramses II’s masterpiece at Abu Simbel, or trek into the desert to find the traces of Roman trading outposts. You never know – your donkey might stumble across yet another find, for that is the way many previous discoveries were made

Fast Facts

  • Capital :Cairo
  • Religion : Majority Muslim
  • Language : Arabic
  • Local Currency : Egyptian Pound
  • 1 USD = 16 Egyptian Pound (approx.)
  • Time Difference : GMT + 2 hrs

When to go

The climate in Egypt is dry and arid except for the northern region which enjoys a Mediterranean climate. It is hot and dry in summer and moderate in winter with little rain which increases on the coast. Egypt has only two prominent seasons: a moderate winter from November to April, and a hot summer from May to October. Temperature average is between 9°C & 24°C in January, and between 21°C and 42°C in July and August

December-February

Winter is prime tourist season in Cairo, with visitors hoping to pair sightseeing with pleasant weather. Average daytime temperatures rest in the upper 60s, and evenings usher in cool, refreshing breezes

March-April

Springtime is a great time to visit Cairo. The winter crowds are waning and the weather is gorgeous. Expect daytime highs in the mid-70s to low 80s and cooler winds come nightfall

May-September

Spending summertime in a desert climate does not appeal to most travellers. Average daytime temperatures hover in the high 80s and low to mid-90s, although they have been known to cross into triple digits from time to time. And the lack of rain can leave the city feeling parched

October-November

Late fall marks another sweet spot in Cairo's tourism calendar. The summer heat retreats and the winter crowds have yet to arrive. Expect daytime temperatures in the mid-70s to mid-80s

Where to go

Islamic Cairo

The narrow lanes of the capital's Islamic Cairo district are crammed full of mosques, madrassa and monuments dating from the Fatimid through to the Mameluke eras. This is where you'll find the labyrinth shopping souk of Khan el-Khalili where coppersmiths and artisans still have their tiny workshops, and stalls are laden with ceramics, textiles, spice, and perfume. Surrounding the market is a muddle of roads, home to some of the most beautiful preserved architecture of the old Islamic empires

Pyramids of Giza

The last surviving of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza are one of the world's most recognisable landmarks. Built as tombs for the mighty Pharaohs and guarded by the enigmatic Sphinx, Giza's pyramid complex has awed travelers down through the ages and had archaeologists (and a fair few conspiracy theorists) scratching their heads over how they were built for centuries. Today, these megalithic memorials to dead kings are still as wondrous a sight as they ever were

Egyptian Museum

One of the world’s most important collections of ancient artefacts, the Egyptian Museum takes pride of place in Downtown Cairo, on the north side of Midan Tahrir. Inside the great domed, oddly pinkish building, the glittering treasures of Tutankhamun and other great pharaohs lie alongside the grave goods, mummies, jewellery, eating bowls and toys of Egyptians whose names are lost to history

   

Cairo Citadel

When in Cairo, it is basically impossible to miss the Salah El-Din Citadel, a typical early medieval fortress, with large imposing gateways, towers and high defending walls. The Citadel of Cairo as it is also known, is one of Cairo's main attractions and probably the most popular non-pharaonic monument in the Egyptian capital. It is strategically located on a promontory beneath the Mokattam Mountain and is considered the most impressive and ambitious military fortification at the time of its construction. Subsequent Islamic rulers of the Mamluk Sultanate and the Ottoman Empire, al-Nasir Muhammad and Muhammad Ali Pasha respectively, redeveloped and installed additional defenses

   

Temple of Edfu

The temple of Edfu is one of the Ptolemy Dynasty's most impressive feats of construction and also one of Egypt's best preserved temples. It is dedicated to the falcon god, Horus. The external and internal looming sandstone walls are covered in giant hieroglyphics and its hallways seem to be have been created for giants. Buried under centuries of sand and silt until the nineteenth century, when a French Egyptologist rediscovered the site, this complex is one of the most well-preserved sites in Egypt today, its architecture is very much intact, and the building contains a wealth of legible inscriptions on its walls

Luxor

Famed for the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple, and the Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut, the Nile-side town of Luxor in Upper Egypt has a glut of tourist attractions. This is ancient Thebes, powerbase of the New Kingdom pharaohs and home to more sights than most can see on one visit. While the East Bank brims with vibrant souk action, the quieter West Bank is home to a bundle of tombs and temples that has been called the biggest open air museum in the world

Temple of Kom Ombo

The Temple of Kom Ombo is unique because it was dedicated to not one but two gods. Built on an outcrop at a bend in the Nile where crocodiles used to gather in ancient times, the southern half of the temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world, while the northern part of the temple was dedicated to the falcon god Horus. The temple is atypical because everything is perfectly symmetrical along the main axis. One of the most intriguing features of the temple is the relief work showing surgical instruments include scalpels, curettes, forceps, speculators, scissors, medicine bottles, and prescriptions. At the time the relief was carved, Egyptian medical science was almost certainly the most advanced in the world.

   

Temple of Hatshepsut

Located beneath massive cliffs near the west bank of the Nile, the mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut is dedicated to Amon-Ra, the Sun god. Stepped platforms, pillared porticoes and vibrant reliefs set against the desert backdrop make it one of the world’s most striking architectural masterpieces, but perhaps even more noteworthy is the woman who commissioned it, Queen Hatshepsut, the Egyptian Queen who ruled as a King

Abu Simbel

Even in a country festooned with temples, Abu Simbel is something special. This is Ramses II's great temple, adorned with colossal statuary standing guard outside, and with an interior sumptuously decorated with wall paintings. Justly famous for its megalithic proportions, Abu Simbel is also known for the incredible feat, which saw the entire temple moved from its original setting in a massive UNESCO operation that took four years, a task undertaken to save the temple which would otherwise have disappeared under the water because of the Aswan dam during the 1960’s

White Desert

Egypt's kookiest natural wonder is the White Desert where surreally shaped chalk mountains have created what looks like a snowy wonderland in the middle of the arid sand. The landscapes here look like something out of a science fiction movie with blindingly white boulders and iceberg-like pinnacles. For desert fans and adventurers, this is the ultimate weird playground, while anybody who's had their fill of temples and tombs will enjoy this spectacular natural scenery

Alexandria

This city once housed the world’s biggest library and was a jeweled outpost for the Greco-Roman empires. Since then, little remains of the fabled places in the city, but the city has become one of the best Egypt destinations away from the grind and dust of the rest of the Egyptian cities. The Pompey pillar square is a great place to hang out, and the streets are lined with chic cafes in a welcome break from the cuisine elsewhere in Egypt