Sharm El-Sheikh, city of peace

1 / 7
2 / 7
3 / 7
4 / 7
5 / 7
6 / 7
7 / 7
Updated 23 November 2012
0

Sharm El-Sheikh, city of peace

Sharm El-Sheikh’s beautiful beaches and the desert activities make the city one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Middle East. Many hotels offer reasonable packages for groups and families who are looking for a new adventure.
The city is situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, overlooking the Red Sea. Sharm El-Sheikh is called the “city of peace”, referring to the large number of international peace conferences that have been held here.
Sharm El-Sheikh offers a dramatic mountain backdrop and stretches of golden beaches on outstanding waters. It has an international reputation as the most extraordinary diving destination in the Red Sea. Scuba diving and snorkeling is always a rewarding experience here, thanks to the crystal clear water, magnificent corals, exotic underwater flora and rare tropical fish.
The list of things to do at the seashore also includes parasailing. Take a jet boat and head for the open water while you are suspended from a parachute. If heights are not your thing, take a glass-bottom boat to see the Rea Sea underwater life. Beach explorers may enjoy windsurfing, kite surfing, boating, canoeing or simply lying by the beach and getting a suntan.
Ras Mohammed, about 20km south of Sharm El-Sheikh, is a must-see national park of South Sinai, located on the tip of the Sinai Peninsula. It has famous dive sites in the Red Sea, with 800-meter deep reef walls and coral gardens. The quantity and variety of sea life are exceptional and put this diving spot among the best around the world.
For those who are looking for land activities, Sharm El-Sheikh provides many, such as biking, hiking, horseriding or simply driving to the Sinai desert and go camel trekking. One can go on a camel ride to the Bedouin tents and enjoy a real Bedouin dinner with them under the desert stars, away from the noise of the city.
Take a camel ride to the Moses Mountain and follow the footsteps of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) when he climbed Mount Sinai to receive the 10 Commandments from Allah. The climbing requires an individual to be in moderate shape. It takes about three hours to climb the 2,285-meter peak following the path of Moses, via a stairway of nearly 4,000 steps.
Some companies offer a package deal that includes exploring the desert on a quad bike or buggy and enjoying a cooked meal by the Sinai Bedouins. You could also just drink Egyptian tea and smoke shisha in one of the tents built especially to welcome tourists who are looking to experience the real Bedouin life in the desert and get a chance to see the sunset from the top of the mountain.
Millions of years ago, the sea covered Sinai. This left a brilliant legacy upon the landscape of the colored canyon, close to the coastal town of Nuweiba. The walls of the canyon reach up to 16 stories. One can easily say it is the most colorful and intriguing rock formation in all of Sinai.
The canyon mouth is accessible by car; it is perfect for a short hike of about 700 meters. As one ventures into the canyon, the walls narrow width to just a few feet in some places, which gives the place a secretive atmosphere. This canyon is most commonly compared to the Jordanian city of Petra, even though the canyon was not man-made.
The Pharaoh’s Island is also a must-visit. It lies just a few kilometers south of Taba, at the very top of the Gulf of Aqaba and just a few hundred meters from the coast. The island is one of the most blatantly picturesque spots in the entire gulf. Many boat trips take tourists to this location.
The Pharaonic Water Park, Cleo Park, is located in Na’ama Bay and it is the first themed water park in Sharm El-Sheikh. It is the perfect place for thrills seekers and water enthusiasts: it offers Cleopatra baths, Nile adventure river rides, Nile spring cruise, a young pharos oasis and slides.
For some fun at night, one can go to Na’ama Bay, by far the busiest place in Sharm El-Sheikh. It is open during daytime but it comes alive at almost midnight. Many say it is the heart of Sharm El-Sheikh, as everyone meets here after a long day at the beach. Na’ama Bay’s open-air area offers a huge number of local and international restaurants that are open until after midnight. Coffee shops offer live local music and shisha. Souvenir shopping can get quite hectic here, when friendly Egyptian sellers are trying to make a profit.
For a more modern and less chaotic night out, go to Soho Square. It offers complete entertainment for the whole family. The ice rink, bowling alley and kids’ arcade are perfect for the young ones to enjoy while parents can smoke shisha and have dinner.
Soho Square offers the best selection of restaurants from Japanese, Thai, Cantonese, Italian and Indian to Egyptian and many open-air coffee shops that offer shisha. There are also a few shops selling souvenirs and clothing.
II Mercato is another shopping destination in Sharm El-Sheikh. It is the open-air version of Dubai’s II Mercato and designed by the same architect. Apart from many restaurants and shisha cafes, it is a child-friendly place with open parks and game rooms. The shops filled with local and international brands and of course many souvenirs provide great presents for friends and family that weren’t so lucky to visit Sharm El-Sheikh yet.

[email protected]


Saudi entrepreneur aims to revive Al-Balad

Saudi entrepreneur Abdullah Al-Hodaif has been passionate about art all his life. (Photos/Supplied)
Updated 26 May 2019
0

Saudi entrepreneur aims to revive Al-Balad

  • Abdullah Al-Hodaif’s passion for art has led him to invest in a wide range of cultural projects

JEDDAH: Thirty-two-year-old Saudi entrepreneur Abdullah Al-Hodaif has been passionate about art all his life. He started collecting paintings in his warehouse when he was only six years old. By the time he was 16, his warehouse was filled with vintage art pieces.
After attaining his master’s degree from abroad, he was inspired by Saudi Vision 2030 upon his return to the Kingdom.
Today, Al-Hodaif has redecorated four buildings in Jeddah’s popular tourist attraction, Al-Balad.
They house Bait Al-Hodaif, a non-profit art organization, and include a small museum that consists of 14 rooms and displays items from the 1910s to the 1980s: artwork, photographs, newspapers and magazines, and nostalgic games such as Carrom, currencies from different Arab countries and more.
“It displays old Hejazi interiors, visitors can see how kitchens used to be, an old Majlis and games, televisions, newspapers. People can even host events there,” Al-Hodaif told Arab News.
Bait Al-Hodaif creates annual campaigns to redecorate the streets of Jeddah with graffiti and different artwork. Last Ramadan, they created eight projects in districts such as Al-Karantina, Al-Petromin and Al-Aziziyah.

BACKGROUND

• Bait Al-Hodaif’s mission is to promote Saudi art culture.

• The buildings of his projects are over 200 years old.

• Values: beauty, peace, kindness, giving, persistence and love.

• Bait Ziryab was named after Iraqi composer Ziryab.

• 90% of Bait Ziryab’s students are female.

“In the poorer areas, we created artwork in different districts and held recycling workshops for children. The aim of the artworks on the wall is to create a cheerful image for the children, for them to see one of their favorite cartoon characters on the wall,” Al-Hodaif told Arab News.
“We worked under seven values: Beauty, peace, kindness, giving, persistence and love. We paint the language of love and peace on the walls.
“This year, we created a project called Arbab Al-Jamal to beautify areas in Al-Balad — as seen on the roof of Al-Hodaif Museum — for all of Ramadan. The goal is to complete 11 artworks by the end of Ramadan.”
Al-Hodaif Museum consists of six floors and is one of the tallest buildings in Al-Balad.
“It offers weekly art workshops and classes for pottery, sketching and other forms of art. It also hosts events on a monthly basis, be they cultural, poetic, cinematic or musical.”
The museum also houses contemporary art. “I want the youth to come to historic Jeddah, not to see something old. Visitors have seen plenty of that. What I want to do is bring them through modern art and something new. The youth don’t want to see an old car or an old radio, they want to see art, but I want to show them art in a historic site.”
Al-Hodaif’s goal is not to bring back the past.

HIGHLIGHtS

• Provide a service that supports the thriving art scene in Saudi Arabia.

• Discover and support local artists and showcase their work locally and internationally.

• Provide the space and equip the artists with the appropriate resources to work.

• Instill values of peace through art.

• Offer educational workshops and courses to develop the skills of young talents.

“We combined the modern with the old. We are very much with the present times,” said Al-Hodaif.
Bait Ziryab is a music school that teaches Arabic music and promotes Arabic music culture. It offers lessons in Arabic instruments such as the oud, qanun and ney, and also offers lessons in Western instruments such as the piano.
“It was named after the most famous musician in Andalusia, Iraqi composer Ziryab, who migrated to Andalusia and was the first to open a music school that teaches the oud in Andalusia, and he taught the daughters of kings,” he told Arab News
Al-Hodaif established Arbab Al-Heraf, a platform that promotes the art and culture of Saudi Arabia, with a branch in Al-Balad and another in Al-Basateen district.