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Egypt- The Land of Discovery

by vibhu sharma (writer), India, October 03, 2006

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It is a traveler's delight. Let me tell you about this magical "land of discovery.'



Egypt, the land of pyramids, deserts, and mysteries is not just a historical land but also one of the most preferred tourist destinations. It is a traveler's delight. Let me tell you about this magical "land of discovery.'

No country on earth boasts of a longer recorded history than does Egypt- the Eternal Gift of Nile, goes the description of Egypt in the words of historian Herodotus. Egypt is said to be a land of antiques, pyramids, and massive temples. But the fact is that Egypt is much more than all this. Situated at the crossroads of Asia and Africa, Egypt is known for its prosperous history, vivacious culture, and sandy beaches.

Abode to numerous monuments, Egypt is truly a tourist's delight. One may choose to relax on the marvellous Egyptian Red Sea or Sinai coasts (as known locally) or may decide to leisurely float down the world's largest river, Nile, on a luxurious boat. In fact, strongly recommended is a trip to Cairo which is nothing short of a spiritual feel to this mysterious land called Egypt.

Egypt is best explored when the journey is started from Cairo, which is home to pharaonic art. Officially known as Al Qahirah, meaning "triumphant city," Cairo is characterized by the ancient Pyramids, the Sphinx or the Egyptian museum. The Great Pyramid, one of the Seven Wonders of the World has a magnetic charm that attracts most tourists. The ancient Egyptians built the pyramids to preserve the bodies of their dead kings, as they believed in resurrection and immortality. Apart from the Great pyramid, one could also visit the pyramids of Giza that lie at the western edge of Greater Cairo and comprise of the Second and Third Pyramid.

Another description of the pharaonic art is well displayed in the monument of Sphinx, one of the most famous statues in the world. It is indeed a legendary statue, which has the body of a lion and the face of a man. In addition, if one would want to get acquainted with Egypt’s ancient history of over 50 centuries, then, the Egyptian museum, located in Cairo, is the right place. The museum contains thousands and thousands of monumental treasures making it an unforgettable experience.

After an enthralling visit to Cairo, experiencing the breeze blowing over the world's longest river-Nile ensures relaxation of senses. There is no better way of visiting the Nile valley than cruising on the river. Travelling along the river promises a step back in time. Sailing through the river, one sees the farming on the banks and the mud-brick houses, which provide a perfect picturesque view to a painter.

The visit to the river can also be experienced through the modern Nile cruisers, which have now evolved into floating hotels making it a unique experience in itself.

Egypt is surrounded by Red sea from the east thus making the coast a tourist hot spot. Sinai coasts or Red sea is said to be the "land of discovery." It is a place where one can see the rock meeting the coral reefs and the desert stopping at the sea. It is the grandeur of granite meeting golden beaches. The major towns that are harboured by the coast are El-Arish, Sharm-el-Sheikh, Ras as-Sudr, and Tur Sinai, each with its own distinctive qualities.

El-Arish has shady palm beaches, Mediterranean waves and the glowing artifacts of Bedouin crafts. Sharm-el-Sheikh offers exotic landscapes with the simplicity of sun, sea, and sand. The city is one of the most accessible and developed tourist resort communities on the Sinai Peninsula. The city offers a range of activities from water sports, diving, and wind surfing to golfing and desert safaris making sure that the tourists get a taste of the Egyptian adventure.

Next on the itinerary could be a visit to another beach town, Ras as-Sudr. It is a world famous paradise of coral gardens and tropical fish. Ras as-Sudr enjoys a number of natural assets, including desert areas, mountains, valleys, unusual virgin beaches and small, sandy gulfs, and its well-known sulfuric, therapeutic springs. The area is particularly rich in desert plants and herbs, and is the habitat of fascinating marine creatures.

All these resort towns are not only a retreat for the residents of Cairo but also for the first-timer Egyptian travellers.

Since Egypt acts as a bridge between Africa and Asia, the country has developed a unique cuisine, which boasts of dishes that can be found nowhere else. The Egyptian cuisine offers some exotic dishes, which are a blend of Syrian, Lebanese and other Mediterranean cuisines. The variety of Egyptian recipes is endless. Although almost all the tourist hotels have the provision of numerous meal options that include well-prepared vegetarian and non-vegetarian food, but that is not what the “real” Egyptian food is. To eat "real food," one has to try the "street food." Egyptian cuisine, in fact, is culinary adventure; it is a gourmet's delight. "Eating street food" does not confine itself to standup meals from cart vendors -- it is more about the everyday cuisine of the traditional Egyptians. The meat cooked by them is usually grilled or roasted, whole or minced, with lamb and chicken as their favourites.

Some of the exotic Egyptian street food comprises of dishes like Shish Kabob, which is served with Tahini sauce and Pita bread, grilled pigeon, and other tomato delicacies; Egyptians have a strong liking for tomatoes.

No journey is complete without indulging in the tiring expedition of shopping. For those who live to shop, Egypt is a perfect place. It is a wonderland of shopping opportunities. Of course, there are the famous bazaars such as Khan el-Khalili, but then there are also thousands of unusual stores, especially in Cairo, where one can look for everything from antiques and fine clothing to artistic jewellery.

However, one thing that seems to turn up constantly in the lanes of Egypt is the alabaster (a rock) artifact. The use of alabaster dates well back into the Pharaonic period, and this is very evident when one visits the temples, tombs and museums in Egypt.

But, one thing that needs to be taken back home, as a souvenir is the Egyptian jewellery. For Egyptians, jewellery is much more than an accessory and their immense love for jewellery is well displayed on the statues and paintings of Egyptian queens. In Egypt, jewellery is used not just for adornment but also for protection (as a good luck charm) and as a status symbol.

The most common jewellery that is pushed to tourists is slightly more expensive, made from either gold or silver. Usually, this jewellery has a pharaonic design. Another type of jewellery that tourists pine for are the beautiful designs made from silver and metal. The Egyptians are very fine jewellers, and some of their modern, non-tourist jewellery is elegant and even inspired from the conventional ancient designs. This jewellery often discourages the use of diamonds in favour of larger, more exotic stones, thus bringing out unusual items.

A trip to Egypt needs a lot of time, as there is so much to discover. Being one of the oldest civilizations with rich and vibrant culture, Egypt can never lose its ancient essence. It is a civilization where the past still lives in present.



About the Writer

vibhu sharma is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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1 comments on Egypt- The Land of Discovery

Log In To Vote   Score: 0
By Alethea on October 03, 2006 at 09:39 pm
Hear about the secret room under the sphinx?
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