Egypt

From the mysterious and awe-inspiring Pyramids of Giza, to the Nile’s West Bank, to the 3,000-year-old temples of Abu Simbel and the colourful reefs of the Red Sea, Egypt is a wonderful destination for everyone.

Egypt is a country that is synonymous with pharaohs, pyramids, temples and antiquities from ancient civilisations. Cleopatra’s hometown of Alexandria, situated on Egypt’s north coast where Euclid sired geometry and Aristarchus deduced that the earth revolved around the sun, is the perfect place for the visitor’s journey to begin.

Known as ‘The Pearl of the Mediterranean’, Alexandria offers a cherished walk through history and the Bibliotheca Alexandrina gives a perfect insight into the city with original manuscripts of Euripides, Aeschylus and Sophocles. Alexandria has always been a popular destination for well-heeled Egyptians with its 25 miles of sandy beaches and manicured Shallalat Gardens which offer the perfect place to picnic.

Gliding down the wide green Nile past bull rushes and palm trees, is an evocative experience that conjures up images of Agatha Christie. Traversing this beautiful river is best done on a felucca where you are propelled along in traditional sailboats capturing the classic sights of Egypt in an informal and adventurous way. Scuba diving in the Red Sea is a bit like visiting another planet with fluttering reef walls and fish of every shape and colour. Goatfish and parrotfish spar with unicorn fish to give divers a first class display. Marsa Alam, which is further south than the resorts of Hurghada and Sharm el Sheik, offers serenity and solitude against one of nature’s most stunning backdrops.

Cairo is a city that oozes energy from every pore and entrances the visitor with its stunning sunsets. Here you can watch ballet at the newly opened opera house and visit the fascinating Mahmoud Khalil Museum. To appreciate the vastness of Cairo you should start with the Citadel of Salah al-Din. This thick-walled enclave functioned both as a fortress and royal city in the 12th century and provides wonderful vistas of the city from its mosque. The ancient Pyramids of Giza are situated close to Cairo and are most famous for the Great Sphinx. Known as ‘the living image’ this monument sculptured from soft sandstone is a landmark that allows the visitor to wallow in its magnificent size, beauty and historical connotations.

Luxuriate in the wonders of the old world in Luxor. The tomb of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings is worth visiting but the highlight has to be Karnak. This limestone valley cut millions of years ago by torrential rain has many tombs that bear witness to the Pharaohs and powerful dynasties that inspired these historical monuments. Aswan is a town north of the Nile and was important in Pharaonoic times supplying granite for the temples of Egypt. Aswan provides a startling contrast of African and Middle Eastern cultures and geography and is the perfect place to experience the Nile at its most beautiful where it flows through amber desert and granite rocks, round emerald islands covered in palm groves and tropical plants.

Those with an interest in ancient civilisation will find themselves in heaven on holiday in Egypt.

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