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Egyptian flag.gif EMSA.gif
Location Location - Egypt.png
Participating cities (LC's) Ain shams University -Cairo,Cairo university-Cairo, Assuit , Al fayoum , El Monofeya, Alexandria
Languages Arabic / English / French
Currency (how much is a Bigmac?) Egyptian Pounds (EGP) (A Bigmac costs approximately 25 EGP)
Time zone GMT+2
Number of Doctors and beds per 1000 people Currently NA
Member of IFMSA since... March 2011
Number of incoming students per year 50-60
Who are our NEO's Marina Nabil (Neo in) / Mohamed Samir (Neo out)
Our official website / Facebook page / Twitter account Website / Facebook page / Twitter account
Come for (ex)change!

Welcome Note

Egypt holds the key that unlocks seven millennia of history and hospitality. We invite you to explore this living, breathing past with us!

When you visit Egypt , you will stand in awe before her ancient treasures. You will marvel at her natural beauty; the golden dunes of the Sahara, the holy land of Mount Sinai, the fertile Nile valley, and the underwater paradise of the Red Sea. But most of all, you will be impressed by the warmth, generosity and hospitality of her people.

We Egyptians are justifiably proud of our very special country; a fascinating blend of timeless traditions and modern innovations; a colorful tapestry of many cultures living together harmoniously. We genuinely care about our country, our guests and each other, and we want to share with you the very best Egypt has to offer! Remember, when you are in Egypt, you are part of our family. Welcome home!


Cairo, Egypt has always been attracting travelers, dating back over 10 centuries ago to the time of the Mamluks. However, the beautiful, hectic, crowded, surprising, enchanting (and every other cool sounding adjective) city of Cairo is still in the eyes of the Egyptians the City Victorious, known officially as al-Qahirah or simply "Masr", the name for Egypt as a whole. Cairo is one of the world's largest urban areas and offers many sites to visit. It is the administrative capital of Egypt and, close by, is almost every Egypt Pyramid, such as the Great Pyramids of Giza on the very edge of the city. There are also ancient temples, tombs, gorgeous Christian churches, magnificent Muslim monuments, and of course, the Egyptian Antiquities Museum all either within or nearby to the city. As long as you're willing to loosen your senses and lose yourself to this majestic city, you can discover the sweetness of Cairo; the coziness of small cafes and the pleasure of strolling along narrow streets. It would be impossible to accurately describe Cairo fairly; it is truly one of a kind. Cairo, Egypt is an amazing city full of life and movement, and it is that way almost 24 hours a day, with the noisy honking of horns, children playing in the streets and merchants selling their wears and services.

Egyptian Medical Students' Association

EMSA Vision

The Egyptian Medical Students’ Association, EMSA for short, is a legally recognized Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), registered at the Egyptian Ministry of Social Affairs under license number 7866 - Cairo.

It is the sole legal organization representing Egyptian medical students both inside and outside the Egyptian territories.

Our Vision: "Empowered medical professionals leading impact."

Our Mission: “To provide the suitable atmosphere for Egyptian healthcare Students to create those activities and involvements that would prepare future physicians and healthcare workers with enough skills, competences and broad mind to reshape the future of this country.”

We define “medical student” as, anyone who is studying medicine, whether it is undergraduate studies or postgraduate, from Cairo or any other city, in English or in any other language. Through our activities, we promote the ideals of tolerance, open mind to the world, experiential learning and the international involvement that has become a necessity for the medical practitioner to accomplish his mission according to today’s standards; the profession of medicine being one that can’t accept any compromises any more. Being an NGO that is concerned with medical students from different age groups, nationalities, and social environments; we exploit the growing spectrum of generations between the two extremes of our members' age groups, providing the missing link between undergraduate and postgraduate students. Opening new doors to career development possibilities and maintaining a continuous contribution to the community that surrounds us, are all fundamentals to create a physician who is capable of benefiting his community, to think globally and act locally.

EMSA's Oath

I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely believe in the EMSA Vision, Mission and Values. I do not intend to reach any personal benefits or materialistic reward from my work in EMSA, apart from the experiences, knowledge and relationships I would get from my EMSA life. I will accept others’ differences and cultures without judging while maintaining my values. I shall not impose my own values to others. I will allow myself to learn and will give others the opportunity to learn as well, without excluding anyone from the experience EMSA gives us. I shall build EMSA, without harming others. I shall let EMSA live and let others live. I shall trust in the process, in my seniors and in the intentions of others. Above all I shall work on the welfare of my organization, my community, my country and ultimately humanity. I am an EMSA Citizen.

Our health care system

Despite the fact that some legends can describe Egypt as one of the countries which are not completely up to date regarding hospitals or treatments, we must say that healthcare in this country is one of the most respected organisms. You will not have any problem at all when it comes to finding any medical care. If you go to Cairo for instance, you will be able to see numerous centres and hospitals, some of them state run and some of them privately owned hospitals. One of the reasons for Egypt to have a good healthcare is that many of its doctors have been trained in well reputed centres outside the country and besides, the vast majority of them speak English attracting many students from different Arab countries to study medicine in the universities of Egypt. They generally have a high standard of medical knowledge. Medical facilities in Cairo, Alexandria, and Sharm El Sheikh are considered to be perfectly adequate for routine problems, but emergency services can sometimes be limited. That is why we strongly recommend you to take out adequate private medical insurance for your stay in Egypt. Most doctors and hospitals will expect payment in cash, regardless of whether you have travel health insurance, so make sure you arrive with cash on you. Serious medical problems will require air evacuation to a country with more state-of-the-art medical facilities. There will be an implementation in the public healthcare system, which is supposed to take place in the year 2010. Prior to this implementation, Egyptian government wants to build another 50 new hospitals and they are going to do so using both local and foreign private sector financing.


With less than 1 percent of the population estimated to be HIV-positive, Egypt is a low-HIV-prevalence country. Unsafe behaviors among most-at-risk populations and limited condom use among the general population place Egypt at risk of a broader epidemic. According to the National AIDS Program (NAP), there were 1,155 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Egypt by the end of 2007. UNAIDS estimates for 2005 were higher, putting the number of HIV-positive Egyptians at 5,300. United States Agency for International Development (March 2008). Accessed September 7, 2008.

The hospitals


  • Ain Shams Specialized Hospital
  • Ain Shams University hospital (El Demerdash)
  • Agooza
  • Al Salam
  • Alexandria Psychiatric centre
  • Alzahra Hospital
  • As Salam International Hospital
  • Amoun Hospital
  • Anglo-American
  • Arab Contractors Medical Center
  • Asyout University Hospital
  • Badran
  • Behman Hospital [1]
  • Cairo Institute of Radiology
  • Cairo Kidney Center
  • Cairo Medical Center
  • Cleopatra
  • Coptic Hospital
  • Dar Al Fouad Hospital
  • Dar el Hekma "Nasr city"
  • Dar el Salam General Hospital
  • Dar el Oyoun Hospital
  • Dar El Teb Diagnostic Center.
  • Dar El Teb IVF Center.
  • Dar El Swefa Hospital
  • Demerdash
  • Egyptian Medical Services Co. (EMS) - Cairo Dialysis Center
  • Egyptian Medical Services Co. (EMS) - Sharm El Sheikh Dialysis Center
  • Egyptian Medical Services Co. (EMS) - Hurghada Dialysis Center
  • El Borg Hospital
  • El Fayrouz
  • El Ganzouri Specialized Hospital [2]
  • El Galaa
  • El Gomhoureya
  • El Kablat Hospital
  • El Kateb Cairo
  • El Madina Cairo
  • El Merghany Hospital
  • El Mobarra Maadi
  • El Monera General Hospital
  • El Nada Maternity Hospital [3]
  • El Nozha International Hospital
  • El Safa
  • El Shoruk Hospital
  • El Tawfiaiia
  • Ebtihag Shafik Hospital
  • Garden City
  • Hassabo International Hospital
  • Hayat Medical Center
  • Heliopolis Cardiac Center
  • Hussein University hospital
  • Ibn Sina
  • International Medical Center
  • Italian
  • Kasralainy Hospital[4]
  • Misr International
  • Misr University For Science & Technology - Teaching Hospital
  • Nasser General
  • National Cancer Institute Egypt
  • New Kasr El Aini Hospital
  • Nile Badrawi Hospital
  • Red Crescent
  • Roxy
  • Shaalan Surgi Center
  • Theodor Bilharz Research Institute
  • Zahraa University hospital
  • Sheikh Zayed specialized Hospital

Specialized Hospitals

Bone diseases

  • As Salam International Hospital,Corniche El Nile, Maadi
  • National institute for neuromotor system Imbaba
  • Helal Hospital - Specialized in bone surgery


  • Abu El Reish pediatrics Hospital

Sleep Medicine

Heart Diseases

  • Dar Al Fouad Hospital (Heart clinic and surgery)
  • As Salam International Hospital
  • Nasser Institute for Search and Treatment, Cairo
  • National Heart Institute, Cairo-Imbaba, Kit Kat
  • International Medical Center, Cairo
  • Mehalla Cardiac Center, Mehalla, Gharbiya
  • Port-Said Cardiac Center, Port-Said
  • Cairo Center for heart catheter (Cairo Cath)
  • Heliopolis heart center - Heliopolois
  • Cardioscan
  • Alexandria center for heart catheter
  • International heart center - Alexandria
  • Elborg Hospital

Kidney diseases

  • Al Salam International Hospital, Corniche El Nile, Maadi
  • Egyptian Medical Services Co. (EMS) - Cairo Dialysis Center
  • Egyptian Medical Services Co. (EMS) - Sharm El Sheikh Dialysis Center
  • Egyptian Medical Services Co. (EMS) - Hurghada Dialysis Center
  • El Salam Hospital (kidney center)
  • Kidney stones disintegration centers - ElKatteb Center
  • The National Institute for kidney

Liver diseases

  • The National Institute for liver diseases (Menofya)
  • International Center for digestive system diseases
  • Theodor Bilharz Research Institute[5]

Eye Diseases

  • Clear Vision Laser Center
  • Eye of Cairo
  • Rowad eye hospital- Cairo
  • Dar el Oyoun Eye Hospital
  • Eye diseases Institute Giza
  • Maghrabi eye Hospital & Centers
  • International eye center
  • National Institute for eye diseases and surgery
  • Suzan Mubarak Center for eye tumor
  • Mostafa Kamel Military Hospital - Alexandria.
  • German Hospital - Alexandria.
  • Sharkia Eye Center.


  • Alfacure oncology center
  • National Cancer Institute Egypt
  • Syzium Center Kasser el Eini
  • Egypt International center
  • As Salam International Hospital,Corniche El Nile, Maadi


  • Theodor Bilharz Research Institute, Giza


  • Heliopolis Psychiatric Hospital
  • Abbassia Psychiatric Hospital, Ministry of Health
  • Behman Psychiatric Hospital
  • Aldar Hospital, Zagazig
  • Maamora Psychiatric Hospital, Ministry of Health
  • Khanka Psychiatric Hospital, Ministry of Health
  • Helwan Psychiatric Hospital, Ministry of Health
  • Port Said Psychiatric Hospital, Ministry of Health
  • Asiut Psychiatric Hospital, Ministry of Health
  • Psychological Medicine Hospital- Dr. Adel Sadek
  • Dr.Omar Shaheen Psychiatric Hospital
  • Maadi Palace for Psychometrics
  • Al Mokkatum Hospital
  • Abu el-Azayem psychiatric hospital
  • Rehab City Hospital
  • Dr. Gamal Aboul Azayem Psychiatric Hospitals.
  • Sleep Care Clinic (sleep disorders center)

Geriatric Medicine

  • Ain Shams University Hospital (geriatric medicine department and Geriatrics ICU)
  • The International Medical center (Cairo - Ismailia desert road)
  • Palestine hospital (Long Term Care)
  • Center of Elderly Care (Helwan University)
  • Boulaq Al-Dakror hospital (ministry of health and population)
  • Al-Mataryia hospital (ministry of health and population)
  • El-Sahel hospital (ministry of health and population)


  • Abbassia psychiatric hospital, ministry of health
  • Psychological Medicine Hospital- Dr. Adel Sadek
  • Psychometrics - Behman Psychiatric Hospital
  • Dr.Omar Shaheen Psychiatric Hospital
  • Maadi Palace for Psychometrics
  • Al Mokkatum Psychiatric Hospital
  • Rehab City Hospital

Cairo University Hospitals

National Institue of Diabetes and Endocrinology - Cairo University

National Institue of Diabetes and Endocrinology

It was founded in 1932 and reopened in June 2011. The new institute is supplied with the newest equipments for early diagnosis, treatment and follow up for diabeteic patients. It is the first integrated specialized diabetes center in the Middle East. It is well known that diabetes is a multisystem disease, its patients complain of many problems, so the institutes is highly specialiezed for all the complaints that a diabetic patient complain of. It has: - Clinical pathology and radiology unit - Opthalmology unit - Dentistry unit - Pediatric unit - Endocrinology unit - Outpatient unit ( normally flow of patients 50 - 120 daily ) - Operation theatres - In patient unit ( 350 beds ) The institue supplies clinical and therapeutic faciliteis as well as training facilities and research work for medical staff and trainees.

Our medical education

Egypt has the largest overall education system in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and it has grown rapidly since the early 1990s. In recent years the Government of Egypt has accorded even greater priority in improving the education system. According to the Human Development Index (HDI), Egypt is ranked 123 in the HDI, and 7 in the lowest 10 HDI countries in the Middle East and Northern Africa, in 2009. With the help of World Bank and other multilateral organizations Egypt aims to increase access in early childhood to care and education and the inclusion of ICT at all levels of education, especially at the tertiary level.[1] The government is responsible for offering free education at all levels. The current overall expenditure on education is about 12.6 percent as of 2007.[2] Investment in education as a percentage of GDP rose to 4.8 in 2005 but then fell to 3.7 in 2007. The Ministry of education is also tackling with a number of issues: trying to move from a highly centralized system to offering more autonomy to individual institutions, thereby increasing accountability. The personnel management in the education also needs to be overhauled and teachers should be hired on merit with salaries attached to the performance.

Public schools of medicine

  • Alexandria Faculty of Medicine
  • Faculty of Medicine Ain Shams University
  • Faculty of Medicine Al-Azhar University-Males
  • Faculty of Medicine Al-Azhar University- Females
  • Faculty of Medicine Al-Fayyum University
  • Faculty of Medicine Al-Minya University
  • Faculty of Medicine Assiut University
  • Faculty of Medicine Banha University
  • Faculty of Medicine Bani Suwayf University
  • Faculty of Medicine Cairo University
  • Faculty of Medicine Helwan University
  • Faculty of Medicine Kafr Ashaykh University
  • Faculty of Medicine Mansoura University
  • Faculty of Medicine Minufiya University
  • Faculty of Medicine South Valley University
  • Faculty of Medicine Suez Canal University
  • Faculty of Medicine Tanta University
  • Faculty of Medicine Zagazig University

Private schools of medicine and dentistry

  • Faculty of Medicine Misr University for Science and Technology - MUST


Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a commemoration of the ancient Library of Alexandria in Egypt's second largest city.

Egyptian culture has six thousand years of recorded history. Ancient Egypt was among the earliest civilizations and for millennia, Egypt maintained a strikingly complex and stable culture that influenced later cultures of Europe, the Middle East and other African countries. After the Pharaonic era, Egypt itself came under the influence of Hellenistic civilization, Christianity, and Islamic culture. Today, many aspects of Egypt's ancient culture exist in interaction with newer elements, including the influence of modern Western culture, itself with roots in ancient Egypt.

Egypt's capital city, Cairo, is Africa's largest city and has been renowned for centuries as a center of learning, culture and commerce. Egypt has the highest number of Nobel Laureates in Africa and the Arab World. Some Egyptian born politicians were or are at the helm of major international organizations like Boutros-Ghali of the United Nations and Mohamed ElBaradei of the IAEA.

Egypt is a recognized cultural trend-setter of the Arabic-speaking world, and contemporary Arab culture is heavily influenced by Egyptian literature, music, film and television. Egypt gained a regional leadership role during the 1950s and 1960s, which gave a further enduring boost to the standing of Egyptian culture in the Arab world.


Mahmoud Mokhtar's Egypt's Renaissance 1919–1928, Cairo University

The Nile Valley was home to one of the oldest cultures in the world, spanning three thousand years of continuous history. When Egypt fell under a series of foreign occupations after 343 BC, each left an indelible mark on the country's cultural landscape. Egyptian identity evolved in the span of this long period of occupation to accommodate, in principle, two new religions, Islam and Christianity; and a new language, Arabic, and its spoken descendant, Egyptian Arabic.

After two thousand years of occupation, three ideologies competed for the attention of newly independent Egyptians: ethno-territorial Egyptian nationalism, secular Arab nationalism/pan-Arabism, and Islamism. Egyptian nationalism predates its Arab counterpart by many decades, having roots in the 19th century and becoming the dominant mode of expression of Egyptian anti-colonial activists and intellectuals until the early 20th century. Arab nationalism reached a peak under Gamal Abdel Nasser but subsided under Anwar El Sadat; meanwhile, the ideology espoused by Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood is present in small segments of the lower-middle strata of Egyptian society.

The work of early 19th-century scholar Rifa'a et-Tahtawi led to the Egyptian Renaissance, marking the transition from Medieval to Early Modern Egypt. His work renewed interest in Egyptian antiquity and exposed Egyptian society to Enlightenment principles. Tahtawi co-founded with education reformer Ali Mubarak a native Egyptology school that looked for inspiration to medieval Egyptian scholars, such as Suyuti and Maqrizi, who themselves studied the History of ancient Egypt, Egyptian language and Ancient Egyptian architecture(antiquities) of Egypt.

Egypt's renaissance peaked in the late 19th and early 20th centuries through the work of people like Muhammad Abduh, Ahmed Lutfi el-Sayed, Muhammad Loutfi Goumah, Tawfiq el-Hakim, Louis Awad, Qasim Amin, Salama Moussa, Taha Hussein and Mahmoud Mokhtar. They forged a liberal path for Egypt expressed as a commitment to personal freedom, secularism and faith in science to bring progress.

Art and architecture

Eighteenth dynasty painting from the tomb of Theban governor Ramose in Deir el-Madinah

The Egyptians were one of the first major civilizations to codify design elements in art and architecture. The wall paintings done in the service of the Pharaohs followed a rigid code of visual rules and meanings. Egyptian civilization is renowned for its colossal pyramids, temples and monumental tombs. Well-known examples are the Pyramid of Djoser designed by ancient architect and engineer Imhotep, the Sphinx, and the temple of Abu Simbel. Modern and contemporary Egyptian art can be as diverse as any works in the world art scene, from the vernacular architecture of Hassan Fathy and Ramses Wissa Wassef, to Mahmoud Mokhtar's sculptures, to the distinctive Coptic iconography of Isaac Fanous.

The Cairo Opera House serves as the main performing arts venue in the Egyptian capital. Egypt's media and arts industry has flourished since the late 19th century, today with more than thirty satellite channels and over one hundred motion pictures produced each year. Cairo has long been known as the "Hollywood of the Middle East;" its annual film festival, the Cairo International Film Festival, has been rated as one of 11 festivals with a top class rating worldwide by the International Federation of Film Producers' Associations. To bolster its media industry further, especially with the keen competition from the Persian Gulf Arab States and Lebanon, a large media city was built. Some Egyptian-born actors include Omar Sharif.


Egyptian media is highly influential throughout the Arab World, attributed to large audiences and increasing freedom from government control. Freedom of the media is guaranteed in the constitution; however, many laws still restrict this right. After the Egyptian presidential election of 2005, Ahmed Selim, office director for Information Minister Anas al-Fiqi, declared an era of a "free, transparent and independent Egyptian media".

Today, the Egyptian media is experiencing greater freedom. Several Egyptian Talk shows, like 90 Minutes and Al- Ashera Masa'an, which air on private channels, and even state television programs such as El-beit beitak criticize the Government, which was previously banned.


Literature is an important cultural element in the life of Egypt. Egyptian novelists and poets were among the first to experiment with modern styles of Arabic literature, and the forms they developed have been widely imitated throughout the Middle East. The first modern Egyptian novel Zaynab by Muhammad Husayn Haykal was published in 1913 in the Egyptian vernacular. Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz was the first Arabic-language writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Egyptian women writers include Nawal El Saadawi, well known for her feminist activism, and Alifa Rifaat who also writes about women and tradition.

Vernacular poetry is perhaps the most popular literary genre among Egyptians, represented by the works of Ahmed Fouad Negm (Fagumi), Salah Jaheen and Abdel Rahman el-Abnudi. In their belief, boats were used by the dead to accompany the sun around the world, as Heaven was referred to as “Upper Waters”. In Egyptian mythology, every night the serpentine god Apophis would attack the Sun Boat as it brought the sun (and as such order )back to the Kingdom in the morning. It is referred to as the “Boat of Millions” as all the gods and souls of the blessed dead may at one point or another be needed to defend or operate it.


Upper Egyptian folk musicians from Kom Ombo

Egyptian music is a rich mixture of indigenous, Mediterranean, African and Western elements. In antiquity, Egyptians were playing harps and flutes, including two indigenous instruments: the ney and the oud. Percussion and vocal music also became an important part of the local music tradition ever since. Contemporary Egyptian music traces its beginnings to the creative work of people such as Abdu-l Hamuli, Almaz and Mahmud Osman, who influenced the later work of Egyptian music giants such as Sayed Darwish, Umm Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab and Abdel Halim Hafez. From the 1970s onwards, Egyptian pop music has become increasingly important in Egyptian culture, while Egyptian folk music continues to be played during weddings and other festivities. Some of the most prominent contemporary Egyptian pop singers include Amr Diab and Mohamed Mounir.


Egypt celebrates many festivals and religious carnivals, also known as mulid. They are usually associated with a particular Coptic or Sufi saint, but are often celebrated by all Egyptians irrespective of creed or religion. Ramadan has a special flavor in Egypt, celebrated with sounds, lights (local lanterns known as fawanees) and much flare that many Muslim tourists from the region flock to Egypt during Ramadan to witness the spectacle. The ancient spring festival of Sham en Nisim has been celebrated by Egyptians for thousands of years, typically between the Egyptian months of Paremoude (April) and Pashons (May), following Easter Sunday.

Egypt is one of the boldest countries in the middle east in the music industry. The next generation of the Egyptian music is considered to be the rise, as the music was disrupted by some foreign influences, bad admixing, and abused oriental styles. The new arising talents starting from the late 1990s are taking over the rein now as they play different genres of many cultures. Rock And Metal music are prevailing widely in Egypt now,as much as the oriental jazz and folk music are becoming well-known now to the Egyptian and non-Egyptian fans


Cairo International Stadium

Football is the Popular National Sport of Egypt. Egyptian Football clubs Al-Ahly, El Zamalek, Ismaily, El-Ittihad El-Iskandary and El Masry are the most popular teams and enjoy the reputation of long-time regional champions. The great rivalries keep the streets of Egypt energized as people fill the streets when their favorite team wins. The Cairo Derby is one of the fiercest derbies in Africa and the world, the BBC even picked it as one of the toughest 7 derbies in the world. Egypt is rich in soccer history as soccer has been around for over 100 years. The Egyptian national football team is ranked among the best in the world according to the FIFA World Rankings. The country is home to many African championships such as the Africa Cup of Nations. While, Egypt's national team has not qualified for the FIFA World Cup since 1990, the Egyptian team won the Africa Cup Of Nations an unprecedented seven times, including two times in a row in 1957 and 1959 and an unprecedented three times in a row in 2006, 2008, and 2010 setting a world record.

Squash and tennis are other popular sports in Egypt. The Egyptian squash team has been known for its fierce competition in international championships since the 1930s. Amr Shabana is Egypt's best player and the winner of the world open three times and the best player of 2006.

The Egyptian Handball team also holds another record; throughout the 34 times the African Handball Nations Championship was held, Egypt won first place five times (including 2008), five times second place, four times third place, and came in fourth place twice. The team won 6th and 7th places in 1995, 1997 at the World Men's Handball Championship, and twice won 6th place at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.

In 2007, Omar Samra joined Ben Stephens (England), Victoria James (Wales) and Greg Maud (South Africa) in putting together an expedition to climb Mount Everest from its South side. The Everest expedition began on 25 March 2007 and lasted for just over 9 weeks. On the 17 May at precisely 9:49 am Nepal time, Omar became the first and youngest Egyptian to climb 8,850m Mount Everest. He also became the first Egyptian to climb Everest from its South face, the same route taken by Sir Edmund Hilary and Sherpa Tenzing in 1953.

Egypt has taken part in the Summer Olympic Games since 1912.

Egyptian cuisine

Egyptian cuisine consists of the local culinary traditions of Egypt. Egyptian cuisine makes heavy use of legumes and vegetables, as Egypt's rich Nile Valley and Delta produce large quantities of high-quality crops.

History and characteristics

Ful Medames, one of Egypt's national dishes, served with sliced eggs and vegetables

Egyptian cuisine's history goes back to Ancient Egypt. Archaeological excavations have found that workers on the Great Pyramids of Giza were paid in bread, beer, and onions, apparently their customary diet as peasants in the Egyptian countryside. Dental analysis of occasional desiccated loaves found in tombs confirm this, in addition to indicating that ancient Egyptian bread was made with flour from emmer wheat. Though beer disappeared as a mainstay of Egyptian life following the Muslim conquest of Egypt in the year 654, onions remain the primary vegetable for flavoring and nutrition in Egyptian food. Beans were also a primary source of protein for the mass of the Egyptian populace, as they remain today.

Egyptian cuisine is notably conducive to vegetarian diets, as it relies heavily on vegetable dishes. Though food in Alexandria and the coasts of Egypt tends to use a great deal of fish and other seafood, for the most part Egyptian cuisine is based on foods that grow out of the ground. Meat has been very expensive for most Egyptians throughout history, and a great deal of vegetarian dishes have developed to work around this economic reality.


Bread forms the backbone of Egyptian cuisine. Bread is consumed at almost all Egyptian meals; a working-class or rural Egyptian meal might consist of little more than bread and beans. The local bread is a form of hearty, thick, glutenous pita bread called Eish Masri or Eish Balad. In modern Egypt, the government subsidizes bread, dating back to a Nasser-era policy. In 2008, a major food crisis caused ever-longer bread lines at government-subsidized bakeries where there would normally be none; occasional fights broke out over bread, leading to fear of rioting. Egyptian dissidents and outside observers of the former National Democratic Party regime frequently criticized the bread subsidy as an attempt to buy off the Egyptian urban working classes in order to encourage acceptance of the authoritarian system; nevertheless, the subsidy has continued after the 2011 Revolution.

On a culinary level, bread is most commonly used as an edible utensil besides providing the carbohydrate and much of the protein in the Egyptian diet. Egyptians use bread to scoop up food, sauces, and dips and to wrap kebabs, falafel, and the like in the manner of sandwiches. Most pita breads are baked at high temperatures (450°F or 232°C), causing the flattened rounds of dough to puff up dramatically. When removed from the oven, the layers of baked dough remain separated inside the deflated pita, which allows the bread to be opened into pockets, creating a space for use in various dishes.

Aish Merahrah is an Egyptian flat bread made with 5-10% ground fenugreek seeds and maize. It is part of the traditional diet of the Egyptian countryside, prepared locally in village homes. The loaves are flat and wide, and usually about 50cm in diameter. The bread is made of maize flour that has been made into a soft dough that is fermented overnight with a sourdough starter, shaped into round loaves that are then allowed to rise or "proof" for 30 minutes before being flattened into round disks, which are then baked. They can be kept for days in an airtight container. The addition of fenugreek seeds increases the protein content, storage length and digestibility of the bread; on the other hand, it causes the eater to exude a distinctive odor in his or her sweat, which is occasionally mocked by more urban Egyptians.


Egyptian cuisine is characterized by dishes such as Ful Medames, Koshari, rice-stuffed pigeon, 'Molokheyya, and Fetir Meshaltet. Egyptian cuisine also shares similarities with food of the Eastern Mediterranean region, such as rice-stuffed vegetables, grape leaves, Shawerma, Kebab, Falafel, Baba Ghannoug, and baklava.

Some Egyptians consider Koshari - a mixture of rice, lentils, and macaroni - to be the national dish. In addition, Ful Medames (mashed fava beans) is one of the most popular dishes. Fava bean is also used in making falafel (also known as "ta`meyya"), which originated in Egypt and spread to other parts of the Middle East.

Kushari served at an Egyptian restaurant in Cairo
Fried falafel (ta`meyya)

Ancient Egyptians are known to have used a lot of garlic and onion in their everyday dishes. Fresh mashed garlic with other herbs is used in spicy tomato salad and is also stuffed in boiled or baked aubergines (eggplant). Garlic fried with coriander is added to Mulukhiyya, a popular green soup made from finely chopped jute leaves, sometimes with chicken or rabbit. Fried onions can be also added to Koshari.

Dish Definition
Baba Ghannoug A condiment made with eggplants, chickpeas, lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley, cumin and oil.
Du'aah A dry mixture of chopped nuts, seeds, Middle Eastern spices, and flavors.
Kabab Usually of lamb meat, chops and minced meat on skewers grilled on charcoal.
Kebda Fried liver, with seasonings. It is seen as something of an Alexandrine specialty, where it is known as Kibda Iskindiraniyya.
Keshk A milk or yogurt savory pudding, made with flour, sometimes seasoned with fried onions, chicken broth, and/or boiled chicken.
Mahshi A stuffing of rice, seasoned with herbs and spices, into vegetables like green peppers, aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, or cabbage leaves. The stuffed vegetable is then placed in a pot and topped with tomato sauce and lemon or lime.
Mahshi hamam Pigeon stuffed with rice or wheat and herbs, then roasted or grilled.
waraa enab Grape leaves stuffed with a rice mixture that can be made either with sauteed ground beef or vegetarian style. The rice is seasoned with crushed red tomatoes, onion, parsley, dill, salt, pepper and Egyptian spices. This mixture is then stuffed and rolled into an individual grape leaf, placed in a pot and topped with tomato sauce and lemon or lime.
Mesa'a`ah Sliced eggplants that are lightly grilled and placed in a flat pan with sliced onions, green peppers, and jalapeños. It is then covered with a red sauce made of tomato paste and Egyptian spices. This pan is cooked in the oven for 30–40 minutes at 350 degrees.
Molokheyyah Green soup prepared in various styles, wherein the mallow leaves are very finely chopped, with ingredients such as garlic and coriander added to give it a characteristic aromatic taste.
Roz Meaammar A rice dish made by adding milk (and frequently butter or cream) and chicken stock or broth to cooked rice and subsequently baking it in an oven. Frequently substituted for plain white rice at festive occasions and large family meals.
Shawerma A popular sandwich of shredded beef, lamb or chicken meat, usually rolled in pita bread with Tahina sauce. It is a relatively recent import from Levantine cuisine, possibly brought by Lebanese immigrants, but it has been incorporated into the Egyptian kitchen.
Tehina sesame paste dip or spread made of sesame tahini, lemon juice, and garlic. Typically served with pita bread.
Tehina salad a condiment made with sesame butter, chickpeas, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, pepper, parsley, cumin and olive oil.
Bram rice Rice made with milk in a special kind of plate, usually stuffed with chicken liver
Kobeiba Kofta with bulghur wheat and meat
Macaroni béchamel An Egyptian variant of the Greek pastitsio, typically incorporating Gebna Rumi (Egyptian Sardo or Pecorino cheese)
Shakshouka Eggs with tomato sauce and vegetables. An import from Moroccan cuisine, it has since become Egyptianized.
Samak mashwy Grilled fish. Like most fish dishes, a specialty of Alexandria.
Samak makly Fried fish. Again, a specialty of Alexandria.
Torly A tray of baked squash, potatoes, carrots, onions, and tomato sauce
Calamari Squid, fried and served with tartar sauce, or grilled.
A slice of Egyptian Macaroni Béchamel

Other Dishes :

  • Macarona béchamel, also known as "pastitsio" in Greece, it consists of a mixture of penne macaroni and béchamel sauce, and usually one or two layers of cooked spiced meat with onions.
  • Beeftek (veal schnitzel; a French import)
  • Kersha (Sheep gelatin with vegetables).
  • Bird Tongue (Orzo) Noodle Soup.
  • Besara.
  • Duck.
  • Duqqa.
  • Eggs with basterma.
  • Falafel.
  • Ferakh panée.
  • Feseekh (salted or fermented mullet, generally eaten on the spring festival of Sham El Nessim, which falls on Eastern Easter Monday).
  • Fitir: Pies made of thin dough with liberal quantities of samnah. Made with fillings both savory (e.g. cheese, suguq) and sweet (e.g. qishta, jam). Certain types of restaurants specialize in fitir, although since at least the early 2000s they also generally make pizza.
  • Ful medames.
  • Goose.
  • Koshari.
  • Lentil Soup.
  • Chicken liver
  • Beef liver
  • Mahshi (grape leaves dolma, cabbage, green pepper, eggplant, squash, aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes, onions).
  • Messaqa'a.
  • Molokheyya (Egyptian style), with rabbits, chicken or other type of meat.
  • Pigeon stuffed with rice.
  • Shish taouk is a relatively recent import from the Levant.
  • Sayyadeyah.
  • Ta'meyya (Falafel).
  • White (feta) cheese & tomato salad with olive oil and garlic.
  • Tagin - A typical food found all over North Africa. Lamb, beef, chickpeas, artichokes, okra, and broad beans were all popular Egyptian tagin items.
  • Tehina.
  • Octopus (grilled akhtaboot).
  • Mussels (fried and served with tartar sauce or stuffed with rice filling).
  • Shrimp (gambari) (salad, grilled or cooked with vegetables in güveç-casserole).
  • Fattah Masryah.
  • Bamyah,"beram bamyah".
  • Kawarea and Mumbar.
  • Dukkah


Basbousa topped with walnut

Egyptian desserts are not so different from other Eastern Mediterranean desserts. Basbousa, sometimes called Harissa (in Morocco and Alexandria), is a spicy dish made from semolina and is soaked in a sugar syrup. It is usually topped with almonds and traditionally cut vertically into pieces so that each piece resembles a diamond shape. Baklava is a sweet dish made from many layers of phyllo pastry, an assortment of nuts, and soaked in a sweet syrup. Eish el-Saraya Fatir are pancakes (filo dough) stuffed with everything from eggs to apricots or fruit of choice. Polvorón, is a common dish in all of North Africa. It is a sweet dish similar to kahk but much thinner. It is like shortbread and is usually topped with roasted almonds.

Kahk is a traditional sweet dish served most commonly during Breakfast Feast, in Egypt. It is a shortbread biscuit covered with icing sugar, which may be stuffed with dates, walnuts, or agameya (like Turkish-delight) or just served plain. Kunafah is a dish of batter "fingers" fried on a hot grill and stuffed with nuts (usually pistachios), meats, heavy whipped cream or sweets. Luqmat al-Qadi literally translates to "The Judge's Bite". They are small, round donuts which are crunchy on the outside and soft and syrupy on the inside. They may be served with dusted cinnamon and powdered sugar. Qatayef is a dessert reserved for the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, a sort of sweet crepe filled with cheese or nuts. Roz be laban (“rice pudding”) is made with short grain white rice, full-cream milk, sugar, and vanilla. It may be served dusted with cinnamon. Umm Ali, a national dish of Egypt, is a raisin cake soaked in milk and served hot.

Other desserts include:

  • Feteer meshaltet (“meshaltet pie”).
  • Couscous Egyptian style.
  • Halawa.
  • Honey and coconut pie.
  • Ladida.
  • Malban (Turkish Delight).
  • Mehalabeyya.
  • Melabbes.


Traditional apple cakes are seasoned with various spices such as nutmeg or cinnamon, which provide additional flavour. Upon the addition of spices the batter can also be accompanied by crushed nuts, the most popular being walnuts and almonds. Sponge cake is a cake based on flour (usually wheat flour), sugar, and eggs, sometimes leavened with baking powder, that derives its structure from an egg foam into which the other ingredients are folded Vanilla slice is a pastry made of several layers of puff pastry alternating with a sweet filling, typically pastry cream, but sometimes whipped cream, or jam. It is usually glazed with icing or fondant in alternating white and brown (chocolate) strips, and combed.

Religious varieties

Although Ramadan is a month of fasting for Muslims in Egypt, it is usually when Egyptians pay a lot of attention to food in variety and richness, since breaking the fast is a family affair, often with entire extended families meeting at the table just after sunset. There are several special desserts almost exclusive to Ramadan such as Kunafah and Qatayef. In this month, many Egyptians will make a special table for the poor or passers-by, usually in a tent in the street, called Ma'edet Rahman which translates literally as Table of (God) the Gracious (Merciful). These may be fairly simple or quite lavish, depending on the wealth and ostentation of the provider (dancer and actress Fifi Abdou's Ma'edah is famous for its unusual richness to the point where jokes about it are common).

Observant Copts (Egypt's Oriental Orthodox Christian population) observe fasting periods according to the Coptic Calendar that practically extend to more than two-thirds of the year. The Coptic diet for fasting is essentially vegan. During this fasting, Copts will usually eat vegetables and legumes fried in oil as they avoid meat, chicken, and dairy products including butter.


Tea is the national drink in Egypt, followed only distantly by Egyptian coffee. Egyptian tea is uniformly black and sweet, usually not served with milk, and generally in a glass. Tea packed and sold in Egypt is almost exclusively imported from Kenya and Sri Lanka. The Egyptian government considers tea a strategic crop and runs large tea plantations in Kenya. Egyptian tea comes in two varieties, Koshary and Saiidi.

Koshary tea , popular in Lower (Northern) Egypt, is prepared using the traditional method of steeping black tea in boiled water and letting it sit for a few minutes. It is almost always sweetened with cane sugar and is often flavored with fresh mint leaves. Adding milk is also common. Koshary tea is usually light, with less than a half teaspoonful of tea per cup considered to be near the high end.

Saiidi tea is common in Upper (Southern) Egypt. It is prepared by boiling black tea with water for as long as 5 minutes over a strong flame. Saiidi tea is extremely heavy, with 2 teaspoonfuls of tea per cup being the norm. It is sweetened with copious amounts of cane sugar (a necessity since the formula and method yield a very bitter tea). Saiidi tea is often black even in liquid form.

Tea is a vital part of daily life and folk etiquette in Egypt. Tea typically accompanies breakfast in most households, and drinking tea after lunch is a common practice. Visiting another person's household, regardless of socioeconomic level or the purpose of the visit, entails a compulsory cup of tea; similar hospitality might be required for a business visit to the private office of someone wealthy enough to maintain one, depending on the nature of the business. A common nickname for tea in Egypt is "duty" (pronounced in Arabic as "wa-jeb" or "wa-geb"), as serving tea to a visitor is considered a duty, while anything beyond is a nicety.

Green tea is a recent arrival to Egypt (only in the late 1990s did green tea become affordable) and is highly unpopular. This contrasts with certain parts of the Maghreb and Sahara, where gunpowder tea has traditionally been used to make Touareg tea and the tea for the Moroccan tea ceremony.

Besides true tea, tisanes (herbal teas) are also often served at the Egyptian teahouses. Karkadeh, a tea of dried hibiscus sepals is particularly popular, as it is in other parts of North Africa. It is generally served extremely sweet and cold but may also be served hot. This drink is said to have been a preferred drink of the pharaohs. In Egypt and Sudan, wedding celebrations are traditionally toasted with a glass of hibiscus tea. On a typical street in downtown Cairo, one can find many vendors and open-air cafés selling the drink. In Egypt, karkadeh is used as a means to lower blood pressure when consumed in high amounts. Tisanes of mint, cinnamon, dried ginger, and anise are also commonly found, as is sahlab. Most of these tisanes are considered to have medicinal properties, as well; particularly common is a tisane of hot lemonade in which mint leaves have been steeped and sweetened with honey, used to combat mild sore throat.

Coffee (Saidi Arabic: gahwah) is considered a part of the traditional welcome in Egypt. It is usually prepared in a small coffee pot, which is called dalla or kanakah in Egypt. It is served in a small cup made for coffee called fenjan.

In Egypt, sugar cane juice is called "aseer asab" and is an incredibly popular drink served by almost all fruit juice vendors, who can be found abundantly in most cities.

Licorice teas and carob juice drinks are traditionally drunk during the Islamic month of Ramadan, as is qamar ad-din, a thick drink made by reconstituting sheets of dried apricot with water. The sheets themselves are often consumed as candy.

A sour, chilled drink made from tamarind is popular during the summer.

Currency and Prices

The Egyptian currency is the Egyptian Pound (Geneih) usually written as L.E. The Egyptian Pound is divided into 100 piasters ('isrh). It is mainly a paper currency but coins are used for fractions of the pound. Egypt's paper money has two faces; an Arabic face and an English one. The Arabic side has pictures of some of the historic mosques in Egypt. The English side has a Pharaonic scene (except for the 25 piasters bills which carries the Egyptian offical seal - the hawk.) There are various denominations of paper money starting from 5 piasters till 200 LE. The coins are usually made of copper and silver. On one side there are pictures; usually of the pyramids or the Egyptian official seal, and on the other is the value. They range from 5 to 100 piasters. The following prices will give you an idea of prices in Egypt: One way Metro ticket:LE 1.00, Arabic Newspaper:LE 2.0 Local phone call: LE 0.50, Bottle of water:LE 1.50 Soft drink can:LE 2.50, Bus ticket Cairo - Sharm El Sheikh:LE 70.0

Accommodation & Boarding

Social program

Egypt, for long has captured the imagination of countless travelers. Its magnificent monuments such as the marvelous temples & tombs and awe-inspiring pyramids have inspired numerous generations. Two of the seven wonders of the ancient world have existed in it, one disappeared which is the Light House (PHAROS) in Alexandria and the second, the Great Pyramid, is the only survivor of these Wonders. It remains a symbol of the grandeur and glory of this country’s past. During the last 20 years Egypt has developed a convenient infrastructure and made a great investment in tourism business to offer even a lot more for millions of tourists and travelers who flock to it every year, so we can say proudly that Egypt has got something for everybody, no matter what interests you have.

Sand Boarding

Sandboarding, sand skiing, dry surfing or hot snowboarding.. and whatever the name is, sand-boarding is a board sport similar to snowbaording that takes place on sand dunes rather than snow-clad slopes. It involves sliding down or across sand dunes while standing with both feet strapped to a board. More daring people use a board with no bindings, a method that is considered by many as much more dangerous.

Well, to go sand bording you just need a sand dune, a board in hand and of course your ready to go. The sport is obviously seen in desert areas with sand dunes, and it has gained popularity foremost in Peru, South Africa, Namibia, south Germany, and Australia. Egypt and UAE are also home to some amazing sandboording destinations that are on their way to international fame, and there is evidence that ancient Egyptians rode down the dunes on planks of wood and pottery thousands of years ago.
SandBoarding in Egypt !!

In Egypt, there are some of the best sandboarding places in the region. So, whether it’s the Great Sand Sea near Siwa Oasis with dunes rising as high as 200 meters and sloping at angles of 70 degrees, or it is the well-known Wadi El Rayan Dunes at El Fayoum with beautiful surroundings, also El Quataniya Sand Dunes of 6th October governorate near Cairo, you’ll always be sure to find some great sand dunes to hit.

Local & National transportation

Transportation in Cairo comprises an extensive road network, rail system, subway system and maritime services for the more than 15.2 million inhabitants of the city. Cairo is the hub of almost the entire Egyptian transport network.

Part of the city centre road system in Cairo

Road system

An extensive road network connects Cairo with other Egyptian cities and villages. There is a new ring road that surrounds the outskirts of the city, with exits that reach to almost every Cairo district. There are flyovers, and bridges such as the 6th October Bridge that allows straight, fast and efficient means of transport from one side of the city to the other. Cairo traffic is known to be overwhelming and overcrowded.[6]

Bus system

Cairo Transport Authority

There is a public bus system that offers several lines of service in different classes and prices. There is the standard bus service, the air-conditioned service, known as CTA short for Cairo Transport Authority (for a higher price) and Mini-buses (smaller buses and more extensive network).

Other transport services includes the traditional Cairo Taxi and Micro-buses, both are privately run by individuals. The Micro-buses are the cheapest form of transport in Cairo, yet not very reliable. The traditional Cairo Taxi is also run by individuals and usually operate on older models of cars that are being replaced by the effective Cairo Cab for a more modern look in the city.

Egyptians use cabs, cars, and the Nile ferry as methods of transportation.


Cairo International Airport is the international gateway to the city and the home of the national airline EgyptAir and serves as a gateway to the rest of Egypt. The airport is located near in the Heliopolis district and is accessible by car, taxi and bus. An underground mass transit rail system "locally known as Metro" is currently under construction that will connect the airport to the city by 2013.

Cairo International Airport is the busiest airport in Egypt and the primary hub for Star Alliance member EgyptAir. The airport is located to the north-east of the city around 15km from the business area of the city. The airport is administered by the Egyptian Holding Company for Airports and Air Navigation (EHCAAN), which controls four companies including: Cairo Airport Co., Egyptian Airports Co., National Air Navigation Services and Aviation Information Technology and the Cairo Airport Authority (CAA), which is the regulatory body.

Cairo International is the second busiest airport in Africa after Johannesburg International Airport in South Africa. Cairo Airport handles about 3,400 daily flights, more than 12,100 weekly flights and about 125,000 yearly flights. The airport has three terminals with the third (Terminal 3) opening in April 2009 which houses EgyptAir and its Star Alliance partners. There are also three runways (a fourth runway was opened in early 2009) and a single cargo terminal. Runway 05L/23R is 3,300m long, 05R/23L has a length of 4,000m and 16/34 is 3,180m (all of the runways are 60m wide). The fourth runway, south of the existing airfield is 4,000m by 65m and suitable for the Airbus A380.

With the assimilation of EgyptAir into Star Alliance in July 2008 the airport has the potential to be a major hub with its positioning between Africa, the Middle East and Europe (especially with facilities for the A380).

In 2008, the airport served 14,360,175 passengers (+14.2% vs. 2007) and handled just over 138,000 aircraft movements (+12.4% vs. 2007). According to Airports Council International statistics , of the top 100 airports in the world, CAI reported the highest growth rate of any airport in 2008.

Cairo cab

The Yellow Taxi/Cab

The introduction of a new organized private taxi service was finally realized in March, 2006. The new "yellow" taxis offer a more reliable, luxurious and advanced taxi service in modern air-conditioned cars (Hyundai Elantra, Volkswagen Parati and the Chevrolet Optra) through the help of three privately run companies operating in Cairo, Giza and Qalyubia. There are stops for the cabs and there is a free number to order a cab. The cab drivers speak English for the millions of tourists. An average cab ride is $3 USD, prices may vary on distance.

The White Taxi/Cab

In subsequent years, an even newer plan for "white" taxis has been implemented and white taxis now vastly outnumber yellow taxis. The Egyptian government has a popular program giving steep discounts on newer more efficient vehicles to taxi owners in exchange for scrapping decades-old Latas and other black cabs. White cabs all have Air condition (you might have to ask them to turn it on during summer) and electronic meters with contemporary pricing, allowing tourists and locals to ride without having to bargain for prices. Meters start at 2.5 LE for the first kilometer for local but 6 LE for tourists and add 2.50 LE per kilometer after that, plus 0.25 LE per minute of waiting time.

While yellow cabs continue to wait at designated spots, white cabs operate like black cabs, and can be hailed from anywhere in the city. Many white taxis are fueled by compressed natural gas.

The government program is planned to expand to other cities in 2012.

Cairo Metro

Cairo Metro station (Line 1)

The Cairo Metro in Egypt is Africa's only full-fledged metro system. The system currently consists of two operational lines, with a third in an advanced stage of planning. The metro is run by the National Authority for Tunnels. The line uses standard gauge (1435 mm). Ticket price is EGP 1.00 for each journey (as of July 2006, EUR 0.14 or USD 0.18), regardless of distance. On all Cairo metros, two cars in the middle of each train are reserved for women until early evening as an option for women who don't wish to ride with men in the same car, however women can still ride other cars freely.


Cairo Tram
public transport system 1996

Constructed near the beginning of the 20th century, the Tram system is still used in modern day Cairo, especially in modern areas, like Heliopolis, Nasr City.

tramway track map 1996


Cairo is extensively connected to other Egyptian cities and villages by rail operated by the Egyptian National Railways. Cairo's main railway station - Ramses Station (Mahattat Ramses) is located on Midan Ramses.

Nile ferry

There's a maritime ferry boat system that crosses the Nile River.


Throughout Egypt, days are commonly warm or hot, and nights are cool. Egypt has only two seasons: a mild winter from November to April and a hot summer from May to October. The only differences between the seasons are variations in daytime temperatures and changes in prevailing winds. In the coastal regions, temperatures range between an average minimum of 16° C in winter and an average maximum of 33° C in summer.

Temperatures vary widely in the inland desert areas, especially in summer, when they may range from 7° C at night to 43° C during the day. During winter, temperatures in the desert fluctuate less dramatically, but they can be as low as 0° C at night and as high as 18° C during the day.

Egypt receives fewer than eighty millimeters of precipitation annually in most areas. Most rain falls along the coast, but even the wettest area, around Alexandria, receives only about 200 millimeters of precipitation per year. Alexandria has relatively high humidity, but sea breezes help keep the moisture down to a comfortable level. Moving southward, the amount of precipitation decreases suddenly. Cairo receives a little more than one centimeter of precipitation each year. The city, however, reports humidity as high as 77 percent during the summer. But during the rest of the year, humidity is low. The areas south of Cairo receive only traces of rainfall. Some areas will go years without rain and then experience sudden downpours that result in flash floods.

A phenomenon of Egypt's climate is the hot spring wind that blows across the country. The winds, known to Europeans as the sirocco and to Egyptians as the khamsin, usually arrive in April but occasionally occur in March and May.

Social life

Cairo, where the constant blasting of the car horns and the loudspeakers of its thousand minarets proclaim both the hectic present and the contemplative past. Modern skyscrapers, highways, a subway system, hotels, restaurants, advertising and western clothing blend together with ancient pharaonic ruins, Islamic mosques, Coptic churches, Middle Eastern garb, bazaars and the odor of cattle in a unique mosaic of life in modern Egypt. I once witnessed a huge caravan of farmers, donkeys and camels making a right turn on a principal Cairo avenue. Islam is the official religion, practiced by 90% of the population, and several national holidays are of Islamic origin. Christianity and Judaism are officially accepted. Life in modern Egypt has changed in the big cities, where public and private transportation, television, American style food, sports, music, arts, cinema and theater are signs of a healthy modern economy. Education in Egypt is free by law, and there is a choice of public and private universities. On the negative side, there's overpopulation, urban housing problems, pollution and a great gap between the wealthy and the poor. Egyptians are friendly and can be very helpful if you show them the proper respect and behave yourself according to their customs and values. Since tourism is one of Egypt's prime sources of income, there is a well developed tourist industry focused on the visitor's satisfaction and desire to return. Egyptians appreciate and reward your admiration and knowledge of their country so, my advise to you, prepare yourself, learn all about Egypt, its people and their way of life.

Cairo is even livelier at night than during the day, and locals always know how to enjoy themselves. Alcohol isn’t a huge part of social life, but concentrated areas in Zamalek is where Cairo’s party persons head. In many venues, the distinction between bar, restaurant and club is a little blurred. Many locals head to a venue for a dinner around 10:00, after which the lights dim and music gets louder for the bar to kick in.

Otherwise locals head to traditional ahwas (coffeehouse) to smoke sheesha and drink strong Arabic coffee (Turkish coffee). Families bring their young children out to while away the evening on soft drinks, especially around Midan el Hussein (Islamic Cairo).


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