info & Visa

Airports

Cairo International Airport is the main gateway to Egypt and is located about 15 miles northeast of the city in northern Egypt. Cairo’s three terminals receive flights from all major world cities including those in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. You can reach central Cairo by bus, while numerous taxis also run to the city and its hotels. Limousines are also available. The airport is located close to the city center and taxis, limos and regular buses are available for transfers into the city.

Transportation

Cairo has many modes of public transportation that both residents and tourists can ride to get anywhere they need to go.

Busses: Cairo’s bus system consists of a number of different lines of service. The different services cost different amounts of money to ride. There are standard and mini-busses run by the Cairo Transportation Authority (CTA), and there are also “micro-busses” which are run by a private company. The unfortunate part about the micro-busses is that they are cheap but unreliable. Bus 111 goes from outside Terminal 1 at the airport to Ramses station and beyond. It’s the cheapest way to get out of the airport and hop on a metro without dealing with taxis. Fare is usually less than 1 LE. While getting in, tell the driver/conductor to let you know when to get off. Sign language, with some key English words is usually sufficient.

 

metro_logometro_stationMetro: The city has an extensive subway system that runs on a regular (and reliable) schedule. The schedule is as follows: Winter: 5:30 a.m. until midnight. Summer: 5:30 a.m. until 1 a.m. The subway trains run every six minutes during both the winter and the summer. There are currently two lines. It is the fastest and cheapest way to travel in Cairo (cost 1 LE).  Metro has three main lines:

Line 1

Line 1 (red) is the oldest line of the Cairo Metro, with its first 29-kilometre (18 mi) segment having opened in 1987. The line is 44.3-kilometre (27.5 mi) long, and serves 35 stations. This line carries trains with 3 units (9 train cars), which have a headway of 3:30 to 4 minutes, and a maximum speed of 80 km/h (50 mph). The line can carry 60,000 passengers per hour in each direction.

Line 2

Line 2 (orange) is the second line of the Cairo Metro. The line is 21.6-kilometre (13.4 mi) long of which 13 kilometres (8 mi) is in tunnels. It serves 20 stations, of which 12 are underground. It is mostly in bored tunnel, with two exceptions: a short section at the northern end approaching Shubra El Kheima which is elevated, and a section just south of this by cut-and-cover. The minimum headway for the line is 2 minutes 40 seconds to 3 minutes. The first tunnel to be built under the Nile River carries line 2 across the river.

Line 3

Line 3 (green) presently operates from Attaba to Ahram (Heliopolis), with construction under way for the remaining line to the northwest of Greater Cairo. Eventually it will link Cairo International Airport all the way to Cairo University and Imbaba. The line will cross under the two branches of the River Nile, as does Line 2. The total length of the line will be approximately 50 kilometres (31 mi), most of which in bored tunnel, and will be implemented in four phases.

Phase 1 from Attaba station to Abbassia station opened on 21 February 2012, with five stations and a total length of 4.3 kilometres (2.7 mi). Phase 2 to Al Ahram Station was opened on the 7 May 2014 by Adly Mansour, with four additional stations and an added length of 7.7 kilometres (4.8 mi), for a total length of 12.0 kilometres (7.5 mi).

 

Railways

Egyptian Railways is the backbone of passenger transportation in Egypt, with 800 million passenger miles annually.

Air-conditioned passenger trains usually have 1st and 2nd class service, while non-airconditioned trains will have 2nd and 3rd class. Most of the network connects the densely populated area of the Nile delta with Cairo and Alexandria as hubs.

The Alexandria-Cairo-Luxor-Aswan link is served daily in both directions by air-conditioned sleeper trains of Abela Egypt. This service is especially attractive to tourists who can spend the night on the train as it covers the stretch between Cairo and Luxor. A luxury express train also connects Cairo with Marsa Matruh towards the Libyan border.

Egyptian currency

1 Egyptian pound Reverse

The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound E£ or ج.م – can also be abbreviated as EGP and sometimes, LE or L.E. (which stands for livre égyptienne, French for “Egyptian pound”). The 1/100th unit of EGP is the Piastre. The approximate official exchange rate for $1 USD is E£17.25 EGP as of Nov. 2016 for more    info check this link (http://www.cbe.org.eg/en/Pages/default.aspx)

There is no limit on the amount of currency which the visitors may bring to Egypt, however, they must declare the currency and amount upon arrival and departure with bank receipts. There may be restrictions on the amount of currency that can be taken outside of Egypt so it is best to check with your hotel or a local bank to confirm the amount, but generally it should not exceed E£5,000.

Climate

Peak tourist season in Egypt runs from mid October to May, during winter and spring. From May until October daytime temperatures are relatively high, especially in Luxor and the southern parts of the country.

Egypt is one of the hottest and sunniest countries in the world. With the exception of a strip along the Mediterranean coast, Egypt has a desertclimate, being entirely within the Sahara. The Mediterranean coastal strip has an average annual rainfall of 100–200 mm. In central and southern Egypt several years may pass without any significant rain.

Winters are generally warm in the south of Egypt, but temperatures fall abruptly at night, especially in the desert. In summer southern Egypt is very hot with low air humidity.

Telecommunication

The wired and wireless telecommunication industry in Egypt started in 1854 with the launch of the country’s first telegram line connecting Cairo and Alexandria. The first telephone line between the two cities was installed in 1881. In September 1999 a national project for a technological renaissance was announced reflecting the commitment of the Egyptian government to developing the country’s IT-sector.

Cellular

Cellular GSM services were first launched in Egypt in 1996. As of June 2011, it is currently offering 2G/3G service, while LTE is under trials. Egypt has 3 companies offering cellular services:

Post

Egypt Post is the company responsible for postal service in Egypt. Established in 1865, it is one of the oldest governmental institutions in the country. Egypt is one of 21 countries that contributed to the establishment of the Universal Postal Union, initially named the General Postal Union, as signatory of the Treaty of Bern.

Museums

Egypt has one of the oldest civilisations in the world. It has been in contact with many other civilisations and nations and has been through so many eras, starting from prehistoric age to the modern age, passing through so many ages such as; Pharonic, Roman, Greek, Islamic and many other ages. Because of this wide variation of ages, the continuous contact with other nations and the big number of conflicts Egypt had been through, at least 60 museums may be found in Egypt, mainly covering a wide area of these ages and conflicts.

Tutankhamun’s burial mask is The Egyptian Museum‘s major attraction

The three main museums in Egypt are the The Egyptian Museum which has more than 120,000 items, theEgyptian National Military Museum and the 6th of October Panorama.

The Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM), also known as the Giza Museum, is a planned museum of artefacts of ancient Egypt. Described as the largest archaeological museum in the world, the museum is scheduled to open in 2015. The museum will be sited on 50 hectares (120 acres) of land approximately two kilometres from the Giza Necropolis and is part of a new master plan for the plateau.

 The Salah El-Din CitadelSalah El-Din Citadel

You’ll need to devote a whole day to the Salah El-Din Citadel, which is quite possibly the most popular non-pyramid attraction in Cairo. This massive fortress located in Islamic Cairo was constructed in the late 1100s by Salah al-Din, the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty and an opponent of those involved in the Christian Crusades. Within its walls lies a trove of worthwhile attractions: The Mohamed Ali Mosque is the most visited site by far, but you should spend time exploring the other two mosques as well. The structure also houses several museums. Save some time for Gawhara Palace, which former Ottoman army commander Mohamed Ali built for his last wife.

The Great PyramidsPyramids of Giza

Cairo’s most popular attraction, the Pyramids of Giza, draw thousands of visitors every year. As one of the original Seven Wonders of the World, these pyramids have stood the test of time, remaining intact for roughly 4,500 years. You’ll find three primary pyramids, the best known being the Great Pyramid of Khufu – named after the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh buried there. Khafre, Khufu’s son, lies entombed in the nearby Pyramid of Khafre. The third structure, the Pyramid of Menkaure, stands as the smallest of the Pyramids of Giza and was constructed by Khafre’s successor to the throne, Menkaure.

The Great Sphinx

One of Cairo’s must-see attractions Great Sphinxis the Great Sphinx, the world’s oldest monumental sculpture. Situated by the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx impresses with its size – it measures 66 feet high and 234 feet long – and unique appearance. The monument depicts a part pharaoh, part lion being, but archeologists are not sure who the figure is modeled after or when it was built. Two temples, one from the Old Kingdom and another from the New Kingdom, sit next to the sphinx.

Cairo Tower

Its nice to be up high in Cairo. It gives one a prospective view of this great city, with it’s very modern and very ancient districts. Anyone who has stood atop the Citadel or from the upper floors of some of the taller hotels is aware of the grand views that Cairo offers.cairo_tower

One of the best views is from the Cairo Tower, located on Gezira Island (Zemalak) just north of the Museum of Modern Art (which is also very much worth a visit), which provides a panoramic vision of Cairo. This 187 meter tall tower, in the form of a latticework tube that fans out slightly at the top, is said to imitate a lotus plant, and ranks only fourth among the worlds highest towers. It is made of granite, the same material often used by the ancient Egyptians, and is about 45 meters taller than the Great Pyramid at Giza.

The Hanging Church

Hanging Church © David Berkowitz
The Hanging Church in Cairo derives its name from its location on top of the southern tower gate of the old Babylon fortress, with its nave suspended over a passage. It is the most famous Coptic church in Cairo with the earliest mention of the church being a statement in the biography of the patriarch Joseph, who lived in the mid-19th century. It went on to become known to travellers as the ‘staircase church’ during the 14th and 15th centuries, because of the twenty-nine steps that lead to the entrance.

The visual impact of the church’s elevated position has been reduced due to the rise of land surface by around 20 feet (six metres) since the Roman period, not to mention the rise of tall buildings around it, but it is still an impressive and beautiful church. The Roman tower it is built on remains mostly buried below ground. It is calm and peaceful inside and visitors are not pestered here as they may be at many other Cairo attractions. One of the highlights of the church are the intricate carvings and mosaics which decorate the walls, windows and doors. Address: Shar’a Mari Girgis Street, Old Cairo

Khan al-Khalili

Khan al-Khalili © juliegomollBuzzing with enthusiastic buying and selling, Khan al-Khalili is one of the largest markets in the world. It is situated within Islamic Cairo, a World Heritage Site that attracts travellers and locals alike. On the northern corner of the bazaar is the Mosque of Sayyidna al-Hussein, one of the holiest Islamic sites in Egypt. The market is the best place to soak up the colour of Cairo and to people-watch and the streets themselves are charming with arches, carvings and mosaics. You will get many amazing photo opportunities wandering the labyrinthine little streets, just be sure not to get lost!

Traders have been bargaining in these alleys since the 14th century and it is possible to buy almost anything, from exotic perfume bottles to everyday Arabic clothing. There is, of course, a lot of junk as well but treasures and great bargains can be found. Be prepared to barter as the prices originally stated will always be much too high and the merchants expect you to negotiate. Although some of the traders are delightful others can get pushy and rude. Unfortunately, women travelling alone will almost certainly have to put up with a certain amount of harassment. No matter how many times you visit this vibrant market you will always find something new and enchanting, just keep a careful eye on your wallet.

Al- Manyal Palace Museum

The museum was set up by Prince ” alyMohammad Ali Tawfiq ” in 1899 in the middle of a thirty – feddan garden. The garden has a group of rare trees which the Prince had brought from various parts of the world. The palace’s architecture, interior decorations and furniture are all modeled on the Arabesque style. The museum’s collection is the most complete representative set of the ” Ottoman ” art. In addition, the museum contains early Islamic manuscripts and rare collections of embroidered textiles, carpets, crystal vessels and candelabra.aly2

The Palace was built to commemorate and eternalize Islamic Art. It is considered amongst the most important and historic museums since it represents a crucial period in modern Egyptian history and portrays in detail the life of the Royal Family.

The architectural designs distinguish it from other museums because of its Modern Islamic art carrying the essence of Moroccan, Persian and Syrian styles.

The Palace is situated in the east of the River Nile along the island of Manial El-Roda. It covers an area of 61711 square meters, as buildings occupy 5000 square meters, 34,000 square meters for gardens and 22711 square meters for inner roads and garden constructions.

The Palace is divided into 11 sections; the gate which was built in the style of middle age castles gates, has terraces for guards.aly3

The palace facade resembles that of Iranian Mosques and Schools of the 14th C. The reception palace was designed for receiving official guests and is of two stories. The first story has two rooms, the ceremony room and the reception one for those who offer Friday prayers with the Prince, the second story has two halls; the Moroccan and Syrian halls.

The Saa (clock) Tower lies between the Reception Palace and the Mosque, which Prince Mohamed Ali built after the Andalosian and Moroccan fashions.

The fountain lies between the tower and the great Mosque, the Mosque despite its small size is considered an unmatchable architectural and ornamental antique.

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The Hunting Museum is a long hall annexed to the east gate overlooking the garden. It displays possessions of King Farouk and Prince Youssef Kamal who loved hunting. This Museum was finished long after the death of the Prince and was opened to the public in 1962. The two-story residence is the oldest building in the palace and has a tower overlooking sights of Cairo and Giza. The first story consists of al-Shakma, the mirror lobby, harem room, blue saloon, dining room, arabesque saloon and the fireplace room. The second story consists of the jewelry room, arabesque room, Princes bedroom, maids room and a balcony overlooking the mirror hall. The Throne palace was designed after the Ottoman style in the form of a “Kosha”

The private Museum is situated in the southern part of the palace and consists of 15 halls divided by a yard with a small garden. The palace garden is a rare plant museum, where the Prince collected a lot of plants unknown in Egypt and was able to adapt them to the soil and environment. It is a real example for the modern Egyptian history.