the city of Sharm El sheikh

About Sharm El Sheikh, the City of Peace ‎

In an unparalleled success compared to any other city in Egypt and maybe the whole ‎region, Sharm El Sheikh was awarded by the United Nations Educational, Science, ‎and Cultural Organization, the UNESCO, as the finest city in the world for peace and ‎beauty. ‎

Sharm El Sheikh was granted with this international recognition because of the role ‎the city played in establishing the principals of justice and comprehensive peace in ‎the area of the Middle East. ‎

Sharm El Sheikh has hosted many international peace conferences with the ‎participation of many parties with the presence of the former Egyptian president, ‎Hosni Mubarak, who made Sharm El Sheikh his favorite resort where he spent the ‎last days of his ruling period, beside many of the well known world leaders. ‎

Moreover, the city has witnessed many conferences and meetings between the ‎Israelis, the Palestinians, and the United States leaders to settle the problems ‎between the two sides. ‎

Moreover, after the signing of the Camp David Peace Agreement between Anwar El ‎Sadat, the former President of Egypt, and the Israeli authorities in 1978, Sharm El ‎Sheikh has guided all its political, economical, and touristy capabilities to support ‎peace in the whole region. ‎

On the other hand, after Egypt regained control over the city of Sharm El Sheikh in ‎‎1982, the Egyptian authorities have given special attention to the city to make it one ‎of the most wonderful resort that has become famous all around the world with ‎tourists coming from Europe, the United States, and all the regions of the globe to ‎spend their holiday in the city of peace. ‎

The best holiday ever can be organized in Sharm El Sheikh. This is why numerous ‎travelers especially from Europe, because of the short distance, fly directly to the ‎Sharm El Sheikh International Airport to enjoy the most fascinating time in one of ‎the finest resorts all over the globe. ‎

Sharm El Sheikh is considered to be among the most charming picturesque ‎destinations in the world with its great mountains that take the color of iron and ‎manganese forming breathtaking scenes.‎

This is besides the wonderful distinctive fauna and flora of Sharm El Sheikh that are ‎difficult to be found anywhere else in the world, the finest underwater coral reefs, ‎fish, and colorful sea creatures, the fine weather of the city have all qualified Sharm ‎to be one of the most favorite resorts in the world. ‎

Sharm El Sheikh, according to the latest governmental statistics, has been ranked as ‎number one among all the cities and regions in Egypt according to the number of ‎tourists’ arrivals and the number of nights they spend in the city. ‎

‎ Moreover, in the year 2000, the UNESCO has chosen Sharm El Sheikh, among ‎‎14,000 cities from all over the world, to be the best city of peace and charm. ‎

Sharm El Sheikh has a significant location situated at the southernmost section of ‎Sinai, around 500 kilometers away from Cairo, the Egyptian capital, and positioned ‎in the place where the Suez Gulf and the Aqaba Gulf meet together with the Red Sea ‎to the South. ‎

Less than twenty years ago, traveling to Sharm El Sheikh to have a dive in the ‎wonderful spots the city offers was a true adventure. The tourists had to camp in the ‎desert and walk for long distances to reach the sea. ‎

Today, Sharm El Sheikh has the best world class hotels, resorts, facilities, and ‎services making a holiday in the city quite a marvelous experience. There are ‎numerous diving center and travel agents in the city offering all sorts of tours and ‎diving lessons for experts, beginners, and for all ages. ‎

Surrounded by a circle of Desert Mountains and hills, Sharm El Sheikh is protected ‎from the strong winds that come from the Northern section of Sinai. The city rises as ‎a star on a rocky spur that is divided into the bay of Sharm El Sheikh and the bay of ‎Sharm El Maya.‎

Among the most amazing characteristics in Sharm El Sheikh that is matchless any ‎other coastal cities in Egypt is that in the afternoon the guests will find plenty of ‎activities to do as there are a large number of restaurants, internationally popular ‎bars, discos, shops, cafes, and all sorts of entertainments facilities making it a ‎wonderful spot for the youngsters and all the family members. ‎

However, most definitely, the most charming feature of the city of Sharm El Sheikh ‎is its wonderful beaches. The water of the sea is transparent and full of underwater ‎treasures and the sandy beaches are relaxing with numerous activities to be done ‎during the day like snorkeling, diving, windsurfing, riding a boat, riding a jet ski, or ‎even just chilling around on the beach and enjoying the sun rays. ‎

The Naama Bay ‎

Among the best places to swim, do some shopping, and go for a wonderful outing at ‎night in Sharm El Sheikh is the famous Naama Bay, the first section of Sharm El ‎Sheikh to be established and the most popular area of the city. ‎

The main touristic attractions in Sharm El Sheikh are located in the Naama Bay. The ‎word “Naama” in the Hebrew Language means the pleasant and this is the best ‎description to give to Naama Bay as it is a wonderfully pleasant place to be. ‎

A large number of the finest hotels, shops, discos, restaurants, cafes, diving centers, ‎and resorts are located in and around the Naama Bay in Sharm El Sheikh. ‎

This is besides a number of travel agents that organizes trips to destinations located ‎near Sharm El Sheikh like the Monastery of Saint Catharine, the Blue Hall diving ‎spot near Dahab, the Ras Abu Galum Protected Area, the Colored Canyons, and the ‎Protected Area of Ras Mohamed.

Moreover, many new wonderful resorts were established in Sharm El Sheikh ‎situated on the coastline from the Sharm El Sheikh Airport, which offers daily ‎flights in many destinations in Egypt and other countries around the world, to Nabq ‎and Ras Nasrani.‎

On the top of a high plateau, the Hadaba of Om El Seed provides a new section of ‎enjoyment to the visitors and residences of Sharm El Sheikh. Many hotels, different ‎sorts of accommodations, offices, and entertainments facilities are located in the ‎Hadaba of Om El Seed today.‎

Hosting the post office and the telecommunication center of the city, Hadaba Om El ‎Seed has many hotels today while others are still under construction. ‎

This section of the city hosts Alf Leila We Leila, the famous restaurant and night ‎club that offers a wonderful oriental show every day which includes a belly dancer, a ‎Tanoora dance show, and wonderful live oriental music.‎

Sharm El Maya ‎

The Bay of Sharm El Maya is under the authority of the Egyptian army and the ‎Multinational Forces and Observers which have resided in Sharm El Sheikh after the ‎signing of the Camp David Peace Agreement between Egypt and Israel in 1978 to ‎make sure both sides are abiding by the items mentioned in the agreement. ‎

However, many private yachts and boats anchor here. The tourist can hire a boat for ‎a wonderful trip to view the magnificent coral reefs or to visit the National Protected ‎Area of Ras Mohamed which is among the most fabulous places to explore, located ‎only 7 kilometers to the South of the city and offering wonderful snorkeling and ‎diving opportunities. ‎

The old market of Sharm El Sheikh is located in Sharm El Maya and it hosts a ‎number of hotels and numerous restaurants, cafes, and shops. The Old Market is the ‎best place for Shopping for souvenirs and gifts to take back home. ‎

The Coral Reefs of Sharm El Sheikh ‎

The coral reefs are the largest natural structures in the world and they are also ‎fragile highly productive ecosystems providing space, shelter, and food to thousands ‎of plants, animals, and fish. ‎

These coral reefs are actually the result of the remarkable interaction between the ‎coral animals that are called the polyps and the microscopic algae living in their ‎tissues. The polyps are able to feed themselves using its stinging cells and producing ‎plankton which forms the coral reefs together with carbon dioxide and their wastes ‎of oxygen and carbohydrates.‎

The coral reefs of Sharm El Sheikh with their stunning colors and shapes are ‎unparalleled all around the world. This is why divers from all regions visit Sharm El ‎Sheikh to enjoy admiring the magnificent undersea scenes that Sharm El Sheikh ‎offers. ‎

The city of luxor

Located in Upper Egypt Luxor has been described as the world’s biggest open air museum. Nowadays it has been elevated to the status of Governorate, though it is still classified as being in the province of Qena. It has a population of round about 230,000, most of who are employed in tourism somehow, though there are many who are employed in agriculture and commerce. It is one of the most popular destinations in Egypt, being one of those places that you must see. Because of this almost every tourist company has an office somewhere in the town.

It has been estimated that Luxor contains about a third of the most valuable monuments and antiquities in the whole world, which makes it one of this planet’s most important tourism sites. Monuments such as The Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, the Valley of the Kings, the Valley of the Queens, Deir El-Bahri (the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut), the workers village at Deir El-Medina, the list goes on and on and on. Though most visitors will stay for just a few days, it would take a substantial amount of time to visit everything in this amazing town.

Once known as Thebes, Luxor’s importance in ancient Egyptian history cannot be denied. It was the religious capital for almost all of the Pharaonic period which is why the town is dominated by the two temples; The Temple of Luxor, and the immense Temple of Karnak; the world’s largest temple complex.

Dedicated to Amun Ra, the Temple of Karnak was constantly expanded by successive pharaohs, each adding his, or her, tribute to the god. The site dates back to the Middle Kingdom under the reign of Mentuhotep (11th Dynasty), but most of what can be seen today is from the New Kingdom. Other parts of the complex include sites dedicated to Mut, the wife of Amun Ra, and their son Khonsu.

Most people know that Luxor was once Thebes, but “Thebes” was not what the ancient Egyptians called it. Ancient texts show that it was called t-apt, which means “the shrine”, with the ancient Greeks calling it tea pie. The Arabs had problems with pronunciation and so it became Thebes to them. The name vanished then as the area submitted to the desert and then by the 10th century Arab travellers thought the ruins were of grand buildings so started to call it Al-Oksour, or “site of the palaces” which slowly became Luxor.

Though it was never the capital of a united Egypt, Thebes was capital of Upper Egypt during the times when Egypt resorted to being split into two. This was especially true during the period of the Hyksos invasion when Avaris became capital in the North. Thebes was where the various pharaohs of Upper Egypt were based, and it was from here that the final campaign, under Ahmose I, to expel the Hyksos originated

Today Luxor is split into two, by the River Nile, and these two areas are known as the East Bank (where the town lies) and the West Bank. Though this was also true in ancient times, the two parts were called the city of the living (East Bank) and the city of the dead (West Bank). Like most of the River Nile, the western side tends to be more desert, with the eastern side having far more arable land, and so settlement sites tended to favour this latter side.

Luxor is situated 670Km (416 miles) to the south of Cairo, 220Km (137 miles) to the north of Aswan, and 280Km (174 miles) to the west of Hurghada. It is the second most popular place to visit in Egypt, behind Cairo, and is accessible in a number of ways.

By flight:
Luxor International Airport is located 6Km (4 miles) east of the city and can be reached from most countries around the world, though it is most popular for charter flights. From here you can also fly to most of the main cities and towns in Egypt, as well as arriving from them. EgyptAir runs daily flights from Cairo to Luxor, as well as Luxor to Cairo, which take, on average, about 50 minutes.

By train:
Luxor is situated on the main Cairo to Aswan railway line and has a modern station in El-Mahata Square. Services to both Cairo and Aswan are very frequent, though restriction on tourists are in place right now which allows them to only use the sleeper service, or the trains either side of them.

By road:
Though Luxor is connected by road to Cairo and has a good bus connection with the capital, tourists are asked not to attempt to use this mode of transport for this journey and are therefore left with only rail or flight as an alternative. The road to Aswan can be used though as it gives the opportunity to visit sites such as Edfu and Kom Ombo. Hurghada is reachable by a 3.5 hour bus journey, opening up the Red Sea for those who wish a change. Please note: if you do intend to use this mode of transport you are best booking your seats at least 24 hours in advance to ensure you get the seats you want.

By Cruise:
Nowadays you can only go to Aswan by cruise boat, though some operators do offer the opportunity of a one day sail to see Dendera. The River Nile has not been used for cruises between Cairo and Luxor since the late 1990’s.

The city of Hurghada

The city of Hurghada is another major tourist attraction in Egypt. This city draws more than 2.5 million visitors every year, and yields more than 3 billion dollars to Egypt’s economy.

Hurghada is located on the Red Sea coast, almost 550 Km from Cairo. Egyptian’s used to call itGhardaka, from which the name of the city was derived.

Hurghada stretches for about 60 Km along the Red Sea coast, and has more than 80,000 inhabitants: mostly immigrants from Upper Egypt, seeking investment and work opportunities in this newly developed sea resort. Hurghada today has more than 170 hotels and it is still Hurghada and the Red Sea coast enjoy a very moderate weather throughout the year, making it an ideal place for sea sports. Average temperature from March to November ranges from 26C to 29C, and in the hottest summer months the temperature can reach 33C. Water temperature is also very moderate, which makes it possible to practice diving throughout the year.

The main tourist attraction in Hurghada is the marine life, with lots of coral and colourful fish, which is located very close to the shore: Hurghada has some of the finest coral in the world. If you like to practice diving, then Hurghada, or Sharm El-Sheikh, are your places to go,

Hurghada also has many offshore islands, such as:

Sheduan Island
Gifton Island
Umm Gammae
Dishet El-Dhaba
Abu Ramada Island
Abu Minqar Island

Hurghada today is a world centre for sea sports such as diving, snorkelling, sailing, windsurfing, and deep-sea fishing. The unique offshore underwater gardens are justifiably famous amongst divers. The warm waters here are ideal for many varieties of rare fish and coral reefs, which may also be observed through glass bottom boats.

Next to Hurghada there have been newly developed resorts, which include:

Sahl Hasheesh
Makadi Bay
El Gouna

this is a tourist resort centre, with many different facilities, located 25 Km north of Hurghada. It consists of several tourist resorts, international hotels with different diving centres and a golf course. El-Gouna has a small airport, suitable for handling private planes.

The city of Dahab

Dahab is an attractive touristy city in South Sinai. It is considered to be the second most famous city in Sinai, after the world wide popular city of Sharm El Sheikh, according to the number of tourists who visit Dahab annually. Dahab in Arabic means gold, and the city was named “Dahab” because of its golden sand beaches.

In the past, Dahab was only a small fishing town until the Egyptian government gave it more importance in the late nineties and built a number of resorts and hotels in this beautiful resort of Dahab. The government added a lot of services and facilities in different sections of the city to increase the number of the tourists who visit Dahab every year.

Dahab which consists of more than 1130 square kilometers, is located on the Aqaba bay in the Sothern Eastern of Sinai 81 kilometers North of Sharm El Sheikh, 135 kilometers away from the Israeli city of Elat , and 465 kilometers away from the Ahmed Hamdy Tunnel. Dahab has two major bays: Al Qora and Ghazala.

Dahab is famous for its golden sand beaches, from which it took its name. This is besides its fascinating diving spots, as diving is the most popular activity to do in Dahab. The city is famous for being the cheapest diving resort in Sinai in comparison to other resorts like Sharm El Sheikh and Ras Suder.

The most significant factor about Dahab is that you can find quite inexpensive, comfortable, clean hotels that range from 15 to 40 dollars per night, and you can find expensive international luxurious hotels and resorts as well. Therefore, Dahab is suitable for tourists from all countries and all social classes to enjoy the unique golden beaches and the distinctive sea activities.

The city of Aswan

Egypt’s 3rd largest city, and the largest in Upper Egypt, is situated at the foot of the Nile Valley to the North end of Lake Nasser. It is a major mining area for aluminum and iron as well as also being one of the favorite places for tourists to visit due to it being a major stop for cruise boats; for the River Nile as well as Lake Nasser. It has a local market that is an excellent place to do your holiday shopping; this is especially true if you want spices as you will find the best types of fresh spices here.

Aswan is capital of its own Governorate which has a population of about 1.2 million people. Most of these are Nubians, and local tribes of Kenoz .

The city became very important after the construction of the High Dam as it became a refuge for those Nubians who chose to flee to Egypt after the waters flooded their homelands, as well as becoming the worldwide rescue campaign of the Nubian monuments during and after its construction.

Aswan’s name is derived from the ancient Egyptian word “Swan”, which means “the market”! This is because it was located on the main trade route between Egypt and the southern lands; with gold, slaves and ivory passing into Egypt. The governors of the 6th Dynasty sent many expeditions to explore the many African countries located to the south, and most of these started from Aswan. It was also the major source of granite, sandstone and quartzite used in the construction of the various monuments throughout Egypt.

The city of Alexandria

Alexandria, the city created by Alexander the Great in 333BCE and with a history very different from any of the other cities in Egypt. When this famous Macedonian (the Greek state, not the former Yugoslav country) was en route to visit the Oracle Temple of Amun at the Siwa oasis he stopped overnight at the village of “Re-qdt” (its Greek name is “Racotis”) between the Mediterranean Sea and the Lake of Mariott (its location today is the area of Tel Bab Sadrah or Karmouz). Alexander decided that this was to be the spot where a great city would be built and charged one of his architects, Dinocratis, to build it.

He continued on to Siwa, to consult the oracle about his destiny and then left Egypt to fight the Persians in Asia. Sadly it is not known what the Oracle told Alexander, but it is generally believed that he was told he was to be a great leader. After his triumphal campaigns, Alexander the Great died in Babylon in 323 BC without ever seeing the city that bears his name: in fact it was not until the reigns of Ptolemy I, (Soter – the Saviour), and his successor Ptolemy II (Philadelphus) that the building of the city was completed and it became the main capital.

Egyptian cities

EGYPTIAN CITIES, TOWNS AND GOVERNORATES

When most people think about towns and cities in Egypt they only tend to think of the major cities or the ones associated with tourist attractions, but there are actually more than 200 towns and cities which have populations of over 15,000

Because 90% of Egypt is desert, these towns and cities have grown up either hugging the River Nile, along the shores of the Mediterranean or Red Seas, beside the Suez Canal, or among one of the desert oases. Due to Egypt’s enormous growth of population this has caused many areas to actually be built on sandy areas, rather than the more sustainable soil. Giza is a prime example of this as it slowly moves towards the plateau where the famous pyramids were built.

For administrative purposes Egypt is divided into 27 governorates, which are the top tier of the country’s five-tier jurisdiction hierarchy. Each governorate is administered by a governor, who is appointed by the President of Egypt, serving at the president’s discretion. These governorates have a population density of more than one-thousand per Km², though the 3 largest (Cairo, Alexandria and Giza) have a population density of less than two per Km². They are either fully “urban” or else a mixture of “urban” and “rural”. The official distinction between “urban” and “rural” is reflected in the lower tiers: urban governorates have no regions, or “markaz”, as these are just an assortment of villages. Governorates may, however, comprise of just one city, as in the case of Cairo or Alexandria. These one-city governorates are divided into districts (basically urban neighborhoods); Cairo having 23 districts whilst Alexandria has only 6.

Cairo city

The capital of Egypt and the largest city in Africa, the name means “the victorious city”. It is located on both banks of the River Nile near the head of the river’s delta in northern Egypt and has been settled for more than 6000 years, serving as the capital of numerous Egyptian civilizations. Cairo is known locally as “Misr”, the Arabic name for Egypt, because of its centrality in Egyptian life.

Greater Cairo is spread across three of Egypt’s administrative governorates. The north eastern part is known as Kaliobia Governorate, while the west bank is part of the governorate of Giza, and the eastern parts and south eastern parts are another governorate known as Cairo, the three parts are known together as greater Cairo. The city is marked by the traditions and influences of the East and the West, the ancient and the modern. However, the city also reflects Egypt’s growing poverty, and it struggles to cope with problems caused by massive population growth, urban sprawl, and a deteriorating infrastructure.

The city of Cairo covers an area of more than 453 sq km (more than 175 sq m), though it is difficult to separate the city from some of its immediate suburbs. Bracketed by the desert to the east, south, and west and bounded by the fertile Nile delta to the north, Cairo sits astride the river, though it spreads farther on the east bank than the west. Cairo also includes several river islands, which play an important role in the life of the city. As the region’s principal commercial, administrative, and tourist centre, Cairo contains many cultural institutions, business establishments, governmental offices, universities, and hotels, which together create a dense pattern of constant activity.