Egypt: The cradle of civilization

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Updated 29 November 2014

Egypt: The cradle of civilization

Egypt: The cradle of civilization

Egypt is a trans-continental country spanning the northeast corner of Africa and southwest corner of Asia, making it an Afro-Asiatic country via a land bridge formed by the Sinai Peninsula. Most of Egypt’s territory of 1,010,000 sq. km lies within the Nile Valley of North Africa, but it is also considered a Mediterranean country as it is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north. It is also bordered by the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Gulf of Aqaba to the east, the Red Sea to the east and south, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.
With over 87 million inhabitants, Egypt is the largest Arab country in terms of the number of Arabic-speaking people, the third-largest African country, and the fifteenth-most populous nation in the world.

Egypt has one of the longest histories of any modern country, arising in the tenth millennium BCE as one of the world’s first nation states. Considered a cradle of civilization, ancient Egypt experienced some of the earliest developments in writing, agriculture, urbanization, organized religion and central government in history.
Egypt is famous for its weather as it’s never too hot or too cold, so you can enjoy traveling there at any time.

Where to go in Egypt:
If you are interested in safari, beaches and sports, then Sharm el-Sheikh, Sinai, Alexandria and Ain Sukhna are the places to go. Sharm el-Sheikh is sometimes called the “City of Peace,” referring to the large number of international peace conferences that have been held there.
Sharm el-Sheikh can be called “Heaven on Earth,” because of its lovely beaches, amazing mountains, wonderful views, crystal sea, coral reef and different types and shapes of fishes.
You can enjoy lots of activities, such as, parachuting, water games, safari, snorkeling and diving. In the evening you can enjoy walking, dancing and eating in Naama Bay.
Sinai has become a tourist destination due to its natural setting, rich coral reefs, and biblical history. Some of the most popular tourist destinations in Sinai are Mount Sinai (Jabal Musa) and Saint Catherine’s Monastery, which is considered to be the oldest working Christian monastery in the world, and the beach resorts of Dahab, Nuweiba and Taba.
Alexandria is a main summer resort, due to its beaches, ancient history and museums, especially the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a modern project based on reviving the ancient Library of Alexandria.
Ain Sukhna, located about 110 km east of Cairo, has a number of beach resorts.
If you are interested in museums, ancient tombs and culture then Giza, Saqqara and Luxor is your destination where you can enjoy ancient Egyptian royal mortuary and sacred structures, including the Great Sphinx, the Great Pyramids of Giza, a number of other large pyramids and temples, and Cairo’s modern tower, including the world’s oldest standing step pyramid, as well as a number of mastabas.
Luxor, sometimes called the ‘world’s greatest open air museum’, includes the ruins of the temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor. On the opposite side of the Nile River lie the monuments, temples and tombs on the West Bank Necropolis, which include the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens.
Abu Simbel, is an archaeological site comprising two massive rock temples originally carved out of a mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II, it was then relocated on an artificial hill made from a domed structure high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir to avoid being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser.
You can also enjoy Nile cruises, they are either three, four or seven nights. The shorter tours usually operate between Luxor and Aswan, while the longer cruises travel further north to Dendera, often offering day tours overland to more remote locations.
It’s mostly a floating hotel, the boats have most of the accommodations of a land based hotel, including small swimming pools, hot tubs, exercise rooms, nightclubs, good restaurants, stores and even small libraries. Many of the boats have dance areas with disco or even live entertainment, and most offer a variety of nightly shows. These might include cocktail parties, Nubian shows, belly dancers and whirling dervish, plays and even dress up parties where guests wear traditional apparel.

Exquisite culinary experience:
Egypt is also famous for its great food. Egyptian food is a mixture of all the different civilizations that came to Egypt in the history of its existence. Nowhere in the world will you be able to taste so many cultures on one plate: Kushari, which is considered as the Egyptian national dish, consists of pasta and tomato sauce, among other items, including rice, lentils, caramelized onions, garlic and chickpeas. There is also Fool Medamas, one of the common staple foods in Egypt, which consists of fava beans served with oil, garlic and lemon juice. Fatta, considered a Nubian dish, is usually prepared for festivities such as a woman’s first birth, and both Christian and Muslim holiday celebrations. It consists of layers of rice and fried bread, covered in a garlic and vinegar meat soup. Mulukhiya, another popular dish, is made from the leaves of jute and corchorus plants that grow in east and north Africa. In Egypt, Mulukhiya is prepared by chopping the leaves with garlic and coriander and cooking it in an animal stock such as chicken, beef or rabbit, and served with Egyptian bread or rice. Dukkah, is an Egyptian food commonly used as a dip and eaten along with Egyptian flat bread or raw vegetables, such as tomatoes or cucumber. Kunafah is an Egyptian sweet made of a very thin noodle-like pastry.

How to reach there:
Passports and visas are required for foreign visitors except natives of several Middle Eastern countries. Transit voyagers, however, that travel by ship or plane are not required to obtain visas.
There are nine international airports in Egypt that serve all of the county’s major cities, including Cairo International Airport and Taba International Airport.
In trips taking not more than three hours to Egypt, Saudi Arabian Airlines offers straight flights from Jeddah and Riyadh where you can enjoy the trip with great hospitality and professionalism.

Where to stay:
You can find a variety of the world’s best hotels In Egypt. If you choose Cairo as it is the center and where the embassies are located, you can enjoy your stay at Four Seasons Cairo at the First Residence where you will find extraordinary customer service and amazing rooms with great view that has the ability to make you forget the stress of the day. Breakfast is so delicious that it will make you ready for the day. The pool area is relaxing; you can even have your dinner on the pool. Not only that if you want to go to Sharm El-Sheikh, Luxor, Aswan, Alexandria and Hurghada, it will get better due to its great hotel options, you can enjoy your stay at Hilton Luxor Resort and Spa, Four Season Resort Sharm el-Sheikh, The Royal Savoy Sharm El Sheikh, Premier Le Reve Hotel & Spa Hurghada, Steigenberger Makadi Hotel, The Oberoi Sahl Hasheesh Hurghada, Maritim Jolie Ville Kings Island Luxor and InterContinental, The Palace Port Ghalib Resort Marsa Alam.

Email: [email protected]


Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah project ‘on time and on track’

Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah project ‘on time and on track’
Jerry Inzerillo, CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority. (Supplied)
Updated 24 February 2021

Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah project ‘on time and on track’

Saudi Arabia’s Diriyah project ‘on time and on track’
  • DGDA chief vows to turn ‘Jewel of the Kingdom’ into a global destination

RIYADH: Despite challenges posed by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the multibillion-dollar Diriyah Gate Project is “on time and on track,” said Jerry Inzerillo, the tourism mogul and CEO of the Diriyah Gate Development Authority (DGDA).

In an interview with SPA, Inzrillo said development work on the biggest cultural project in the world, at a cost of SR75 billion ($20 billion), is forging ahead.
Seven square kilometers of the historic city of Diriyah, just 15 minutes northwest of Riyadh, are being transformed into one of the world’s foremost lifestyle destinations for culture, hospitality, retail and education.
“It will become one of the world’s largest and most sophisticated subsurface infrastructures,” Inzerillo said. “We have recently signed new contracts and are currently in the process of adapting different building techniques for our authentic Najdi architecture.”
In line with design, development and preservation standards, DGDA is creating an environment that enhances Diriyah’s national and international relevance, including the preservation of the At-Turaif UNESCO World Heritage Site, which sits at the heart of the development.
Officials hope the “Jewel of the Kingdom” attracts local and international visitors alike through its world-class entertainment and events.
One such world-class event will be held this weekend when the Kingdom hosts the Diriyah E-Prix double-header, two nights of racing set to launch the seventh season of the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship.

HIGHLIGHTS

• DGDA is creating an environment that enhances Diriyah’s national and international relevance.

• Officials hope the ‘Jewel of the Kingdom’ attracts local and international visitors alike through its world-class entertainment and events.

• One such world-class event will be held this weekend when the Kingdom hosts the Diriyah E-Prix double-header.

Inzerillo said lighting up the Formula E race circuit with environmentally friendly lighting and low-consumption LED technology contributed to an increase in creativity and innovation. It led to the introduction of sustainable solutions that are more energy-efficient and reduce carbon emissions.
The health and safety of drivers and those who will attend the championship is a top priority for the organizers of the event as Inzrillo said strict COVID-19 precautions will be taken to ensure everyone’s safety.
A successful race event will only reinforce Diriyah’s position as one of the world’s greatest gathering places, with modern amenities and advanced infrastructure, he said.
“Hosting the Formula E race against the historical background of Diriyah is an appropriate representation of our vision,” Inzrillo said. “The DGDA wants to protect the history of Diriyah while taking steps toward the future.”
The authority has plans to host more international sporting events at Diriyah as Inzrillo predicts that sports and health will take leading roles in the Kingdom’s future tourism.
He said DGDA wants to build world-class golf courses, picturesque squares, outdoor plazas and tracks dedicated to horse riders that will enhance social and human interaction in Diriyah.
“Heritage and history will be honored and beautifully interwoven with sustainability and environmental considerations,” Inzrillo said.


Experts to resume excavation work on Saudi archaeological sites

Experts to resume excavation work on Saudi archaeological sites
The file photo shows foreign archaeologists excavating the site of Saffaqah in Saudi Arabia. The Arabian Peninsula is home to several ancients sites dating back thousands of years. (Social media)
Updated 24 February 2021

Experts to resume excavation work on Saudi archaeological sites

Experts to resume excavation work on Saudi archaeological sites
  • Before the pandemic, more than 40 teams of local and foreign experts were working in different areas

RIYADH: The Saudi Heritage Authority is preparing to resume survey and archaeological excavations in the Kingdom after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak forced projects to be suspended for almost a year.

The projects will be carried out in partnership with international missions from universities and specialized international research centers.
Teams from various Saudi universities also have been invited to contribute to the survey and excavation operations, and to help unearth antiquities in various regions in the Kingdom.
The Heritage Authority is responsible for conducting archaeological surveys and excavations to discover the rich cultural history of the Kingdom.
Before the pandemic, more than 40 international and local teams were taking part in archaeological excavations in Saudi Arabia. During their research, they discovered traces of ancient human settlements in the Arabian Peninsula, which were published in a string of scientific publications.
The authority collaborates with several research centers and universities to conduct archaeological surveys and excavation operations, and these missions will return to work on 20 sites in the Kingdom along with their Saudi counterparts.
Archaeological missions will resume survey activities at five archaeological sites within the framework of the authority’s cooperation with Saudi public universities.
The authority will also carry out archaeological survey and excavation projects at 19 sites in different regions of the Kingdom, in addition to registering shipwreck sites in the Arabian Gulf for the first time.
Remote sensing techniques and artificial intelligence are among the latest approaches used by the authority and its partner missions.
The authority is expected to launch new research projects this year in cooperation with local partners, including the King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives, the Diriyah Gate Development Authority, the Royal Commission for AlUla, NEOM Co., AMAALA Co., the Red Sea Development Co.
It will also involve national cadres, including male and female students as well as archaeology and heritage researchers in the projects.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Heritage Authority is responsible for conducting archaeological surveys and excavations.

• The authority will also carry out archaeological survey and excavation projects at 19 sites in different regions of the Kingdom.

• Remote sensing techniques and artificial intelligence are among the latest approaches used by the authority and its partner missions.

Fahd Alotaibi, a history professor at King Saud University, said: “The excavation of antiquities confirms the Saudi government’s keenness to root the cultural depth of the Kingdom and the history of human settlement there,” adding that the Arabian Peninsula is one of the oldest geographical areas in which man appeared.
He said that the return of archaeological surveys highlighted the Kingdom’s success in dealing with the pandemic as well as the high level of expertise achieved by Saudi antiquities specialists.
Alotaibi, author of “Language, Writing and Identity in the Arabian Peninsula Before Islam,” said that Saudi Arabia, with its huge archaeological remnants, is a magnet for scholars from around the world.
“The archaeological surveys will yield a lot of archaeological and historical results that will contribute to filling the gap in information about the Kingdom’s national history, or correcting some previous information,” he added.
Alotaibi said that Saudi antiquities researchers’ partnership with international experts through joint surveys, and the Saudi Heritage Authority’s keenness to deal with archaeology departments in local universities, will deliver field training opportunities for students’ and localize experiences related to antiquities.


Saudi cave guide unlocks doors to ‘hidden’ Kingdom

Saudi cave guide unlocks doors to ‘hidden’ Kingdom
Tourism guidance is Mohammed’s life, and the Kingdom’s caves and their geological structures are his field of specialization as a guide for foreign and Saudi tourists. (Supplied)
Updated 21 February 2021

Saudi cave guide unlocks doors to ‘hidden’ Kingdom

Saudi cave guide unlocks doors to ‘hidden’ Kingdom
  • The cave, a long tunnel formed by volcanic lava, was formed when the surface of the volcanic lava began to freeze, with the lava below ground remaining as liquid due to the high temperature

MAKKAH: Tareq Mohammed, a specialist in cave tourism from Madinah, is opening the door to a new world of geotourism in Saudi Arabia.
Tourism guidance is Mohammed’s life, and the Kingdom’s caves and their geological structures are his field of specialization as a guide for foreign and Saudi tourists.
“When we talk about geotourism, the first thing that comes to mind are beaches, forests, deserts, mountains, underground wells, hot springs and areas of dormant volcanoes. But Saudi Arabia is also full of monuments and caves,” Mohammed told Arab News.
Geotourism is starting to revive in the Kingdom, and travelers of all ages are discovering that caves are a safe and enjoyable source of adventure.
According to the guide, caves in Saudi Arabia are divided into five basic types according to their geological division: Ice caves, which are formed in ice in cold regions; marine caves formed by waves, oceans or rivers flowing into large rocks or mountains, creating large cavities over thousands of years; basaltic caves, known as volcanic caves; limestone caves; and sand caves that form inside sandy mountains.
“An example of basaltic caves is the Maker Al-Shaiheen cave, which is classified as the longest basaltic cave in the Middle East with a length of about 3,700 meters,” he said.
The cave, a long tunnel formed by volcanic lava, was formed when the surface of the volcanic lava began to freeze, with the lava below ground remaining as liquid due to the high temperature.
“The lava continues to flow until it reaches the end of the tube. The dimensions of the cave vary between 4-12 meters in width and 1.5-12 meters in length,” he said. The Maker Al-Shaiheen cave is located in the west of the Kingdom in Harrat Khaybar, Madinah region.
A sand cave in Al-Qarah Mountain in the eastern region is an excellent example of this type, Mohammed said.
Limestone caves are formed below the Earth’s surface. Over millions of years, acidic groundwater or underground rivers eat away the limestone, leaving cavities that grow over time.

HIGHLIGHT

According to Tareq Mohammed, caves in Saudi Arabia are divided into five basic types according to their geological division: Ice caves, which are formed in ice in cold regions; marine caves formed by waves, oceans or rivers flowing into large rocks or mountains, creating large cavities over thousands of years; basaltic caves, known as volcanic caves; limestone caves; and sand caves that form inside sandy mountains.

“Al-Murabba (square) cave and the Tahaleb (algae) cave are examples of limestone caves. The Tahaleb (algae) cave is characterized by moisture and the presence of some types of algae at its entrance, hence the name,” he said.
“I think these caves are the most beautiful in terms of their different formations and shapes, such as the different limestone stalactites and stalagmites.”
According to Mohammed, the central region of the Kingdom is characterized by these types of caves.
These cavities are called either “cave” or “dehl,” terms that have much the same meaning, he explained. But one difference is that the entrance of the cave is a horizontal cavity, while the entrance of the dehl is a vertical cavity.
The tour guide said that cave tourism is available throughout the year since the caves’ temperature is constant between 24-26 degrees Celsius, whether morning or evening, winter or summer.
He said that any visit should be led by a specialized guide, who will reveal the characteristics of the caves.


Arab Tourism Day promoting ‘digital future’ for region

Arab Tourism Day promoting ‘digital future’ for region
The tourism sector is expected to undergo a selective transition of existing jobs. (SPA)
Updated 21 February 2021

Arab Tourism Day promoting ‘digital future’ for region

Arab Tourism Day promoting ‘digital future’ for region
  • The new era of Arab tourism will take place at the government level and in the private sector through investors and businesses

JEDDAH: The Arab Tourism Organization has called on the Arab world to celebrate Arab Tourism Day on Feb. 25 under the slogan “Digital Transformation towards Safe Arab Tourism.”

The organization said that the Arab tourism industry of the future will be judged on the quantity of tourists, but also on the quality of services and technological development.

Tourism services must be updated according to health procedures in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the organization said, adding that non-contact travel from arrival to departure should be a priority for the sector.

The organization said that digital transformation is an important goal that requires the Arab world to deliver the return of safe tourism.

It cited the latest statistics by the World Economic Forum in Davos that predicted that digital transformation in aviation, travel and tourism will generate an added value for the tourism sector of $305 billion during the period from 2019 to 2025.

The transformation will also transfer $100 billion from traditional sectors to new competitors and generate indirect benefits of $700 billion by reducing environmental impacts, enhancing safety, security and savings on costs and time for tourists.

The Arab Tourism Organization said that the tourism sector is also expected to undergo a selective transition of existing jobs. However, job losses in the transition are being offset by the creation of new positions based on the skills of the new digital age within and outside the travel system, the organization added.

The new era of Arab tourism will take place at the government level and in the private sector through investors and businesses. Global spending on information technology in relation to digital transformation is expected to reach $7.5 trillion in the future


Snowfall brings sightseers to Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk

Snowfall brings sightseers to Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk
Every year the snowfall brings tourists from across the Kingdom to Tabuk. (Supplied)
Updated 19 February 2021

Snowfall brings sightseers to Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk

Snowfall brings sightseers to Saudi Arabia’s Tabuk
  • Every year, the snowfall brings tourists from across the Kingdom to Tabuk, and while the COVID-19 pandemic will mean fewer visitors than usual this year

JEDDAH: The mountains of Tabuk were capped in snow Thursday morning after a huge drop in temperature overnight. Videos of the storm, and of people celebrating the snowfall, circulated widely on social media, as well as clips of snow-covered camels relaxing before the sunrise.
There were excited comments from Tabuk residents, while those in other regions looked on in envy as the snow encased the mountaintops of Alan, Jabal Al-Lawz and Ad-Daher.
One Twitter user wrote: “What a wondrous sight, like something out of Europe. I’m not sure it’s even here.”

Another, Mohammed Al-Salem, expressed his sadness at being unable to enjoy the snowy mountain tops, saying: “Oh, my heart. Tabuk wins the best city in the winter award. I long to experience such weather.”
Sama Al-Kuwait wrote: “Such beauty in the midst of winter. We often go too far to seek snow, when snow has been close to home in Tabuk. I will surely visit after the pandemic.”
Every year, the snowfall brings tourists from across the Kingdom to Tabuk, and while the COVID-19 pandemic will mean fewer visitors than usual this year, some people still drove all the way from the UAE to capture the snow on camera, according to Al-Arabiya.

HIGHLIGHT

Meteorology experts said temperatures in the far north of the Kingdom are expected to drop even further in the near future, and authorities have issued extreme weather warnings in a number of areas across Saudi Arabia, including Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, the Eastern Province, Qassim, Hail, Tabuk, the Northern Borders region, Al-Baha, Asir, Jazan, Jawf and Najran.

Others took to social media to educate people on the weather in various regions of the Kingdom.

Spokesman for the Kingdom’s Embassy in Washington, Fahad Nazer, wrote: “There is no one denying climate change, but it’s also not that rare for this region — Tabuk, in northwestern Saudi Arabia — to experience snow. Contrary to popular perception, not every region in the Kingdom is warm year-round.”
Meteorology experts said temperatures in the far north of the Kingdom are expected to drop even further in the near future, and authorities have issued extreme weather warnings in a number of areas across Saudi Arabia, including Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, the Eastern Province, Qassim, Hail, Tabuk, the Northern Borders region, Al-Baha, Asir, Jazan, Jawf and Najran.