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Egypt's awe-inspiring monuments, left by the pharaohs, Greeks and Romans as well as by early Christians and Muslims, attract thousands of visitors every year. Yet the pyramids, temples, tombs, monasteries and mosques are just part of Egypt's fascination.
In the gargantuan city of Cairo the sound of the muezzin summoning the faithful to prayer competes with pop music and the screech of car horns.
And everywhere there are people: swathed in long flowing robes or western-style clothes, hanging from buses, weaving through an obstacle course of animals and traffic.
EGYPT TOURS AND TRAVEL:
Sharm el-Sheikh Tours,
ASWAN Tours, Travel and Activities
Aswan is located in the south of Egypt, some 680 km (425 miles) south of Cairo, just below the Aswan Dam and Lake Nasser. Compared to Cairo and Luxor, Aswan is a far more relaxed, if smaller, alternative as a traveller's destination.
Aswan is the smallest of the three major tourist cities based on the Nile. Being the closest of the three to Africa, it has a large population of Nubian people, mostly resettled from their homeland in the area flooded by Lake Nasser. Aswan is the home of many Granite Quarries from which most of the Obelisks seen in Luxor were sourced from. Aswan was the gateway to Africa, and many raiding parties began their travel south from Aswan.
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CAIRO Tours, Travel and Activities
Cairo isn't a gentle city. Home to more than 16 million Egyptians, Arabs, Africans and sundry others, the 'Mother of the World' is an all-out assault on the senses. Chaotic, noisy, polluted, totally unpredictable and seething with people, the sheer intensity of the city will either seduce or appall.
Cairo doesn't have the kind of dolled-up, prettified buildings that cry out to be photographed and stuck in an album. Historic buildings are buried in age-old quarters of the city that have yet to be tamed and made tourist-friendly.
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HURGHADA Tours, Travel and Activities
Hurghada is a resort town on the Red Sea Coast of Egypt. Once an isolated and modest fishing village, Hurghada has metamorphosed into a sprawling collection of more than 100 hotels, and is now Egypt's most popular resort destination.
Hurghada is an Egyptian town with a diversity missing from the airbrushed resort atmosphere of Sharm el-Sheikh.
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LUXOR Tours, Travel and Activities
Luxor is a place like no other on earth, where the grandeur of ancient Thebes sits comfortably alongside a bustling Upper Egyptian town.
With the Nile flowing between the modern town and the former necropolis, and the enigmatic Theban escarpment dominating the landscape, its historic beauty is still breathtaking. The sheer size and number of its wonderfully preserved monuments have made Luxor Egypt's greatest attraction after the Pyramids. Small wonder that the area is often described as the world's largest open-air museum.
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SHARM EL-SHEIKH Tours, Travel and Activities
Na'ama Bay - the focus of all the action in Sharm el-Sheikh - is a string of resorts that has grown from virtually nothing in the early 1980s to a Las Vegas-style strip.
Sharm el-Sheikh is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Arabic world. But there are also some very good reasons to visit it if you are not the common tourist, who likes to lay on the beach all day. It is one of the finest diving spots in the world and a trip into the desert is an unforgettable adventure.
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WHEN TO VISIT CAIRO
Cairo has only two seasons: summer and 'not-summer'. Given the choice, you're far better off visiting during 'not-summer', a period that stretches roughly from September to April or May. January and February (50-68°F) can be overcast with the occasional shower, but the months immediately on either side are comfortably warm.
It's also worth considering the timing of the various Muslim festivals when planning your trip. During Ramadan many businesses work half-days, museums and tourist sites shut early and many restaurants only open after sundown.
Diving in Hurghada is good, particularly for beginners, although most of the best sites can only be reached by boat. Hurghada is also convenient if you want to combine a diving holiday with a visit to Luxor and other Nile Valley sites.
If you're interested in exploring Egypt's underwater treasures, a visit to Sharm el-Sheikh is a must. Sharm's charms are also appreciated by many Cairo dwellers - Egyptians and foreign residents alike - for its clean air, sea vistas and relaxed ambience.
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