Thursday, June 4, 2009

For the Adventure of a Lifetime, Check out the Nile

Hi everybody, a friend of mine "Nick" is in the middle of a love story with the Nile River, and I borrowed his passionate words to discribe the beauty of the Nile banks, here is what he said when I asked him about the Nile.

Imagine yourself exploring ancient Egypt, taking in the vistas once ruled by Pharaohs, and traveling along the Nile, one of the world’s largest rivers, and arguably the river most imbued with the history, architecture, and culture that made ancient Egypt the richest, most powerful kingdom in the world.

We’ve traveled extensively throughout Egypt, and feel there’s no better way to experience this fascinating, historical country than one of the many river cruises that travel along the Nile. A few longer cruises (ten to twelve days, mostly), go from Cairo all the way to Aswan, but most travelers choose a shorter four-day cruise from Luxor to Aswan, since most of the main attractions are between those areas. There are many options available, but in researching your Nile river cruise, be sure to see these can’t-miss sights:

Abu Simbel

This amazing place consists of two huge temples that were originally carved into the mountainside during the reign of Ramesses II as a monument to his power and victory during the Battle of Kadesh. Something very interesting about this massive structures is that they were completely relocated in the 1960s to avoid their being submerged when Lake Nasser was created. Abu Simbel is one of the top tourist attractions in all of Egypt.


A massive campus of ruins, temples, chapels, and other buildings, Karnak is the largest ancient religious site in the world. Most tourists concentrate their visit on the Precinct of Amun-Re, which features the Great Hypostyle Hall, an area filled with 134 of the most massive columns you’ll ever see.

Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings is essentially an enormous graveyard! For almost 500 years, this was the spot where major royal figures and other privileged people were buried. There are currently 63 known tombs and chambers, some just a simple pit in the ground, some extremely opulent and enormous. The Valley is probably most notable for the discovery of the tomb of King Tut.

More Temples

Don’t miss these temples, either! The Temple of Hatshepsut is an homage to the “Foremost of Noble Ladies,” the female pharaoh who is generally seen as one of the most successful pharaohs to rule ancient Egypt. Another can’t-miss is the Temple of Kom Ombo, which is a strange “double” temple dedicated to two different gods, and is therefore split down the middle and perfectly symmetrical. Finally, don’t miss Luxor Temple, which sits next to Karnak and approaches Karnak’s grandeur.

This short guide is by no means an exhaustive list of everything you must see and do on your cruise along the Nile, but hopefully it’ll give you some idea of what this fabulous river has to offer. Filled with the history, culture, and romance that make every vacation special, a cruise along the Nile will be a trip you’ll never forget.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cairo International Book Fair 2009 - UK guest of honour

It's such a good feeling to be swamped with tons of books from all around the world in the Cairo International Book Fair, being surrounded by all these great publishers, book writers, and famous people is a dream come true for anybody who values a good book.

Certainly with the United Kingdom as the guest of honour this year as The British Council in Cairo has accepted an invitation from the General Egyptian Book Organisation (GEBO) for the UK to be guest of honour at the 2009 Cairo International Book Fair. They are working with the London Book Fair, The Publishers Association, Independent Publishers Guild and other organisations on a wide range of activities to take place during the two-week event. These will fall into three categories: Reader Development, Professional Development for Publishers and Writers and their work. The British Council has also invited 10 authors from the UK to deliver a program of lectures, book signings and so forth at the fair and other venues around Egypt.

Cairo's Book Fair is like an annual meeting point for cultures from all around the world, from the oriental far east, passing by the African Jungle, the European Glamour, the North American style finally reaching the imaginative Latin literature. Which makes the Cairo International Book Fair a great chance to get acquainted with the cultures from around the globe.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Queen Cleopatra

Queen Cleopatra was the last Pharaoh of ancient Egypt, very popular for her beauty and for her love story with the Roman Caesar. After Caesar's murder, Rome was in turmoil . Several armies competed for control. The two greatest generals were Mark Antony and Octavian. Octavian was the adopted son of Julius Caesar, but Mark Antony led a larger army.

When Antony asked Cleopatra to meet with him, Cleopatra decided that she had another opportunity to return to power both in Egypt, and in Rome. She had made one ruler of Rome fall in love with her. Could she conquer another Roman leader's heart? She agreed to meet with Mark Anthony in 42 B.C. and her royal ship was prepared to take her to him.

The legend says that when Cleopatra went to meet him she was dressed as Venus the Roman love goddess, and had her maid dressed as fairies and filled her ship with flowers as it is said that Rome could smell her fragrance before her ship was seen from shore.

On first sight Antony was love struck and forgetting his duties followed her to Alexandria and spent the winter with her.

The story goes on until they get married and takes Alexandria as his final home, deserting his country and his wife for the sake of the beautiful Cleopatra, which angered his people back in rome, and they decided to declare war on Egypt, Antony was killed in the war, and Cleopatra killed herself in grief over Anthony.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Holidays To Cairo

Cairo is a city of Imagination, when you visit the Citadel you could imagine yourself riding a horse in Salah El Din's army, or you could imagine that you are a messenger to the Pharaoh if you are visiting the great pyramids. Just by living in Cairo I'm experiencing a never ending fantastic holiday. Each weekend I choose a place in the historic city, grab my sketchbook and camera and I spend all day there sketching and taking photos, I have visited many places and touristic sites in Cairo which I find inspiring.

When visiting a place in Cairo for the first time you always get this rich historic feeling, and smell that magical ancient scent that lingers in the air, one thing that distinguishes Cairo from any other city in the world is that it holds in its folds monuments from lots of differant eras, and that's what made me call my graduation project "Differant Eras, But One Cairo", I was advertising Cairo as a City that is not just the pyramids and sphinx.

I consider my life in Cairo now as a holiday that regenerates as soon as I pick a new destination each weekend, some of these places are relaxing and calm like the Azhar Gardens and el Fayoom Gardens, other places are lively like the Cairo Tower, the Citadel, and the Egyptian Museum, but I really spend the most time near the religious areas like the famous Coptic area "Mar Girgis" which is full of beautiful Churches or the Islamic Mosques near old Cairo, like El Sultan Hassan Mosque, or Amr Bin El As Mosque.

If you have some great sites near your city, please share them with us here in a comment.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Islamic Art, Cairo the capital

Islamic Art chose the old city of Cairo as its capital. As Cairo was one of the main cities in Islamic history, and at the same time the destination of the most profiled artists of that time, it was bound to become the next cultural centre of the world, starting with "El Fustat Mosque" which was the first Mosque not in Cairo alone but the first to be built outside of Arabia. Now known as "Amr Bin El As Mosque Picture below taken by me" it still stands as a witness of the elegance of Islamic Architecture and art.

Islamic Art is considered the art produced by people not necessarily Muslim that lived in Islamic territories in the 7th century onwards, these artists were famous for masterpieces in the fields of architecture, calligraphy, painting, and ceramics, among others.

As is well known Islamic art is not a religious art but better known as the art of the people who committed to the rich and varied Islamic culture as well. Islamic Art is developed from many sources: Roman, Early Christian, and Byzantine styles were taken over in early Islamic architecture; the influence of Sassanian art—the architecture and decorative art of pre-Islamic Persia was of paramount significance; Central Asian styles were brought in with various nomadic incursions; and Chinese influences had an important effect on Islamic painting, pottery, and textiles.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cairo Nile Cruise

Cairo Nile Cruise, It could be the most relaxing and dazzling experience you'll get in Cairo, it doesn't matter if you board a five stars ship or just rent a Felucca from the Nile's shore, and if you are lucky enough to be there just before sunset I'm sure you would be more then happy to watch the sun set over the waters of the great and ancient river that was once holly for the Egyptians.

Don't forget to take your camera with you, because the first time I took a Cairo Nile Cruise I didn't have my camera on me, so I missed a lot of photos I should have taken, If you're into photography follow my advice and take your camera with you. The image above is one of the hundreds that I took to make a gallery of the Nile River, I later edited it using photoshop so that it matched the theme of my graduation project which was about Cairo. Although it is not from a boat but it still is one of my favourites because I took it from the same spot where I first met my girl friend, and it gives you an idea of what you will be seeing, and I hope you enjoy your Cairo Nile Cruise.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Net Blackout In Egypt

Egypt went off-line yesterday "Saturday morning 20th Dec. 2008" due to breaks in the under water cables "near the shores of Italy" that carry the DSL Signals to Egypt from France. Not Egypt alone faced the problem, but also parts of the Middle East, and South Africa.

I kept on searching for my good old "US Robotics Fax Modem", remember that? but I couldn't find it so I had to wait until the connection came back later that night.

Being forced to be off-line for me is an experience that I haven't had before and I with that doesn't happen again.

What would you do if you suddenly were forced to stay off-line?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In Alexandria

Alexandria is the second largest city in Egypt, and the largest Egyptian port on the Mediterranean sea and as one of the oldest cities in the world it holds treasures that landmark the old civilizations, also has a rare nature, and great weather through the whole year.

Alexandria is more then five thousand years old, with hundreds of touristic sites like Pharoahnic, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Coptic, and modern monuments. Many great gardens and rocks can be found also in Alexandria.

The greatest witness of a history full of civilization is "The Library Of Alexandria" that was recently rebuilt to stand as one of the most important libraries in the world. Alexandria is also well known for its spectacular beaches and resorts and sunny weather through the four seasons.