Abusir | Agami | Alexandria | El
Alamein | El Dikheila | Sidi Abdel
Rahman | Sid Barani
El Dikheila | Marina | Mersa
Matruh | Ras el-Hikma | Sallum
|Absur is located west of Alexandria on the
road to Mersa Matruh. The village has some ancient building from the time
of the Ptolemaic rule. These include the Taposiris Magna, dedicated to
Osiris, but all that remains is the outer walls and pylons. Apparently
animals were worshipped at the temple, as there is an animal necropolis
nearby. Inside the walls of the temple are the remains of a Christian
church. Near the church, one also finds the remains of some public baths,
a seawall, quays and a bridge reported to have been built by Justinian.
There are also the remains of the Burg el-Arab, known as the Arab Tower
to the North. Though now ruined, it has a square base surmounted by an
Octagonal structure and then a round story. Built by Ptolemy II Phiadelphus,
the tower was said to be a scale duplicate of the famous Pharos Lighthouse.
|Traditionally an exclusive resort where Cairo and Alexandria elite vacations.
Known as the Egyptian St-Tropez, Agami today also caters to the middle
and working class. The resort village was founded in the 1950's, but their
are few structures remaining from this period. And while most of the housing
in the area is simple, there are exceptions, including the Villa Lashin,
built in 1962 by architect Ali Azzam and the Beit el-Halawa built by Abd
el-Wahid el-Wakil. Near here, you will also find the resort villages of
Hannoville and Sidi Kheir, which are also popular summer retreats. Historically,
there is a small French fort built during French occupation of Egypt.
of Alexandria, Egypt
Building of Alexandria
The second largest city in Egypt,
Alexandria, known as "The Pearl of the Mediterranean",
has an atmosphere that is more Mediterranean than Middle Eastern
; its ambience and cultural heritage distance it from the rest of
the country although it is actually only 225 km. from Cairo.
Founded by Alexander the
Great in 331 BC, Alexandria became the capital of Graeco-Roman Egypt,
its status as a beacon of culture symbolized by Pharos, the legendary
lighthouse that was one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The setting
for the stormy relationship between Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Alexandria
was also the center of learning in the ancient world. But ancient
Alexandria declined, and when Napoleon landed, he found a sparsely
populated fishing village.
From the 19th century Alexandria
took a new role, as a focus for Egypt's commercial and maritime
expansion. This Alexandria has been immortalized by writers such
as E-M- Forster and Cavafy. Generations of immigrants from Greece,
Italy and the Levant settled here and made the city synonymous with
commerce, cosmopolitanism and bohemian culture.
Alexandria is a city to explore at
random. It's as important to enjoy the atmosphere as it is to see
Alexandria is a city to
explore at random. It's as important to enjoy the atmosphere as it
is to see the sights. Dinocrates built the Heptastadion, the
causeway between Pharos and the mainland. This divided the harbors
into the Western and Eastern. The Eastern harbor was really where
the old harbor from the Middle Ages was located.
Of modern Alexandria, the oldest
section is along the causeway which links what was once Pharos island
with the mainland and includes the districts of Gumrok (the oldest
dating to about the 16th century and known as the customs district)
Anfushi, and Ras el-Tin (Cape of Figs). The latter two districts
date to about the period of Mohammed Ali (1805-49). Collectively,
these districts are known to westerners as the Turkish Quarter.
They have had a number of ups and downs over the years, particularly
due to the plague during the 17th century. The area forms somewhat
of a T-shape, dividing the Eastern Harbor from the Western Harbor.
This section of Alexandria is known
to us more from books then what we may actually see in the area.
Where the Pharos Lighthouse once stood, is now occupied by the Fort
of Quit Bay (1) out on the area that circles up around the top of
Eastern Harbor forming the eastern section of the top of the T.
Heading south from the Fort of Quit Bay, we come to the stunning
Abu El-Abbas Mosque (2). West of this is the Anfushi Tombs (3),
some of the oldest in Alexandria and well worth a visit.
This area along the coast about 15
miles east of Alexandrias old district along the Corniche is where
many of the modern Alexandrian hotels are located, as well as one
of the elegant heritage hotels. Khedive Abbas II built the Salamlik
as a residence. Here also is the magnificent Montaza Palace.
A walk along the Mahmudiya Canal
brings wone face to face with the working class and industrial districts
of Alexandria, and is pleasent along the old paved road bordered
by the canal and sycamore treets. South of the Greek district along
the canal is the Antoniadis Gardens, which seep with history. Here,
the poet Callimachus lived and taught, and in 640 AD, Pompilius
prvented the King of Syria from capturing Alexandria. But less then
a year later, Amr Ibn el-As camped here, before taking the city.
The well known Water Traffic Circle is also in the area.
|El Alamein is most notable as the place where the Allied forces of WW
II gained a decisive victory of the Axis forces. Today, the village located
about 66 miles east of Alexandria is mostly a port facility for shipping
oil. However, it was once described by Churchill as having the best climate
in the world. There are several hotels and a beach resort nearby (Hotel
Atic). There is also a war museum with collectibles from the Battle of
El Alamein and other North African battles. The only historical interest
in this village would be related to WW II, and includes an Italian and
German military cemeteries on Tell el-Eisa Hill just outside of town
|El Kikheila lies on the coastal road between Alexandria and Mersa Matruh,
just west of Alexandria. There is a military camp and near this, the ruins
of an ancient monastery called Enaton. This monastery was built in the
fifth century by monks who also left some evidence of their existence
in the area of Lake Mariut and Wadi Natrun.
on Egypt's North Coast
Marina is a tourist village
located in the Northern Coast which stretches 525 Kilometers along
the Mediterranean coast of Egypt east to Sallum on the Libyan border.
There are actually a number of tourist villages along the northern
coast, and more planned, though Marina has earned the reputation of
being one of the most exclusive, traditionally catering to many of
Egypt's rich and elite. It has been, in fact, considered mostly exclusively
Egyptian, though that attitude seems to be opening up just a bit,
and some tour operators rent villas in the area. These areas along
Egypt's north coast may very well become more popular with foreign
tourists as nearby Alexandria seems to be gaining considerable ground
in the tourist market. Marina is very close to Alexandria, on the
beach between that city and Al-Alemein .The Marina resort itself has
a 750 meters long beach and its downstream surface is 800 meters.
Its total surface is about 143 feddans. Many service units are constructed
on the beach. The housing unit consists of almost 34 villas, 264 flats
and 672 cabins as well as a center for administrative, commercial,
medical, religious as well as entertainment services, all of which
can be found in the middle of the village.
Marina was the brainchild of Abdallah
Abdel-Aziz, head of the urban planning committee of the Scientific
Research Academy and the retired chairman of the urban planning
department at Ain Shams University's Faculty of Engineering. Abdel-Aziz
planned the resort as an example of beautiful architecture and landscaping.
"The element of beauty has been largely absent in architecture
since 1952, when the government shifted focus to provide housing
for the poor," he laments. "The result is an eclectic
cement forest extending from Alexandria to Upper Egypt. Marina was
my attempt to resurrect aesthetic architectural styles." Marina
marks the beginning of the Luxury building boom in Egypt.
Inside the village, narrow roads
lined with whitewashed chalets and villas lead down to the beach
area, where manicured gardens and swimming pools add to the scenery's
natural beauty. Droves of youngsters from nearby villages swarm
onto the beach, flaunting the latest fashion in bathing costumes
and sportswear. Some have decided to pass the time swimming, others
are already dancing, munching on hot snacks, or just socializing,
chattering over mobile phones and enjoying every bit of fun available.
Interestingly, Marina is one of the
few places in Egypt that has built "specialized beaches".
For example, there are now about six private beaches located at
Marina that are specifically dedicated to youth, who apparently
appreciate the effort. To those privileged young Egyptians, these
Marina beaches have become very fashionable, where loud music, various
water games and other luxuries abound.
Of course, by Egyptian standards,
the beaches are not cheap. One must either own a villa, or pay between
20 and 30 L.E. for a day's visit.
We come to spend almost all
the weekends during the summer vacation here at Marina. These private
beaches are great, they have really cool music and, you also meet
a lot of friends around, said Mary Hanna, a 19 year-old student.
These private beaches guarantee that a certain class will enter
the beaches. If you are not one of the members or if you do
not pay the fee, you dont enter and this makes sure that the
quality of service and cleanliness wont change, added
We found that the private,
specialized beaches were very successful because more than half
of our clients at Marina this year are teenagers, but we still had
a problem to solve, said Fouad. Since we live in a Muslim
country, we needed to find a way to give our more conservative ladies
the opportunity to have fun, so this year we opened our two girls-only
beaches which are called Chiquita, and Yashmak. These beaches have
women staff, DJs, masseuses, coiffeurs. In fact, all of the personnel,
from guards to administrators are women.
"It is a women's haven,"
said Dalia Samir, the beach manager. "We managed to employ
women lifeguards, vendors, bouncers and ushers."
It is really a beautiful place,
Ive been here for almost three weeks and Im really enjoying
it. I cant recall the last time I felt comfortable swimming,
but now I can just wear any swim suit I like and feel free. Its
not just that, you can actually swim here, get a massage, and do
your hair then just enjoy the music, said Manal Ali, 24.
To attract more women to Al- Yashmak,
the organizers are trying to offer all the activities available
at mixed beaches. "We provided them with sports facilities
at Gold's Gym, and we are planning beach aerobics classes, not to
mention sales booths for all sorts of beach paraphernalia,"
said Samir. Another idea is to set up a manicure and pedicure booth
on the beach. "Girls can't find these services in Marina,"
she added, "And we have put up higher fences because some women
asked us to do that."
The feeling of freedom may not be
the only motive behind Al-Yashmak. Shyness is another strong motive
for some women. Lying down on the beach, reading a book, and not
worrying about men's opinions is what the beach offers some women.
"I feel shy walking around in my swimsuit on the other beaches,"
said Dalia Ibrahim. "But here I feel I don't have to worry
While Marian cannot be said to be
a normal destination for foreign tourists, it will probably offer
more and more opportunities as Egypt's north coast tourism grows
over the coming years. There are also some nearby ruins, and other
sightseeing in the area.
Mersa Matrouh lies 290 km. West of
Alexandria and 222 km. from Sallum. The distance from Cairo to Matrouh
is 524 km. It lies on a bay on the Mediterranean and is distinguished
by its seven km. long beach, which-as all visitors have testified-is
one of the most beautiful in the world.
The beach is famous for its white
soft sands and calm transparent waters, for the bay is protected
from the high seas by a series of rocks forming a natural wave-breaker,
with a small opening to allow light vessels in.
This beach dates back to the days
of Alexander, the Macedonian, when it was known as "Paraetonium"
and also as "Amunia". It said that Alexander the Great
stopped there during his historical expedition to pay tribute, and
sacrifice, to the god Amun, at Siwa, so that he becomes Amun's son
and his rule be a historical continuation of the pharaohs. There
are ruins of a temple from the time of Rameses II (1200 B.C.) in
Monument and Tourist
Built the Ptolemies, the remains of the naval installations still
stand west of the port.
Built the early Coptic age, and contains several caves bearing inscriptions.
A cave, hewn in the rock, where Rommel drew up plans of his military
operations. It has now been turned into a military museum.
About 28 km. west of Mersa Matrouh, it is distinguished by its numerous
natural caves and enchanting scenery.
About 20 km. west of Mersa Matrouh beauty surpasses that of Mersa
An ancient city discovered in 1985, it comprises temples, tombs
baths and nobles' houses, from the Graeco-Roman period. It is the
largest archaeological city after Alexandria.
The British Cemetery: Thousands
upon thousands of rock-hewn tombstones stand straight rows amidst
a fenced garden.
The German Cemetery: It is
a fortress like memorial that was built on a high overlooking the
The Italian Cemetery: It is
a high tower fort standing on a high hill. The walls of the building
are covered with marble.
|Ras el-Hikma has some beautiful beaches, and an official camping site.
It is located about 30 miles east of Marsa Matruh and might make a
pleasant distraction on the way there. The town is little more than
a Bedouin village, and is situated on an land mass that juts out into
|While Sallum is not a tourist area, there are nevertheless one hotel
(al-Ahrum) and a few other places to stay. However, this is certainly
not a town familiar with western travelers. This was the ancient Roman
port of Baranis, and there are still some Roman wells in the area.
It is also a Bedouin trading center. It sits on the Egyptian North
Coast, but it's location basically on the boarder with Libya about
as far east as one may travel in Egypt means that it is out of the
way of most everything, with few attractions other than a WWII Commonwealth
war cemetery. There is a post office and a National Bank of Egypt
branch, and some nearby beaches may be isolated and attractive. However,
one should ask for permission prior to visiting these.
|About 15 miles west of El Alamein lies Sidi Abdel Rahman, with beautiful
sugar white beaches and the Mediterranean. This is one of those virgin
beach areas you read about but rarely see. Bedouins inhabit a small
village a little over a mile away. There is a beach resort located
|Sidi Barani is a town on the Northern Coast of Egypt situated East
of the Libyan boarder and west of Marsa Matruh. Mostly it is a Bedouin
community with food and gasoline resources, a single small hotel,
and very little if any tourist activity or historical curiosities.
HOTELS IN EGYPT
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