Egypt is the land of myth, mystery, power, history and has very strong cultural roots. It is a country of ancient times and civilization was born here. The early Egyptians were some of the world’s most intelligent human beings and were able rulers and excellent tacticians. Their culture was unique to their land and their practices were out of the ordinary. An entire civilization which was untouched for several years thrived on the banks of the Nile and the Pyramids are a standing proof of it till date. Human beings are creatures of fascination and wonder and the country of Egypt is proof of this amusing behaviour of humanity. The country has seen a civilization at its very beginning and now is a nation that is grappling with modern times and is slowly evolving into a key player in the world.
Egypt has always inspired and amused not just the historians but the commonwealth as well. As a part of the commonwealth, I am allowed to speak on its behalf when I say that Egypt baffles the eye of the man. The country is not really the first option considered when one is planning a trip overseas because of the fear of impending war and the possible threat to life. But let me tell you that Egypt is safe and tourists don’t need to worry at all when they lock this country as their next travel destination. Especially when it comes to women, it is believed to be so that the threat is more. But taking a local guide or being with a group of locals at all times will ensure safety so there won’t be any issues and they can go to all the places they want.
Tip: always say ‘shukran’ when the local taxi drivers approach you and ask you to take their services. Saying shukran which translates to thank you lets them know that you already have a vehicle of your own because they might get persuasive.
Cairo and Giza
The capital city of Cairo has a lot to offer. Coming to Cairo, one can expect to notice the sudden change in the weather and the surge in the temperature, so comfortable clothing which isn’t too short (for obvious reasons) is recommended. And the best place to blend in and get the appropriate clothing made out of the Egyptian cotton itself is the market which is in the city centre called Khan El Khalili.
Khan el Khalili is a shopping hub and also a great place for social gatherings. As markets go, Khan el Khalili is the most colourful one there is, in Egypt at least. Right from entering the market to leaving it, it is just a visual symphony of colours which would make anybody instantly reach for their camera. The narrow alleyways are all flanked by shops on either side selling all sorts of jewellery and artefacts. Khan El Khalili is not just a visual treat. It is a full package deal and comes with something for all senses. The coffee shops embedded in the marketplace at various locations are like a bad food particle stuck in between your teeth. Because when you finally find them, you will leave a sigh of relief. This is because of all the shopping and roaming around exhausts you and you need a place to calm your nerves down before you are out shopping again. The coffee here is bitter quite unlike any other coffee you would have tried before. It is black and has a typical Arabian flavour and aroma to it. Here in Khan el Khalili one is basically drenched in the soup of aromas. The cigarette and sheesha smoke, mixed with the smell of coffee and street food and the occasional whiff of the perfume of a wealthy Arab prancing by will leave your nose craving for more as you try the different finger rings and don on new bracelets.
Khan El Khalili is THE place to get all the jewellery and accessories you need. It is a place where all the women flock and stock up for the year and the tourists stock up for years to come. It is not just for the women, there are accessories and other goodies for men too and they are exceptionally attractive. The mosque of Ibrahim Pacha which is in the centre of the market is a beautiful one and the structure is admirable because it stands between all the antique shops. Women are allowed to enter the mosque but the hair should be covered and photography is prohibited at all costs.
Moving on to Giza and its pyramids. The Pyramids and their story. The Pyramids and their grandeur. The Pyramids and their utter beauty and prestige. The Pyramids of Giza are structures which have fooled time and still stand testimony to a culture lost in time and civilization over which dust has settled. One can go inside the pyramids too and get to know their history better by asking the local guides or by attending the light and sound show at night. The Pyramids and the Sphinx have astronomical significance too and that makes us understand that the ancient Egyptians were way ahead of their time.
Taking a look back
One more thing about Cairo is the Cairo Museum i.e. is the biggest museum in Egypt and all history enthusiasts are welcome to see all the sarcophaguses and the artifacts from the tombs and all the royal accessories. The museum is huge and has a lot of artifacts and all of them are important to know one of the oldest cultures that thrived on this planet. A museum is a place which needs an entire day for it and needs to be visited in its entirety because there is a lot of it.
The Nile is a fascinating river and has a lot of importance and has a lot of stories woven around it like tributaries. The best place to party and experience the nightlife of Egypt is taking the cruise on the Nile. This is the best place to unwind, with the winds flowing through the waters of the Nile and the smell of the river with the Egyptian food being served with fine wine, belly dancing and tanurrah dancing too.
The whims of the warm day are washed away with the cheery and soothing evenings here in the land of the Nile.