Showing posts with label Egypt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Egypt. Show all posts

Giza, Egypt

Though the three Great Pyramids are the most famous and prominent monuments at Giza, the site has actually been a Necropolis almost since the beginning of Pharaonic Egypt. A tomb just on the outskirts of the Giza site dates from the reign of the First Dynasty Pharaoh Wadj (Djet), and jar sealings discovered in a tomb in the southern part of Giza mention the Second Dynasty Pharaoh Ninetjer. But it was the Fourth Dynasty Pharaoh Khufu (Cheops) who placed Giza forever at the heart of funerary devotion, a city of the dead that dwarfed the cities of the living nearby. His pyramid, the largest of all the pyramids in Egypt (though it should be noted that it surpasses the Red Pyramid of his father Snefru by only ten meters) dominates the sandy plain.

On its southwest diagonal is the pyramid of his son Khephren (Chephren, Khafre). Although it is smaller, a steeper angle results in the illusion that they are the same size. In fact, Kephren's pyramid appears taller since it is on higher ground. The notion that this was done on purpose to out-do his father is without question. As it occupies the central point, has the illusion of greater size, and still has some of its casing stones intact, it is frequently mis-referred to as the Great Pyramid, something that would no doubt please Khephren were he to know about it.

Further along the southwest diagonal is the smallest of the three, the pyramid of Khephren's son, Menkaure. It is also the most unusual. First of all, it is not entirely limestone. The uppermost portions are brick, much like the several Pyramids at Dahshur, though separated from them by several centuries. One theory is that Menkaure died before his pyramid could be completed, and the remaining construction was hastily done to finish in time for the burial. It is also not along the diagonal line that runs through the Great Pyramid and the Second Pyramid, but instead is nearly a hundred meters to the southeast. This error, if error it is, is of a magnitude not in keeping with the mathematical skill known to have been possessed by the ancient Egyptians. However, an idea has emerged in the last few years that the three large pyramids of Giza are actually meant to be in an alignment resembling that of the three "belt" stars in the constellation Orion: Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka. This theory is largely discounted by the majority of Egyptologists, but some do believe it is a point to ponder.

Giza can be subdivided into two groupings of monuments, clearly defined and separated by a wadi. The larger grouping consists of the three "Great" pyramids of Khufu, Khephren, and Menkaure; the Sphinx, the pyramids of the queens, attendant temples and outbuildings, and the private mastabas of the nobility. The second grouping, located on the ridge to the southeast, contains a number of private tombs of citizens of various classes. While the majority of the monuments of the larger grouping are made from limestone that was quarried and transported to the site, the tombs of the smaller grouping are simply carved out of the native living rock.

All three pyramids stand empty, possibly plundered during the political unrest that ended the Old Kingdom when the monarchy collapsed. Yet there are the occasional surprises. Airtight pits along the southern and eastern walls of Khufu's pyramid are believed to contain boats (not small ritual boats, but fully-functional funerary barges with 40-ton displacements, one such was excavated in 1954); and most recently, evidence has been found of a tunnel linking a hidden chamber within the Great Pyramid with a previously unknown chamber beneath the Sphinx. What treasures and discoveries lie within these areas remains to be seen, but it is hoped that the wait will not be long.

The advantages of Giza for a burial site are numerous, and it is fairly easy to see why it was chosen. It is high and flat ground overlooking everything. Any monument placed there would be seen from far away, especially if traveling via the Nile. It also has a ready supply of limestone on-site, eliminating the need to transport the blocks over a protracted distance. Since around the Fifth Century BC, and up until recently, stone from the monuments were taken and used to build buildings in nearby Cairo. First the polished white limestone "casing" was taken, then the softer core stones. 

Giza map
Many of Cairo's oldest buildings are built partly from stones from the pyramids. This destruction continued well into the Nineteenth Century until preservation efforts and a resurgence of national pride put a stop to it. It is believed that had the pyramids not been vandalized, that they would still remain to this day much as they were when they were built. As the saying goes, "Man fears Time, but Time fears the Pyramids." Exactly how big Giza is may never be known. Excavations have continued to find new tombs and artifacts since Bezoni, Caviglia, Perring, and Vyse began the first systematic study of Giza in the early 1800s. It has been explored and excavated more thoroughly than any other site in Egypt, possibly more than any other site in the world, yet no one believes it is anywhere near completion.

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Luxor, Egypt

LUXOR has been a tourist mecca ever since Nile steamers began calling in the nineteenth century to view the remains of Thebes, Ancient Egypt 's New Kingdom capital, and its associated sites – the concentration of relics in this area is overwhelming. The town itself boasts Luxor Temple, a graceful ornament to its waterfront and "downtown", while a mile or so north is Karnak Temple, a stupendous complex built over 1300 years. Across the river are the amazing tombs and mortuary temples of the Theban Necropolis, and as if this wasn't enough, Luxor also serves as a base for trips to Esna, Edfu, Dendara and Abydos temples, up and down the Nile Valley.
In a town where tourism accounts for 85 percent of the economy, it's hardly surprising that you can't move without being importuned to step inside a shop or rent a cal├Ęche. Hassled at every turn, some tourists react with fury and come to detest Luxor. Provided you keep your cool and sense of humour, it's possible to find genuine warmth here. Once you get to know a few characters and begin to understand the score, Luxor becomes a funky soap opera with a cast of thousands, whose dealings and misunderstandings are as intriguing as the monuments.
Most foreigners come between October and February, when the climate is cooler than you might imagine, with chilly nights and early mornings. Around the end of March the temperature shoots up 10°C, making April the nicest time of the year to visit, though the weather remains agreeable until May, after which the daytime heat is brutal till late October, when the temperatures start mellowing out to April levels. During the summer tourism is well down, and the locals have time to sleep by day and party at night.

Luxor has often been called the worlds greatest open air museum, as indeed it is and much more. The number and preservation of the monuments in the Luxor area are unparalleled anywhere else in the world that know of. Actually, what most people think of as Luxor is really three different areas, consisting of the City of Luxor on the East side of the Nile, the town of Karnak just north of Luxor and Thebes, which the ancient Egyptians called Waset, which is on the west side of the Nile across from Luxor.

Luxor map
To say that the Luxor area is a major attraction for tourists in Egypt would be an understatement. It has been a tourist destination since the beginning of tourism. Even in ancient times, during the late Dynasties of the Greek and Roman periods, the area drew tourists, and has been doing so ever since. Today Luxor is well equipped to accommodate tourists with many hotels and in general a tourist industry ready and willing to serve the people from many countries that descend on this area of the Nile Valley every year.

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Alexandria, Egypt

Alexandria, the second largest city in Egypt directly encounters the Mediterranean coast. It has always been of no little interest among eminent leaders, since it was founded by the very best among them- Alexander the Great. So, all of you who are in the constant search of some amazing tourist destinations, do not over-think adding Alexandria to your tourist map!

Today, Alexandria is mostly visited by foreigners, even though local tourists find it hard to resist what it has to offer. The warm climate makes the beaches available almost throughout the whole year. Consequently, hotels are full and restaurants always busy. 

These regular tourist points are actually just an addition to what makes Alexandria a fascinating city. The real reason that turns the attention of the tourists are the remains of Alexandria's magnificent history. This is a place where famous historical figures like Caesar , Cleopatra and Napoleon set their foot, a centre were religions, cultures and trading routes used to meet. The soil of Alexandria sustained two of the world wonders: Pharos (Lighthouse of Alexandria) in Ancient times and the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa in the Middle Aged. The once famous Library of Alexandria brought literature and science together with the work of some of the best scholars of the time.

Despite its greatness, Alexandria was ruined, burned, conquered. It witnessed wars and earthquakes, but like a phoenix it always emerged from the ashes to be even more beautiful, more attractive and wealthier. Think of all the generals who guided their soldiers here and all the captains that navigated their ships following Pharos. What is it that makes the Pearl of the Mediterranean so alluring? Do not hesitate to come and find out. 

While here, mark a few places that you cannot leave out. Some of these might be the Roman Theatre, the Villa of Birds at Kom el-Dikka , the Catacombs of Kom es-Shoqafa, the new library and Alexandria National Museum. End you sightseeing with Pompey Pillar, the tallest monument in Alexandria that celebrates Egyptian conquest of Alexandria. After that, feel free to explore and find the most extraordinary things hidden in seemingly ordinary places. And remember, visiting Alexandria is a real a privilege.

For the end, I will include a few tips that could make you trip easier. The best way to move around town is the public transportation which is at reasonable price and pretty accessible. Make sure you know where you are going and take a few notes on the Arabian names of your destination. 

Alexandria is a city that can be really hot and crowded during summer, so the best time for a visit is probably autumn, most precisely September and October when the water is still warm. Egyptian visa can be obtain at the airport so, you do not have to worry about that. Rather than your passport, you do not need anything else.

Alexandria Map

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Hurghada, Egypt

No place has the magic, mistery and pleasures of Egypt.The stunning, colosal monuments of Antient Egypt never fail to astonish. The heart, sight and the light of the dessert invigorate. A romantic cruise along the world’s longest river dazzles the senses.

You can’t go to Egypt, and miss to visit Hurghada, a famous sea resort. Founded in the early 20th century, the city rapidly developed into very famous touristic destination. All of that was provided by the foreign investments, and the Egyptian government. Sailing, surfing, diving, windsurfing, deep-sea fishing and snorkeling, all of this is now available thanks the Tourism department.

Hurghada grew from a humble fishing village of a few hundred souls into a booming town of over 150,000 people, who saw an opportunity to make a lot of money. Even people from the tourist towns like West Bank, where residents spent all of their lives dealing with tourists. But, they made the right dessision by moving in Hurghada. . Very soon this place turned into a gold mine.Tourists kept coming, and the residents became reacher. As the town grew and developed, there were even more opportunities for wealth. 

Hurghada's public beaches are not so charming and inviting, like the ones in Sinai. The wild life in the sea is far offshore. It’s good for the ones who like diving, and discos, but the others find that Hurghanda lacks charm. Still, many people come here, from Luxor's west bank, where tourism was part of people’s lifes for many years. 

The prices here are high,and everything in the shops is more expensive than in Cairo or the Nile Valley, but the experience is priceless. If you want to enjoy Hurghada’s assets, you can’t avoid paying for boat trips and private beaches. Despite of the cost, conditions for diving, windsurfing and deep-sea fishing are great. There's no "off" season here. Tourists come all the time; especially on the European Christmas and Easter holidays, the Russian vacation period of August and September . Over the winter season backpackers use Hurghada as a transit point between the Nile Valley and the Sinai.

This is a great place for vacation all year long, since there is always sun, and pleasant weather keeps the blue waters warm. It is all coupled with sandy desert beaches, green palm trees and cool breeze. Al Quesir, Sharm El Naga, El Gouna, Al-Mahmya, Soma bay and Makadi bay, these are all famous resort centers in, and near Hurghada. The Makadi bay is a classic spot to enjoy the vacations.One of the finest five star hotels there, Le Meridian, has the best swimming pools in the world. Another luxurious town with lots of private villas and resorts is El Gouna. The airport in Hurghada is connected with prominent cities in the world.

The three parts of Hurgada (El Dahar, Sekalla, and El Memsha) have 248,000 citizens. The town's largest bazaar, the post office and the long-distance bus station are situated in Dahar, while Sakalla is the more humble hotel quarter. 

This resort is a common destination for tourists from Cairo, the Delta and Upper Egypt, as well as package holiday tourists from Europe, especially Serbia, Germany, Italy… Before a small fishing village, and now famous holiday destination, this place has it all. Excellent service, beautiful beaches, warm blue water, pleasant wheaher…What more can you ask for? 

The remarkable beauty and charm, make this place one of the best destinations in Egypt, and even in the whole world. 

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Sharm El Sheik, Egypt

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.

Four miles south the southern section of the town stands on a cliff overlooking the port. and is a great view. 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.

For those who live to shop, the Sharm El-Sheikh mall provides shops with both foreign and local products, including jewelry, leather goods, clothing, pottery and books. It has been said that this is a must visit for all diving enthusiasts. There are many diving sites along the 10 mile beach between Sharm el-Sheikh and Ras Nusrani.

Sharm El Sheikh's key location allows you to go on excursions to beautiful scenic locations nearby such as St. Catherine's Monastery and Mt. Sinai, the colored canyon, Ras Mohamed National Park, Dahab, and Nuweiba. Its white sandy beaches, tranquil setting, vibrant nightlife, and outgoing local population combine to make this an ideal holiday resort.

A hunk of sterile buildings on a plateau commanding docks and other installations, Sharm El Sheikh was developed by the Israel is after their capture of it in the 1967 War. Their main purpose was to thwart Egypt's blockade of the Tiran Strait and to control overland communications between the Aqaba and Suez coasts. 

Tourism was an afterthought – though an important one, helping to finance the Israeli occupation and settlements, which Egypt inherited between 1979 and 1982. Since then, Sharm's infrastructure seems to have expanded in fits and starts, without enhancing its appeal much. 

Despite some plush hotels and reams of propaganda about it being a slick resort, Sharm el-Sheikh is basically a dormitory town for the Egyptian workers who service neighbouring Na'ama Bay. Aside from package tourists conned by brochures, the only foreigners here are divers – drawn by the proximity of Ras Umm Sidd and other reefs – and a few backpackers who take advantage of its cheapish accommodation and commute into Na'ama Bay. Sharm has a beach, but its small bay doesn't match that of Na'ama, and the seedy downtown area also detracts from the hotels' "luxury" pretensions. In its defence, however, Sharm el-Maya has some good restaurants, snack bars and souvenir shops, and is the cheapest place in the area to go shopping for food.

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