Our visit in Egypt commenced with the visit to the famed Egyptian Museum in Cairo.  The museum displays 120,000 artifacts while storing a further 150,000 pieces.  Made famous by the display of original artifacts found in King Tutankhamun’s tomb, the museum displays plenty of pieces of Egyptian history dating back to 3100 AD, more than 5,100 years ago!

Artifacts from King Tutankharmun’s tomb were fascinating to say the least, showing remarkable workmanship in masonry, goldsmithing, jewelry, tapestry etc. from these ages.  We learnt that Tut became famous because when his tomb discovered, it was discovered with a lot of treasure revealing how the life of a wealthy boy king was like.His mummified body was discovered inside 3 sarcophagus (one inside the other) – we learnt a lot about mummification, the process, the hieroglyphic language, how a wealthy king lived even when he was murdered at the age of 19.

In ancient times, the names of kings are encased in an oval pendant called the Kartush, so there wasn't much guessing to do as the tomb of a king was excavated as his name would appear on just about everything he used. The original facemask of King Tutankharmun was also on display and we must say, it looks magnificent!

With the amount of time we have, we didn't get to see much but we were very pleased that apart from King Tutankharmun"s treasures, we also saw mummies of several kings and not to forget some animal mummies as well. Tthe Egyptian museum will have a new enormously large home in 2011 close to where the Great Pyramids in Giza is.

A visit to Cairo is never complete without visiting the Great Pyramids of Giza.  An imposing sight - three pyramids, the largest of the trio the largest in the world belonging to the grandfather, son and grandson plus seven other subsidiary pyramids belonging to wives and daughters of the owners of the three.  Called the Pyramid of Khufu, tthe 150m tall structure is the only structure of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing today and it stood as the tallest man made structure in the world for 3,100 years!

When we arrived at the Pyramids, we experienced a sandstorm - which felt like sandblasting on our skin – now we understand why the Bedouins wore kaftans covering the entire body, revealing only the enough for the eyes to peer through.  Egyptian cotton is remarkably porous, allowing air to pass right through to cool the skin even when the threads were tightly woven.  Sadly due to this reason, clear pictures which we have become accustomed to was not possible in this trip.  We recommend getting some Egyptian cotton clothing if any of our readers do make a trip to Egypt … well, perhaps leave the kaftans and belly dancing outfit alone.

Entering the inside of the Pyramids is only permitted for several hours at dawn as it gets unbearable as the heat picks up during the day. We paid for tickets and queued to get into the 2nd pyramid but chickened out as soon as we saw that the entrance was tiny. So, its back into the relative safety of the sandstorm. So, please keep in mind that as you view our pictures that some of the images may appear unclear simply because a sandstorm is happening in the background.

Khan El Khalili, a fully operational Oriental bazaar is a must when visiting Cairo but beware, bargaining is compulsory. Here, you are able to see everything ranging from Sheisha (Egqyptian pipe), pyramid and sarcophogus models, gold/silver jewelry, t-shirts, papyrus etc..  We did the China thing, offering 10% of the first quote but ended up paying just under 30% - we felt as a good guide to what you are able to wring from this place.  If anything, it’s a whole lot of fun.  Local tours do not prefer this place because of difficulties arranging commission, preferring instead to private bazaars elsewhere in Cairo.

Whilst there are many other places we would have loved to visit, we simply did not have the luxury of time to do that.  However, we certainly learnt a lot about ancient cultures.



Images of Cairo

 

Note that images have a 24 bit colour depth and work best when viewed through systems appropriately configured.

 


The Pyramid of Khufu
note the size of each piece
2.3 million pieces was
used to build this pyramid.

 


Oriental Bazaar at
Khal El Khalili

Links to other Stories

 

 

People
Whilst we have met some nice people in Egypt during this trip, they all tried to rip us off - I call this opportunistic. In a land where every 3rd man is a heavily armed security force,
we rate this 3.5 out of 5.

Service
With every man for his own where even the police have resorted to trickery in order to earn a little bit more money, service does not take precedence. Taxis are not metered in Egypt. Instead fares are negotiated before each trip, in most cases before you even see the type of car you are negotiating to get into. So, while there are a few relatively new air conditioned vehicles under 5 years old, the majority of taxi's are ancient Peugeot 504's or Polo's. Unfortunately, we have to award a 0 in this category..

Culture
There is a lot of culture in Egypt - dating back to 3100 BC all contained within the museums. The country is heavily dependent on tourism and its history with invaders of the past - the Greek, French, Turks and Romans certainly colours up life in Cairo. We rate this 4 out of 5.

Attractiveness
There is a lot to see in Cairo - from the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Coptic Christian architecture and Islamic Old Cairo, Perfume factories, Papyrus institutes, Egyptian Cotton sales outlets and a cruise on the Nile. They are a lot of things to see in Cairo.
We rate this a 3 out of 5.

Food
We are not a big fan of Egyptian food although have been familiar back home (in Australia) with schwarma, shish kebab, breads served with dips made from eggplant, chick pea or sesame seed.. We rate this 2.5 out of 5.

Cost
Cairo is relatively inexpensive although we are in a very poor position to make a good judgement. Tourist zones we visited charged about €10 for meals, which we feel is reasonable. Hotel rooms are relatively inexpensive but be prepared to put up with less than perfect hygeine standards. We score this 3.5 out of 5.

Overall
Everything considered; the sights, experience, food and cost - we had a fun time and would rate this 3 out of 5.

Cairo,, EG

 

People

Service

Culture
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Attractiveness

Food

Cost

Overall Score

 

Big Mac Index
ref: Jul 5th, 2007

Malaysia $1.60
Egypt $1.68
Russia $2.03
Singapore
$2.59
Australia $2.95
South Korea $3.14
Europe
$4.17