Top 10 things to do in Cairo

Had some friends visiting us from Singapore. While they've done the Nile Cruise and Abu Simbal, and of course, the Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum, they asked me a very pertinent question? Other than the antiquities,
what are the top 10 things to do in Cairo?
Not Egypt but in and around Cairo?
For a moment I was fazed! First thing that comes to your mind when someone mentions Cairo is the pyramids and the museum...that set me thinking....I am writing down what I would def like to do in and around Cairo, in random order...and these are things that I would like to do...
1/ Coffee and Sheesha at El Fishawy
2/ Tannoura at Al Ghouri
3/ Felucca ride
4/ Dinner at the revolving restaurant
5/ A day trip to Fayoum
6/ A trip into the White Dessert
7/ A night out at Darts (Heliopolis) After Eight or Budha Bar
8/ The 11 pm to 4 am show with Dina at Semiramis
9/10/Cannot think of the balance two which does not include the antiquities... needs some thought!Anybody who is reading this and has suggestions, would love to hear your top 10 things to do...I have this nagging feeling that there is something very obvious that I am missing out!
Labels: , 0 comment |

A day out on the Red Sea

One of the friends, with whom we were holidaying, lives and works in Sharm, making him a native, and, trust me, a city through the eyes of someone who is local, is hugely different from what you and I would see as a tourist..and he is exceptional, in terms of his knowledge of what to do, knowing what would appeal to us and especially in his organisation.Out of the days that we spent there, he had asked us to keep one day aside for a trip out to the Red Sea
We left around 8.30 - 9.00 a.m. in the morning to the jetty where you board the boats going out to sea, carrying our sunblocks, our glares & caps (it was really hot), and, our beach towels. You can't park close to the beach as that area is reserved for tourist buses etc, so if you're carrying heavy stuff, its best to get dropped off there.While there are plenty of yatchs that you can hop on to, we hired a yatch exclusively for us.

The yatchs have an enclosed lower deck and an open upper deck where the breeze ensures that you dont feel the heat from the blazing afternoon sun. Before we boarded the yatch, we collected our snorkelling gear, and, duly filled out our names & nationality for records ( er...just in case?).
Our yatch was called Venture, and, was manned by a young, smiling crew. Our guide was an English speaking young chap by the name of Magdy, who had a ready smile, and, lots of enthusiasm! He explained that we would put down anchor at three places, out of which snorkelling would be possible at two.

Lunch would be served on board.Our first stop was near Ras Mohammad. Magdy explained that we all would need to don our snorkelling gear, and jump in quick succession, and, most importantly stay together, so that we dont leave anyone behind.
Even the ones who could not swim could snorkel by using life jackets. He warned us that where we made the jump, the water would be deep, but as we swam towards the coral, it would become shallow as the coral covered the floor of the ocean.

We would need to swim very slilently without too much motion, lest we scared the fish away.While I have been to beaches and ventured out into the sea, have never dived into the water in the middle of the sea when you know that the bottom is some 40-50 feet away, and, I must admit, as I sat at the edge of the boat, ready to jump in, for a moment had a twinge of unease.
But then the water was rushing up to meet me, and there was no room for any thoughts other than looking out for our guide and the group. We swam towards the coral and as I dipped my head into the water, I must confess, I have never seen anything so breathtaking! The coral is alive here, and, the myriad shapes and colours leave you spellbound.
There were some that looked like splayed laced fingers from the palm, some like the brain, yet others reminded me of cacti. There are some that look like stars, elkhorns and pillars and seem to be hard, strongly embeded on the sea floor. There are others that look like fans or rods, seem soft and sway gently in the water.
And the fish! Schools of brightly coloured fish swam around us, completely oblivious of our presence. There were two zebra striped fish who swam over and under my arms, and, around my head, probably trying to figure who this giant creature was!
Another stretch, I swam alongside a school of blue and lime green fish, who seem quite content to give me company. Clearly I passed muster!
The fascinating part about snorkelling here was that the coral reef is omnipresent on one side right upto to the shore and then there is a sudden drop to the depths of the sea, and the marine life at the edge is just gorgeous!The photographs are not mine, since I ommitted to carry an underwater camera, but are quite representative of what we saw.I was told that these are the nicest spots for snorkelling in Sharm el Sheikh:
a/ Ras Mohammed National Park. Virtually every hotel, resort, diving centre and watersports centre offer excursions to this marine paradise. The Park has a couple of beaches where snorkelling is easy, such as Marsa Bareika, and some off shore reefs reachable with snorkelling or diving boats.b/ Tiran Island, a favourite destination for full day snorkelling trips, with a wealth of corals and underwater fauna.
c/ Ras Umm Sid, with its walls covered with awesome gigantic gorgonians, is another famous diving site, and it is accessible from land via the private beach of the restaurant El Fanar.

Our second stop was a lagoon in the middle of the sea with white sand that felt like powder under my feet, and crystalline turquoise water.
We jumped into the sea and then swam to the lagoon, including my 7 year old who can just about float. But it seemed criminal not to take him ashore since he loves the sand and the water. But I made the mistake of jumping into the water with my eyes open and without swimming goggles.
As I surfaced from under the water, my eyes were burning and my lens had popped out. It caught me by surprise cos this has never happened in a swimming pool - guess has something to do with the difference in water pressure. So, if you wear lenses, and, are diving, do wear your eyewear.
After frolicking on the finger of sand, we swam back to a local feast. There were 5 different kinds of salads for the vegetarians including a delicious dish of fried aubergines. Fish, caught by the boys earlier in the day, and, fried chicken graced the table along with some yummy sticky rice, spaghetti with tomato sauce and a local version of potato lyonnais with some baladi aesh! The meal was delicious especially after having been in the water for so long.After this, we dropped anchor at another spot for snorkelling, though this was not as good as the one at Ras Mohammad.
Some of us swam in the water while a few others decided to snorkel. I was very proud of my intrepid 7 year old, who despite not knowing how to swim, wore a life jacket and jumped into the deep blue sea, and, had great fun!As we sailed back to the pier, after having spent a lovely day out at the sea, I think I will, forever, remember Sharm by this day!


In the Pharaonic times, the temples, royal cemeteries, and royal palaces included workshops where specialized craftsmen worked making furniture, jewelry, glass, metals, and other products. Egyptian tombs show vivid scenes and figures portraying various groups of craftsmen performing their handicrafts, such as carpenters and weavers in workshops. Museums around the world are full of various products made by those ingenious craftsmen. For 4,000 years, Egyptian crafts have generated various types of small arts with different styles and artistic tastes, which were known worldwide. Egyptians were skillful in engraving all kinds of metals with ornamented shapes and adorning them with semiprecious stones and colored glass. They were also proficient in woodworking, creating different kinds of furniture, which were often gold-plated and adorned with precious stones for the royal palaces.Glass vessels of the Pharaonic period were made around a pre-made template. The glass-blowing technique was not used until the Roman era. In the Islamic age, the glass industry and the making of oriels and arabesque, which is the engraving in wood by making complex geometric and artistic shapes, were also popular. Different kinds of transparent and colored glass vessels are still kept, even very small ones were made in great detail with various monuments drawn on them. Weaving was a popular art that flourished notably in the Coptic culture and continued in the Islamic age as high-class Islamic carpets became widespread.The multitude of craftsmen with their innovative techniques allowed for their artistic experience to be passed from one generation to another. They were divided into groups; each group had an elected Head, who managed its affairs and settled any disputes among its members. Egypt's districts had specified areas for craftsmen, goldsmiths, and coppersmiths. It is probable that the Egyptian artist was educated and trained by his father at an early age. The young child helped the workgroup in which his father worked to learn the rules of the craft. That was the case in Egypt until the Islamic age. However, in the Ottoman age, Egypt lost most of its craftsmen and artisans, as the skillful artisans were forced to move to Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire. Subsequently, Egypt witnessed a period of stagnation in art that lasted until the beginning of the modern times.


The humanities are the branches of learning that investigate human constructs and concerns, rather than natural processes or social relationships. The humanities include philosophy, language, literature, art, and history. From earliest times, the Egyptians produced great cultural achievements, which they strove to refine and pass down to successive generations.During the Old Kingdom, the ancient Egyptians developed the artistic styles and motifs that they would continue to use for thousands of years. The ancient Egyptians recorded their daily activities and religious beliefs in texts and scenes on the walls of temples and tombs. Education was important to the ancient Egyptians; they taught children reading, writing, literature, and mathematics. Old Kingdom literature tended to be in a format called "wisdom literature," which taught a proper code of conduct. By the Middle Kingdom, scribes were recruited to write literary works in praise of the pharaoh. "The Story of Sinuhe," an adventurous tale of an official who flees Egypt after the murder of his king, was studied by children centuries later. Poems and songs have been found dating from the New Kingdom, even a text called "A Literary Controversy," in which one scholar promotes his own knowledge and criticizes the learning of a rival. The Greco-Roman era, especially under the early generations of Ptolemaic leadership, saw a flowering of the arts and humanities in Alexandria. Poets, philosophers, and other great scholars traveled to the great Library of Alexandria where they could consult a multitude of texts and debate their theories. Scholars were invited to live and carry out their work in the nearby Museum. The education of children, including girls, continued to be important for the upper classes.Under the Coptics, particularly after the rule of Constantine, writing became an effective way to spread the new religion and educate the converts. As monasteries specialized in the production of books, the art of illumination, beautiful and detailed colored illustrations of Biblical scenes and saints, reached a high point. Free from the persecution they faced under the Romans, Christian scholars were able to meet and debate philosophical and theological ideas.Education, literature, and intellectual activity continued to be highly valued under the Muslims, especially during the Fatimid and Ayyubid eras. Students were educated in madrassas, schools associated with a mosque, some of which achieved world renown. Sultans and princes vied for the honor of hosting scholarly gatherings in their homes. Calligraphy, a beautiful and stylized manner of writing Arabic, became an important artistic achievement as writers strove for the script to be worthy of expressing Allah's message to Mohammed. In addition to beautiful copies of the Qur'an, extensive encyclopedias in a variety of subjects from medicine, geography, history, and social customs were produced in the Islamic era. The Muslim's interest in a variety of topics led them to translate many earlier Greek and Latin texts into Arabic.


Statues were among the most important features of Egyptian arts. A statue had an essential function in the tomb throughout Pharaonic times, which was to enable the spirit to identify the features of the deceased person so that it could find him in the hereafter. Throughout the Old, Intermediate, and New Kingdoms, the art of sculpture flourished and produced a number of statues of different types. Egyptians used the size of their sculptures to show the social order. The pharaoh was larger than life-size, sometimes weighing hundreds of tons. Scribes and court officials were life-size, and servants and peasants, although made with high precision, were small, usually less than 50 centimeters. These statues exhibited the servant in various attitudes of working. Also, the shawabti statues, a few centimeters high, were like servants that are called by the master in the hereafter to perform the tasks he needs. There were 365 such shawabti statues, representing the days of the year.A basic feature of Egyptian sculpture was the Pharaonic Needles, made through utilizing high architectural technology, as the needle was cut from a single stone block. Needles were among the most prominent elements of ancient architecture, usually located on both sides of entrances to temples. Columns had a special status in Egyptian temples in the Pharaonic and Greek eras. A column consists of three parts: the base, body, and crown. Columns were either square or rounded. Crowns took different shapes similar to flowers and plants, such as the palm tree and the lotus plant. A common shape was that of a woven basket with an ornamental plant shape or grape vines inside.In the Greco-Roman era, Romans discovered many types of marble in the Red Sea mountains, which they used extensively in sculpture and construction. Movement and dress folds became evident in sculptural style. Several statues, particularly of kings and gods, have been found apart from their heads. A special type of sculpture emerged during that era, known as terracotta, which are small statues made of pottery with heights ranging between 5 and 20 centimeters. Large numbers of statues were found representing animals, such as a vulture, cat, hippopotamus, monkey, bull, lion, and dog, as well as human figures.The Coptic culture only focused on two particular types of sculpture. The first type is the tombstone, which is a plate of limestone whose upper part is often shaped like a triangle with drawings. The tombstone bears the portrait of the deceased and date of death. The second type of sculpture is the cornice, which is a carved decorative element above or below walls and used for decoration of churches and abbeys. They usually had plant or animal ornamentations and in special cases, human figures. Since the sixth century AD, the cross appeared in the middle.Sculpture played a small role in Islamic culture, since Islam rejected all aspects of the previous pagan religions. Therefore, only a few statues from that time period were found; these were not carved, but made out of templates. Most of these small statues were of small animals, such as a rabbit or gazelle.

Paintings and Relief

The art of drawing and relief inscription flourished in ancient Egypt, as evidenced on the walls of temples and tombs. The artist dealt with the wall as a painting surface and tried to utilize all available spaces. This was not the work of a single artist, since the ancient Egyptian painting work was generally done in three stages. Various categories of artists participated, each with his own area of expertise. In the first stage, the basic primary lines that shape the features of the figure were drawn. In the second phase, coloring was done, starting with the wider areas and progressing to the details of the painting. Then the final phase was drawing fine lines and showing details.We can generally say that there were no distinctions between drawing, painting, and inscription. Even if we can differentiate inscriptions into two types, namely carving and engraving, either one of these two methods had to be preceded by drawing to make the original design of the figure and determine its basic lines. The coloring method used colored pastes to fill in the spaces in the drawing. The Egyptian artist often used color-fixing materials to prolong the life of colors.Because art was related to religious architecture, the artist took interest in portraying gods, glorifying them through presenting various types of offerings and recording prayers and recitations. At the same time, he portrayed different aspects of daily life that the deceased person may enjoy in his tomb and carry with him to the hereafter. Such scenes were not specific events or special moments of significance to the deceased, but were general scenes representing activities such as agriculture, hunting, herding, playing, or quarreling. In portraying people, the artist adopted the law of ratios, which remained in use until the Twenty-sixth Dynasty. The artist divided the surface into equal squares on which he drew the general lines of the human body. According to certain ratios between the body parts, he filled in the squares until his work was completed. It was found that portraying the profile view was an ideal way to present all parts of the body. However, profiling was not a fixed rule. The need to show all details often necessitated the portrayal of the front view. In some cases, the artist combined both methods, for example, by drawing the head in profile, the shoulders in front view, and the lower part in a side view. In the Greco-Roman era, the link between these arts and religion continued. One of the most important features of Hellenistic art was the inscription of religious and mythical subjects on coffins. In addition, portrayal of human faces, similar to current portrait art, was one of the most significant additions in common use in that era. Also in use were the masks of mummies and colored funeral masks, which are portraits of the deceased person. These were placed directly on the face of the deceased, representing the actual features of that person, so that the spirit could identify the body. In many cases, coffins were made in the form of the deceased person.In the third century AD, an icon representing the person was hung in his house until his death, when it was then fixed to his coffin. Such icons disappeared after the fourth century AD, but appeared again in the sixth century. The beginning of Coptic portrait art can be traced back to the second century AD, starting in the tombs of early Christians. At first, the portrayed subjects were not directly related to the new religion, but Bible stories and symbolic themes gradually appeared until Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary were clearly and directly portrayed.Portraits can be divided into three types, according to the method adopted. The tempera method, which was utilized since the Pharaonic era, used sticky materials such as glue or egg white to provide colors with thickness. The encaustic method is a Greek method introduced to Egypt in the Greco-Roman era and it spread to Greek cities such as Alexandria, Faiyum, and Shaikh Ebada. It was based on mixing colors with wax and in some cases, a small amount of oil was added, which gave the drawing a glossy appearance to look like oil paintings. This method remained in use until the eleventh century. The third method is the fresco, utilizing water colors. It is a simple method based on mixing colors directly with water without any other medium. The colors are applied to the wall before it dries, so that both would dry together. This method appeared in the Christian era, although it did not last for long. Oil painting as we know today, which is a cheaper and easier method, did not appear until the Byzantine era.


Egypt has provided humanity with a rich treasure of various types of architecture. It is among the most creative of the world's countries in this art, both in quality and quantity. Architectural works in ancient Egyptian civilization can generally be divided into two types according to the materials used for construction. The first type is the un-burnt bricks, which were used for building Egyptian houses throughout the Pharaonic, Hellenistic, Coptic, and Islamic civilizations, extending even to modern times in Egyptian villages. The second type is stone architecture. Egypt had a large wealth of stones that included basalt, limestone, alabaster, granite, and others. Quarrying for these stones was supervised by the government, because the work required organized missions to live close to quarry locations until the required work was completed. Then the workers would return with their product required for construction. Many tools that were used for quarrying and building include hammers, axes, balances, measures, angles, half-circles, mason's levels, building triangles, and tools for leveling walls.Since the Pharaonic era, architectural design was essential before any construction work began. Several examples of architectural designs were found on pieces of pottery or stone. As a result of continuous construction activities through the ages, Egypt had specialized craftsmen skilled in construction work and its complex techniques. Construction crafts were passed from one generation to the next. Through the ages, these generations have provided the world with varied and unique forms of architecture; the most significant of which were state-sponsored projects, such as royal tombs. Attention to royal tombs started in the early times of Egyptian civilization, especially since it was endowed with a unique architecture in the Old and Middle Kingdoms, namely the Egyptian Pyramids of which there are about 110. In addition to tombs, places of worship had special attention in Egypt, for which the state devoted the best materials, architects, and artists. The land of Egypt still has Pharaonic and Greek temples, as well as historical churches and mosques.Along with religious and funeral architecture, there was military architecture, represented by fortresses and towers, of which we have examples from the Middle Kingdom through the Islamic era. There was also architecture for multiple civil purposes, which flourished in the Greek era. A prominent example was the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the third among the Great Wonders of the Ancient World, built during the rule of Ptolemy the First, but completed during the rule of Ptolemy the Second. It was 150 meters high and was used to guide ships day and night until the fifteenth century AD. Another example is the Roman Amphitheater, located in Kom El-Dekka area of Alexandria, which was discovered by a Polish mission in the early sixties of the twentieth century.Attention was given to architecture of various purposes in the Islamic era, represented by the construction of mosques, schools, fortresses, castles, palaces, and houses. In the Ayyubites era, military architecture flourished, with the construction of fortresses such as the Citadel of Salah Al-Din and the Fort of Al-Muzaffar. A new type of architecture also received attention, namely buildings for charity, such as houses for the poor and public water fountains. This type flourished in the Mamluk era, which witnessed construction of several houses, palaces, hotels, agencies, and schools, in addition to public water fountains. There is no doubt that Islamic Cairo remained a glittering architectural city until the end of the Ottoman period. It was surrounded by walls with openings for control of access, such as the gates of the city, of which only Bab El-Nasr, Bab El-Fotouh, and Bab-Zowaila still remain.


Based on the small groupings of papyri that have been found in burials, Ancient Egyptians are believed to have collected texts as part of elite possessions. Inscriptions and manuscripts also contain numerous references to groups of books as the "House of Books." There are no architectural remains for any large ancient Egyptian libraries, but they most likely would have been in the palaces and principal temples. At the Temple of Edfu, a chamber is inscribed with a catalog of books, but due to its size and location, it was probably used to house books regularly used for temple rituals.During the Ptolemaic period, Ptolemy the First Soter ordered the establishment of what became the Library of Alexandria. Demetrius of Phalerum put together the central collection for the library and Ptolemy the Second Philadelphius sponsored the completion of the work. Later kings were eager to increase the collection. Ptolemy the Third, for example, required all incoming travelers to hand in any books. If they were not already part of the library, the books would be kept while the owners received cheap copies. At its peak, the Library probably held around 700,000 scrolls, equivalent to 100-125,000 printed bound books. By the mid-third century BC, the original building became too small and about 42,800 copies and incomplete manuscripts were moved to the Serapeum. Nearly 40,000 books in the Library of Alexandria were burned in fires resulting from the conflicts between Caesar and Cleopatra the Seventh in 48 BC. Although Antony compensated the queen with 200,000 scrolls from Pergamum, the Library of Alexandria was destroyed sometime by the end of the third century BC during the power struggles of the Roman Empire. The Serapeum, or "Daughter Library," was judged to support pagan doctrine and destroyed by Theophilus, the Bishop of Alexandria, based on a decree by Theodosius in 391 AD that forbade all non-Christian religions.The Christian population in Egypt had access to the civic libraries established during the Ptolemaic and Roman times and church libraries, often located in monasteries. The library in the White Monastery of Saint Shenouda the Archimandrite at Sohag might have been the greatest in Coptic Egypt, but it is now scattered. Hundreds of parchment and papyrus fragments have been found at the site of the monastery of Saint Apollo, which also might have housed a library.The Muslims were great book collectors and libraries flourished under Islam, which promoted institutions of learning. In Egypt, and especially Cairo, large schools and mosques held libraries that were accessible to scholars in addition to the private libraries maintained by princes, nobles, and merchants. Each library had a catalog of its collection and employees who performed the job of the present-day librarian, in addition to scribes, book binders, and book handlers. In AH 395 (AD 1004), the Fatimid ruler Al-Hakim established an institute of learning called the Dar al-ilm, or House of Knowledge. He donated books on a wide range of subjects, encouraged scholars to teach there, and funded a support staff and furnishings. By the eleventh century, this research foundation was said to have held over one million volumes. In a fate similar to the Library of Alexandria, it was destroyed during the period of instability brought on by the invasions of the Crusaders and Mongols.

Queen Nefertiti

Little info on Queen Nefertiti and her early life is known. There is some speculation as to her parentage. When Nefertiti married a pharaoh, Akhenaton, she became Queen Nefertiti Akhenaton. Although her husband also had several other wives, it is apparent from the autobiography of Queen Nefertiti found in ancient depictions that the pharaoh was completely enamored of her. It is not hard to imagine why, when even in modern times, Nefertiti is celebrated for her incomparable beauty. The couple is known to have had six daughters, although none of the daughters inherited the throne of Egypt. That role was reserved for a son born to the Pharaoh by a minor wife.
It is widely believed that Nefertiti was influential in her husband's attempts to convert the nation of Egypt from a polytheistic religion to a monotheistic religion, dedicated to the worship of the deity Aten. The number of reliefs and artwork that were eventually found bearing the likeness and info on Queen Nefertiti indicate that she was much beloved by the people of Egypt.
When a small bust of Queen Nefertiti, absent the now infamous and modern Nefertiti costume, was finally discovered in almost perfect condition the world rejoiced. The queen had long been celebrated for her beauty and now lovers of Egyptian history would be able to personally view the features of the queen up close. The statue was placed on display in Berlin and quickly became one of the most easily recognized and famous pieces of Egyptian art. For several decades the bust was enjoyed by visitors from around the world; however it would eventually become the subject of much outrage and controversy, when a Nefertiti costume was added to the bust.
The almost perfectly preserved bust reveals an extremely beautiful woman wearing a tall headdress and ornate jewelry. There is no clothing of Nefertiti traditionally included on the bust and it actually ends with the jewelry. The Egyptian public became outraged when the bust was lowered onto a supposed Nefertiti costume that consisted of little more than low cut sheer fabric. The new Nefertiti costume was considered to be vulgar by most Egyptians, who are quite conservative, and dangerous to the antique bust by many historians who were concerned for the safety of the precious artifact. There was so much controversy over the Nefertiti costume that the bust was almost immediately removed. Today the Nefertiti costume that is most remembered is the regal headdress that adorned the most beautiful woman in the world.

Queen Cleopatra

The queens of Egypt, for the most part, have been relegated to less fame behind their regal husbands, however, many have quite interesting histories in their own right.
The queens of Egypt include a woman who dressed as a man, another who is still famed today for her beauty and many who stand out in the history of Egypt for their unique contributions.
Cleopatre, the most famous queen of Egypt, has become a legend. Queen Cleopatra of Egypt is well regarded as holding the title of the last pharaoh of Egypt, before the land fell into the hands of the aggressive Roman Empire. Like some of the other queens of Egypt, she inherited the throne at the death of her father, when she was only 18 years old, along with her brother, younger than the new queen by six years. Like many other queens of Egypt, Cleopatra married her brother, however it is believed this marriage was only a salute to Egyptian tradition. Cleopatra immediately took hold of the throne and proceeded to lead the nation on her own. One of the more interesting facts about Cleopatra is that she was the first ruler of her dynasty, consisting of the Ptolemy family, to actually be able to speak the Egyptian language, along with eight others. She was known to be extremely intelligent and cunning. The end for Cleopatra came when supporters of her younger brother and husband decided she was far too independent and exiled her to Syria. It was through her attempts to regain control of the throne that she met both Julius Ceasar and Mark Anthony, both of whom became her lovers.

Intercontinental Citystars Cairo

The luxurious InterContinental Citystars Cairo is situated adjacent to Cairos largest retail and leisure complex, Citystars Heliopolis, and is the ideal starting point for tours, sightseeing and enjoying the vibrant life of Cairo. The hotel is only seven minutes from Cairo International Airport and just five minutes from the Cairo International Conference Centre. Guests are assured of a comfortable and relaxing stay in the 790 guest rooms, which include suites, Garden Wing Poolside rooms and 15 bedroom residence suites. Club InterContinental accommodation offers upgraded facilities and amenities. A choice of dining options includes a Japanese Teppanyaki restaurant, Mediterranean fine dining, Lebanese Restaurant, coffe shop, cocktail lounge, fish market-style restaurant (Opening Soon) and various entertainment venues, together with 24 hour Room Service. The hotel offers 19 versatile function rooms including Al Saraya, the largest banquet hall in Cairo, with a maximum capacity of 2200 persons in a reception setting. A variety of recreational facilities for all age groups includes the 3000 square metre Lifestyle Aqua Spa and Wellness Center, squash and tennis courts(All Opening Soon), a large outdoor swimming pool and children's pool and a 24-hour casino. There is access to 550 shops Citystars, an exhibition centre, 16 cinemas and a family entertainment centre. Concierge services and ample parking are available.
Intercontinental Citystars Cairo Features
Family Rooms
Meeting rooms
Dry cleaning/laundry
Non-smoking rooms
Business center
Wheelchair accessible
Swimming pool
Data port
Game room
Fitness Center
Intercontinental Citystars Cairo Property Information:
Rooms: 774
Floors: 14

Marriott Cairo Hotel and Casino

Built around a 19th-century palace on an island in the Nile River, the Marriott Cairo Hotel and Omar Khayyam Casino is approximately one mile from Cairo Tower and 15 miles from Cairo International Airport. This hotel is also half a mile from the Opera House, two miles from Cairo Zoo and the Egyptian Museum, three miles from Khan el Khalili Bazaar and the Coptic Museum, four miles from the American Embassy and Cairo Synagogue, five miles from Old Cairo, and eight miles from the Sphinx and Pyramids. The hotel is surrounded by the sights and sounds that makes Cairo the most popular destination in the Middle East for both business and leisure travellers and is a perfect base for exploring historic Cairo. The hotel amenities include the full health club and spa, outdoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, sports court, and 24-hour casino. For dining and refreshments, the hotel houses Egyptian Nights (pan-Arabian cuisine), Garden Promenade Cafe (barbecue), Harrys Pub, JWs Steakhouse, Omars Cafe, Piano Bar, Ristorante Tuscany, Roys Country Kitchen (24-hour buffets), Saraya Cafe, Marriott Bakery, Torii (Japanese cuisine), and Waves Snack Bar. The hotel also offers room service, valet laundry service, porter service, a concierge, currency exchange, babysitting, and parking for a fee. All rooms feature high-speed Internet access, voicemail, free local calls, air-conditioning, alarm clocks, coffeemakers, refrigerators, irons and ironing boards, hairdryers, bathroom amenities, free weekday newspapers, cable TV, and movies.
Marriott Cairo Hotel and Casino Features
Family Rooms
Fitness Center
Dry cleaning/laundry
Data port
Non-smoking rooms
Meeting rooms
Business center
Wheelchair accessible
Swimming pool
Game room
Marriott Cairo Hotel and Casino Property Information:
Rooms: 1089
Floors: 20

Four Seasons Hotel Cairo At the First Residence

A gracious sanctuary on the west bank of the Nile, with impressive views of the Great Pyramids over the old-growth canopy of Cairo's ancient Zoological and Botanical Gardens, the Hotel is at the centre of the prestigious new First Residence apartments and shops.
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo At the First Residence Features
Pets accepted
Meeting rooms
Non-smoking rooms
Business center
Fitness Center
Wheelchair accessible
Swimming pool
Family Rooms
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo At the First Residence Property Information:
Rooms: 269
Floors: 20

Hilton Cairo WCT Residence

Hilton Cairo WTC Residence presents luxury suites in the 26-story north tower of the World Trade Center complex, overlooking the Nile and the city, and located approximately 13 miles from Cairo International Airport. This location is also half a mile from Ramses Hilton Galleria and the Egyptian Museum, two miles from downtown and Nile cruises, five miles from the Citadel, six miles from the Pharaonic Village and Coptic Hanging Church & Coptic Muse, and eight miles from the Pyramids. Hotel amenities include the outdoor pool and the Lounge, an intimate bar and restaurant with plush leather seating, chandeliers, and wood paneling. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The hotel also offers concierge assistance, laundry and dry-cleaning facilities, airport shuttle service, and free parking. All suites feature kitchens, living and dining areas, three or more bathrooms, high-speed Internet connections, minibars, tea and coffee facilities, safes, bathrobes, and balconies or terraces with Nile or city views.
Hilton Cairo WCT Residence Features
Pets accepted
Family Rooms
Fitness Center
Swimming pool
Wheelchair accessible
Meeting rooms
Business center
Non-smoking rooms
Hilton Cairo WCT Residence Property Information:
Rooms: 104
Floors: 26
Hilton Cairo WCT Residence Reservation Policies:
Check-In: 1500
Check-Out: 1200

Ancient Egyptian Hairstyles

For ancient Egyptians, appearance was an important issue. Appearance indicated a persons status, role in a society or political significance. Egyptian hairstyles and our hairstyles today have many things in common. Like modern hairstyles Egyptian hairstyles varied with age, gender and social status.
Children had unique hairstyles in ancient Egypt. Their hair was shaved off or cut short except for a long lock of hair left on the side of the head, the so-called side-lock of youth. This s-shaped lock was depicted by the hieroglyphic symbol of a child or youth. Both girls and boys wore this style until the onset of puberty. Young boys often shaved their heads, while young girls wore their hair in plaits or sometimes did up their hair in a ponytail style, hanging down the center of the back. Young girl dancers used to wear long thick braided ponytails. The edge of the tail was either naturally curled or was enhanced to do so. If the ponytail was not curled at the end, it was weighted down by adornments or metal discs.
Egyptian men typically wore their hair short, leaving their ears visible. Men often kept these hairstyles until their hair began to thin with advancing age. Another hairstyle for men was distinctive short curls covering the ears shaping a bend from temple to nape. It is doubtful that this hairstyle was natural. It was more likely a result of a process of hair curling that was done occasionally.
Women's hairstyles were more unique than those of men. Women generally preferred a smooth, close coiffure, a natural wave and long curl. Women in the Old Kingdom preferred to have short cuts or chin length bobs. However, women in the New Kingdom wore their hair long or touted a wig. Women tied and decorated their hair with flowers and linen ribbons. A stylized lotus blossom was the preferred adornment for the head. This developed into using coronets and diadems. Diadems made of gold, turquoise, garnet, and malachite beads were discovered on an ancient Egyptian body dating to 3200 BC. Poorer people used more simple and inexpensive ornaments of petals and berries to hold their hair at the back. Children decorated their hair with amulets of small fish, presumably to protect from the dangers of the Nile. Children sometimes used hair-rings or clasps. Egyptians wore headbands around their heads or held their hair in place with ivory and metal hairpins. Beads might be used to attach wigs or hair extensions in place.
Egyptians threaded gold tubes on each tress, or strung inlaid gold rosettes between vertical ribs of small beads to form full head covers. The also used combs, tweezers, shavers and hair curlers. Combs were either single or double sided combs and made from wood or bone. Some of them were very finely made with a long grip. Combs were found from early tomb goods, even from predynastic times. Egyptians shaved with a stone blade at first, later with a copper, and during the Middle Kingdom with a bronze razor.
Slaves and servants were not able to dress the same as Egyptian nobility. The way that they adorned their hair was quite different. Commonly, they tied their hair at the back of the head into a kind of loop. Another type of hairstyle was to tie it in eight or nine long plaits at the back of the head and to dangled them together at one side of the neck and face.
In ancient Egypt, men and women used to shave their heads bald replacing their natural hair with wigs. Egyptian women did not walk around showing their bald heads, they always wore the wigs. Head shaving had a number of benefits. First, removing their hair made it much more comfortable in the hot Egyptian climate. Second, it was easy to maintain a high degree of cleanliness avoiding danger of lice infestation. In addition, people wore wigs when their natural hair was gone due to old age. However, even though the Egyptians shaved their heads, they did not think the bald look was preferable to having hair.
Priests were required to keep their entire bodies cleanly shaved. They shaved every third day because they needed to avoid the danger of lice or any other uncleanness to conduct rituals. This is the reason why priests are illustrated bald-headed with no eyebrows or lashes.
There is evidence of influence from other cultures on Egyptian hairstyles. One example is the cultural union of the Roman Empire and the Egyptian empire. There is evidence of a female mummy wearing a typically Roman hairstyle yet the iconography on her death mask was plainly Egyptian. At Tell el-Daba in Egypt, there was a statue portrayed wearing a mushroom hairstyle that was typical of Asiatic males. There is a statue of young woman in the Ptolemaic periods exhibiting a typical Nubian hairstyle consisting of five small clumps of hair.
Wigs were very popular and worn by men, women and children. They were adorned both inside and outside of the house. Egyptians put on a new wig each day and wigs were greatly varied in styles. The primary function of the wig was as a headdress for special occasions, such as ceremonies and banquets.
Wigs were curled or sometimes made with a succession of plaits. Only queens or noble ladies could wear wigs of long hair separated into three parts, the so-called goddress. However, they were worn by commoners in later times. During the Old and Middle Kingdom, there were basically two kinds of wig styles; wigs made of short or long hair. The former was made of small curls arranged in horizontal lines lapping over each other resembling roof tiles. The forehead was partially visible and the ears and back of the neck were fully covered. Those small curls were either triangular or square. The hair could be cut straight across the forehead or cut rounded.
On the contrary, the hair from a long-haired wig hung down heavily from the top of the head to the shoulders forming a frame for the face. The hair was slightly waved and occasionally tresses were twisted into spirals. In the New Kingdom, people preferred wigs with several long tassel-ended tails, while shorter and simpler wigs became popular in the Amarna period.
Wigs were very expensive. People who could not afford to buy wigs had to use the cheaper hair extensions. Hair extensions were often preferred because they could be tied up in the back. Egyptians considered thicker hair as ideal, so hair extensions were also attached to the wigs to enhance ones appearance.
Wigs were meticulously cared for using emollients and oils made from vegetables or animal fats. Those wigs that were properly cared for lasted longer than those without proper care. Although Egyptians preferred to wear wigs and took care of them, they also did take care of their natural hair. Washing their hair regularly was a routine for Egyptians. However, it is not known how frequently Egyptians washed their hair. Wigs were scented with petals or piece of wood chips such as cinnamon. When wigs were not used, they were kept in special boxes on a stand or in special chests. When it was needed, it could be worn without tiresome combing. Wig boxes were found in tombs and the remnants of ancient wig factories have been located. Since it is believed that wigs were also needed for the afterlife, the dead were buried in the tombs with their wigs.
Wigs were usually made from human hair, sheep's wool or vegetable fibers. The more it looked like real hair, the more expensive it was and the more it was sought after. Wigs of high quality were made only from human hair, while wigs for the middle class were made with a mix of human hair and vegetable fibers. The cheapest wigs were made fully from vegetable fibers. Both wig making specialists and barbers made the wigs and wig making was considered to be a respectable profession. It was one of the jobs available to women. People cut or shaved their hair by themselves or went to the barbers. A barbershop scene is depicted in the tomb of Userhet at Sheikh Abd el-Qurna, where young men are forming a waiting line, sitting on the folding chairs and tripods while the barber is working.
Egyptians used a material called henna (used for nails and lips, too) to dye their hair red. Scientific studies show that people used henna to conceal their gray hair from as early as 3400 BC. Henna is still used today. There is a body of evidence from paintings that depict the existence of people with red hair, such as the 18th Dynasty Hunutmehet. She had distinctive red hair mentioned by Grafton Smith.
Like today, ancient Egyptians were also facing the same problem of hair loss, and they wanted to maintain their youthful appearance as long as possible. There were many kinds of suggested remedies targeting primarily men. In 1150 BC, Egyptian men applied fats from ibex, lions, crocodiles, serpents, geese, and hippopotami to their scalps. The fat of cats and goats was also recommended. Chopped lettuce patches were used to smear the bald spots to encourage hair growth.
Ancient Egyptians also made use of something similar to modern aromatherapy. Fir oil, rosemary oil, (sweet) almond oil and castor oil were often used to stimulate hair growth. The seeds of fenugreek, that plant herbalists and pharmacologists still use today, was another remedy.
Strouhal, Eugen. Life of the Ancient Egyptians. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1992.
Wilkinson, John Gardner, Sir. A Popular Account of the Ancient Egyptians. New York: Crescent Books, 1988. October 19, 2000.
ANCIENT EGYPTIAN CLOTHING. Dragonstrike Systems Ancient Egyptian Fashion Unity Point School. (1999). October 19, 2000. Ancient Egyptian Thematic. Dakota State University Course Material. October 19, 2000. Beauty Secrets of the Ancient Egyptians (Volume I, Number 1). Tour Egypt. (June 1, 2000). October 19, 2000. October 19, 2000.). Tour Egypt. (July 1, 2000). Direct Evidence of Fair Hair and Blue Eyes Xuxa Thorson. October 19, 2000. Discover Egypt. Seattle Art Museum.October 19, 2000.
Joseph -ChristianAnswers.Net. Christian Answers Network. (1996) Mummies The University of Texas. (December 13, 1999) October 19, 2000. October 19, 2000. Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum - Hairpin, Comb, and Hair Extensions. Rosicrucian Order, AMORC. (September 13, 1999) October 19, 2000. Hatshepsut/QQ/QQ8/qq.jewelery.html October 19, 2000.
The Social Dimension of Hair Loss. Internet health Library. (1996) They Walked in Beauty -Rotunda Royal Ontario Museum. (1999) 19, 2000. October 19, 2000.Picture of a woman wearing headband and wig
By Kozue Takahashi

Ancient Egyptian Games

Ancient Egypt had games of all kinds, some for fun and entertainment and the others for fitness. Samples of these games have been found in drawings located in the tombs at Saqqara, plus many others. These pyramids were built nearly 2600b.c.e. and believe it or not we still play some of these games to this day. As well as pictures, board games have also been found in tombs from the same time period. Many of the fitness type games depicted in paintings are of common games such as hockey, which used long palm tree branches for sticks and a puck made from stuffed papyrus in between two pieces of leather. There are also pictures of various types of games that use handballs.
Various types of board games have been discovered such as Dogs and Jackals, Senet or Seega, and others such as 20-squares a similar type of game called 30 and 50 squares. Dogs and Jackals games and pieces have been found in tomb of Reny-Seneb. It’s board was made of wood, ebony and ivory and shaped like a piece of furniture and roughly measuring 15x10cm. It had 4 animal carved legs and the board was made of ivory with a palm tree carved into it with fifty five holes. There were drawers that held the ebony pawns that looked like a jackal and a dog’s head on a stick. Three coins were used to determine movements of the pieces on the board and the first person with all pieces at the end won the game.
Senet is another board game that has been found. One of these games was found in the tomb of Hesy along with painting of it and how to play. The rules of this game were very complex. It consisted of a board with 30 holes, 3 rows and 10 columns. Most of the games used 7 pawns, sticks or knucklebones for each of the two players but some only had 5. During the New Kingdom, the game of Senet had acquired a religious and magical meaning which symbolized the passage of the deceased through the netherworld with his resurrection dependant upon his/her ability to win the game. Since boards games of all quality have been discovered it is needless to say that the games were played by all classes of people in Ancient Egypt.
The Game of Senent, and, Dogs and Jackals by Catherine Soubeyrand
Ancient Egyptian
Games of
Shareware computer games of Senet and Hounds & Jackals can be found at
by Casey Boone

Lives of Non-Royal Women

Women in Egypt were expected to marry around age twelve. Egyptian culture was Patrilineal and Patrilocal. Marriage was a secular activity and was regulated by custom rather than law. Instead of a marriage contract, men and women drew up property contracts at the time of marriage in the event of death or divorce. The woman then traveled to the home of her new husband.
In the home, women were responsible for the day-to-day operations and decisions. Women did (and needed to) have the same legal rights and status under the law as men who were gone from the home much of the time due to seasonal projects or warfare. The division of labor within a household evolved from environmental conditions. The men did very physical labor in the hot sun, and women labored inside or in the shade. Women attended to the household's gardens and orchards. There were no formal schools for girls, so mothers educated their daughters in the home. Women did attend professional schools, such as the school of medicine at Heliopolis and the woman's school at Sais, to learn to become doctors.
Women in Egypt were free to seek employment outside the home. Many women worked as musicians or dancers in the temples and during festivals. Wealthier households employed women as maids or nannies, and sometimes professional mourners for funerals. Women who had the time and resources would operate a small business out of their home, such as linen or perfume manufacturing. These activities could greatly increase household income, as these items were much in demand for funeral rights. Professional opportunities for women included physician or midwife, director of dance or singing troupes, and overseer. The women who became doctors mostly attended to other women as gynecologists. Their skills were such that they performed cesarean sections and surgically removed cancerous breasts.
Legal rights, responsibilities, and status were divided along class lines rather than gender lines. Within a given class, men and women had the same rights. Women were free to buy and sell property, enter and execute contracts, and file lawsuits. A woman could acquire possessions, property, and debt separate from her husband through labor or inheritance. A woman was entitled to inherit one third of their joint property on the death of her husband, the remaining estate was divided between the surviving children and siblings of the dead man.
Women were equally accountable under the law. A woman who was convicted of a capital crime in a court of law would be executed, but only after the court determined that the woman was not pregnant. If such a woman was found to be pregnant, her execution was stayed until she could give birth to the child. Then she was executed.
Wilkinson, J. G. (1988) The Ancient Egyptians. New York, NY: Crescent Books
Trigger, B.G., Kemp, B.J., O'Connor, D., Lloyd, A. (1983) Ancient Egypt. London: Cambridge University Press
Jones, C. (1998) 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Woman's History. New York, NY: Doubleday
Written by Joseph Perkins, 2002

Ancient Egyptian Midwifery and Childbirth

In ancient Egypt there were no known words for midwife, obstetrician, or gynecologist. But because ancient Egyptians did not have words for these things does not mean that they did not exist. In Ancient Egypt the midwife came in many forms. For peasants the midwife was a friend, neighbor, and/or family member who helped deliver the baby. For noblewomen and wealthier classes the midwife was usually a maidservant or nurse who already lived in the household. Midwives at this time did not have formal training to learn their trade. Instead they learned by apprenticeships where the knowledge was passed down from family member to family member or from friend to friend. The work of the midwife included providing emotional support, encouragement, medical care, and religious help and protection to women during their lives. The areas that midwives focused on were pregnancy, labor, fertility, and contraception.
Most ancient Egyptian women labored and delivered their babies on the ?cool roof of the house or in an arbor or confinement pavilion, which was a structure of papyrus-stalk columns decorated with vines? (Parsons p. 2). In Ptolemaic times, women from the noble class gave birth in birth houses that were attached to temples. The positions that these women took when they delivered their babies were standing, kneeling, squatting, or sitting on their heels on birthing bricks, or sitting on a birthing chair. The midwife would then be positioned in front of the mother to help the delivery and catch the baby. Two other women or midwives would be placed on either side of the mother to hold her hands and arms while she was pushing and to give encouragement. Sometimes the midwife would place a dish of hot water under the birthing chair so that steam could help ease delivery. The birthing bricks that ancient Egyptian women used were 14 by 7 inches long and decorated with colorful painted scenes and figures of the birth process. Birthing chairs were made of brick and had a hole in the center. They were decorated with hieroglyphic inscriptions of the owner and painted scenes of the mother, baby, and goddesses.
Since birth and delivery could be dangerous for both the mother and child, ancient Egyptian midwives used many goddesses and gods for help and protection. Goddesses and gods which ancient Egyptian midwives and women thought would help during pregnancy and birth were Hathor, Bes, Taweret, Meskhenet, Khnum, Thoth, and Amun. Hathor was the guardian-goddess of women and domestic bliss and watched over women giving birth. She took the shape of a cow. Bes was a dwarf-goddess who vanquished any evil things hovering around the mother and baby. Taweret was the pregnant hippopotamus-goddess and the chief deity of women during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. She carried a magic knife or the knot of Isis. Meskhenet was depicted in the shape of a birthing brick with a human head and gave strength and support to the laboring mother. Khnum was the creator-god who gave health to newborn babies after birth. The god Thoth helped the delivery along and the god Amun helped sooth severe labor pains by blowing in a cool northern breeze (Parsons, p. 3). Statues and pictures of these goddesses and gods were placed throughout room and painted on the walls, birthing bricks and chairs that the laboring women used. Another way that midwives called on divine help and protection during labor was to ?place a magic ivory crescent-shaped wand, decorated with carvings of deities, snakes, lions, and crocodiles, on the stomach of the women giving birth? (Parsons, p. 3).
On the Ebers, Kahun, Berlin, and Carlsberg papyri there are many tests and methods described for fertility, pregnancy, and contraception that ancient Egyptian midwives and women used.
Birth Control:
-Silphium, honey, and natron used for their contraceptive properties.
-Soak cotton in a paste of dates and acacia bark and insert into vagina.
-Acacia, carob, dates, all to be ground with honey and placed in the vagina.
Fertility Treatment:
-A woman should squat over a hot mixture of frankincense, oil, dates, and beer and allow the vapors to enter her.
Pregnancy Tests:
-Emmer and barley seeds, the lady should moisten with her urine every day, like dates, and like sand in two bags. If they all grow, she will bear a child. If the barley grows it will be a male, if the emmer grows it will be a female, if neither grow she will not bear a child.
-Examine the blood vessels over the breasts. Smear the breasts, arms, and shoulders with new oil. Early in the morning if her blood vessels look fresh and good, bearing children will occur. If the vessels are green and dark, she will bear children late.
-Give a women milk from one who had already borne a male child mixed with melon puree. If it made the women sick she was pregnant.
Induce Delivery:
-Place on the woman's abdomen a plaster of sea salt, emmer wheat, and rushes from the Nile River.
Contracting the Uterus:
-Mix the kheper-wer plant, honey, water of carob, and milk. Strain and place in the vagina.
Spells to Assist the Birth Process:
?Come down, placenta, come down! I am Horus who conjures in order that she who is giving birth becomes better than she was, as if she was already delivered...Look, Hathor will lay her hand on her with an amulet of health! I am Horus who saves her!? Repeat four times over a Bes-amulet, placed on the brow of the woman in labor.
?Make the heart of the deliverer strong, and keep alive the one that is coming.?
?Archaeologists uncover 3700-year-old `magical' birth brick in Egypt.? Eurekalert 30 Nov. 2002.
Parsons, Marie. ?Childbirth and Children in Ancient Egypt.? Tour Egypt 30 Nov. 2002.
?Ancient childbirth seat found in Egypt.? Blueyonder 04 Nov. 2002.
?Women's Health and Obstetrics in Ancient Egypt.? Geocities 04 Nov. 2002.
?Health?Egyptian Approach to Illness, Pregnancy and Childbirth.? Members 04 Nov. 2002.
?Ancient Egypt: Medicine-Pregnancy and childbirth.? Reshafim
For an image of Cleopatra giving birth go to

Written by Alison Thiele, 2002

Ancient Egyptian Medicine

The Egyptians believed that disease and death were caused by a god, a spirit, or some other supernatural force. They had shaman-physicians, who would discover the particular entity causing the disease and then drive it out with magic rituals or talismans, as well as medicines. The duties of Egyptian physicians included creating medications, providing magic spells and prayers to provide healing, mending broken bones, dentistry, embalming, surgery, and autopsy. Physicians were often very specialized. ?From the tombstone of Iry, chief physician to a pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty, we learn that he was also "palace eye physician" and "palace stomach bowel physician" and bore the titles "one understanding the internal fluids" and "guardian of the anus." (Ead)
A common diseases among the Egyptians was the parasitic disease Schistosomiasis, an infection by the larval worm of a snail. Humans are infected when they come into contact with the free swimming worm, which is released by the snail into water. The worm burrows into the skin and enters the veins of the human host and causes anemia, loss of appetite, urinary infection, and loss of resistance to other diseases.
The commoners also suffered from the injuries and deformities caused by hard labor. They suffered from insect born diseases such as malaria and trachoma, an eye disease, small pox, measles, tuberculosis, and cholera. It is believed that there were occasional outbreaks of the bubonic plague spread along trade routes from the east. They contracted diseases such as trichinae, parasitic worms, and tuberculosis from their livestock. Leprosy, which had originated in Egypt, was relatively rare, possibly because of the immunity that tuberculosis sufferers have. Silicosis of the lungs, caused by breathing in sand particles was a common cause of pneumonia for the ancient Egyptians. The ancient Egyptians also suffered from diet-related ailments such as malnutrition, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, dental abrasion, and ailments normal to all humans such as arthritis.
A great deal of our knowledge of ancient Egyptian medicine comes from the Edwin Smith Papyrus, the Ebers Papyrus and the Kahun Papyrus. The Edwin Smith Papyrus and the Ebers Papyrus date from the seventeenth and sixteenth centuries BCE. These manuscripts are believed to be derived from earlier sources. They contain recipes and spells for the treatment of a great variety of diseases or symptoms. They discuss the diagnosis of diseases and provide information of an anatomy. They detail the ancient Egyptian concept of medicine, anatomy, and physiology. The Kahun Papyrus is a gynecological text that deals with topics such as the reproductive organs, conception, testing for pregnancy, birth, and contraception. Among those materials prescribed for contraception are crocodile dung, honey, and sour milk.
Thanks to the medical papyri, we know of many of the ancient Egyptian treatments and prescriptions for diseases. They call for the treatment of many disorders and the use of a variety of substances, plant, animal, mineral, as well as the droppings and urine of a number of animals. They knew how to use suppositories, herbal dressings and enemas and widely used castor oil.
Honey and milk were used for the respiratory system as well as throat irritations.
Honey, a natural antibiotic, was also widely used to dress wounds.
Aloe Vera was used to treat worms, relieve headaches, soothe chest pains, burns, ulcers and for skin diseases.
Frankincense was used to treat throat and larynx infections, stop bleeding, as well as treating asthma.
Dill was used to sooth flatulence, also for its laxative and diuretic properties.
Caraway was used to treat flatulence and as a breath freshener.
Balsam Apple or Apple of Jerusalem was used as a laxative.
Garlic was believed to provide vitality, sooth flatulence and aids digestion, shrinks hemorrhoids, rids body of spirits.
Camphor tree was used to reduce fevers, sooth gums, and treat epilepsy.
Juniper tree was utilized to treat digestive ailments, sooth chest pains, sooth stomach cramps.
Mustard seeds were used to induce vomiting and relieve chest pains.
Onions could be used to induce perspiration, prevents colds, and as a diuretic.
Parsley was used as a diuretic.
Mint was used to sooth flatulence, aids digestion, stop vomiting, and as a breath freshener.
Sandalwood was used to aid digestion, stop diarrhea, and to treat gout.
Sesame was used to sooth asthma.
Poppy seeds were used to relieve insomnia, headaches, and as an anesthetic.
Thyme was also used as a pain reliever.
Majno, Guido. The Healing Hand. Harvard University Press, Cambridge. 1975.
Silverburg, Robert. The Dawn of Medicine. Putnam Publishing, New York. 1966.
Dawson, Warren R. The Beginnings, Egypt & Assyria. Hafner Publishing Company, New York. 1964.
Sanders, J. B. Transitions from Ancient Egyptian to Greek medicine. University of Kansas Press, Lawrence. 1963.
Medicine In Old Egypt. Edited and prepared by Prof. Hamed A. Ead.

Nubia and Egypt

Nubia was a region south of Egypt, which was divided by the Nile nearest the 2nd Cataract. The products of Nubia and Kush added greatly to the wealth of Egypt, particularly by providing gold, ivory, ebony, cattle, gums and semi-precious stones. Cattle were one of the major contributions made by Nubia suggesting that grasslands were more extensive in the time of the Old Kingdom. In addition, the Nile Delta below Memphis has always been one of great fertility, flanked on its eastern and western borders by wide meadowlands where goats, sheep and cattle were raised. The fertility of Nubia and it's products enriched both Egyptian and Nubian cultures which lived along the Nile.

Daily Life in Ancient Egypt

Geography and Agriculture
The geography of Egypt is deeply important in understanding why the Egyptians centered their lives around the Nile. Both before and during the use of canal irrigation in Egypt, the Nile Valley could be separated into two parts, the River Basin or the flat alluvial (or black land soil), and the Red Land or red desert land. The River basin of the Nile was in sharp contrast to the rest of the land of Egypt and was rich with wild life and water fowl, depending on the waxing and waning cycles of the Nile. In contrast, the red desert was a flat dry area which was devoid of most life and water, regardless of any seasonal cycle.
The Nile in it's natural state goes through periods of inundation and relinquishment. The inundation of the Nile-a slightly unpredictable event- was the time of greatest fertility for Egypt. As the banks rose, the water would fill the man-made canals and canal basins and would water the crops for the coming year. However, if the inundation was even twenty inches above or below normal, it could have massive consequences upon the Egyptian agricultural economy. Even with this variability, the Egyptians were able to easily grow tree crops and vegetable gardens in the lower part of the Nile Valley, while at higher elevations, usually near levees, the Nile Valley was sparsely planted.
Agricultural crops were not the mainstay of the ancient Egyptian diet. Rather, the Nile supplied a constant influx of fish which were cultivated year around. In addition to fish, water fowl and cattle were also kept by the Egyptians. Flocks of geese were raised from the earliest times and supplied eggs, meat and fat. However, the domestic fowl didn't make its appearance until Ramesside times, and then in only very isolated places. The Egyptian farmers, in their early experimental phase, also tried to domesticate other animals such as hyenas, gazelles and cranes but gave up after the Old Kingdom. Cattle were also part of the staple diet of the Egyptians, suggesting that grazing land was available for the Egyptians during the times when the Nile receded. However, during the inundation, cattle were brought to the higher levels of the flood plain area and were often fed the grains harvested from the previous year.
The Egyptian diet was by no means limited to tree crops and vegetables, nor was it limited to an animal or fish diet. The Egyptians cultivated barley, emmer wheat, beans, chickpeas, flax, and other types of vegetables. In addition, the cultivation of grains was not entirely for consumption. One of the most prized products of the Nile and of Egyptian agriculture was oil. Oil was customarily used as a payment to workmen employed by the state, and depending on the type, was highly prized. The most common oil (kiki) was obtained from the castor oil plant. Sesame oil from the New Kingdom was also cultivated and was highly prized during the later Hellenistic Period.

Paleolithic Egypt

In the Paleolithic Era, the Sahara and the Nile River valleys were far different then we know it today. The Sahara did not consist of sand but rolling grass lands that sprang forth with abundant vegetation and food. This period of ample vegetation and rainfall lasted until about 30,000 BC. Then the climate began to dry up and the rolling grass lands started to recede and the food supply began to vanish. The people then made their trek to the Nile Valley with its readily available water, game, and arable land. The period marked the change from hunting and gathering to the time of farming. Additionally, this period is believed to have been much more temperate and rainy than the Nile Valley of today.
The earliest evidence for humans in Egypt dates from around 500,000 - 700,000 years ago. These hominid finds are those of Homo erectus. Early Paleolithic sites are most often found near now dried-up springs or lakes or in areas where materials to make stone tools are plentiful.
One of these sites is Arkin 8, discovered by Polish archaeologist Waldemar Chmielewski near Wadi Halfa. These are some of the oldest buildings in the world ever found. The remains of the structures are oval depressions about 30 cm deep and 2 x 1 meters across. Many are lined with flat sandstone slabs. They are called tent rings, because the rocks support a dome-like shelter of skins or brush. This type of dwelling provides a permanent place to live, but if necessary, can be taken down easily and moved. It is a type of structure favored by nomadic tribes making the transition from hunter-gatherer to semi-permanent settlement all over the world.
By the Middle Paleolithic, Homo erectus had been replaced by Homo neanderthalensis. It was about this time that more efficient stone tools were being made by making several stone tools from one core, resulting in numerous thin, sharp flakes that required minimal reshaping to make what was desired. The standardization of stone toolmaking led to the development of several new tools. They developed the lancelet spear point, a better piercing point which easily fit into a wooden shaft.
The next advancement in tool making came during the Aterian Industry which dates around 40,000 BC. The Aterian Industry improved spear and projectile points by adding a notch on the bottom of the stone point, so it could be more securely fastened to the wooden shaft. The other breakthrough in this period is the invention of the spear-thrower, which allowed for more striking power and better accuracy. The spear-thrower consisted of a wooden shaft with a notch on one end where the spear rested. The development of the spear-thrower allowed for increased efficiency in hunting large animals. They hunted a wide variety of animals such as the white rhinoceros, camel, gazelles, warthogs, ostriches, and various types of antelopes.
The Khormusan Industry, which overlapped the Aterian Industry, started some time between 40,000 and 30,000 BC. The Khormusan Industry pushed advancement even farther by making tools from animal bones and ground hematite, but they also used a wide variety of stone tools. The main feature that marks the Khormusan Industry is their small arrow heads that resemble those of Native Americans. The use of bows by the Aterian and Khormusan industries is still questioned; to date there is no set proof that they used bow technology.
During the beginning of the Upper Paleolithic around 30,000 BC, the pluvial conditions ended and desertification overtook the Sahara region. People were forced to migrate closer to the Nile River valley. Near the Nile, new cultures and industries started to develop. These new industries had many new trends in their production of stone tools, especially that of the miniaturization and specialization.
The Sebilian Industry that followed the Khotmusan Industry added little advancement to tool making, and some aspects even went backwards in tool making. The Sebilian Industry is known for their development of burins, small stubby points. They started by making tools from diorite, a hard igneous rock which was widely found in their environment. Later on they switched over to flint which was easier to work.
The Sebilian Industry did coexist with another culture called the Silsillian Industry which did make significant advancements in tool technology. The Silsillians used such blades as truncated blades and microliths. The truncated blades are made for one specific task and are of irregular shape. The microliths are small blades used in such tools as arrows, sickles, and harpoons. The micro blade technology was most likely used because of the small supply of good toolmaking stone, such as diorite and flint.
The Qadan Industry was the first to show major signs of intensive seed collection and other agriculturally similar techniques. They used such tools as sickles and grinding stones. These tools show that by this time people had developed the skills for plant-dependent activities. The use of these tools astonishingly vanished around 10,000 BC for a small period of time, perhaps as a result of climatic change. This resulted in hunting and gathering returning as the adaptive strategy.
Beginning after 13,000 BC, cemeteries and evidence of ritual burial are found. Skeletons were often decorated with necklaces, pendants, breast ornaments and headdresses of shell and bone.
The Epipaleolithic Period dates between 10,000 - 5,500 BC and is the transition between the Paleolithic and the Predynastic periods in ancient Egypt. During this time, the hunter-gatherers began a transition to the village-dwelling farming cultures.
The Nile Valley of the Paleolithic was much larger then it is today, its annual flooding made permanent habitation of its floodplain impossible. As the climate became drier and the extent of the flooding was reduced, people were able to settle on the Nile floodplain. After 7000 BC, permanent settlements were located on the floodplain of the Nile. These began as seasonal camps but become more permanent as people began to develop true agriculture.
Egypt: Complete Guide for Travel, Ancient & Modern Egypt., InterCity Oz, Inc., 1999-2003.
Hall, H. R. The Ancient History of the Near East. Methuen & CO., London. 1913.
Hoffman, Michael A. Egypt Before the Pharaohs. Alfred A. Knopf Inc, New York. 1984.
James, T. G. H. An Introduction to Ancient Egypt. Harper & Row, New York. 1979.
Written By Mitch Oachs and Nathan Bailey, 2002

Egypt Now – Modern Egypt

Egypt today is a study in contrasts, especially in Cairo, where 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 and bazaars.
As for the rest of the country, life for the fellahin is similar to that of their ancient Egyptian or early Arab settlers ancestors. They inhabit the rural villages along the Nile, living in mud brick houses or goatskin tents, and tilling the soil with the same tools of pharaonic times.
Along the Nile valley, modern Egypt still looks very much like its ancient past, except for the roadways running along the river and some electricity towers and lines here and there.
For the traveler, Egypt today is an open air museum, with ancient monuments scattered along the east and west banks of the Nile, from the Pyramids of Giza at the North to the Great Temple of Abu Simbel near the present day border of Sudan.
Around the Red Sea Coast and the Sinai Peninsula, there has been significant developments focused in the tourism industry, as former fishing villages are turning into resort towns catering to wealthy tourists principally from Europe and the Middle East.
This website is dedicated to both Egypts – the Egypt that takes you back to the glory of bygone days and the Egypt of a devout people that struggle every day to overcome corruption and poverty while keeping a friendly smile to foreign visitors.

Egypt Then – Ancient Egypt

Who hasn’t heard about the Pyramids, the Sphinx or King Tut?
Ancient Egyptian civilization and its great achievements are the subject of study in schools around the world from the early grades up.
Herodotus, the famous Greek traveler called Egypt the Gift of the Nile and, in fact, this great civilization would not have existed without its life giving waters. The development of early settlements into great cities was made possible by the constant yearly inundation that turned the barren desert into rich fertile soil around its banks. There was plenty of crops to sustain an ever growing population that could diversify its activities and develop skills for organizing into complex systems of government, religion, military, construction, writing and the arts.
Ancient Egypt became the richest world empire. The pharaohs conducted military campaigns that extended its borders and brought so much wealth to the country that pharaohs began a monument building program unparalled in history, the remains of which we tour today.
When Napoleon set up to conquer Egypt in 1797, a sudden burst of popular interest in all things Egyptian spread across Europe, and the term Egyptomania was coined. Egypt became the perfect scenario for artistic imagery, a remote vast desert land scarcely populated by exotic people amidst monumental ruins half covered in the sand of times at the banks of a mystical river whose unexplored source was deep in the heart of a primitive continent.
Today, the fascination for Ancient Egypt persists. People continually flock to the Land of the Pharaohs to witness the mighty Pyramids, the Great Sphinx and the Treasures of Tutankhamen.