Spotlight on Egypt

Egypt is probably the world's oldest civilization having emerged from the Nile Valley around 3,100 years ago and is probably one of the oldest vacation spots, also. Early Greeks, Romans and others went there just for fun, and to see the wonders of some of mankind's earliest triumphs. The country is much more than Pyramids and monuments. It is also Red Sea scuba diving, hot night spots, luxury hotels and five star restaurants. It is romantic cruises down the Nile on festive river boats, a night at the grand opera and a cultural experience like none you have ever experienced. Egypt is a land bustling with life, sound, visual beauty and excitement. For thousands of years, Egypt has been the playground of emperors and kings.

Alexandria - This Mediterranean city, blessed with a mild, pleasant climate and white beaches, is a popular playground and the country's summer capital. Nightclubs, sidewalk cafes and restaurants lining the Corniche add to Alexandria's attractions. There are museums, Roman theater, and catacombs to explore. Alexandria also serves as gateway for excursions to Cairo and the famous El Alamein battlefield. Visitors will find plenty of interest in this "Pearl of the Mediterranean." Good shopping buys include gold and silver jewelry, especially the gold cartouche with your name inscribed in hieroglyphs, cotton goods, carpets, leather articles, copper- and brassware, basketware and papyrus prints. The city boasts a reputation of having the country's best food. Other sights include: Ras at-Tin Palace, with its surrounding gardens; Hussein Sobhy Museum of Fine Arts; and Hotel Cecil, a grand and elegant hotel with romantic and intriguing history. There is a War Museum and Commonwealth War Cemetery.

Cairo and the ancient monuments of the Egyptian empire have fascinated visitors throughout the centuries. The mystifying Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza, over four thousand years old, stand majestically on the outskirts of the city at the edge of the desert. Cairo's Museum of Antiquities holds one of the finest collections of artifacts in the world, including the astounding treasures of King Tutankhamen's tomb.

Valley of the Kings - The Valley of the Kings in Upper Egypt contains many of the tombs of pharaohs from the New Kingdom, including Tutankhamun and Ramses the Great.

The Valley of the Kings actually has two components - the East Valley and the West Valley. It is the East Valley which most tourists visit and in which most of the tombs of the New Kingdom Pharaohs can be found. The West Valley has only one remote tomb open to the public, that of Ay who was Tutankhamun's successor.(Many tours will offer a visit to the Valley of the Kings)

Aswan is Egypt’s sunniest southern city and has a distinctively African atmosphere. The pace of life here in the most beautiful setting on the Nile is slow and relaxing. It is a favorite winter resort spot for Europeans, Middle Easterners and Africans alike –it’s a perfect place to get away from it all. Strolling up and down the Corniche, one can watch sailboats glide by. Savor the flavor of locally caught fish while listening to Nubian music or wander in the bazaar and get lost in the sights and sounds of this mystical place. Visit the Aga Khan Mausoleum, the Monastery at Qubbat al-Hawa, the Unfinished Obelisk, The Tombs of the Nobles, Qubbat al-Hawa, the Monastery at Aswan, or the St. Simeon monastery (Anba Hatre) – which is uninhabited and just outside of Aswan.

Luxor Aside from visiting the pyramids near Cairo, Luxor and Al Karnak are places not to be missed when in search of ancient Egyptian monuments and artifacts. Luxor is on the southern part of ancient Thebes, Al Karnak on the north. Between the two, visitors can lose themselves for days in the hundreds of temples, chapels, tombs and gardens in the area. Too extensive to list all of them, a few of the tombs not to be missed are the tombs of Nefertari, Amenhotep II & III, several Ramses and Tutankhamen.

Sharm-el-Sheikh – The land of the Sinai is the "great and terrible wilderness" of the Bible, across which the Israelites journeyed in search of the Promised Land. Sharm-el-Sheikh serves as starting point for an excursion into the desert and to St. Catherine’s Monastery, the oldest Christian monastery in the world. St. Catherine’s Mountain is at 7,926 feet the highest summit in Sinai, followed by Mount Sinai, where God is said to have given the Ten Commandments to Moses. The most popular pastime in Sharm-el-Sheikh as well as in Na'ama Bay is exploring the underwater marine life. The reefs are easily accessible; diving and snorkeling equipment can be rented at water sports centers and dive shops. Glass bottom boat cruises are also popular to see the colorful underwater world. The main shopping areas are at the resort area of Na'ama Bay, located five miles from the port. Egyptian cotton, Pharaonic souvenirs and gold cartouches are popular. There are plenty of eateries at Na'ama Bay, and the hotels offer a variety of restaurants with everything from seafood to international cuisine and fast food.

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