Arab Republic of Egypt
Current local time in Cairo: Thursday, May 23 - 2013 - 10:58:55
Sunset at the pyramids, Cairo, Egypt
courtesy of arabianEye.com
An ancient river of life in a sea of sand
In 430 BC, when Herodotos exclaimed in awe over the magnificent monuments in Egypt, many of them were already 2500 years old. Most, from the pyramids of Giza to the astonishingly beautiful temples of Karnak or Philae, or the painted tombs in the Valley of the Kings, can still be visited today. The sheer age of this great civilisation is mind-blowing.
With high levels of heat, confusion, hassle and stomach bugs to contend with, Egypt is not an easy country for travellers, although greatly improved security measures mean anti-Western activities have been largely curtailed. And for those prepared to brave a few discomforts, this extraordinary country assaults the senses.
The life-giving Nile pours across the map, feeding an emerald ribbon of irrigated fields adjacent to villages shaded by date palms. Whether on a cruise ship or traditional felucca, life on the water is a constant visual feast, while the few huge, dusty cities - Cairo, Alexandria, Aswan and Luxor - are a babble of exotic sounds and smells.
Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheik, on the Red Sea coast, are doors to a magical underwater world of technicolour fish and coral favoured by divers, while other adventurous travellers head inland. Here, you can discover monasteries amid the arid mountains of Sinai or the distant desert oases, homes of the hardy nomads whose camel trains still wander the Saharan sands.
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Information in this section was last updated: Fri Apr 12 2013