Egypt's natural and cultural landmarks present a living, layered narrative of human civilization. The Nile River, the Great Pyramids, the Library of Alexandria — the icons of this northeast African nation's past are etched into the collective consciousness. While the modern reality of the ...
Egypt's natural and cultural landmarks present a living, layered narrative of human civilization. The Nile River, the Great Pyramids, the Library of Alexandria — the icons of this northeast African nation's past are etched into the collective consciousness. While the modern reality of the country encompasses the awe-inspiring legacies of its eons of history (from its native dynasties to its eras of Greek, Roman, Persian, Byzantine, Arab, Ottoman French and British control), it also includes the complexities and contradictions of a major player in 21st-century Middle East politics.
All tours of Egypt begin in chaotic Cairo, whose frenzied drivers and pungent exhaust fumes make one wonder why this city has not yet imploded. With a competent guide, however, the throbbing metropolis reveals a far more fascinating side. The most popular attractions include the Pyramids and recently restored Sphinx, plus the renowned Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, which displays some of the world’s greatest archaeological treasures. In addition, let your guide take you into the colorful bazaars in the medieval district. Cairo’s impressive mosques, such as the visually stunning Sultan Hasan and grandly simple Ibn Tulun, also deserve an escorted visit. You also should not miss the vast necropolis of ancient Memphis/Saqqara, set on the edge of the desert 15 miles outside Cairo.
WHEN TO VISIT
The climate is hot and dry. Only the Mediterranean coast receives measurable rain. The harshest weather occurs at the beginning and end of summer, when dust storms sweep across from the Arabian Desert. The best weather is from December to March, when the evenings may require a light sweater.
DIRECT DIAL CODES
To phone hotels in Egypt, dial 011 (international access) + 20 (Egypt code) + city code and local numbers in listings.
Seven hours ahead of New York (EST).
Egyptian pound (EGP). Fluctuating rate valued at EGP17.31 = US$1.00 as of April 2019. Note: Our suggested hotel quotes rates in US$.
Cairo, Tel. (20) 2-2797-3300. Consulate: Alexandria, Tel. (20) 3-538-5800