Egypt is perhaps one of the oldest tourist destinations in the world. Countless travellers, from ancient Greeks and Romans to medieval pilgrims, 19th-century Egyptologists and modern-day Instagrammers, have been drawn to this corner of northeast Africa to see and experience its legendary wonders for themselves.
Egypt has more than its fair share of iconic sights: The stark pyramids of Giza, the colossal temples of Abu Simbel, the alluring Great Sphinx (one of the oldest statues in the world) and the sand-covered tombs of the Valley Kings are just a few examples.
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But behind these classic and instantly recognizable images are thousands of other aspects that tell lesser-known, but equally iconic stories about this multi-faceted country.
This ancient country that is Egypt, is full of people from all over the world, eager to know its every nook and cranny, and to rub shoulders with the mythical characters of the time of the pharaohs. Whether it's the famous Ramses II, Tutankhamun, or even Cleopatra and Nefertiti; in short, all the greats of this world that legendary Egypt has sheltered. And how not to speak of these gods that are Isis and Osiris (also well known from the adventures of Asterix and Obelix). Yes, certainly, taking a trip to the country where the pharaohs lived is a must for sure!
But Egypt has more to offer anyone who loves adventures of all kinds: excursions in the deserts while admiring the sublime sand dunes. Without forgetting of course the marvelous breathtaking pristine white deserts. Also, having the ultimate experience of sailing on the majestic Nile, and getting to know its residents and their ancestral customs. Also make a spectacular stop at the splendid and historic Red Sea as well as these well-known dive sites.
You should also know that Egypt is married to the East (East, Asia) and the West (West, Europe). How not to think of preparing a trip to this majestic country that is Egypt, country of the pharaohs, ''the cradle of civilization''!
Capital of Egypt, it is the most populated city in Africa. It is very teeming and you will quickly become attached to it. Cairo is also traveled for the wonders that this fascinating city has. Take for example the Egyptian Museum, the alleys of Islamic Cairo, the old town and Christian Cairo… an induction into ancient and modern Egyptian culture. A trip to Egypt will undoubtedly be noticed by a visit to Cairo.
Cairo is a fusion of the old and the present. Churches are built on top of Roman ruins as well as pharaonic temples, and skyscrapers rise behind medieval monuments. However, the capital of Egypt is best known for having preserved the last of the seven wonders of the ancient world, ''The Great Pyramid of Cheops''. But the city contains infinite treasures beyond the pyramids of Giza.
Discover the history of early Christianity in Coptic Cairo. Also browse the largest collection of pharaonic antiquities in the world. Then drink an Egyptian-style coffee in the bustling Khan El-Khalili souk. While ancient temples and intricate tombs await further south in Luxor and Aswan. Here's why you should take a break in Cairo before continuing your journey.
The must-sees in Cairo
The Egyptian pyramids are ancient pyramid-shaped structures. Although as of November 2008, sources cite 118 or 138 identified Egyptian pyramids. However, they are tombs for the pharaohs of the country and their wives during the Old and Middle Kingdoms.
The oldest known Egyptian pyramids are found at Saqqara, northwest of Memphis. On the other hand, the most famous Egyptian pyramids are those of Giza, the pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Mikérinos on the outskirts of Cairo. Thus several of the pyramids of Giza are among the largest structures ever built. Although the Pyramid of Cheops is the largest Egyptian pyramid, it is also the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that still exists.
The Egyptian Museum and Tutankhamun's Treasure
It houses the largest collection of pharaonic antiquities in the world and that is why it has become a must visit. First of all the large ground floor presents a collection of New Kingdom objects (1550-1069 BC), including a variety of traditional coffins arranged by style. Also it contains rolls of papyrus and coins from different kingdoms and cultures. Mainly Islamic, Greek and Roman.
Next, the first floor of the museum houses two rooms of mummies which are arranged with notes on the ingredients used in the treatment of each body. However, the museum's most intriguing attraction is King Tutankhamun's Treasure. Displayed next to his mask: a series of intricate gold coffins, artifacts and jewelry.
On the other hand, the treasures of the museum will finally be transferred to the new Grand Egyptian Museum, which is scheduled to open in 2021 on the Giza plateau.
The Citadel of Saladin (or the Citadel of Cairo), is an imposing fortress dominating Cairo, although built by the Ayyubid Sultan Saladin in the 12th century. On the other hand, the silhouette of the citadel is dominated by the domes and minarets of the alabaster mosque of Mehemet Ali, in the Turkish style, completed in 1857.
The Khan El-Khalili bazaar and souk, Cairo's largest and most vibrant tourist souk although it offers a collection of shops. In fact, he is known for his precious and semi-precious jewelry; it was originally built as a mausoleum for the Caliphs (Fatimid?). Then the structure underwent many modifications over time, and it was finally remodeled in the 16th century by Sultan al-Ghuri. Inspired by the Ottoman style, the Khan El-Khalili Bazaar looks a lot like a Turkish bazaar.
Also be sure to drop by Fishawi Cafe for its Egyptian-style coffee and special ambience. Although this cafe has served local and international celebrities, including the Egyptian author Naguib Mahfouz, and the American star Will Smith, in fact the ideal would be to order a mint tea or the karkade made from hibiscus, Egypt's national drink. Also with a (shisha?) next door you will probably need the shisha after all the negotiations in the souk.
Off the beaten track
Around the Nile Start your trip to Cairo with a drive to Zamalek, the enchanting northern part of the island of Gezira on the Nile, also being dotted with elegant townhouses. In fact the Zamalek is home to embassies from around the world. Far from the chaos, its tree-lined streets parade to the rhythm of a gentle drum.
Visit the Cairo Tower as it is the best way to get an overview of the city; moreover you will enjoy the refreshing breeze on its terrace and admire the view of the majestic Nile. However it would be better to go there in the afternoon because it is quieter and you will be relieved of the flow of tourists.
The Cairo Opera House is surely not a place to scorn as it is the most important structure of the NCC (National Cultural Center). In fact, it is a well-appointed place of representation; moreover, visitors can attend the performances of the best music groups in Cairo in a main auditorium with 1,200 seats. Also, the elegant room is divided into four levels, tailor-made for opera and ballet performances by international groups on tour.
The imposing Madrassa Mosque, of Sultan Hassan, was built during the (Mamluk?) period. This is an ambitious attempt for the 14th century. While the mosque is carefully designed to include the four Sunni schools of thought: Chafi'i, Maliki, Hanafi and Hanbali in enclaves within its 118 foot high walls, and it was commissioned by Sultan an-Nasir Hasan at great cost. However, this structure remains incomplete.
Mouizz Street, dubbed “the largest open-air museum of Islamic monuments,” but it really comes into its own after the sun goes down, and this street is located a short walk north of Khan El-Khalili. In fact this bustling promenade is flanked by some of the oldest and largest structures in Egypt. Thus, a walk can reveal the architecture of the dynasties which reigned over the city at different times, either: from the (Fatimid?) dynasty in 970 to the most recent, that is to say that of the Pashas, whose most important structure is the famous Muhammad Ali. In addition, this structure houses within it the complex of Qalawun, as well as a spectacular mausoleum and impressive Mamluk architecture.
You will end this walk with a stop at Al-Azhar Park, Cairo's greenest urban attraction. In fact the park was originally enclosed by a landfill, and was then transformed into a park in 2005 on the initiative of Agha Khan IV, the 49th imam of Nizari Ismailism, and the park having been until downtown. In fact it is a real oasis in the middle of the urban bustle of Cairo.
Also be sure to visit the Gayer-Anderson museum which, unfortunately, is very often ignored by tourists or neglected by tour operators. And yet, it is worth the detour. Better: an in-depth visit skimming the Ibn Touloun mosque, the Gayer-Anderson museum is a very fine example of Cairo architecture of the 16th and 17th centuries, with (moucharabiehs?), terraces and a "sabil", a fountain generally reserved for mosques. It has a ground floor, two floors and a superb terrace in the form of a courtyard. It is characterized by its staggered landings, a chicane corridor and a gallery overhanging the large hall and the whole ensemble. This ''Place'' was made there according to the traditional architecture of Ottoman Cairo, with a 'salamlek', place of reception, men's lounge, and a 'haramlek', domain of the harem, forbidden to men, from where the women could look at the men by the (moucharabiehs?). The Gayer-Anderson Museum illustrates the life of the Ottoman nobility during its heyday. In the tangle of rooms with thematic decorations, one can admire precious (earthenware?), wonderful woodwork inlaid with mother-of-pearl and ivory, a collection of textiles, tapestries, ceramics, furniture from different periods, an assembly tombstones as well as Chinese and European paintings.
The Palace of Prince Muhammad Ali in Al-Manial is the true title of nobility and elegance and sophistication of the palaces, it is the magic of the past that blends with the elegance of modernity. It is one of the royal palaces of Egypt with a particular architectural character; a unique architectural masterpiece, as it includes various styles of Islamic art between Fatimid, Mamluk, Ottoman, Andalusian, Persian and Syrian.
Founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC. J.-C. Second city of Egypt, less touristic. It is above all a Mediterranean city which draws its roots and its true richness from a mosaic of cultures. Renowned for its Greco-Roman monuments, such as the amphitheater of Kom el Dikka, citadel of Qaitbay, as well as the ancient city and the Library of Alexandria.
Having been the capital of the country, it was, for about 6 centuries, a great center of commerce (port of Egypt), and one of the greatest Hellenistic cultural centers of the Mediterranean Sea centered on the famous library. The city during the Hellenistic period presented the largest city in the Greek world.
Nicknamed ''the trading post of the world'', Alexandria was a major trading hub. However, it resulted in the formation of a cosmopolitan population of the order of half a million inhabitants... unequaled during Antiquity. In addition, the city was the capital of lagid power.
This ancient city has suffered various earthquakes. And due to these devastating events, its famous Lighthouse and the old great library have unfortunately disappeared since. This library was the largest in the ancient world, and it was therefore the place where the great philosophers and scientists of that time came to seek knowledge. It was founded in 288 BC. J.-C. and was definitively destroyed around the year 48 before our era; it was the most famous library of antiquity, bringing together the most important works of the time. The library was part of a larger set called the Mouseion dedicated to the Muses, being in fact the nine goddesses of the arts. The library quickly acquired many rolls of papyrus thanks to the voluntarist policy of the Ptolemaic kings. The number of these papyrus rolls is estimated to be between 40,000 and 400,000 at its peak.
Subsequently the Arabs conquered Egypt in the 7th century. They also decided at that time to build a new capital further south: Cairo. Alexandria thus lost its grandeur and turned to foreign trade.
At the end of the 18th century, Napoleon's troops conquered Alexandria. Similarly, in the middle of the 19th century the British bombarded the city. In modern times, the city of Alexandria experienced significant expansion. Indeed, the medieval city was on the mainland fortified by an enclosure, although the modern city is built on the ruins of the ancient city, which makes excavations difficult.
The Lighthouse of Alexandria was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The lighthouse was 135 meters high (about 443 feet) with approximately three hundred rooms. Through the center was a double spiral climb. The lantern above the lighthouse remains a mystery. Some say it contained a polished steel mirror that reflected light by day and fire by night. The lighthouse was destroyed by an earthquake around 1302/1303.
The lighthouse was built to protect sailors on the coast of Alexandria and also as a work of propaganda. The whole city was overbuilt and the lighthouse was to be its symbol. It will become the emblem of the city, and still is today. The lighthouse dominated the coast and allowed sailors to have a point of reference.
We can read in Strabo that the lighthouse built in white stone would in fact be a local limestone which has the particularity of hardening on contact with water. It is also believed that the most critical parts of the lighthouse are made of Aswan granite. Moreover, Fort Qait Bay, built on the site of the lighthouse, was built using the same process.
The Citadel (Fort) of Qaitbay est a 15th century fortress built on the site of the ancient lighthouse of Alexandria in Egypt, on the east coast of the northern island of Pharos. Fort Qaitbay is a fine example of Mamluk era military architecture in Egypt. It was built in the 14th century under the orders of Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaitbay — one of the last Mamluk rulers of Egypt. Construction began in 1477, to be completed two years later.
In order to protect the city against the threat of the Ottoman Empire, built in a medieval style, the fort was completely restored in 2001/2002; it houses the Navy Museum which contains objects from Roman and Napoleon naval battles. The entrance is through a passage made of red granite from Aswan. Near the mosque there is a reservoir which was used to store water in case of siege.
From the access to the sea, the underwater excavations, carried out mainly by the teams of Jean-Yves Empereur and Isabelle Hairy from the Center for Alexandrian Studies, revealed an immense archaeological deposit, with thousands of blocks of architecture, colossal statues, obelisks and sphinxes, from the collapse of the lighthouse of Alexandria.
Adjacent to the fort, the Hydro-Biological Institute (Alexandria Aquarium) contains a wide variety of rare fish. Further east of the Anfouchi district, there is a small necropolis of five tombs dating from the Ptolemaic period.
The theater (Roman Amphitheater) of Kom el-Dikka means "pile of stones". The site was discovered in 1959 by a team of Poles. Unique in the country, the site is still being excavated since 1970. However, with the discovery of Roman remains including this theater with galleries, as well as mosaic floor sections and also marble seats to accommodate up to 800 spectators. At the time of the Ptolemies, this sector was a garden of pleasures. Alternatively, the theater could be covered to serve as an odeon for musical works, although inscriptions suggest that it was also sometimes used for wrestling contests. So the theater has thirteen semi-circular rows of white marble imported from Europe; Also its columns are of green marble imported from Asia Minor and red granite imported from Aswan. Each side is decorated with a geometric mosaic paving made in the 2nd century BC.
Outside the theater you can see vaults and stone walls as well as Roman brick baths and the remains of Roman houses, while inside is the open-air underwater museum to display the sphinxes, obelisks, fragments of colossal statues, brought out of the waters of the Mediterranean by the team of the Center for Alexandrian Studies.
Near this site (Kom el-Dikka) towards the fire station, a Ptolemaic temple dedicated to Bastet (Bubasteion) has just been discovered by a team of Egyptian archaeologists. In fact, this temple built at the request of Queen Berenice, wife of Ptolemy III Euergetes, 600 statues, including several in the image of Bastet, have been discovered there.
''Bibliotheca Alexandrina'' built approximately on the site of the ancient building of the library of Alexandria, is in fact a library and a cultural center. Work began in 1995 and cost $220 million. It was inaugurated on October 16, 2002, and it has the largest reading room in the world, occupying seven of the eleven floors of the main building, thus offering 2,000 seats, 180 study rooms and should eventually accommodate eight million 'works.
As part of a project conducted jointly by UNESCO and Egypt, ''Bibliotheca Alexandrina'' should be able to accommodate about eight million books, making it a library of respectable size on a global scale…. which is still quite far behind the Library of Congress in the United States, which houses nearly 34.5 million books, or the François-Mitterrand library in Paris, which contains some twenty million. In July 2010, the National Library of France made a donation of 500,000 French-language works to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, as the basis of the partnership between the two institutions.
The Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a trilingual establishment: Arabic, French and English, although it must become, according to its director Ismail Serageldin, a high place of the Francophonie in the region.
First of all the library was proposed in 2003 for inscription on the world heritage, so it appears on the "tentative list" of UNESCO in the cultural heritage category.
The architecture of the library was chosen following a competition organized by Unesco, and it was the proposal of a Norwegian architectural firm, Snøhetta, which was selected, and the plan was made by the Egyptian engineer Mamdouh Hamza.
Next to the reading room are three museums, five research institutes as well as exhibition halls. In the library, the reading rooms are spread over seven levels, four of which are below sea level. High columns decorated with lotus flowers decorate the interior of the reading rooms which can thus accommodate up to 2 000 people. A museum is reserved for thousands of ancient manuscripts including two copies of the Bible offered by the Vatican to the library as well as a copy of the Description of Egypt. The museum also has an identical copy of the Rosetta Stone and a book of the memorandum of the inauguration of the Suez Canal; it also includes paintings of the ceremonial journey of queens and princes which were drawn by the Khedive's artist Ismail Pasha.
The catacombs of Kom-el-Chougafa are the largest Roman burial site in Egypt. While its discovery dates from September 28, 1900 when a donkey fell into a pit, which caused the ground to collapse, and ten meters below appeared the catacombs of Kom-el-Chouqaf, which made it the one of the most important archaeological sites in Alexandria. This funerary complex built at the end of the first century was used until the beginning of the (4th?).
These rock-cut tombs for a wealthy family represent the last existing main construction of ancient Egyptian religion, although the burial grounds are pure ancient Egyptian style inspired by Greco-Roman models. 300 graves were dug, with benches for visitors bringing offerings. The complex also contains small chapels and a spiral staircase that descends to three underground levels, but the last level is flooded. The two upper levels include a dining room which hosted funeral meals and the main tomb, mixing Egyptian, Greek and Roman symbols.
From the Greeks to the present day, a slow process of aging has altered tomb murals. The coloring of the pigments slowly faded and the paintings tipped into illegibility. In 1993 a change in hygrometry modified the appearance of the walls. Traces of paintings appear, slightly revealing, above one of the tombs in the hall of Caracalla, a fresco hitherto unknown.
In the center of the façade, the familiar solar disk surmounts a frieze of serpents; left and right two serpents wear the crowns of Lower Egypt and Upper Egypt, but they are not like the cobras of Saqqara or Thebes, rather they seem to be designed like a modern comic book.
In the chamber of the tomb, the decor includes Horus, Thoth and Anubis. The priest in his panther skin and the king making an offering to the deceased in the form of Osiris; these figures are rendered in the Greco-Roman style. Added to the traditional scenes are additional clusters of grapes, medusa heads, and a variety of Greek and Roman decorations.
The gardens and the palace of Montaza were built in 1892 by King Abbas II who also built a large palace called the Salamlek. In 1932, King Fuad I built a bigger palace and called it the Haramlik. His son, King Farouk, built the pier over the sea. The rest of the space is made up of gardens. Khedive Abbas Hilmy's summer residence hosted King Farouk's guests, but only the exterior of the building is open to visitors. However, the interior serves as a residence for Egyptian presidents. In fact this place is very quiet although it offers you the possibility of traveling in a 150 hectare park that surrounds a palace. Not to be missed because there reigns a gentle atmosphere conducive to daydreaming and above all one of the most remarkable fauna. It is one of the favorite places for Alexandrians who like to walk in the gardens and on the corniche.
The beaches of Alexandria which stretch from Al-Ma'amora in the east to Agamy in the west are about 24 km long. The beaches of Alexandria are very popular with Egyptians; in fact they are ideal places for the inhabitants and places of relaxation. Thanks to its geographical location, Alexandria has gained popularity among Arab countries as being a popular resort; moreover, it is a wonderful place where you can spend the whole summer there, because it has more than 35 beaches, including: tourist beaches, distinguished beaches and free beaches. Also one of the most famous geographical landmarks in Alexandria is undoubtedly the Eastern Port with its crescent shape.
Diocletian's Column (Pompey's Pillar) is a monolithic column of red granite from Aswan, twenty-five meters high and nine meters in circumference. After his defeat by Julius Caesar in the Civil War, Pompey fled to Egypt where he was assassinated in 48 BC and so medieval travelers later believed he should be buried here.
While in reality the column was built in honor of the emperor Diocletian at the end of the (fourth?) century, who captured Alexandria after having besieged it. It is located in the archaeological park of Alexandria in Egypt where the Serapeum was located. Then the Arabs called it Amoud el-Sawari, column of columns. This column is the tallest ancient monument in Alexandria, being therefore originally in the Temple of the Sarapis which was once a magnificent structure rivaling the Soma and the Caesareum.
Nearby there are underground galleries where sacred Apis bulls were buried as well as three sphinxes inside a park in which archaeological work is still being carried out. During the expedition to Egypt, scholars established many reports on their work describing Egypt, including one on the so-called Pompey's Pillar: The Serapeum of Alexandria, in antiquity a sanctuary dedicated to Serapis . In fact the Greco-Egyptian cult of Serapis was established by the Ptolemies, but probably in Memphis. Archaeological excavations indicate that the temple of Alexandria was founded under Ptolemy III. He wanted to magnify a god who could unite the Egyptian people with the Greek rulers, although He was in the Egyptian district of Rakôtis, on high ground which made it nicknamed the “Acropolis of Alexandria”. So Serapis had characteristics of both religions and became the protector of Alexandria. Archaeological remains indicate that the cult was very popular there, including the bilingual foundation plates where the name of Serapis also appears in the Egyptian form "Oser-Api", a statue of the Apis bull in black granite, now in the Greco-Greek Museum. of Alexandria, as well as two obelisks and two red granite sphinxes.
An annex of the famous library of Alexandria, dating from Roman times, was also installed in the archaeological park of Alexandria. Destroyed in 392 by Theophilus of Alexandria, Bishop of Alexandria, while he was enforcing a decree of Theodosius I, authorizing the closing and demolition of pagan temples. Entirely razed and replaced by a Christian church, only the dedicatory column of Diocletian remains, better known as Pompey's column.
Located 300 km south-west of Marsa-Matrouh. It is the northernmost of the five great oases of the Libyan desert. Inhabited by descendants of the Berbers, the Siwis. In fact, the oasis stands apart in Egypt. Here, we speak Siwie, a dialect completely different from the Arabic spoken throughout Egypt.
Siwa Oasis is an oasis in the west of Egypt, close to the Libyan border. Although it is on the direct edge of the Libyan desert plateau, 70 km from the border and the Qattara depression. Installed on a water table that emerges at the bottom of a water table.
560 km from Cairo. Although the oasis of Siwa is located 300 km southwest of Marsa-Matrouh. It is the northernmost of the Egyptian oases. It is the northernmost of the five great oases of the Libyan desert. Inhabited by 33,000 inhabitants of descendants of the Berbers, the Siwi. We speak a dialect completely different from the Arabic spoken throughout Egypt!
When you arrive in Siwa. You will discover a heavenly place. Springs, salt lakes and endless olive groves and palm groves.
Two large salt lakes are fed by agricultural drainage water. As well as two old earthen fortresses built on inselbergs. Shali Siwa and Shali Agourmi are now in ruins.
This oasis is one of the most picturesque places in Egypt. Which seduces travelers in search of tranquility and natural beauty. Also landscapes and the shade of its fruit trees in the desert.
The visit of Alexander the Great
After Alexander the Great entered Egypt and established the city of Alexandria. Then he decided to visit the Temple of Amun at Siwa. Who gained great fame after the Cambyses army incident. In the winter of 331 BCE Alexander arrived at the Temple of Amun at Siwa.
And the high priest took him to the Holy of Holies. A dark room which only the high priest and the king have entered. And he did not allow any of his assistants to accompany him. When Alexander left the temple. He seemed relieved, and he refused to reveal what had happened inside. And all he said to his friends: "I heard what my heart loves
Local art and customs
The arrival of the road in 1980 and television exposed the oasis of Siwa to the styles and fashions of the outside world. And the traditional silver ornaments gradually replaced by gold. The embroideries and women's costumes, however, still testify to old styles and traditions.
The shawl worn by the women is brought from outside the oasis. More precisely from the city of kerdasa in the governorate of Giza.
The festival of Siyaha the inhabitants of the Siwa Oasis is a special festival (the harvest festival). Which they celebrate on the full moon in the sky in October every year. In honor of the city's saint, Sidi Sulayman, is unique to Siwa. (The name is often misunderstood as a reference to "tourism". But in fact it predates tourism.
Although on this occasion men gather on the mountain 'Gabal Al – Dakrour', to eat together. Also sing songs of thanks to God and reconcile with each other. In addition, all Siwi houses cooperate in the preparation and cooking of hearty meals.
While at that time the inhabitants eat Fattah (Rice, toast and meat). After the noon prayer all the young Siwis gather to prepare the banquet. So no one is allowed to eat until the caller announces they are going to start eating so they can all eat together.
The women stay in the village and celebrate by dancing, singing and drumming.
Food for the festival is purchased collectively, with funds raised by the oasis mosques. The celebrations last 3 days, and in the early morning of the fourth day. The men form a large march. While holding flags and singing spiritual songs.
The march starts from Gabal El – Dakrour and ends at Sidi Solayman Square – in the center of Siwa. Declaring the end of festivals. Also the beginning of a new year without hatred or resentment, and with love, respect and reconciliation.
Traditionally, children also celebrate the big holiday by lighting torches. Plus singing and swapping sweets. The adults' celebration was limited to the preparation of a large meal.
Agriculture is the main activity of modern Siwa Oasis. In particular the cultivation of dates and olives. In fact, it is essentially an irrigated oasis agriculture with gardening in the palm grove.
Also market gardening and arboriculture mainly focused on the cultivation of dates and olives. Which are partly valued in oil. Also Handicrafts, such as basketry.
In recent decades, tourism has become a vital source of income. Great attention given to creating hotels that use local materials and display local styles. One of the main attractions is the use of eco-friendly materials in hotel design.
The oasis of Siwa is also famous for its medical tourism. Because its sand provides natural elements that are suitable for alternative medicine. The 4×4 safari is one of the favorite trips for visitors to the Oasis.
Some statistics indicate that Siwa receives around 30,000 tourists per year from Egyptians and foreigners. A number of foreign and Arab sites have ranked it among the 9 most isolated places on the planet.
The architecture of Siwa
Has a special and distinctive character, as traditional houses are built with kruchif stone. Which consists of salt and soft sand mixed with clay. The doors and windows are made of olive and palm trees. Also clay is used to glue the stones, after mixing them with sand. In fact these houses are in harmony with the atmosphere of the oasis.
In winter it is hot and in summer it is humid. However, recently the rate of concrete construction in the oasis has increased. This led to the decline of traditional construction. Due to the need for annual building maintenance due to the high water level.
Local crafts and art
The arts of embroidery and handcrafted pottery are among the most distinguished traditional crafts of the oasis. The art of embroidery in the oasis has a special character. While it is based on its manufacture by the women of the oasis. And it is characterized by designs for bridal wear.
Also everyday clothes for women and men, and furniture, rugs and kilims. The embroidery uses the five colors green, red, yellow, blue and black. Although the local patterns preserve the heritage inherited for thousands of years.
As well as tajine dishes and the traditional pyramid-shaped pots, nicely decorated.
The metal flute is considered the hero of Siwi music. And collective singing as the master of folk singing. Which is a ritual song associated with seasons and occasions such as marriage. Births and Harvest. Chanting in Siwa is not Tarabiyya. But most song topics are about estrangement, abandonment, love and wisdom
One of the traditions of marriage in Siwa that girls are betrothed since childhood at the age of nine. And until the bride has reached the age of marriage, the young man has no right to see his bride. Except on public holidays only and in the presence of his father or his brother. The wedding ceremony spans 3 days and the bride is adorned with 99 braids.
Each braid bearing one of the most beautiful names of God. Putting olive oil on her hair and coloring it with henna. The dress, characterized by ornaments, headdresses, belts, wrought iron veils. And masks filled with silver or gold coins. The bride wears seven different dresses on top of each other.
Childbirth times also have their own rituals. And if the delivery is difficult, the husband and his neighbors fire shots next to his wife to expel the jinns (evil spirits) and hasten the delivery. Then when the children are born.
The women collect their jewelry in a bowl of water and lift it up, then they drop it on the ground. To create blessing for the child, believing it to expel evil spirits. Then when the mother gives birth to Her newborn baby she lies on a kilim on the ground. For a week or ten days. and eat salted fish, as an inherited tradition.
Language is the Amazigh language or the Berber language. Every child speaks it due to birth and upbringing. Then learns the Arabic language during the study stages, in addition to their modern Egyptian dialect.
Water sources (Ains)
Despite its location in the middle of the desert. Fresh water is poured into it from 200 wells flowing 90,000 cubic meters daily.
Ain Cleopatra: It is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Siwa. Also known as Ain Juba or Ain Shams. Which is a stone bath filled with natural hot spring water. And some claim it is named after the Egyptian queen who swam alone during her visit to Siwa.
Ain Fatnas: It is about 6 km west of Siwa, and it is located on the island of Fatnas overlooking the salt lake and surrounded by palm trees and desert landscapes.
Source 1: Also called “the source of the Great Sea. It is a hot sulfur spring 10 km from the oasis near the Libyan border in the heart of the Great Sea of Sand.
The Temple of Amun (The Temple of the Oracle) Also called the Temple of Alexander, is one of the most important monuments of Siwa Oasis. Built in Pharaonic times to spread the religion of Amun among neighboring tribes and peoples. Due to Siwa's location as a crossroads of trade routes. The temple is famous for the visit of Alexander the Great after he conquered Egypt in 331 BC. JC
It stands northwest of the rock of Aghourmi, the ancient capital of the oasis. His oracle played a fundamental role in the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great. Who went to Siwa in order to legitimize his power by the oracle of Amon.
The Umm Ubaidah Temple is the second Temple of Amun in the oasis and is located near the Temple of the Apocalypse. Built by Egyptian Pharaoh Nectanabo II or Nakhtanebo II of the Thirtieth Dynasty. In which an image presents the pharaoh kneeling before the god Amun.
Shali Fortress which dominates the center of Shali town. The foundation of the city of Shali dates back to 1203, and its name means the city in the Siwi language. The city had only one gate to check its defenses. And it was called “Anshal” meaning the city gate.
On the north side of the city wall there is the old mosque, and a second gate was opened for the city on the south side called 'Atat' meaning the new gate, and it was used for those who prefer to avoid passing by Al-Ajwad are the heads of families, and only the people of Siwa knew the location of this gate, so they secretly used it to exit or enter the city under siege.
And because Syriac customs prevented women from going out except within the narrowest limits and without mingling with men, a third gate called "Qaduha" was opened, and women were not allowed to leave except to use this door only. Clay archival stone has been used in the construction of townhouses, quarried from soil saturated with salt, because when it dries it becomes hard like cement.
In 1820 the forces of Muhammad Ali Pasha conquered Siwa and brought it under government authority so that the city enjoyed security and protection, and in 1826 the Council of Al-Ajwad allowed people to build their homes outside the city walls. In 1926, a large number of houses in the city collapsed and the rest were cracked due to torrential rains. Residents have deserted Shali and built new houses on the roof of the mountain
Mausoleum Sidi Slimane the imam of the Siwis and the most famous figure of the Oasis. The people of the Oasis say that Sidi Suleiman was a very pious and pious judge, and it is said about him that in the past he gathered the people of the oasis in the mosque and begged them to God in order to Prevent from attacking the Raid Campaign attacks on the oasis.
With extreme thirst he struck the ground with his stick, and a spring of water exploded, and it is said that his mother, before giving birth to him, liked to eat fish, so his dove stood on her nets and left him a fish, and this is the reason for the widespread habit in Siwa until now where the mother of the newborn eats fish, especially if the newborn is a male.
mountain of the dead It is a mountain that includes a group of ancient tombs dating from the period between the fourth and third centuries BC, which were reused in Greek and Roman times. The mountain is about 2 km from Siwa, and graves have been discovered there as a result of the Siwa people fleeing to the mountain during raids in World War II.
Dakrour mountain is located 3 km south of the oasis of Siwa, and it has two peaks called “Nadera and Nazareth”. At the top of Nazareth there is a cave carved into the rock called “Tanasur”. And below is a monument called “The House of the Sultan” made of clean limestone.
The mountain is famous for its hot sand, which has healing properties, and it contains the red pigment used in making Siwi pottery. Egyptian and foreign visitors flock to the mountain during the summer to enjoy the hot sand baths, which are characterized by their ability to treat rheumatic diseases, joint pain, spine and skin diseases.
Siwi House Museum The museum created in cooperation with the Canadian government. In the city council park on an area of three acres. In the traditional Siwi style, using mud bricks and palm tree trunks. It combines the history of Siwi life and its development in different stages of time.
It also contains many collections that express the authentic Siwi heritage. Combined with the personal efforts of the inhabitants of the oasis, such as silver jewelry, musical instruments. As well as wedding costumes, baskets, pottery and agricultural tools.
The museum is not subject to the supervision of the Ministry of Culture. But it is overseen by Siwa City Council. Technical supervision is provided by a committee made up of tribal sheikhs and a number of members of the Siwa Resident University. And the museum spends on itself thanks to the entrance fee imposed on visitors.
The discovery of the oasis of Siwa and its surroundings, is one of our trips off the beaten track: Siwa Oasis Trip
This is an opportunity to make an unforgettable excursion. On foot, by camel or by 4X4. However, you are guaranteed to cross spectacular landscapes. So with rocks in the shape of mushrooms, birds and animals. In fact during your trip to This setting will make you happy in search of breathtaking panoramas. It is the vestige of a time during which this area was located under the sea. Nearby, a black desert of volcanic origin, the Crystal Mountain.
Refers to the region of Egypt where the Nile flows into the Mediterranean Sea. One of the regions that makes you discover Varie Egypt 'authentic Egypt'. It is the ideal choice if you wish to make a trip to Egypt, where you will be spared from mass tourism. Moreover, the delta is an area of intensive agriculture. East of Alexandria to Port Said and Suez. To see: Tanis, the second capital of Ramses II, Ismailia, Port Said, the Suez Canal and its colonial houses. Also the Dovecotes of Qutur without forgetting Rosette.
It is also one of the regions which makes you discover Varie Egypt 'authentic Egypt', also spared from mass tourism, Middle Egypt is the modern name of the part of Egypt, which extends, approximately and from south to north, from the present city of Qena (Dendera), to the south of Fayoum. Your trip to Egypt in Middle Egypt will be a real gem for you. . Have: Touna el Djebel, the tombs of Beni Hassan, the Monastery of the mountain of birds (Djebel el Teir), Tel Amarna, the temples of Dendera and Abydos.
Luxor is a must when traveling to Egypt. It is located on the site of ancient Thebes, capital of the pharaohs at the height of their power. Do not miss the visit of Luxor during your next trip to Egypt. It is built around two enormous ancient monuments: the elegant temple of Luxor and the temple of Karnak. The royal tombs of the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens are on the west bank of the river, as well as the Valley of Nobles, the Temple of Hatshepsut, the Village of the Craftsmen, and further south the Temples of Edfu and Kom Ombo .
The most beautiful city on the Nile, place of the black pharaohs and where it all began! this city has a lot to offer. If you like to admire the beautiful landscape, do not miss the discovery of Aswan during your trip to Egypt. Here, the Nile is at its peak of beauty, meandering between the many green islets that inhabit it and crowned with feluccas. Jewel of southern Egypt, Nubian and proud of it! Located near the first cataract. Not to be missed: The Temple of Isis in Philae (The Pearl of the Nile), the High Dam, and a felucca ride on the Nile.
Are two carved into the rock, north of Lake Nasser, on the Nile, about 70 kilometers from the second cataract. Visiting the temples of Abu Simbel during your trip to Egypt will be unforgettable.
Built by the pharaoh Ramesses II, circa 1260 BC. BC to commemorate his victory at the battle of Kadesh, they were intended for his worship as well as that of egyptian gods and his wife Nefertari. Ramses II launched the construction site at the beginning of his reign, the temples had to satisfy the gods, ensure the food security of his subjects thanks to the good cycle of the floods of the Nile.
It is one of the saltiest in the world, it is home to many fish and more than 1000 species of molluscs and invertebrates. The Red Sea is one of the most beautiful destinations during your trip to Egypt. It is a paradise for divers, with bottle or with a mask and a snorkel to discover a wonderful world of multicolored fish and superb corals. The most famous seaside resorts: Hurghada, El Quesir, Safaga, Marsa Alam, and on the Sinai: Sharm el Sheikh, Dahab, and to visit Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai, and the Sinai Deserts.
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