Presentation of visa regulations, documents and costs
Entry requirements for Egypt: Citizens of the EU countries (except Bulgaria and Romania) as well as Swiss and Turks can currently obtain a visa on arrival at the airport if they stay up to 30 days. The cost is $ 15. Furthermore, an entry document with a photo is issued, for which travelers must have a photo ready.
There are special features when entering Israel. Only 14-day visas for the Sinai Peninsula are issued at the Taba / Eilat border crossing. If you are planning to travel to other regions of Egypt, you should apply for a visa in Germany or at the Egyptian consulate general in Eilat.
Identity card: Citizens of Germany, Belgium, France, Italy and Portugal can enter Egypt for a temporary tourist stay with a valid identity card, but the visa requirement remains. If only an ID card is required, a special entry card must be completed on arrival and accompanied by a passport photo. The passport photo must be brought.
Transit: Transit passengers who continue to travel within 12 hours, cannot leave the transit area and can present valid onward travel documents do not need a transit visa.
Validity period: 3 months from the date of issue for one-month stays (single / multiple entry). An extension in the country is possible.
Application: Responsible consular mission, see Egypt – important addresses.
You can download the visa application for Egypt here.
Processing time: usually about a week
Documents: Tourist Visa: two original biometric passport photos – passport that is valid for at least 6 months after the trip with at least one blank page – an originally completed application form – fees in cash.
Business visa: additional company letter about the purpose and duration of the trip with a confirmation of the cost assumption and a travel booking confirmation. If a multiple visa is applied for for three or six months, an invitation letter from the business partner in Egypt must also be available.
Stamped envelope for registered mail.
Consular fees: Tourist visa and business Visa: 22.00 euros. In Hamburg, the business visa is charged 40.00 euros. A tourist visa or business visa that entitles you to multiple entries to Egypt costs 60.00 euros.
Entry requirements for Egypt for children:
Germany: Children need an ID or their own passport (children’s passport or electronic passport) to enter Egypt.
Austria: Children must travel with their own passport.
Switzerland: Children must travel with their own passport.
Currency in Egypt: 1 Egyptian pound, in Arabic guinay, is divided into 100 piasters.
Currency abbreviation: E £ (LE), EGP – ABBREVIATIONFINDER.ORG
Banknotes exist in the value of 200, 100, 50, 20, 10, 5 and 1 E £ as well as 50 piastres. Coins come in amounts of 25, 20, 10 piastres.
Currency exchange: All major international currencies can be exchanged in banks, at Amex and Thomas Cook, in official exchange offices and in most hotels. Exchange offices often offer a slightly better rate than banks, and you don’t have to pay any fees here. Tapped and torn Egyptian pounds should not be accepted as they are often not accepted as a means of payment. It is possible to exchange the Egyptian currency for foreign currency at the end of the stay.
Egyptian Pound Exchange rate:
Currency converter at OANDA
Credit Cards: MasterCard, American Express and Visa are accepted in many shops, hotels and restaurants in tourist areas. A fee is often added and is 3 – 10%. Keep the receipts so that you can check the settlement later.
ATMs are almost everywhere, especially in larger cities and tourist centers. Cash can only be withdrawn in Egyptian pounds. Cards with the Cirrus or Maestro symbol are accepted at many ATMs in Egypt. In remote areas, however, machines are rather rare.
Traveler’s checks: Travelers’ checks from large companies can be easily transferred to banks. An exhibition in US dollars, British pounds sterling or euros is recommended.
Foreign exchange regulations: Import and export of foreign currencies up to a value of USD 10,000. The import and export of more than 5,000 Egyptian pounds is not permitted.
Bank opening times in Egypt: Sat – Thu 8.30am – 1.30pm, during Ramadan from 10am – 1.30pm. Changeover switches are often open until 8 p.m.
Health and Diseases
Vaccination: In mid-2004, a large number of hepatitis A diseases occurred among German and European travelers who had been on the Red Sea. Hepatitis A, a virus-related inflammation of the liver, is transmitted through contaminated food and drinking water. A well-tolerated vaccination can effectively prevent hepatitis A. Even if no illnesses have been known since then, vaccination against hepatitis A should be provided when traveling to the region.
More sensible vaccinations: protection against tetanus, diphtheria, polio, for long-term stay over three months also hepatitis B. In the case of special exposure (stay in the country, hunting, jogging, backpacking, etc.), vaccination against rabies and typhoid can be useful.
A valid yellow fever vaccination is required when entering a yellow fever area. It is also required if you are coming from the following countries: Botswana, Malawi, Mauritania, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago.
The malaria species Plasmodium vivax and the more dangerous form Plasmodium falciparum can occur in the region around Al Faiyoum (Nile Oasis) from June to October, but there is little risk. There is no risk of malaria in Alexandria and Cairo. Protection against insect and mosquito bites through body-covering clothing and insect-repellent skin protection products are important measures to prevent malaria. The additional preventive use of malaria prophylaxis is currently. unnecessary.
Medical care outside of Cairo has improved significantly in recent years. Nevertheless, it does not always meet Western European standards in the tourist centers either. It is therefore strongly recommended that foreign travel health insurance be taken out, which should also cover medically necessary (flight) return transport.
Driving after dark is not advised because of the frequent serious accidents on the road.
Health certificate: A negative HIV test in English is required for a work permit.
Acute stomach and intestinal problems are the most common evil. Sources of infection are Hungarian food, undercooked meat and fish dishes, contaminated water and fruit juices. You should take a supply of appropriate medication with you. Only mineral water should be used as drinking water and for brushing teeth. For the first few weeks of your stay, it is advisable to drink bottled water, which is available everywhere.
Milk is usually unpasteurized in Egypt and should be boiled. Only mix canned milk or milk powder with aseptic water. Dairy products must be made from boiled milk. Fish and meat dishes should only be cooked well and served hot. Fruit should be peeled and vegetables cooked.
In addition to my general disclaimer, please note the following important note:
A guarantee for the correctness and completeness of the medical information as well as a liability for possible damage cannot be assumed. You stay responsible for your healthy.
Travel opportunities in the country
Airplane: Egypt Air (MS) flies daily from Cairo to Alexandria, Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel and Hurghada. Air Sinai flies from Cairo to Tel Aviv, El Arish, St. Catherine, Eilat, Ras El Nakab, Luxor and Sharm El Sheik.
Ship: A hydrofoil connects Hurghada with Sharm El Sheik on the Sinai Peninsula. Ferry connections are also available several times a week. The traditional sailing boats on the Nile (Felluccas) can be rented by the hour. Cruises on the Nile are offered from Luxor to Aswan as well as to Dendera. Cruises should best take place between October and mid-April, from mid-April the jetties are closed due to insufficient water levels. Some shipping companies therefore use feeder boats during this time.
Rail: The rail network is only slightly expanded and urgently needs modernization. The main lines are Cairo – Minya – Luxor – Edfu – Aswan, Cairo – Alexandria, Cairo – Port Said and Marsa Matruh – Alexandria – Ismailia. Trains run several times a day, but are of different quality. Air-conditioned express trains run about three times a day, simple trains more often. Tickets can be purchased at all train stations, but it is relatively easy in the big cities, since the staff also understand English. Tickets for the air-conditioned express trains are only available in the big cities (Cairo, Luxor, Aswan, Alexandria), they are also seat cards, so they are only valid for the selected train. The prices are affordable even in first class. For heavily frequented trains such as night trains, it is advisable to sell tickets several days in advance. The larger train stations in Aswan, Luxor, Cairo and Alexandria have tourist information where you can also get the timetables. In addition, there is information in Cairo station in front of the main platforms, which is also in English. The train stations of the big cities are centrally located in Cairo e.g. at Midan Ramsis. From here it is possible to use taxis, minibuses and local buses for the onward journey. Long-distance buses often do not depart directly from long-distance train stations.
Bus: In contrast to trains, the long-distance bus network is very well developed. The market is divided among a few bus companies, such as Upper Egypt Travel. In fact, all places that are on a street can be reached. As a rule, only major cities such as Cairo, Luxor, Aswan and Alexandria, but also the oases in the Libyan Desert are directly connected to each other. The connection between smaller towns or villages may require one or more transfers in provincial capitals.
The buses only carry as many passengers as there are spaces. It is therefore advisable to buy the bus tickets several days in advance; However, advance sales are only possible in larger locations, but for all lines of the bus company concerned. The ticket is only valid for the selected bus journey. If there are free spaces, you can board the train and buy your ticket on the bus. You can agree with the bus driver or the controller to get you out at any point.
All locations in Egypt, with the exception of Cairo, generally only have a central bus station, where tickets can also be purchased in advance. Cairo has several bus stations, for example at Midan Ramsis (train station), Turgoman and Giza. In the case of Cairo, the station does not always have to be the same, even with the same bus route or travel destination; inquire beforehand! In larger towns, there are usually several official options for getting out; inquire beforehand, for example, when buying tickets. In Cairo, getting on at the central train stations is recommended, since not everyone is aware of other boarding options.
You should find out about connection options and any necessary transfers in Cairo from the bus companies or tour operators.
Another option when traveling in Egypt is to use minibuses for overland transfers. In the hotels, at tour operators on site or with locals, you can find out where in the city the buses depart in a certain direction or location. Minibuses generally only leave when they are full (approx. 15 passengers).
Taxis are available in the larger cities (often near bus and train stations). Group taxis for long distances are inexpensive and one of the fastest means of transportation. Fares should, however, be agreed before starting the journey.
Cars: Right-hand traffic applies in Egypt, traffic in Cairo is extremely chaotic, a certain adjustment is necessary here! Most of the towns are connected by asphalt roads. Tolls have to be paid for the few highways in Nildena. The connection between Cairo and Luxor runs essentially on the western Nile side, that between Luxor and Aswan on the eastern Nile side. There is no (usable) asphalt road between Bahriya and Siwa. From October to February it can be in the desert areas (Sinai, Hurghada) severe storms occur, some roads become impassable; Alternative routes are usually missing. In desert areas you should only drive yourself with a guide and the appropriate equipment. Further information from the Egyptian Automobile Club (Cairo).
The Nile as a lifeline is a major obstacle, there are bridges only in the big cities and few car ferries in the more rural areas. When planning an itinerary, you should always stay on one of the two banks of the Nile. Road and traffic conditions make tours to destinations over 100 km away seem to make little sense.
To calm traffic, very high thresholds running across the street direction are used in some places, but also on long-distance roads. Caution is advised here. Dangerous rear-end collisions often occur at night.
Rental Cars: Rental cars from Avis, Europcar, Hertz, Budget, Thrifty and local companies can be rented at Cairo airport, in the city of Cairo and in large hotels. Drivers must be at least 25 years old. Traffic regulations: Speed limit on motorways 90 km / h, on the desert highway between Cairo and Alexandria 100 km / h. Breaches of speed are punished with high fines.
Documents: An international driver’s license and proof of insurance are required. A carnet de passage or the deposit of a similar security is required for the temporary importation of an automobile. All vehicles (including motorcycles) are required to carry a fire extinguisher and a red warning triangle. Tours outside official routes (so-called off-road routes) as well as individual trips in certain regions are subject to approval. All routes are provided with fixed checkpoints at regular intervals.
Due to insufficiently marked minefields, special care is required on Sinai, in some coastal areas of the Red Sea, on the Mediterranean coast strip west of El Alamein and in border regions with Sudan and Libya.
In road traffic there is an increased risk of accidents due to the often risky driving behavior of road users. Driving in private or rental vehicles after dark is strongly discouraged. There is also an increased risk of accidents when using mass transport (coaches, minibuses). Ferries, such as those used across the Red Sea, do not always meet international standards; their use therefore poses an increased risk.
Desert tours can be booked through local tour operators. It should be borne in mind that desert trips without an experienced guide, vehicles that are absolutely roadworthy and without sufficient water supplies are life-threatening. Tours outside official routes (so-called off-road tourism) as well as individual trips in certain regions are subject to approval. All routes are provided with fixed checkpoints at regular intervals.
City traffic: The state Cairo Transport Authority operates buses, trams and ferries in Cairo. A uniform tariff applies in the city center. You can also use private buses, shared taxis and minibuses. The most important means of transport for the good Cairo public transport system are the modern suburban trains and the subway. Line 1 goes south from New El-Marg to Helwan. Line 2 runs from Shoubra el-Kheima in a southwesterly direction via Cairo University and Giza to El Mounib. The black and white taxis can be stopped on the street. It is common for women traveling alone to sit on the back seat and men traveling alone to sit in front of the driver. Taximeters are normally not used, so the price should be negotiated before the trip.
The vibrant capital Cairo with its amazing diversity connects Africa, the Orient and Western Europe. No other city shows the country’s contrasts so clearly. Medieval, Arabic and modern Western worlds meet here.
With approximately 16 million residents, Cairo is the largest city in Africa and one of the largest cities in the world. The city is located in Lower Egypt on the Nile, about 20 km south to the point where the Nile Valley opens into the Nile Delta. Many Islamic and modern buildings tell of the more than 1000-year history of Cairo, the Islamic old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cairo is the political, cultural and economic center of Egypt. Here is also one of the most important museums about ancient Egyptian history and culture. In the immediate vicinity of Cairo, the pyramid fields of the Memphite Necropolis (Giza, Saqqara and others) are important testimonials from the time of the Old Egyptian Empire.
Today’s west bank of the Nile is the modern part of the Egyptian capital with the university, the suburb Zamalek and the apartment blocks of Dokki – on the outskirts, rural Egypt of the Fellaches (farmers) suddenly begins with date palms, canals, clay villages and green fields. The great, towering pyramids of Giza are also located here. The largest of the three pyramids is over 137 m high and consists of approximately three million stone blocks. Next to it is the unfathomable sphinx. In the evening, the sky is illuminated by a light show: the pyramids and sphinx are illuminated effectively.
The spa and winter resort of Helwan is 30 km from Cairo. In Sakkara, not far away stands the step pyramid of King Djoser, which is considered the forerunner of the pyramids of Giza. In the necropolis in particular, there are extraordinary stone reliefs.
Nile cruises : Countless providers offer cruises on the Nile, most of the ships operate between Luxor and Aswan. Some tours include side trips to Abydos and Denderha. Abireos is home to the Osireion, one of the oldest places of worship. It was built about four and a half thousand years ago.
The Luxor / Aswan cruises last five days, the journey via Abydos and Denderha seven days. Some companies sometimes offer longer trips to El Minya, a pretty town with Roman, Greek and Pharaonic ruins, or further to Cairo. Countless cruise ships (capacities between 50 and 100 passengers) sail the Nile, the standard is generally high. Traditional felluccas (sailing ships) can also be rented.
Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt is more modern and, in my view, less interesting than Cairo. Its convenient location on the Mediterranean Sea makes the important port city a popular holiday destination for the Egyptians.
The northern beaches range from the Libyan border to the Sinai Peninsula. The holiday resort Mersa Matrûh, located west of Alexandria, is known. It is advisable to visit the Siwa oasis (site of the Amun oracle) on the Libyan border from here. Good beaches can also be found in El Alamein, Baltim, Gamasa, Sisi Kreir and Ras El Bar. The swimming season lasts until November.
Luxor is about 500 km south of Cairo. Here visitors will find some of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt: the huge temples of Amon in nearby Karnak with mighty statues, obelisks and halls and the world famous Valley of the Kings, where 64 pharaohs are buried. The tomb of the Amun-Her-Chopeschef is said to be the most beautiful in the Valley of the Queens. The colors of the reliefs have been preserved very well. But the sight of the other temples, tombs and monuments is also overwhelming. You can enjoy this impressive view from the hot air balloon.
Aswan is a pleasantly temperate place with many temples and monasteries, especially in winter. The Nilometer (water level indicator) is located on Elephantine Island. Aswan became famous for the Aswan Dam, one of the three largest dams in the world. About 2 km further south is Philae, a temple that had to be relocated due to the reservoir. The two beautiful temples of Ramses II in Abu Simbel were saved from sinking into the Nasser Reservoir by UNESCO in the 1960s. One of the best preserved temples in Egypt is in Edfu, 120 km north of Aswan.
Sinai and the Red Sea: Ras Mohammed, Sharm El Sheik, Dahab, Nuweiba and El Arish are probably the most popular holiday destinations on Sinai. Almost everywhere there are diving centers that have offers for both beginners and experienced divers. The temperatures remain pleasant until the end of the year. Holiday villages with water sports facilities were built all over the east coast of Sinai. The world’s northernmost mangrove forest grows in Ras Mohammed at the southernmost point of the Sinai Peninsula.
The Sinai Mountains in the interior of the peninsula have numerous impressive peaks. The almost 2,300 m high Gabal Musa is considered the biblical mountain Sinai. The St. Catherine’s Monastery, founded in the 6th century, lies at the foot of Mount Sinai. The monastery has important manuscripts, most of which are on display. Saladin’s mighty Qalaat Al Gundi fortress, one of the many witnesses to the Crusades, attracts many visitors. The west coast of the Red Sea has only recently been developed for tourism. Hurghada, a seaside resort about 400 km south of Suez, offers a good coral reef.
Before the 20th Century
With the fertile banks of the Nile as the source of economic, social, political and religious life, the world’s first nation-state and powerful civilization was born in Egypt, where scripture was invented and the first monumental stone monuments were erected. About 5000 years ago the independent states along the Nile were united under Narmer, from which the first dynasty of the pharaohs developed.
The pharaohs were considered divine and ruled over a highly layered society. The first pyramid was built in the 27th century BC. Built in BC, these monuments grew bigger and bigger over the next 500 years. Royal power peaked during the 4th dynasty when Khufu, Khafre and Mycerinus built the Pyramids of Giza. During the 6th and 7th dynasties, power spread more widely and small principalities began to grow. A second capital in Heracleopolis (near today’s Bani Suwaif) was founded and plunged into a civil war in Egypt.
An independent empire emerged in Thebes (today’s Luxor) and under Montuhotep II, Egypt came under the control of a single pharaoh. From 1550 to 1069 BC The new empire blossomed under rulers such as Tuthmosis I, the first pharaoh who was buried in the Valley of the Kings, his daughter Hatshepsut, one of the few female Egyptian pharaohs and Tuthmosis III, who was one of Egypt’s greatest conquerors.
Amenophis IV renounced the priesthood and took the title Akhenaten in honor of Aten, the sun disk, and founded a new capital called Akhetaten, which was dedicated exclusively to the new God. Soon afterwards the generals ruled in Egypt: Ramses I, II and III, and Seti I. They built huge monuments and temples, but after their reign the empire fell into disarray, so that the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great 331 BC. BC took over the rule and founded a new capital.
Under Ptolemy I, Alexandria became a large city. The Ptolemies ruled Egypt for 300 years, but their rule was overshadowed by great rivalries among the nobles. In the meantime, the emerging Roman Empire became interested in Egypt. Between 51 and 48 BC BC was ruled by Ptolemy XIII and his sister Cleopatra VIII. Julius Caesar sent his rival Pompey from Rome to monitor them. Ptolemy killed Pompey and exiled Cleopatra. Caesar then marched into Egypt, deposed Ptolemy, appointed one of Cleopatra’s brothers, Ptolemy XIV, as leader, and became Cleopatra’s lover. 47 BC Chr. Gave birth to Caesar’s son, and two years later had her brother killed. When Caesar was murdered the following year, Marc Anton – one of the leaders in the new triumvirate – came to Egypt and fell in love with Cleopatra. The dissatisfied Roman Senate sent Octavian 10 years later to remove Marc Anton. After the defeat of their naval forces in the Naval Battle of Actium 31 BC BC, Mark Antony and Cleopatra committed suicide. Subsequently, Egypt became part of the Roman Empire.
When the Roman Empire fell, Nubians, North Africans and Persians invaded. Until 640 AD, when the Arabs came and spread Islam, Egypt remained relatively stable. They founded Fustat (in what is now Cairo) as the seat of an unstable government until the Fatimids took over and built the wealthy city of Al-Qahira (Cairo).
Western European Christians took over much of the empire during the 11th century crusades, but in 1187 the Seljuk-born Syrians sent an army to Egypt, Salah ad-Din (Saladin) fortified Cairo and drove the crusaders out of Jerusalem. Salah ad-Din employed Mamelukes (Turkish mercenaries), but this ended in the fall of his dynasty. The Mamelukes ruled Egypt for two and a half centuries before the empire fell to the Turks in 1517. Since most of the Mamuks were of Turkish descent, the Turkish-Ottoman sultans, based in Constantinople, largely left them unmolested as long as the Mamuks paid their taxes. This situation continued until the invasion of Napoleon in 1798, which was replaced by the British in 1801. These were in turn by Mohammed Ali, beaten to a lieutenant in the Albanian contingent of the Ottoman army. Said Pascha, Ali’s grandson, opened the Suez Canal in 1869.
A high level of public debt made it possible for the British and French to reinstall rule in Egypt in 1879, thereby ending the sovereignty of Turkey over Egypt. During the First World War, Egypt allied with the Allies, and a short time later, the British allowed the formation of a national political party – the Wafd. King Fuad was elected leader of the constitutional monarchy and the British, monarchists and Wafdists fought for power for the next 30 years. The Arab League was founded by seven Arab countries, including Egypt, after the Second World War. The World War left a field of rubble in Egypt and the defeat against Israel in 1948 escalated the chaos. In 1952, a group of officers led by Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser couped. The British and French feared a loss of control and an invasion ensued. The United States and the Soviet Union joined the United Nations, sent peacekeepers, and insisted that the invaders leave Egypt. Nasser became a hero, especially among Arabs.
Nasser tried to unite Egypt, Syria and Yemen, and later also with Iraq in the 1950s. This emphasized Arab unity and demonized Israel. After months of increasing tensions between Egypt and Israel, the Jewish state was attacked on June 5, 1967. In this six-day war, Israel destroyed the Egyptian Air Force, conquered Sinai, and closed the Suez Canal.
Anwar Sadat, Nasser’s vice president, took over from Nasser when he died in 1970 and began to improve relations with the West. On October 6, 1973, the Yom Kippur Jewish holiday, Egypt launched a surprise attack on the Israeli occupiers in Sinai. Egypt’s army initially displaced the much better armed Israelis, but the initial gains were later reversed by Israel. The following ceasefire agreement favored Egyptian interests. In 1977, Sadat started peace negotiations with Israel, which led to the Camp David Agreement in 1978. Israel agreed to withdraw from Sinai, for which Egypt officially recognized Israel. Many in the Arab world felt deceived by Sadat, who was murdered on October 6, 1981.
Husni Mubarak, Sadat’s vice president, was sworn in and has ruled the country since then. Mubarak surprised many with his Middle East policy, working mainly on improving relations with Israel and other Arab countries. With the rise of fundamentalism in the Arab world, Mubarak’s position was often at risk, he was the target of numerous attempts to attack. Mubarak sent 35,000 soldiers to fight Iraq in the Gulf War, and while the war was seen as a western imperialist invasion of the Arabs, Egypt’s commitment to improving relations with the West has proven useful.
In 1992, Islamic fundamentalists launched a campaign of intimidation and violence against tourists and Egyptian security forces. The mid-1990s were marked by tensions with Sudan over the controversial Halaib region, severe flooding in 1994, and a series of conflicts with fundamentalists that culminated in a murder attack on President Mubarak in 1995. In 1997, the Islamist massacre of over 70 people, most of them tourists, shocked Egypt and caused thousands of people worldwide to change their vacation plans. The government has been persecuting Islamists ever more severely, but economic and social reforms are being undermined by a rapidly growing population, high unemployment and increasing poverty.
President Hosni Mubarak was elected for his fifth term in 2005. Although he won by a large margin, there were allegations that there were irregularities in the election and that the police disadvantageed the opposition. This has contributed to the fact that Egypt is far from being perceived as democratic. There were several attacks on tourists in Sinai in 2005 and 2006, and it can usually be assumed that this is an isolated event rather than an ongoing terrorist campaign and that Egypt remains a relatively stable country. A growing concern for the future is the successor of the aging president – he never appointed a vice president – and whether this successor can solve Egypt’s economic problems.
Egypt – economy
Economic growth in Egypt is limited by the small amount of arable land (less than 5% of the area) and a large and rapidly growing population. After 1945, much of the funds and energy was used to prepare for war against Israel and after the Israeli-Arab wars for reconstruction. The share of industry increased in the 20th century, especially after 1952. The state owns a large part of the economy and plays a crucial role in planning. However, Egypt has been on the way to a more decentralized market economy for several years, and foreign investment is increasing.
The agricultural land are used intensively, usually there are two, sometimes three harvests per year) and the yields per hectare are extremely high. The control of the amount of water in the Nile by the Aswan dam expanded the acreage considerably, but the growing population does not lead to any significant surpluses in agriculture. Most of the farms in Egypt are small and labor intensive. A third of the Egyptian workers are employed in agriculture. The most important crop in Egypt is cotton, along with rice, corn, wheat, beans, tomatoes, sugar cane, citrus fruits and dates. Farm animals in the country are cattle, water buffalos, sheep, goats, donkeys, and there is also a fishing industry in Egypt.
In the country are oil and natural gas promoted (especially in the Gulf of Suez); the main minerals are iron ore, phosphates, salt, manganese, limestone, gypsum and gold. Cairo and Alexandria are the main industrial centers, large production facilities are also located in the other cities in the Nile Valley and Delta as well as in Port Said and Suez. The main industries are mineral oil processing, textiles, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, hydrocarbons, building materials and metals. Food processing and tourism are also important, and transit fees from the Suez Canal are another important source of foreign exchange. The rail and road network runs mainly along the Mediterranean coast and in the Nile valley.
The main exports are crude and refined oil, cotton, textiles, metal, and chemical products. Machines, food, chemical products, wood, fuels and consumer goods make up the largest share of imports. The most important trading partners are the USA, Italy, Germany, France and Saudi Arabia.
Egypt has also become a manufacturer and exports finished or at least semi-finished goods, which is a big step in the development of an industrialized country. Many other countries on the African continent have not yet run out of these. They are still only suppliers of raw materials, which are also traded on the world market at low prices. Even so, Egypt still has a long way to go.
Egypt has received billions of dollars in aid since the 1970sfrom the United States, neighboring Arab countries and European nations. However, inefficient government industries, the bloated public sector, and large military investments have led to inflation, high unemployment, a high trade deficit and heavy public debt. In the 1990s, a number of economic and fiscal reforms were carried out with the support of the International Monetary Fund, which seems to have a positive impact on the economy.
The Egyptian town of Abu Simbel (also sometimes called Abu Simbal, Ebsambul or Isambul) is located in Nubia, about 280 km south of Aswan. (GPS coordinates: 22 ° 20 ’13 “N, 31 ° 37′ 32” E)
Abu Simbel became known through the two rock temples of Pharaoh Ramses II on the western bank of the Nile, between the first and second cataracts. These two rock temples on the southern border of the pharaonic empire were to show the power and eternal superiority of Egypt over the tributary Nubia
They were discovered and uncovered in 1816 by Belzoni, who did research on behalf of Henry Salt. The temples have been visited by tourists for almost 200 years.
Through the Aswan high dam, Lake Nasser threatened to flood the two temples. In a large-scale rescue operation by UNESCO between 1964 and 1968, the temples were cut into 1,036 individual parts and rebuilt stone by stone 180 m inland and 64 m above the old site and supported by a concrete structure. In 1980 the temples were opened to the public again. The construction was carried out by the German company Hochtief Essen, the total cost for this change of location was about 80 million US dollars. In 1979, Abu Simbel was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The new Nasser reservoir flooded all of Sub-Nubia, the residents were made homeless and for the most part relocated to the regions around Aswan and Kom Ombo. Only in Abu Simbel a new place with hotel and airfield was created for tourist reasons. Since there is no arable land here, practically the entire population is dependent on tourism. For several years now, however, there have been various projects aimed at making agriculture in the desert possible with water from Lake Nasser.
The great temple of Ramses II (1279 BC – 1213 BC) was completely cut into the rock, the mountain side serving as a gate. Four 22 m high colossal statues show the king: the two northern statues are called “Ramses, the beloved of Amun” and “Ramses, the beloved of Atum”, the statues in the south “Ramses, sun of the rulers” and “Ramses, rulers of the two Countries”. The sun god Re moves head-on out of the facade, it has the attributes sun disk (Rê), wsr-sign in the right and Maat-figure in the left. With these characters he forms the throne name of the Ramses: User-Maat-Rê. This makes the king an incarnation of the Rê, the “Great Soul of the Rê-Harachten”.
The upper facade of the temple is formed by a frieze of sun monkeys. Through this frieze, the Basel orient researcher Jean Louis Burckhardt (aka “Sheikh Ibrahim”) became aware of the otherwise completely silted entrance to the temple in 1813, and in 1816 Belzoni uncovered the temple.
The temple complex is located 60 m in the rock, the large three-aisled hall with 2 x 4 statue pillars of the king should be mentioned. Four of these pillars show Ramses with the Upper Egyptian crown, the four other pillars Ramses with the Lower Egyptian crown. These royal statues show Pharaoh in a very complex relationship with the three deities Amun, Atum and Re-Harakhte (after Gundlach). The reliefs of the hall heroize the victorious wars and show the king as the victor over the Syrians, Libyans and blacks, especially the battle of Kadesch is depicted.
From the rear part of the Great Hall there are six side chambers, which were probably used to store supplies.
On the temple axis you will find the smaller hall with four pillars and sacrificial scenes, a transverse hall with two adjoining rooms and the sanctuary. Here are statues of the deities Ptah, Amun and Horus von Mehu as well as the deified Ramses.
The construction of the temple is such that the sun shines on the statues through the entrance of the temple on October 20 and February 20 (after the “move” of the temple, the dates lie on October 21 and February 21). In October 2005 around 5,000 tourists wanted to be there, but there was only enough space for very few to see this spectacle.
During the king’s lifetime, the temple of Abu Simbel was damaged by an earthquake, as evidenced by the added retaining walls. At this point, one of the colossal statues may have already crashed.
The small temple of Abu Simbel was dedicated to the deified great consort of Ramses, Nefertari and the Hathor of Ibschek. It is also worked into the rock. The figures cut from the rock face represent two Nefertari, Hathor and Ramses each. All statues are about 10 m high, which was a special distinction for Nefertari, since the wives of the kings were usually depicted smaller.
The small temple leads 21 m deep into the rocks. Behind the entrance there is a 6-pillar hall, a transverse hall with two adjoining rooms and the sanctuary. The reliefs in the small temple depict coronation scenes and the protection of the queen by goddesses of love and fertility. At the end of the sanctuary there is a niche depicting the Hathor cow in half relief. Material partly from Wikipedia.
The two temples are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., the admission price is LE 70.
A cruise on Lake Nasser (starting in Abu Simbel or Aswan) allows you to visit several archaeological highlights on Lake Nasser. The cruise ship dock is below the Little Temple.
The temple is only illuminated by the sun in the morning. Therefore, most tourists arrive in the morning. On the other hand, if you want to visit the temple in a quieter atmosphere, you should do so in the afternoon, even if both temple facades are in the shade.
In winter it is very cool at night and in the early morning. A jacket is recommended.
Sandstorms can be expected in early summer and autumn.
It is currently not possible for foreigners to travel to Sudan via Abu Simbel.
The Egyptian city of Aswan (in Arabic Aswan or Eswan for the gate, in ancient Syene) is located on the eastern (right) bank of the Nile below the first Nile cataract (GPS coordinates: 24 ° 04 ’00 “N 32 ° 55 ’00 “O). The population was around 220,000 in 2002. Aswan is the southernmost city in Egypt itself and capital in the governorate of the same name.
The ancient Greeks discovered that in Synene on the day of the summer solstice (longest day of the year) the sun reached its zenith and did not cast a shadow, the Tropic of Cancer was established here (with more precise instruments, it was found that the Tropic of Circle was somewhat wider is in the south).
The oldest part of the city of Aswan, the ancient Egyptian Abu (elephant or ivory), is located on the island of Elephantine, the traces of which date back to the Negad period (around 3500 BC). The area on the east and west banks has been used primarily for the mining of gray and rose granite since the early Old Kingdom; Egypt’s most famous granite quarries were located here and are still exploited today. Aswan (or Elephantine) forms the southern border of Old Egypt, it was the most important hub for the trade with Nubia. As the border town and center of granite mining, Aswan also becomes an important political center.
Aswan, the city on the east bank, is relatively young itself, the earliest records date from the 20th dynasty. Only the population growth in the 30th dynasty led to the fact that the urban area of the island of Elephantine was shifted to the area of today’s city. In the Greco-Roman period two temples were built here. Subsequently, Elephantine completely lost importance as a settlement area compared to Aswan.
Aswan was a garrison town in Roman times. Aswan became a bishopric in Christian times. As Aswan was repeatedly threatened by Bedouin invasions, a garrison was again established here in 1517 under Sultan Selīm.
The Greeks called the city Syene. The origin of the city names Sunu (ancient Egyptian), Syene (Greek) and As-Suan (Arabic) is based on trade or market; In its function as a border town with Nubia, this was probably the most profitable industry. Today, granite mining, the exploitation of ore mines and the processing of nitrogen salts in the nitrogen plant (fertilizer plant) KIMA, the largest in Africa, form the economic base of the city. Economic growth naturally led to rapid population growth, Aswan is now the third largest city in Upper Egypt. Unfortunately, the cityscape suffers from it, the modern concrete buildings will hardly be mentioned in travel guides.
Due to its dry and pleasant climate, the city has been popular with European travelers since the end of the 19th century. Especially in the winter months, she moves here to get relief from her illnesses.
Bedouins also settle here in Aswan, mainly on some Nile islands such as Elephantine and in the southeast of the city.
Location of the Nile Islands
Approximately in the area In the southern half of the city of Aswan, the island of Elephantine extends over a north-south distance of approx. 600 m in the Nile. Lord Kitchener Island is located northwest of the island of Elephantine. About 50 m south of Elephantine Island are Amun Island in the west and Essa Island in the east. About 250 m south of Amun Island is Isis Island, on the east side of which there are other islands, and further south is Ambumart Island.
Approx. 2 km south of Elephantine Island is the island Saluga, about one kilometer further south the island Sehel. The old dam is a further 3 km away.
Aswan cross four streets from north to south: the westernmost is the Nile embankment (Corniche el-Nil), followed by the Tahrīr share and the es-Sūq share (also called Saad Zaghlūl share), i.e. the market street. Aswan Railway Station is at the northern end of the Shari es-Sūq. Two important west-east cross-connections are the Shari el-Matar at about the northern tip of the island of Elephantine and the Shari Qasr el-Hagar north of the cataract hotels.
In the south of the city, the Corniche el-Nil branches off to the east at about the level of the holiday garden or the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral. If you stay on this road, after about 1 km you will reach the quarry with the unfinished obelisk.
The small airport of Aswan-Darau (ASW), Tel.: (097) 230 3116, mainly serves the handling of domestic flights by EgyptAir from or to Cairo and Luxor.
Aswan is on the Cairo-Minyā-Luxor-Edfu-Aswan railway line. The train station is in the northern city center. A tourist information office is located north of the station concourse.
Air-conditioned express trains run about three times a day. Tickets are relatively easy to buy because the staff understand English. Tickets for the air-conditioned express trains are also seat cards, so they are only valid for the selected train. The prices are affordable even in first class. For heavily frequented trains such as night trains, it is advisable to sell tickets several days in advance.
Tourists can use the following “protected trains”: Luxor – Aswan (07:15, 09:30 and 17:00, travel time: 3 hours, fares: 1st class: LE 26 – 30; 2nd class LE 16 – 21).
Trains in the direction of Luxor run, for example, at 6 a.m. and 8 a.m. (for the 8 a.m. train, tickets can only be purchased on the train, not in advance at the ticket office). A train journey to Edfu costs LE 8 or to Kom Ombo LE 6 in first class.
Aswan can also be reached from Luxor by bus. Upper Egypt Travel operates the following bus routes from Luxor: Luxor – Esna – Edfu – Aswan (07:15, 09:30 and 15:30) on Ostufer-Straße.
Only as many passengers as there are seats available. In the case of long journeys, it is advisable to purchase the tickets in advance at least one day in advance.
In local transport there are buses, minibuses (called Microbus) and so-called “Arabiya Kabbud” (Arabic name for “convertible top car” in the form of pickups with two bench seats and tarpaulin as a roof). Buses usually stop at designated bus stops, while minibuses and Arabiya Kabbud let passengers get on and off at any stop. Local transport prices are extremely low. A trip from the Aswan Corniche to the Nasser Reservoir, approx. 16 km, only 1 LE per person, shorter distances up to approx. 5 km cost 25 piasters. The fare is always paid in the vehicle, pre-reservations are unnecessary and not possible at all.
Foreign tourists have to join a convoy: Luxor – Aswan: 07:00, 11:00 and 15:00. The journey takes place along the east side of the Nile. Aswan – Luxor: 07:00 a.m., 01:00 p.m.
Aswan is the starting or ending point of Nile cruises from and to Luxor and Abu Simbel, the landing stages for cruises to Luxor are in Aswan, the landing stages to Abu Simbel south of the Aswan high dam.
There is a ferry link from Aswan to Wadi Halfa on the east bank of the Aswan Reservoir in Sudan. It is the only one at the moment connection to Sudan by land or water. The ferry runs once a week, starting on Mondays in Aswan in the direction of Sudan and on Wednesdays in Wadi Halfa in the direction of Egypt; the crossing takes about 20 hours. The ferry is a passenger ferry, bicycles and motorbikes can be taken. Larger vehicles are carried on an attached pontoon or a separate cargo ship. The cost of such a pontoon is high, it is $ 1600 for the entire pontoon, which can accommodate up to four vehicles. The customs formalities are complex and can take several days.
Boats, ships and ferry
Passenger ferries connect the east bank with the west bank and the individual islands:
- A ferry connects the east and west banks about 150 m southwest of the station. You can reach the west bank at the north end of the burial ground of Qubbet el-Hawa.
- Halfway along Elephantine Island, a local ferry connects the east bank of the city (north of the police station) and Elephantine. Elephantine can be reached on the border between the tower hotel and the Nubian villages.
- At about EgyptAir’s office, several ferries connect the east bank with various islands: the southern tip of Elephantine Island, Essa Island, Amun Island and Isis Island.
- Ferries to Lord Kitchener Island and the west bank of Aswan start from the middle of the west bank of Elephantine, at about the height of the Aga Khan mausoleum.
Nile trips with a Felūka or with a motor boat are offered by numerous local boat guides.
If you do not like to walk, you will find numerous taxis on site. A normal taxi is also sufficient to visit the quarries south of Aswan; an all-wheel drive vehicle is not necessary.
Attractions in Aswan
The city had at least two temples in Greco-Roman times:
- Temple of Isis, about 300 m northeast of the cataract hotels, under Ptolemy III. Euergetes I and Ptolemy IV Philopator erected. The temple can only be viewed from the outside.
- In the south of the city are the ruins of the temple probably consecrated to the cataract gods Satet, Chnum and Anukis from the time of the Emperor Domitian, about 100 m north of the aforementioned. It still consists of four front columns and a pronaos.
- Rock graffiti in the Ferial garden.
- The unfinished obelisk in the Northern Quarries, about 1 km south of the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral. Opening times: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Admission price: LE 25.
- Fatimidian cemeteries(9th century AD): On the one hand there is a relatively small inner-city but closed cemetery, on the other hand a rather extensive cemetery south of the Nubia Museum. The latter is freely accessible. The most important grave of the southern grave group, the Mashhad of an unknown sheikh, the so-called grave of the 77 city keepers, is located in the open-air area of the Nubia Museum. However, you may need permission from the Inspector of Islamic and Christian Antiquities to view it. The tombs are adobe domed buildings, mostly with a square floor plan. Since the cemeteries were flooded in 1886, the tombstones were brought to Cairo. So today it is unfortunately impossible to assign the graves to their owners. The buried are mostly soldiers with their families; some tombstones contain family trees; the causes of death are mostly of a warlike nature or illnesses.
- Two strongly fortified minarets from Fatimid times. The easiest way to find out is the one southeast of the Basma Hotel; the second is in the area of the island of Philae behind the old dam. Both minarets also served as military guards, hence their strong fortifications. In the upper part of the minaret they have a building inscription that is difficult to read.
- Coptic Orthodox Cathedral near east of the Ferial Garden at the southern end of the Corniche el-Nil.
Gardens and parks
- Holiday garden. It is located north of the cataract hotels on the branch of the Corniche el-Nil to the east. The admission price is LE 5.
- Lord Kitchener Island (Botanical Garden; Plantation Island). The garden is located on the island of el-Atrūn, where Lord Kitchener lived during his punitive expedition to Sudan. The admission price is probably LE 10.
The Nubia Museum, which opened in 1998, is opposite the Basma Hotel, el Fanadek St. (opposite the Basma Hotel), 81111 Aswan, Tel. (097) 231 9333, Fax: (097) 231 7998, Email: email@example.com. It is open from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The admission price is LE 40.
The museum consists of the museum building itself and a large open-air museum connected to it. The exhibition is roughly divided into the focal areas of Nubia as a landscape, prehistoric times, the Old Kingdom, Nubian A and C culture, the Kingdom of Kush, the 25th Dynasty, the Kingdom of Meroe, the late period, Christianity in Nubia, Islam in Nubia, irrigation projects in Nubia, the UNESCO rescue campaign and Nubian customs. The most important of the 1200 exhibits include the decorated ceramics of the A group culture, a funeral from the A group period (approx. 3500 – 3000 BC), a statue of the king Chephren, statues of Heqaib (12. Dynasty), the rock chapel of the Usersatet, viceroy of Kusch under Amenophis II, by Qasr Ibrim, statue of Ramses II from the temple in Gerf Husein,
The open-air museum is designed as a garden with palm trees and flowers, the area is crossed by a watercourse. The objects mostly come from Christian and Islamic sites. This also includes the replica of a typical Nubian house. The tomb of an important but unknown sheikh, the so-called tomb (Mashhad) of the 77 city keepers, is mostly overlooked because it is usually closed. To view it, you may need permission from the inspector for Christian and Islamic monuments.
The Aswan High Dam (length 2 km, commissioned in 1902) and the High Dam (length 3.6 km, height 111 m, since January 15, 1971 in operation, impounds 400 km Nasser on) have tremendous Egypt economic importance. Due to the damming of Lake Nasser, numerous ancient Egyptian monuments were threatened by the flood. Therefore, in 1964, UNESCO started the largest archaeological rescue operation to date. The entire Abu Simbel temple was mined stone by stone and rebuilt in a safe place above the waterline. Almost 150,000 people were forcibly resettled in the wake of the impoundment, the majority of whom came to Kom Ombo, about 60 kilometers north of Aswan.
Around Aswan there are numerous temples, fortress buildings and palaces built by the Pharaohs and Ptolemies as well as by the Romans and Arabs. Also interesting are the more than 6 km long quarries of red granite (called syenite on site, but it is different from the rock so called in Europe). Obelisks and colossal statues for Egyptian and Ethiopian temples were formed from this rock.
On the western (left) side of the Nile on the Qubbet el-Hawa are the ancient tombs of Syene, further south are numerous fertile islands such as Elephantine and Philae with well-known temple ruins.
The former fishing village of Dahab is located on the Sinai Peninsula on the Gulf of Aqaba north of Sharm el Sheik. The name means “gold” in Arabic, probably this refers to mica particles that shine golden in fine sand. The Mount Moses and St. Catherine’s Monastery is about 2 hours drive away.
The foundations of a lighthouse were uncovered on an excavation on Al Mashraba hill in 1989 on the southern beach promenade. The construction will take place between the 1st century. v. BC and the 2nd century. v. Dated BC. The ancient port was located on an old trade route and was used as a warehouse for merchandise in the city of Maqnah in what is now Saudi Arabia (opposite to today’s Dahab).
In 2006, about 5,000 Bedouins and about 700 foreigners lived in Dahab. The city is divided into several quarters: Azzalah, Masbat, Mashraba and Dahab City. In the past, the residents of Dahab made a living from fishing, today money is made almost exclusively from tourism. Dahab was a meeting point of the hippie movement for a long time (until the end of the 1990s), with the construction of a waterfront the city tried to strengthen “normal” tourism. This seems to succeed, but Dahab is still not as touristy as Sharm El-Sheikh or Na’ama Bay.
Dahab can have some spectacular coral reefs. The “Blue Hole” is particularly suitable for diving. Other places like El Bells, Canyon, Islands and Golden Blocks are hardly inferior to the Blue Hole. On the mentioned diving grounds, diving is only from the shore.
However, diving tourism is increasingly destroying the coral reefs, the proportion of dead corals may have reached more than 20%. If no countermeasures are taken, conditions in Hurghada can quickly be reached, where coral destruction is far worse.
Attacks of April 24, 2006
On April 24, 2006, a terrorist attack was carried out in Dahab. A bomb detonated at the Ghazala supermarket opposite the police station. When people fled towards the beach, two bombs detonated at the bridge entrances. 25 people (other sources speak of 35), mostly Egyptians, died in the attack, many were injured. Subsequently, the number of tourists fell by up to 60%, in the high season in October 2006 Dahab appeared to be extinct. Material partly from Wikipedia.
Dahab is usually reached by taxi or bus from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport (SSH) in Ras Nasrānī, which is approximately 50 km from Dahab. Egypt Air flies from Cairo, Alexandria, Luxor and Hurghada to Dahab within Egypt. Three to six flights to and from Cairo are offered every day, most on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.
The buses take about an hour from the airport to Dahab. Depending on your negotiation skills, taxis cost between 150 and 300 LE.
It is also possible to be picked up by a driver from your booked hotel or camp.
Edfu (also called Idfu) is located about 100 km south of Luxor on the west bank of the Nile. The population is around 60,000. In 1969 a bridge over the Nile was builtin Edfu.
The main industry in Edfu is pottery, and the city is also a trading center with several sugar factories.
Edfu is already mentioned in religious hieroglyphic inscriptions as Behedet (“Behedet” is the nickname of Horus) or Neset-Netjeru (“Throne of the Gods”). In administrative texts, on the other hand, the city is rather called Djeba. In the period of ancient Greece the name was Apollonopolis Magna, after the god Horus-Apollo, who was particularly venerated here. According to tradition, Horus passed one of his most difficult battles with Seth.
Highlights in Edfu
The almost completely preserved temple of Horus in Edfu is one of the most impressive sights that can be found in Egypt.
The main features of the temple were from 237 BC. BC of Ptolemy III. (Euergetes I.) built. The temple building was completed by Ptolemy IV (Philopator) in the shell. Due to wars, the building was only restored by Ptolemy VI. (Philometor) 176 BC Chr. 147 BC The actual temple was ended under Ptolemy VII (Euergetes II).
Under Ptolemy VII. Until 122 BC. the large porch is erected. The large pylon (gate system in front of a temple, the path leads to the entrance) of about 70 m wide and 32.50 m high and the colonnade courtyard behind it (49 m X 42.6 m) were designed by Ptolemy IX. (Sotêr II.) And Ptolemaios X. (Alexander I.) built.
The reliefs on the pylon, made under Ptolemy XII. (Neos Dionysos) 57 BC BC added the end of the temple.
The temple in Edfu was originally completely enclosed by a brick wall, remains of which are still preserved today.
To the right and left of the pylon are two large black granite falcons. Behind the pylon is the large colonnade courtyard through which the consecration hall and the library can be reached.
At the end of the temple there is a 25 m wide and almost 14 m long portico (open columned hall) with 18 columns, behind which there is still a hall as well as corridors and chambers. The Blessed Sacrament is self-contained and forms a small, independent structure.
The hieroglyphic inscriptions in the Edfu Temple are among the largest contiguous collections of hieroglyphic texts from the Greco-Roman period and are therefore very important for philology.
The Hathor sanctuary
To the west of the entrance gate, next to the temple building, is a small sanctuary dedicated to the goddess Hathor. It is called Mammisi (birth house). It was built under Ptolemy VII.
The ancient city
Next to the Temple of Horus there are remains of the ancient city, some of which has been excavated. Houses of the Greek, Roman and Byzantine city were discovered here. The necropolises of the city were found in front of the city walls. Particularly striking is the mastaba (type of tomb in ancient Egyptian culture. The structure corresponds to a flat rectangular truncated pyramid) of the Izi from the Old Kingdom. After his death, Izi was worshiped as a local saint.
Hurghada is the most important Egyptian tourism center on the Red Sea. Around 60,000 residents live in the city, of whom around 10,000 do not have official residence documents. most come from the cities in the Nile valley and try to find a job in the tourism sector here.
Hurghada was founded in the early 20th century. Since the 1980s, the place has been developed by far with American, European and Arab investors into the largest seaside resort on the Red Sea. In 2004, more than a million guests came to Hurghada, most of them from Germany, Russia and the former Soviet republics. The cityscape of Hurghada is dominated by many unfinished buildings and new tourist complexes. Numerous holiday resorts and apartment buildings are built in the oriental style. The international airport of Hurghada is a destination of some low-cost airlines, so it is possible to get to the Red Sea relatively cheap from many European cities. The spacious main streets in Hurghada are straight and modern.
The approximately 30 km long area around Hurghada can be divided as follows:
- the original town center ad-Dahar (Downtown) in the northern part of the city.
- the tourist area as-Siqala in southern Hurghada (on Egyptian signposts: El Sekalla). It was originally used as an administrative center for the oil fields in the Gulf of Suez.
- further south are chain-linked package and luxury hotels.
- About 22 km in the north of Hurghada, the hotel complex area El Gouna has been created by Egyptian investments for several years
Other bathing resorts south of Hurghada are Makadi Bay, Soma Bay, Safaga (60 km away), al-Qusair (a port city of the Ottoman Empire, 207 km away) and Marsa Alam (271 km away). The administrative border to Sudan is at Ash-Shalatin, the controversial physical border is another 140 km south.
The region in the north of Marsa Alam is currently being promoted by an Egyptian development program, and Marsa Alam is to replace Hurghada as the main tourism resort in the coming decades.
The Coptic St. Schinuda Father of the Hermits Church (named after St. Schinuda, the “Father of the Hermits”), built in 1922, in the district of Dahar (7 km north of Hurghada). The church is located on the four-lane Soliman-Mazhar street (towards the Red Sea), right at corner 3. Turn right after the roundabout.
Otherwise there were hardly any historical sights in Hurghada and in the surrounding area. However, one can take day trips to the Egyptian attractions in the Nile valley (eg Karnak, Luxor) and to Cairo. You can book practically at all hotels and local travel agencies. Egyptian travel agencies usually offer cheaper prices than the hotels. However, it can happen that your coaches are not in good condition, the bus drivers have stayed overnight and tour guides are less trained.
Hurghada is primarily suitable for a bathing and beach vacation. However, you can also go on tours with quad vehicles and snorkeling or diving trips. However, divers make up less than 3% of the tourists in Hurghada because numerous reefs off Hurghada are very badly damaged by mass tourism and a lack of environmental awareness. Water sports are also available for windsurfers, sailors and deep sea anglers. However, the approximately 20 km of white sandy beaches are often closed off by fences and can only be accessed by guests of the local hotels.
It should be pointed out that quad tours are quite harmful to the environment. The trips through the desert destroy the very fragile micro-ecosystem in the desert sand and gravel. Even under normal circumstances, only a few trees, shrubs or grasses out of millions of seeds survive, which are even more at risk if their biotope is torn apart.
In Hurghada, a general tourist offer predominates, which mainly takes place behind the walls and entrance halls of hotels. Tourists make up a multiple of the local population, nevertheless, due to the Muslim culture and a reluctant consumption of alcohol on the beach promenade and in ad-Dahar, hardly any noteworthy nightlife has developed.
GPS coordinates of Hurghada: 27 ° 13’25 “N, 33 ° 50 ’21” E
St. Catherine’s Monastery
The founding of what is now the Greek Orthodox St. Catherine’s Monastery on Sinai in Egypt lies between the years 548 and 565. According to a Christian tradition, the burning bush was in which God revealed himself to Moses. According to another legend, the bones of St. Catherine of Alexandria brought here by an angel (the existence of which, however, has not been proven historically), are also to be found here. The monastery was originally consecrated to Mary, the mother of Jesus, but was renamed in honor of Catherine in the 10th century.
The monastery complex is located in central southern Sinai near the village of Milga at the foot of the 2,285 m high Sinai mountain. The area of the entire complex is 100 hectares, the monastery built as a fortress covers a base area of 76 X 85 meters.
Every year about 50,000 visitors visit the St. Catherine’s Monastery. In order to maintain the monastery, visiting times and the accessible areas were severely restricted.
In 2002, the St. Catherine’s Monastery was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Catherine Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Christianity. The St. Catherine’s Monastery is also one of the few Christian monasteries that have never been destroyed.
Together with the nunnery in Wadi Firan (Pharan) and some families, mostly of Greek origin, at the coastal town of at-Tur (Raitho), the St. Catherine’s Monastery is the smallest of the autonomous Orthodox churches. The abbot of the Catherine monastery is also the archbishop of Sinai, Pharan and Raitho. Since the Sinai is located in the old province of Palestine Tertia, it is subordinate to the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Therefore, the new abbot chosen by the monks of the Catherine monastery is ordained archbishop by the Jerusalem patriarch.
The monastery library in St. Catherine’s Monastery may be the oldest Christian library still in existence. It consists of four library rooms and contains 6,000 writings in Greek, Syrian, Ethiopian, Arabic, Georgian and Slavonian. About half of these writings are from antiquity, some are older than the Catherine’s monastery itself. This collection of writings is probably only surpassed by the collection in the Vatican. Most of the books still have the original cover (the original covers are usually replaced in western libraries).
There is also a collection in the Kataharinenkloster with more than 2,000 icons. Some of these icons are among the few that survived the Byzantine iconography controversy in the 8th and 9th centuries (making them one of the oldest icons still in existence).
According to a Christian tradition, the burning thorn bush mentioned in the biblical story of Moses is said to have been in the square of the St. Catherine’s Monastery, which is associated with a manifestation of God.
As early as the 4th century there was a Marienkapelle. In the chronicles of the Patriarch Eutychios of Alexandria (9th century, making it the oldest source on the St. Catherine’s Monastery), Helena, the mother of the Emperor Constantine, is mentioned as the founder of the Marienkapelle.
To protect the monks in the chapel of St. Mary, the Catherine’s monastery was built in the reign of the Eastern Roman emperor Justinian I in the fortress-like form that still exists today. Today’s main church also dates from this period. Nevertheless, numerous monks lived further outside the monastery as hermits or in small groups, only when they were in danger did they withdraw to the St. Catherine’s Monastery.
According to legend, the Islamic prophet Mohammed was also a guest at the monastery several times before he appeared as a prophet. After his political rise, he guaranteed the continued existence of the monastery. This guarantee was subsequently recognized by the Islamic rulers and has ensured the existence of the Catherine Monastery to this day. Muhammad’s letter is in Istanbul today. There is only a copy of this letter from an Ottoman sultan in the Catherine monastery itself. When at the beginning of the 11th century the Caliph Al-Hakim threatened to destroy the Catherine’s monastery despite this guarantee of protection, the monks built a mosque with a minaret on the territory of the monastery (but not as high as the church tower).
The Saint Catherine’s Monastery received another protection letter from Napoleon Bonaparte. These guarantees largely explain why the St. Catherine’s Monastery was never attacked and could maintain its autonomy.
In 1844 the Leipzig theologian Konstantin von Tischendorf visited the St. Catherine’s Monastery to do research and discovered the Codex Sinaiticus (4th century), which is one of the most valuable existing Bible manuscripts. There are various explanations by Tischendorf and the monks of the St. Catherine’s Monastery on how this codex was able to leave the monastery and get to Cairo and Moscow.
Subsequently, the monks of the monastery restricted access to their manuscripts. For example, Agnes Smith-Lewis was only allowed to copy the ancient Syriac NT manuscript discovered in the St. Catherine’s Monastery in 1892.
The geographic coordinates of the St. Catherine’s Monastery are 28 ° 33 ’22 “N 33 ° 58′ 32” O. Access is possible from Tarfet, whereby the approximately 1,400 m high Watiya Pass has to be crossed.
Kom Ombo is located on the western bank of the Nile about 50 km north of Aswan in Upper Egypt. The place is best known for the camel market and the ruins of an ancient Egyptian temple.
In the Temple of Kom Ombo (Arabic kom for small mountain) the gods Sobek and Haroeris (Horus the old man) were worshiped. The relief in the temple is very well preserved. On the architraves (horizontal bars lying on rows of supports) there are very beautiful depictions of the goddess Nechbet (goddess of the vulture, protector of the paths). The god Haroeris forms his own triad in Kom Ombo with Ta-senet-nofret and Pa-neb-taui, just like god Sobek with Hathor and Chons.
Construction was probably started by Ptolemy VI. Philometor initiated, the temple may have been built on the remains of previous buildings of the 12th, 18th and 19th Dynasty. The decoration was worked until the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD, but never completely finished.
The temple of Kom Ombo is a so-called double temple. The 51 x 96 m surrounding wall also has two entrances as a double portal. Behind the courtyard you will find the Pronaos (vestibule, through which you get into the actual cult room, the Naos) with 3 x 5 columns, which reach a height of 12 meters and are provided with wonderful composite capitals. Two parallel entrances lead to the interior of the temple, which point to the double sanctuary. They lead into a columned hall with 2 x 5 columns, 3 anterooms and two sanctuaries (Latin Sanctuarium –Sanctuary) with black granite bases. The back walls are broken, so there is a connection to the cult picture chambers. Crypts (accessible burial sites) have been established in the northern and eastern corners. The reliefs and decorative elements in the temple of Kom Ombo are among the most important examples of Ptolemaic architecture.
Originally there was a Mamisi (birth house) of Ptolemy VII Euergetes II in front of the temple of Kom Ombo. However, during a catastrophic flood in the Nile in the 19th century (the Nile reached a level that was 20 meters above the normal water level) the building became mostly destroyed.
The Libyan Desert (also called the Western Desert) is located in northern Africa on the eastern Sahara border. It covers large regions of the eastern Sahara and extends from the Mediterranean coast to northern Sudan (Wadi Huwar). The eastern border In the east of the Libyan desert is determined by the Nile valley, the western border is not clearly defined and is and is drawn by different authors differently and rather arbitrarily. Since natural borders are difficult to find in the Sahara, the Egyptian-Libyan state border is sometimes used as a guide.
Approx. 75% of the Libyan desert are in the territory of Egypt, about a quarter belong to Libya. The relief of the desert is slightly wavy and is interspersed with land steps made of sandstone and limestone.
The average height is around 260 m, in the southwest heights of up to 1,000 m are reached. The highest mountain in the Libyan Desert is the Gabal Oweinat with 1,934 m.
The geomorphology of the Libyan Desert is dominated by large plateaus, such as the Egyptian limestone plateau, Gilf Kabir, the Abu Ras plateau and the Abu Said plateau. There are large lowlands between the plateaus, the height of which can drop to sea level. They originate in old rivers that ran here. Some of the lowlands are close to the water table, oases can form here, one of the best known is the Siwa oasis who 331 BC BC was visited by Alexander the Great to interview the Amororakel. In the northeast of the Siwa oasis is also the deepest lowland in North Africa, the Qattara depression, which mainly consists of salt marshes. Their area is slightly larger than the state of Hesse, the maximum depth reaches 133 m below sea level. In times of motorized means of transport, the connections between the oases are increasingly changing from camel trails to desert slopes.
The best known morphological forms of the Libyan Desert are the large sandy seas (Erg). The Great Sand Sea covers 114,400 sq km, the Selima Sand Sea 6 3200 sq km, the South Qattara Sand Sea 10,400 sq km, the Farafra Sand Sea 10,300 sq km and the almost 600 km long dune course of the Ghard Abu Muharrik 6,000 sq km.
The hyper-arid Libyan Desert is one of the driest areas in the world. Every year there is between 0 and 5 mm of precipitation, often there is no precipitation for many years. In addition, there is no extensive rainfall, mostly short thunderstorms in limited areas.
The Egyptian city of Luxor (in Arabic al-Uqsur – city of palaces) is located on the eastern bank of the Nile in Upper Egypt and is the capital of the youngest governorate in Egypt, al-Uqsur. In ancient times, the Egyptians called Luxor Waset. It was given the name Thebes by the Greeks. About 422,000 people live in Luxor (2005). Luxor was best known for some of the most important archaeological sites in Egypt. These archaeological sites attract tourists, tourism is one of the most important industries in Luxor.
There is an international airport (LXR) in Luxor. The airline Egypt Air flies to Luxor from Cairo. Several charter airlines in Germany, Austria and Switzerland also fly directly to Luxor. The popular seaside resorts on the Red Sea are also served.
Luxor is located on the Cairo – Minyā – Luxor – Edfu – Aswan railway line, the train station is located in the center of Luxor, only about a kilometer to the east of the temple of Luxor.
The city is the starting or ending point for many Nile cruises.
One of the city’s most famous sights is the Temple of Luxor, which was built in honor of the god Amun under Amenophis III. was built. One of the granite obelisks that was originally erected in front of the temple is now on the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
Next to the colossal statues of Ramses II is a smaller mosque, in which the remains of the local saint Abū l-Haggāg. On his anniversary, they are led through Luxor with a barque in a large procession, as the ancient Egyptians did with the Amun barge.
The Luxor Museum is also worth seeing. Here you can see recent finds from the area around the city.
The Egyptian Makadi Bay on the Red Sea is a touristy place about 30 km south of Hurghada.
Makadi Bay is located on a small, eponymous bay – Makadi Bay. At the end of October, tripadvisor.com, the world’s largest online travel community, voted the place number two for the upcoming stars in the travel heaven 2008 (behind Djerba, Tunisia). Makadi Bay consists almost entirely of Egyptian-style hotel and club complexes. In the center of the bay there is a flat sandy beach. You can also snorkel on some small reefs, a slightly longer fringing reef on the north side of the bay offers diving opportunities. The Arabian Desert begins right behind the hotel complex.
Marsa Alam (also called Mersa) is located on the Red Sea coast 271 km south of Hurghada. For a long time an insignificant coastal village, it has grown into a small town in the past twenty years. Marsa Alam owes its importance to the important crossing point of the continuous coastal road with the connecting road to the Nile valley to Edfu.
At the end of 2001 an airport was opened 60 km northwest of Marsa Alam, making the town easier to reach.
Around 6,000 people live in Marsa Alam, mainly fishermen and ranchers (sheep, goats and dromedaries), some work in the mines, marble and granite quarries, unemployment is high.
Mining has been practiced in the region for millennia. Already in the time of the pharaohs and then under the Romans, the region was known for gold, emeralds, semi-precious stones, copper and lead. A connection to Edfu in the Nile valley was probably already built under Ptolemy II. Along this street you will find some historical places, such as the Wadi Miya with a famous temple built by Seti I and the Wadi Baramiya, where pits were maintained in Pharaonic Egypt. The grinding of quartz stones with thin gold veins (20 g gold / ton of quartz) was carried out until the English occupation, but then it was stopped due to unprofitability. However, these mines started operating a few years ago, and Australian investors are digging here using modern methods.
The residents of the region have their roots in two different tribes: the Ababda Bedouins live in the northern area and the Bedscha Bedouins in the southern area. The Bedscha have lived in the eastern desert for a long time, and the ancient Egyptians used them to defend the border. In later times they mixed with Arabs and also adopted Islam. They live from cattle breeding, make charcoal and are good hunters. Their houses (kishas) are usually built on heights to protect them from possible floods after rains. The houses are built by women from branches and covered with palm leaves.
There are numerous petroglyphs in the entire region, the oldest dating from before the pharaohs. The most common motifs at that time were animals still living here (e.g. giraffes) and cattle, but also hunting scenes.
The Wadi al Gamal National Park, opened in May 2005, is particularly popular with tourists. It is one of the largest national parks in the Eastern Arabian Desert (7,450 sq km), especially the delta is spectacular. A diverse flora and fauna can be found here for a desert ecosystem. Off the coast, a strip of sea with an average width of 15 km with four islands in the Hamata archipelago and the Wadi al Gamal island is integrated into the national park.
The park has historically interesting places from Roman and Ptolemaic times. However, the slopes should only be used with suitable vehicles. Above all, a large ground clearance is important. All-wheel drive vehicles are not absolutely necessary, but safer. Tours can be booked in numerous hotels.
Diving and snorkeling
There are many offshore reefs in Marsa Alam, examples include the Elphinstone Reef and the Shaab Marsa Alam (a reef with an area of about 100 square meters). The reef Shaab Samadai further south is also called “Dolphinhouse” because you can often see spinner dolphins. The Shaab Cluade near Berenice is a cave system that can be dived well, since here a passage leads to the surface at all times. The diving situation in Marsa Alam can be compared to Hurghada and Sharm El Sheikh twenty years ago: almost untouched dive sites of often very good quality. Snorkeling is also possible in Marsa Alam, but the surf is often strong. A recommended place is the region around the Shams Alam Hotel.
There are currently eight hotels in the Marsa Alam region. The Iberotel is five minutes from the airport. The former Alexander the Great is now called Cataract Resort and is a 15-minute drive south of the airport. The Hermes Hotel, an inexpensive three-star hotel (20 minutes’ drive south of the airport) is aimed at customers from the area of surfers and divers. The Shams Alam Resort is located south of Marsa Alam (about an hour’s drive). Berenice is the Hotel Zabargad (an hour and forty minutes drive). The Red Sea Diving Safari camps should be interesting for divers.
In the foreseeable future, the border to the Hala’ib triangle at asch-Schalatin will be opened. 30 km before the border with Sudan, the Gebel Elba National Park was set up 20 to 25 km inland, a possible tourist magnet.
Siwa (Egyptian: Sekhetam, in German: Palmland) isthe westernmost group ofoases in the Libyan desert of Egypt. It is located between the Qattara Depression and the Great Sand Sea. The length of the oasis group is about 80 km, the width 2 to 20 km, as a depression the oases are 18 m below sea level.
About 23,000 people live in Siwa, most of whom are Berbers. The predominant language in Siwa is the Berber language Siwi, making it the only Berber language island in Egypt.
In addition to the main town of Siwa, there are several villages in the area (Aghurmi, Abu Schuruf, Kamisa, Balad ar-Rum, Bahi ad-Din) and military stations. In Siwa, approximately 200 springs maintain large gardens and plantations with around 300,000 date palms and 70,000 olive trees. Vegetables, grapes, figs, oranges, apricots and other agricultural products are also grown for local needs.
The history of Siwa can be traced back to the 18th Dynasty (around 1500 BC). The main temple was dedicated to God Amun, the sayings of his oracle were known far beyond Egypt. In ancient times, Siwa was known as the Bedouin oracle under the name of ammonion or ammonium. The most famous visitor to the oracle is without a doubt Alexander the Great, who used the influence of the oracle and who received himself in Siwa as “son of Zeus”.
In the late 18th century, the exact location of the ammon oasis was no longer known in Europe. It was only George William Brown and Friedrich Konrad Hornemann who demonstrated by their own beliefs that ammonium oasis and Siwa were equated.
Due to the limited building land, the houses in Siwa are very dense and built up to eight floors high. Since Bedouins raided the site frequently, Siwa was originally protected by a fortress wall. However, this was abandoned in the catastrophic three-day rain in 1926 (usually it hardly ever rains in the region), Alt-Siwa was abandoned for modern, less aesthetic houses.
Pyramids of Giza
The Giza pyramids in Egypt are among the most famous and oldest buildings of mankind. They are located in the western Nile Valley, approximately eight kilometers southwest of the city of Giza (Giza) and approximately 15 km from downtown Cairo. In ancient times, the pyramids were among the seven wonders of the world and are the only wonders of the world that have survived to this day. In 1979 the Giza pyramids were included in the UNESCO World Heritage list.
The area where the pyramids of Giza were built has been used as a cemetery since the first dynasty. Large mastabas (tombs, corresponding to a flat rectangular truncated pyramid) of the first, second and third dynasties could be discovered here. It is unknown how much of these old tombs were destroyed by the later pyramid building.
The pyramids were built between approx. 2620 – 2500 BC. Built in the 4th Dynasty. They were built on a limestone plateau measuring approximately 1,000 x 2,000 m. During the construction of the pyramids, secondary pyramids, temple complexes, burial grounds and workers’ villages were also built.
The largest, most impressive and best known pyramid is the Cheops pyramid. The reign of Pharaoh Cheops was around 2620 to 2580 BC. The pyramid of Cheops was originally 146.6 m high (currently: 138.75 m), the side length was 230.33 m (currently: approximately 225 m). The angle of inclination is 51 ° 50 ‘. It took around 3 million stone blocks with an average weight of around 2.5 t to build them. The Cheops pyramid was originally completely covered with limestone slabs. The Great Gallery is located in the pyramid (height 8.5 m, length 47 m). The construction of the pyramid of Cheops was led by the builder Hemiun.
Middle pyramid – Chephren pyramid
The Chephren pyramid is the middle of the three pyramids of Giza. The reign of Pharaoh Chephren was around 2558 to 2532 BC. After the construction was completed, the Chephren pyramid was 143.5 m high (currently: 136.4 m) and had a side length of 215.25 m. Their angle of inclination is 53 ° 10 ‘. Like the Great Pyramid of Cheops, it was completely clad with limestone slabs. Due to the approx. 10 m higher location and the only slightly smaller dimensions, it looks even larger than the Great Pyramid of Cheops. Its tip protrudes from the top of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, and tourists often mistake it for the Great Pyramid of Cheops. An approximately 400 m long, relief-decorated path leads the visitor from the valley temple to the Sphinx temple and the large Sphinx from Giza to the mortuary temple and the pyramid.
The pyramid of Pharaoh Mykerinos is the smallest of the pyramids of Giza. His reign was from 2532 to 2503 BC. After completion of construction, the Mykerinos pyramid was 65 m high (not even half as high as the other two pyramids), the side length was 102.2 mx 104.6 m (average base length 103.4 m), and its angle of inclination is 51 ° 20 ‘. Only the upper part of the Mykerinos pyramid was covered with limestone slabs, the lower part consists of rose granite edging.
After the 4th dynasty
In the Old Kingdom, Giza was an important cemetery, probably the importance of Giza only declined at the beginning of the First Intermediate Period. There are only a few remains from the Middle Kingdom. It is striking that a death cult on the pyramids is almost undetectable. With the New Kingdom and the late period significant graves are again being created in Giza. Temples and pyramids have also been restored.
The common theory of pyramid function says that the pyramids were used as burial sites for the pharaohs. The pyramids thus form the center of a huge necropolis (Greek: necropolis – city of the dead) of the Old Kingdom. But there is also the theory that the pyramids were mainly used for ritual functions.
For a long time, it was believed that armies of slaves built the pyramids. However, current theories assume that they were built by farmers from all over Egypt who were recruited in the barren season of agriculture.
Robert Bauval and Adrian Gilbert support the outsider hypothesis that the arrangement of the three pyramids of Giza corresponds to the position of the three main stars of the Orion belt around 10,500 BC. BC on Earth. The Nile near the pyramids represents the Milky Way. Only at this time, according to Bauval and Gilbert, did the changing constellation of the three stars of the Orion belt exactly match the positioning of the three pyramids of Giza. The pyramids at Giza would be much older than expected. In the meantime, however, Bauval’s incorrect measurements have been proven, and the theory is clearly refuted.
Erich von Däniken assumes that the pyramids of Giza were built under the influence of extraterrestrials, evidence is of course missing…
Scientific research into the pyramids begins with the arrival of Napoleon during his Egyptian campaign of 1798 to 1799. In 1860, extensive excavations take place under the direction of Auguste Mariette.
Sakkara is an ancient Egyptian necropolis (from the Greek necropolis – “city of the dead”) on the western bank of the Nile, about 35 km south of the city center of Cairo. The archaeological site is located just south of Abū Sīr village and about 3 km south of the Abu Sir pyramids.
Already from the time of the Egyptian Old Kingdom, from the 1st dynasty to the late period, it has been proven that Sakkara was used as a burial site. The best known is probably the step pyramid of Pharaoh Djoser from the 3rd dynasty of the Old Kingdom around 2650 BC. BC. It is the model for all later pyramids.
In the 5th and 6th dynasties, the kings also built their pyramids here. Since Sakkara was the necropolis of the city of Memphis, numerous high dignitaries were also buried here in the Old Kingdom. The tombs of the following 1st interim period are comparatively small, but prove an unbroken tradition from the Old Kingdom. In the Middle Egyptian empire, smaller Mastaba tombs (Mastaba – Arabic for stone bench, stone platform, the Mastaba tombs correspond to a flat rectangular truncated pyramid) were concentrated around the pyramid of Teti and in the outer southern part of Saqqara, where there were several in the 13th dynasty Pyramids (Chendjer) were built.
In the New Kingdom, the Sakkara necropolis was used again more. Especially since the reign of Amenophis III, who upgraded Memphis as a seat of government, numerous high officials were buried here. The tombs from this period look like small temples with pylons and courtyards (eg the tomb of Haremhab). However, these graves are often not well preserved.
From the New Kingdom to Roman times, Saqqara has also been used as a burial place for sacred animals. The catacomb-like facilities are located in the northwest of the necropolis. Above all, holy Apis bulls and their suckler cows as well as ibises and baboons were buried here.
During the 3rd interim period only a few graves can be assigned, there are significant grave structures from the late period. At that time, numerous officials were buried on the ground by huge grave shafts. Sakkara remained of great importance until Ptolemaic times. During this time, some large temple complexes and gallery tombs (with animal burials) were built.
Almost all Egyptian tomb forms can be found in Saqqara: from step pyramids to classic pyramids from the 5th and 6th dynasty, shaft tombs, gallery graves, animal cemeteries and mastabas from all ancient Egyptian epochs.
In March 2005, archaeologists led by Zahi Hawass, head of the Egyptian Antiquities Administration, found a mummy near the pyramid of King Teti in Saqqara, the age of which is estimated at 2,300 years. Her lavishly decorated sarcophagus is one of the most beautiful ever discovered in Egypt.
Visit to the graves
It is possible to reach the Sakkara grave complex with minibuses and taxis and your own vehicle, the facility is open to visitors from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., the entrance fee is 40 LE per person.
Sharm El Sheik is located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula on the coastal strip between the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba. In the hinterland of Sharm El Sheik are the mountains of the Sinai. The climate is generally dry, in summer temperatures of 35 ° Celsius are often reached, in winter it is significantly colder, whereby the average temperatures of 12 to 16 ° C are still bearable. The travel season is in autumn and spring.
Diving in Sharm El Sheikh
Since the Gulf of Suez and the Gulf of Aqaba are of different depths, there are sometimes strong ocean currents in Sharm El-Sheik. Due to the richness of species of the smaller fish and the current conditions, numerous species of large fish are attracted. This diversity of species makes Sharm El Sheik interesting for divers. Particularly noteworthy diving areas are the Ras Mohamed National Park and the four reefs of Tiran (Jackson, Wodhouse, Thomas and Gordon reef). Steep walls, caves, shallow water, rough wild rock formations and colorful corals make diving very attractive here. The reefs at Ras Mohammed and Tiran are still relatively untouched, while the local reefs at Sharm El-Sheik have been badly affected. The burden here is very high with more than 200 diving boats every day.
country and people
Most of the residents of Sharm El Sheikh are positive about tourism. However, some tourists feel bothered by the vigor of shopkeepers. All goods are haggled here, since visitors mostly do not know the local prices, they often pay too much… The service area is very good. Foreigners are now settling in Sharm El-Sheikh. The urban infrastructure can soon be compared to that of other Mediterranean countries. There are some real estate agents in Sharm El-Sheikh. Land with a sea view is still affordable.
Sharm El Sheikh was first mentioned on nautical charts in 1762. In 1967, Egyptian President Nasser blocked the Tiran Strait and Israel’s access to the Red Sea. This triggered the Six Day War, during which Israel occupied the Sinai Peninsula. With the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, Sharm El Sheikh was returned to Egypt.
Sharm El Sheikh has long been an insignificant fishing village. The upswing started through tourism in the 90s. At present, the city’s economy is based almost entirely on tourism. Ideal water sports in the warm and clear waters of the Red Sea attract divers and snorkelers from all over the world, but especially from Europe. There are also some golf courses in the international hotels.
On the night of July 22nd and 23rd, 2005, 3 bombs detonated in Sharm El-Sheikh and nearby Naama Bay. At least 88 people were killed and far more than 200 injured, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Health. The first explosion took place at 1:15 a.m. in Sharm El-Sheikh’s Old Market Square. A few minutes later, terrorists carried out an attack on the “Ghazala Village” hotel, while a bomb detonated in the parking lot in front of the “Hard Rock Cafe”.
Naama Bay is the Egyptian Las Vegas. Here there is openness to the world and freedom from political doctrines. In contrast to most of Egypt, you hardly see veiled women here. There is a lot here that is not popular in the rest of Egypt – Hard Rock Cafe, McDonald’s, outdoor cart track, night clubs and several official casinos. Fundamentalist groups have long condemned this Western reprehensibility.
Geographical location: Coordinates: 27 ° 58 ’43 “N 34 ° 23′ 37” E
The Mount Sinai is on the Sinai Peninsula and reaches a height of 2,285 m. In Arabic it is called Gabal Mūsā ( Mosesberg).
Path to the summit
The road leads to the St. Catherine’s Monastery at the foot of the Sinai Mountain. You can only continue on foot or by camel. On the last, very steep section of the Elijah-Mulde section (approx. 300 meters before the summit), Moses is said to have hid at times. 750 steps carved into the rock lead from here to the summit, in total almost 4,000 steps have to be climbed on the entire ascent. When you reach the summit, you come across a mosque from the 12th century. There is also the Holy Trinity Chapel, built in 1934 on the ruins of a chapel built by Emperor Justinian I in 532. Snow can fall on the summit in winter, so make sure you have enough equipment.
Mount Sinai is preferred by numerous pilgrims and tourists before dawn in the dark to experience the sunrise on the summit.
The Sinai is widely regarded as the place where God revealed himself. Above all, the gift of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34 and similar) stands for Sinai. In Psalm 68.9 God is almost identified with Sinai (Hebrew: zä Sinai, the (from) Sinai). Mount Horeb, which is also mentioned as the site of the divine revelation, appears to be identical to Sinai.
The exact location of the biblical Sinai cannot be determined with certainty. Mount Sinai in Jebel Musa (Moseberg) has been identified since the 4th century. Since then, monks have lived at the foot of the Jebel Musa, where the Catherine Monastery was built in the 6th century. Rock inscriptions from the 1st century BC However, BC prove that there was a pilgrimage sanctuary of the Nabataeans at this place.
Another approach wants to show that the mountain Horeb / Sinai, where according to the Bible the Prophet Moses received the Ten Commandments, should be the mountain Jabal Al Lawz in Saudi Arabia. This theory is based on biblical passages such as Exodus 19:18 (volcanic eruption?), Deuteronomy 33.2 and Judges 5: 4-5, where Sinai is mentioned in parallel to the Seïr Mountains. This mountain range is located in the southeast of the Dead Sea, in the east of the Gulf of Aqaba.
Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings was a necropolis (from the Greek: necropolis – “city of the dead”) in ancient Egypt, which according to current knowledge has 63 graves and pits.
The entire region of Thebes-West was used as a necropolis, in the valley of the kings in particular graves of rulers of the New Kingdom (approx. 1552 BC to 1069 BC, 18th to 20th Dynasty) were created. The Valley of the Kings is located directly on the desert in Thebes West, and across from Karnak. It is surrounded by high mountains, the natural rock pyramid el Korn (in German “Das Horn”) is particularly impressive. Nearby is the much less known Valley of the Queens.
Even though tomb robbers have been active in the region for thousands of years, Egyptologists still find valuable evidence of the Egyptian New Kingdom. Of course, the almost untouched tomb of Tutankhamun, discovered by Howard Carter in 1922, is particularly well known.
Marking the graves
In the Valley of the Kings, the graves are numbered consecutively, in front of the numbers are the letters KV (abbreviation for the English “Kings Valley”). The numbering is traced back to John Gardner Wilkinson: in 1827 he gave every grave found until then with a red color (then up to grave KV 21). In addition to the main valley, there is also a western side valley, in which there are also some graves.
The Valley of the Kings is one of the greatest attractions in Egypt. However, only a few graves can be visited, for reasons of conservation, graves are alternately closed. Several graves (eg from Set I) have been closed for years. Tickets allow you to visit three tombs, and there is an extra ticket for a visit to the Tutankhamun tomb. Both photographing and filming is currently prohibited in the graves (2006).
Other attractions in the vicinity of the Valley of the Kings (some within walking distance) are:
- Valley of the queens,
- Deir el Medine (workers’ graves),
- Graves of the Noble, (Korna, Kornet Murai, Assasif, Dra Abu el-Naga)
- Temple of Hatshepsut,
- Deir el-Bahari
- Medinet Habu
History of the Valley of the Kings
- From the 18th Dynasty, many mortuary temples (“million-year-old houses”) were built in the plain in front of the mountains in the Valley of the Kings. These include mortuary temples from:
- Amenophis III.
- Ramses II (Ramesseum)
- Ramses III (Medinet Habu)
- Pharaoh Thutmosis I (1506 BC to 1494 BC) may be the first to build his tomb in the Valley of the Kings.
- Thutmosis III. died on March 14, 1436 BC BC and was buried in the Valley of the Kings.
- The tomb of Pharaoh Ramses I, founder of the 19th dynasty is in the Valley of the Kings, his mummy is currently in the Luxor Museum after a long odyssey.
- Seti I (reign 1290 BC to 1279 BC). The tomb of the second ruler of the 19th dynasty is in the Valley of the Kings.
- Ramses XI. (20th Dynasty) is the last pharaoh to have his tomb built here, but no longer uses it. Numerous graves have already been looted during this time.
- In the 21st Dynasty there was already a systematic opening of the grave and a search for gold. This was probably ordered from “top level”.
- In the 22nd Dynasty (under Pharaoh Sheschonq I), mummies were removed from their graves for their protection and brought to other graves.
- In the 3rd century AD, Coptic Christians used open tombs in the Valley of the Kings as Christian chapels.
- In 1708, Father Claude Sicard recognized that the Valley of the Kings was used as a burial site. The next visitors Richard Pococke (1739), James Bruce (1768) and William George Brown (1792) discover about 20 graves.
- A systematic search and opening of graves by Giovanni Belzoni, John Gardner Wilkinson, James Burton, Robert Hay, Carl Richard Lepsius begins during the period of Napoleon’s military expedition to Egypt.
- In 1875, the Abd el-Rassul brothers discovered a tomb in Deir el-Bahari with a total of 40 mummies belonging to members of the Egyptian royal families.
- The grave of Amenophis II with a hiding place of royal mummies was opened by Victo Loret in 1898.
- Howard Carter opens the almost untouched tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun on November 4, 1922. In 1923, his burial chamber was also discovered.
- In 1995 Kent Weeks discovered more than 120 burial chambers in the KV 5 complex.
- In early 2006, another burial chamber was discovered near the Tutankhamun tomb (KV 63). Seven wooden sarcophagi and sealed clay pots were found here.