Egypt! A land of magnificent World Heritage Sites and a thousand tourist clichés, Egypt was enticing visitors millennia before Thomas Cook sailed his steamers up the Nile. It was here that the Holy Family sheltered, Alexander conquered and Mark Antony flirted. Napoleon stopped long enough to pilfer a few obelisks, the Ottomans paused to prop up the great and barbarous pasha Mohammed Ali, and the British stayed around to get the train system running and furnish every spare nook of the British Museum. And all this was long after Menes united the two states of Upper and Lower Egypt and set the stage for the greatest civilisation the world has ever known.
Lingering over coffee in a cosmopolitan cafés in Alexandria, or sipping a calming glass of shai (tea) after a frenzied shopping episode in Khan al-Khalili in Cairo are activities as popular today as they were back when 19th-century tourists started to arrive en masse. Magnificent monuments are everywhere the pointed perfection of the Pyramids of Abu Sir, soaring minarets of
Of course, one of the many reasons why Egypt remains such a fascinating tourist destination is that it is very much a country in flux. Egypt may be famous the world over for the Pyramids of Giza and the Valley of the Kings, but these ancient monuments are just part of the equation. Beyond the graceful symmetry and calculated order of the country's ancient pyramid and temple complexes, Egypt is bursting at the seams. Half a century on from the great Nasser-led revolution, and 25 years since Hosni Mubarak and his wife Suzanne first set up house in the presidential palace, Egypt is in a pretty bad state. Unemployment is rife, the economy is of the basket-case variety and terrorist attacks are starting to occur with worrying regularity.
Today, Egypt is weathering a storm of internal strife and struggling to define its identity as a moderate Islamic country. Your travels in Egypt won't always be easy-going and hassle-free, but they'll certainly be eye opening and welcome you as friends.
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