Neeta Lal can’t get enough of Egypt’s capital.
Cairo, Egypt’s sprawling capital, is a maelstrom of sights, sounds and smells.
Peppered with Pharaonic sites, soaring minarets, Coptic churches, mosques and mausoleums, history jostles with modernity at every corner of this stunning, teeming city of 20 million people.
Dive right in for an immersive experience.
Watch graceful abaya (headscarf)-clad women with kohl-lined eyes glide about town with kids in tow.
Men in galabiyas (traditional robes) play backgammon and suck shishas (hookahs) outside cafes with pipes stuck in their mouths like oxygen tubes.
Kamikaze vehicles belching noxious fumes on gridlocked roads, scooters hauling families of four and mules pulling vegetable carts add diversity to the moving landscape.
“As the cultural and artistic hub of the Middle East, Cairo is known as ‘Umm al-Dunya’ or mother of the world,” our guide Abdel Kawy tells us as we amble across the Kasr el-Nil Bridge towards the storied Tahrir Square, stopping for a moment to take in the view.
The iconic square is the pivot around which all of Cairo seems to flow.
Read more from source: Cairo is a feast for all the senses
Deep in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt, in a region of wilderness made up of granite rock and rugged mountains, lies the town of Saint Catherine. It was here, at the foot of Mount Sinai, that Moses is believed to have received the Ten Commandments from God. Naturally, this region is sacred to Christians, Jews and Muslims alike.
Between 548 and 565, the Eastern Roman emperor, Justinian the Great, ordered the construction of a monastery dedicated to Saint Catherine at this site. The monastery has never been destroyed or looted in all its history, making it one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world. It also contains the world’s oldest continually operating library, where is preserved the world’s second largest collection of early codices and manuscripts in a variety of languages, outnumbered only by the Vatican Library.
The monastery is surrounded by a massive wall, the original one, erected by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century. Until the 20th century, access was through a door high in the outer walls. The entrance is now through a smaller gate to the left of the main gate.
Natural and cultural heritage sites in Egypt and the Nile Basin countries are at risk due to the negative impact on the environment that would be caused by the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, according to a study by Egyptian archaeologist Abdel Aziz Salem.
Ethiopia started building the dam in 2011, at the height of the Arab Spring. As it nears completion seven years later, it has become a major conflict between Ethiopia and its two downstream neighbors, Egypt and Sudan.
Salem’s study, which was finalized in March, reports that the construction of the dam is not simply a political and economic issue but a cultural one, as it would have grave consequences on the UNESCO-registered natural and cultural sites in the Nile Basin.
The report, which is the result of a five-year research project by Salem, states that the sites at risk are located not just in Egypt, but in Ethiopia and Sudan as well. Salem, a professor of archaeology at Cairo University, worked from 2002 to 2015 at the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Read more from source: Egyptians worry Renaissance Dam poses risk for heritage sites along Nile
Egypt’s Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anany has decided to open all archaeological sites registered on the World Heritage List for free to Egyptian students on Wednesday, as part of the ministry’s celebration of World Heritage Day.
In Egypt, six cultural sites–Abu Mena, Ancient Thebes with its necropolis, historic Cairo, Memphis and its necropolis including the pyramid fields from Giza to Dashur, Nubian monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae, and the area centering on Saint Catherine’s Monastery–as well as one natural site–Wadi el-Hitan (Valley of the Whales)–are listed on the World Heritage List, which includes 890 sites worldwide considered to have “outstanding universal value.”
Statement from the Antiquities Ministry said Sunday that Anany also decided to open all the archaeological museums to visit that day for free of charge for Egyptians and Arab residents.
UNESCO’s World Heritage Day, first launched in 1983, aims to raise public awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage and draw attention to ancient sites around the world.
Read more from source: In Celebration of World Heritage Day Egypt is Giving Free Entry to its Sites for Students
All archaeological sites in Egypt registered on the World Heritage List will be allowing Egyptian students in for free on Wednesday in celebration of World Heritage Day, according to the Antiquities Minister Khaled al-Anany.
The sites included on the list are Memphis and its necropolis, including the pyramid fields from Giza to Dashur, historic Cairo, Ancient Thebes with its necropolis, Abu Mena, the area around Saint Catherine’s Monastery, and the Nubian Monuments from Abu Simbel to Philae. In addition, one natural site, Wadi el-Hitan (Valley of the Whales) is included.
Al-Anany has also revealed that all archaeological museums will be accessed free of charge for Egyptian citizens and Arab residents on Wednesday as well.
There are now 1073 cultural and natural sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List, which admits sites of ‘outstanding universal value’ that meet one of ten selection criteria. World Heritage Day, launched in 1983, aims to raise awareness not only of the diversity of the planet’s cultural and natural heritage but of its fragility.
Read more from source: Free Entry to Monuments, Museums, Sites on World Heritage Day
If Abu Simbel had not been saved, places like Vienna’s Historic Centre, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and other Unesco World Heritage sites might only live on in history books.
Deep within the interior of the Great Temple at Abu Simbel, carved into a mountainside in southern Egypt’s ancient Nubian Valley, lies a vast, wondrous world. Pillars adorned with intricate military artworks support a ceiling painted with winged vultures. Floor-to-ceiling hieroglyphics depicting the victorious battles of Pharaoh Ramses II, the same man responsible for constructing this enormous temple, decorate the walls. Outside, four colossal statues of the pharaoh face east toward the rising sun, looking out over a crystal-clear lake.
It’s an incredible sight to behold, but one that if history had gone just a little bit differently, would not be here today. Instead, this temple would be under the lake’s waters. What’s even harder to imagine, if Abu Simbel had not been saved, places like Vienna’s Historic Centre, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat and other Unesco World Heritage sites might only live on in history books.
Read more from source: Egypt’s exquisite temples that had to be moved
With a name that encapsulates all of the grandeur of Egypt’s ancient past, the Valley of the Kings is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s located on the west bank of the Nile, directly across the river from the ancient city of Thebes (now known as Luxor). Geographically, the valley is unremarkable; but beneath its barren surface lie more than 60 rock-cut tombs, created between the 16th and 11th centuries BC to house the deceased pharaohs of the New Kingdom.
The valley comprises two distinct arms — the West Valley and the East Valley. The majority of the tombs are located in the latter arm. Although almost all of them were looted in antiquity, the murals and hieroglyphs that cover the walls of the royal tombs provide an invaluable insight into the funerary rituals and beliefs of the Ancient Egyptians.
The Valley in Ancient Times
After years of extensive study, most historians believe that the Valley of the Kings was used as a royal burial ground from approximately 1539 BC to 1075 BC — a period of almost 500 years.
Read more from source: The Valley of the Kings, Egypt: The Complete Guide
Despite lean years, indicators suggest that Egypt’s tourism industry is rebounding
Egypt is implementing a grand plan to revive its floundering tourism industry. With the allocation of a multi-million-dollar budget, Cairo is adding attractions such as a Disneyland-inspired venue in the Matrouh Governorate and placing electric cars at the pyramids to revolutionize how tourists are transported.
The amusement park is being funded through a joint U.S.-Saudi Arabian $3.3 billion investment agreement signed between the Entertainment World Company and Matrouh Governor, Ala Abu Zeid. The park, which will also a feature a city devoted to education, accompanied by hotels and malls, will be built over the course of a decade with its first phase slated for completion in two years.
A 45-minute plane ride away from Matrouh lie the famous pyramids of Giza, a UNESCO World heritage site that has experienced a decline in tourism since Egypt’s violent revolution in 2011. Recent innovative efforts to connect the pyramids to the newly built Grand Egyptian Museum are intended to boost the number of visitors.