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Egypt Nile Secrets - Luxor & Aswan
Egypt is perhaps best known as the home of the ancient Egyptian civilization, with its temples, hieroglyphs, mummies, and - visible above all - its pyramids. Less well-known is Egypt's medieval heritage, courtesy of Coptic Christianity and Islam..

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Egypt

 
Overview

Travellers have marvelled at Egypt’s archaeological wonders for centuries, ever since the Ancient Greeks visited the pyramids.Today, the ancient wonders attract millions of tourists each year to the pyramids, temples, mosques and great monuments of the Nile Valley, as well as the stunning diving resorts of the Red Sea.

In 430 BC, when Herodotos exclaimed in awe over the magnificent monuments in Egypt, many of them were already 2,500 years old. Most, from the pyramids of Giza to the astonishingly beautiful temples of Karnak or Philae, or the painted tombs in the Valley of the Kings, can still be visited today. The sheer age of this great civilisation is mind-blowing.

The life-giving Nile pours across the map, feeding an emerald ribbon of irrigated fields adjacent to villages shaded by date palms. Whether on a cruise ship or traditional felucca, life on the water is a constant visual feast, while the few huge, dusty cities(Cairo, Alexandria, Aswan and Luxor) are a babble of exotic sounds and smells.

Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheik, on the Red Sea coast, are doors to a magical underwater world of technicolour fish and coral favoured by divers, while other adventurous travellers head inland. Here, you can discover monasteries amid the arid mountains of Sinai or the distant desert oases, homes of the hardy nomads whose camel trains still wander the Saharan sands.

 
General Information 
 
Area
1,002,000 sq km (386,874 sq miles).
 
Population
74.9 million (UN estimate 2005).
 
Population Density
74.8 per sq km.
 
Capital
Cairo (El Qahira). Population: 16.7 million (2005 estimate).
 
Government
Republic.
 
Language
Arabic is the official language. English and French are widely spoken.
 
Religion
According to the 1986 census, over 94% of the population follows Islam; the majority of the rest is Christian. All types of Christianity are represented, especially the Coptic Christian Church. There is also a small Jewish minority.
 
Time
GMT + 2 (GMT + 3 from last Friday in April to last Thursday in September).

Climate
Hot, dry summers with mild, dry winters and cold nights. Rainfall is negligible except on the coast. In April, the hot, dusty Khamsin wind blows from the Sahara.
  
 
Required Clothing:  Lightweight cottons and linens during summer, with warmer clothes for winter and cooler evenings.
 
Social Conventions
Islam is the dominant influence and many traditional customs and beliefs are tied up with religion. The people are generally courteous and hospitable and expect similar respect from visitors. Shaking hands will suffice as a greeting. Because Egypt is a Muslim country, dress should be conservative and women should not wear revealing clothes, particularly when in religious buildings and in towns (although the Western style of dress is accepted in modern nightclubs, restaurants, hotels and bars in Cairo, Alexandria and other tourist destinations). Official or social functions and smart restaurants usually require more formal wear. Smoking is very common.

Photography: Tourists will have to pay a fee to take photographs inside pyramids, tombs and museums.
 
Electricity
Most areas 220 volts AC, 50Hz. Certain rural parts still use 110 to 380 volts AC.
 
Head of Government
Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif since 2004.
 
Head of State
President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak since 1981.
 
 
 
 
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 
   
 
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