Things to Do in Egypt - page 5
At the Alf Leila Wa Leila hotel property, 1,001 Nights (Alf Leila Wa Leila) is a celebration of Egyptian culture, color and dance with a variety of entertainment and dinner theater shows. Serving local food and drink, the many acts tell the history and folklore of Egypt through live music, a sound and light show, belly dancing and a pharaonic horse show that includes acrobatics and horsemanship. Each show tells the life of ancient Egypt and its pharaohs, the tribal history of the Bedouins, and other customs and traditions of the many regions of Egypt.
The shows are set in the largest theater of the area, with a seating capacity of 2,500. Other highlights include traditional Egyptian architecture including a large fountain and a performance of tanoura, an Egyptian folk dance in Sufi festivals. The whirling dance is unique to Egypt, performed by Sufi men in long, colorful skirts.
Papyrus is an important part of Egypt’s history. The raw material used to make this ancient paper comes from the stalk of the Cyperus papyrus plant, which has a brittle interior and a tough exterior and grows in damp regions of the Nile Delta. Its method of production was a well-kept secret for many years, allowing the ancient
Egyptians to have a monopoly over its production and distribution.
The Papyrus Institute is a government-approved museum and shop not far from the Pyramids in Giza, where visitors can browse and buy a huge selection of hand-painted papyrus prints. Prices range from the cheap to the very expensive, but bear in mind that these prints are the authentic article and make for some quality souvenirs.
Staff at the Papyrus Institute talk visitors through the entire process of manufacturing papyrus, including a demonstration of exactly how it is made.
A simple, austere structure with a dome topping crenellated walls, the Aga Khan Mausoleum (Tomb of Muhammad Shah Aga Khan) sits atop a hill on the outskirts of Aswan, overlooking the Nile. Built in rose granite, with the tomb itself in white Carrara marble, the mausoleum is a fitting monument to the man who was once supreme leader of the Shia Muslim Ismaili sect.
On the west bank of the Nile, facing Aswan, 7th-century St. Simeon Monastery looks more like a fortress than a place of worship. Also known as Anba Hatre, the brick-and-stone structure has been abandoned since the 13th century. From the church to the monks’ cells, it paints an atmospheric picture of monastic life in the ancient world.
Close to the Bab Zuweila gate to Cairo’s old city, the 15th-century Mosque of Sultan Al-Mu'ayyad stands atop the remains of a prison that once housed the mosque’s creator, Sultan Al-Mu’ayyad. While the structure has been extensively reworked over the years, its brilliantly colored marble and ornate decorations still stand out, as do the elegant twin minarets.
Once a small fishing village, Hurghada has grown into the most toured destination in Egypt. Though it sits beside the bright-blue waters that bring many visitors to the area, the Abdel-Moneim Riad Mosque stands tall on its own — offering visitors the chance to connect with the daily life and culture of the beach town.
The intricate design of the mosque’s classic Islamic architecture — combined with the scenic placement in the area between the main street and the ocean — makes this a unique mosque to visit. The minarets can be seen from long distances, and the call to prayer can be heard resonating from within its walls. Domes, arches and hallways are detailed with delicate carvings. Local citizens can be often seen heading to the mosque, with most visiting on Fridays for prayer.
The short trip to Mons Porphyrites is a popular excursion from Hurghada.
Egypt’s rare porphyry was highly valued by the ancient Romans, and these former Roman quarries were mined for their precious purple and white crystalline stone, used to decorate columns, sarcophagi and temples.
This former quarry town was once a thriving settlement of houses, temples and workshops. Today, you can still see relics of this activity, which involved not only quarrying the semiprecious stone but also dragging it for miles across the remote desert sands to the Nile, from where it was shipped to Rome.
Nearby Mons Claudianus supplied the Romans with rare black granite, which was used to carve the pillars of Rome’s Pantheon.
Qena provides visitors to modern-day Egypt with a glimpse into the far-distant past.
The ancient city was formerly known as Cainepolis, and also boasts many famous Islamic buildings.
Today, Qena is best known as the closest town to the ancient, well-preserved ruins of Dendera.
The temple complex at Dendera includes the immaculately intact and impressive Temple of Hathor, and is well set up for visitors with an information center and cafe.
Sharm el Sheikh Old Town (Sharm el Maya) was the first resort area in Sharm el Sheikh, created when the Israelis occupied the Sinai Peninsula after the Six-Day War. Today, the Old Market is a major point of interest in the area, a popular beach resort.
The only dolphinarium in South Sinai, Sharm el Sheik's Dolphina Park houses a pod of dolphins in its state-of-the-art facilities. Trained professionals care for and work with the dolphins—naturally very intelligent and playful animals—while giving visitors to the park an opportunity to observe these cetaceans and learn more about their behaviors, habitats, and social structures. Check out the dolphin shows to see highly choreographed performances showcasing the dolphins' intelligence.
More Things to Do in Egypt
Sharm el Sheikh's Aqua Blu Water Park sits within the Aqua Blu Sharm resort complex, which allows paid entry to the park for those not staying at the hotel. Nestled on the Ras Om El Seid Plateau, this sprawling park features a huge number of water slides (44 to be exact) and nine pools, making it a popular spot for a family excursion in Sharm el Sheikh.
The slides include twisting, high-speed rides for older kids and adults in addition to the more gentle rides for little ones. To illustrate the range, slide names range from Twister, Kamikaze and Black Hole to the Family Slide and Elephant Slide, the latter of which are notably more low-key. The pools and lagoons also include three that are specifically for small children, while an on-site spa offers a chance at relaxation and pampering for the adults. In addition, the park is home to a 1,475-foot (450-meter) promenade of cafes, restaurants, bars and bazaars.
A resort town in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Sharm el Sheikh offers snorkeling, diving, and desert trips. It is also close to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of St. Catherine’s Monastery. Ships dock at the in-town Sharm el Sheikh Port (rather than at a dedicated cruise port), and you may need to tender if another ship is docked.
- Things to do in Cairo
- Things to do in Luxor
- Things to do in Hurghada
- Things to do in Aswan
- Things to do in Sharm el Sheikh
- Things to do in Giza
- Things to do in Marsa Alam
- Things to do in Alexandria
- Things to do in Safaga
- Things to do in Port Said
- Things to do in Jordan
- Things to do in Palestinian Territories
- Things to do in Red Sea
- Things to do in Saint Catherine
- Things to do in West Bank