As the capital of Egypt, its distinctiveness is based on history that goes back thousands of years. This amazing city is full of life and its lively personality is all its own. With crowded streets and non-stop activity, Cairo offers both a modern feel as well as a quaintness in which the city was built upon. Spanning the banks of the Nile River, you won’t find a more colorful place than Cairo. There is so much to do in Cairo. It is a wonderful city that suits just about every lifestyle.
Upon arrival, newcomers find Cairo to be an exciting city bursting with energy, color and adventure. They also enjoy the immediate and overt friendliness of the locals. The official language in Cairo is Arabic. However, English and French are widely spoken. For visitors who are not familiar with Arabic or French, adjusting to the culture will be easier if they take the initiative to learn some of the common phrases.
There are some things to remember in order to avoid offending the other residents of this city. Pointing and using your index finger, showing the bottom of your feet, using the “thumbs up” sign, gesturing with your left hand (which is considered to be unclean), taking photographs without getting permission are all considered offensive and should be avoided. It is against the law to photograph bridges, railway stations, anything military, airports and other public works.
Tipping (called “baksheesh” in Egypt) is a common practice for most services, regardless of how inconsequential. In hotels and restaurants, a service charge of about 12% is added to the bill, but an extra 5% is customary. Taxi fares often include a tip, but if the driver has given especially good service, 10% is expected. Modest tips for porters and bellhops is also expected. Many people rely on tipping to supplement their incomes and it is part of the Cairo culture, so it is important to be aware of the practice and to remember to carry small change.
People who like dry weather will like Cairo. Cairo experiences dry weather year-round. Winter, spring and fall are fairly mild times of the year. However, in April, it is very hot and there are sandy “Khamsin” (hot, violent winds) desert winds, followed by scorching summers. The average summer temperature is 98° F (37° C) and the average winter temperature is 47° F (8° C). Most buildings and homes have air conditioning.
Cairo is as ancient as history itself, but also showcases a modern flare. Its uniqueness is unexplainable until seen with monuments dating back to four different historical periods: the Pharaonic, the Roman, the Christian and the Islamic. People who enjoy history will love Cairo!
In order to enter Egypt, citizens of Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Europe, Japan and the United States need to provide a passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended length of stay, a visa, and a return or onward ticket are required. Nationals of Bahrain, Djibouti, Guinea, Libya, Mauritania, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen do not need a visa for visits of up to 90 days.
All other citizens of countries not referenced above need to provide a passport valid for at least six months beyond the intended length of stay, a visa, and a return or onward ticket.
Alexandria is a city in Egypt. In ancient times it was one of the great cities of the world; then it was destroyed, and rebuilt, and it became one of the great cities of the modern world, with a population of a million people; only five cities in the United States are larger. Since it is on the Mediterranean Sea near the mouth of the Nile River, Alexandria is also a great seaport. The modern city of Alexandria was built near the ruins of the ancient city. The Ancient city Alexander the Great, conqueror of nearly all the civilized world, built Alexandria more than 300 years before Christ was born, and named it for himself. With the advice of his architects, who had built many of the beautiful buildings of ancient Greece, Alexander chose a site near the mouth of the Nile River, a fine natural harbor.
Alexander loved the beauty of the Greek cities and wanted Alexandria to be just as beautiful. The city was built with straight streets lined with trees. From the center of the city one broad avenue ran north and south and another broad avenue ran east and west. The main buildings were of marble. They had graceful columns and beautiful sculpture. A great lighthouse was built on an island in the harbor of Alexandria. The island was called Pharos and the lighthouse became known as the Pharos. It stood 300 feet high and was known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. A long causeway (a strip of land that serves as a bridge) was built to connect the island of Pharos with the mainland.