Egypt is a transcontinental country in North Africa and the Middle East with Cairo as its capital and largest city. The country has coastline in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea and although most of it is desert, the life-giving river Nile flows through it with its fertile valley.
Egypt is known as the home of the ancient Egyptian civilization, one of the oldest in the world, with imposing temples, hieroglyphs, mummies and of course its famous pyramids. Although less well known, Egypt’s medieval history is also important, with ancient churches, monasteries and mosques. Egypt is one of the most popular tourist destinations worldwide. After the 2011 revolution, however, tourism has suffered a major blow.
The annual flooding of the Nile River feeding the lands, combined with the protection provided by the deserts from invaders, allowed the development of one of the world’s great civilizations. The first kingdom was created around 3200 BC. and a series of dynasties ruled Egypt for the next three millennia. The last dynasty ended after Persian rule in 341 BC. and then the Greeks, the Romans and the Byzantines. The Arabs introduced Islam and the Arabic language in the 7th century and ruled for the next six centuries. A local military caste, the Mamluks, took control around 1250 and continued to rule until the conquest of Egypt by the Ottoman Turks in 1517. After the completion of the Suez Canal in 1869, Egypt became a major global transport hub and Britain seized control of the government.
Egypt gained full independence after World War II. The completion of the Aswan High Dam in 1971 and the creation of Lake Nasser have changed the position of the Nile River. The local community is struggling to achieve a tolerable standard of living that the government is unable to cover with economic reforms and infrastructure.
Labels and stereotypes is not fair to be put for ethnic groups, let alone if they are 110 million people. Though, in all my visits to Egypt, at least in the most popular tourist spots, I often have to deal with the annoying persistence of the hustlers, the practices of micro -scams and in general a cunning behavior that I have not encountered in any other place. By maintaining basic prudence and avoiding traps, interaction with citizens can be particularly friendly.
The most important destinations are:
Cairo, the capital of Egypt, home to the Pyramids of Giza and the Egyptian Museum.
Alexandria, a historic city on the shores of the Mediterranean.
Aswan where the homonymous dam and many archaeological sites are located
Luxor with the Valley of the Kings, and amazing ancient monuments.
Ηurghada and Sharm el-Sheikh, Red Sea cities and popular resorts, with some of the best diving activities in the world
Abu Simbel, border town in the south, with imposing ancient temples.
Siwa, an enchanting remote oasis near the Libyan border.
Saint Catherine is the oldest continuously inhabited monastery on Mount Sinai.