Egypt welcomes you with its mighty Nile and magnificent monuments, the beguiling desert and lush delta, and with its long past and welcoming, story-loving people.
With sand-covered tombs, austere pyramids and towering Pharaonic temples, Egypt brings out the explorer in all of us. Visit the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, where Tutankhamun’s tomb was unearthed, and see the glittering finds in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Hop off a Nile boat to visit Dendara, Edfu or one of the other waterside temples, cross Lake Nasser to see Ramses II’s masterpiece at Abu Simbel, or trek into the desert to find the traces of Roman trading outposts. You never know – your donkey might stumble across yet another find, for that is the way many previous discoveries were made.
Egypt once ruled an empire from Al Qahira – Cairo, the City Victorious. The metropolis is packed with soaring minarets and medieval schools and mosques, some of the greatest architecture of medieval Islam. At the same time, Egypt’s native Christians, the Copts, have carried on their traditions that in many respects – such as the church’s liturgical language and the traditional calendar – link back to the time of the pharaohs. Tap into the history in Cairo’s early churches and in remote desert monasteries.
The old saying that Egypt is the gift of the Nile still rings true: without the river there would be no fertile land, no food and a lot less electricity. Although people’s lives are increasingly physically detached from the water, the Nile still exerts a uniquely powerful role. Luckily for visitors, the river is also the perfect place from which to see many of the most spectacular ancient monuments, which is one reason why a Nile cruise remains such a popular way to travel.
Good To Know
Egyptian cuisine makes heavy use of legumes, vegetables and fruit from Egypt’s rich Nile Valley and Delta. It shares similarities with the food of the Eastern Mediterranean region, such as rice-stuffed vegetables, grape leaves, shawerma, kebab and kofta. Examples of Egyptian dishes include ful medames, mashed fava beans; kushari, lentils and pasta; and molokhiya, bush okra stew. Pita bread, known locally as eish baladi is a staple of Egyptian cuisine, and cheesemaking in Egypt dates back to the First Dynasty of Egypt, with domty being the most popular type of cheese consumed today.
Common meats in Egyptian cuisine are rabbit, pigeon, chicken, and duck. Lamb and beef are frequently used for grilling. Offal is a popular fast food in cities, and foie gras is a delicacy that has been prepared in the region since at least 2500 BCE. Fish and seafood are common in Egypt’s coastal regions. A significant amount of Egyptian cuisine is vegetarian, due to both the historically high price of meat and the needs of the Coptic Christian community, whose religious restrictions require essentially vegan diets for much of the year.
Tea is the national drink of Egypt, and beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage. While Islam is the majority faith in Egypt and observant Muslims tend to avoid alcohol, alcoholic drinks are still readily available in the country.
Popular desserts in Egypt include baqlawa, basbousa, and kunafa. Common ingredients in desserts include dates, honey, and almonds.