…I will be in the air, heading off on my vacation to Egypt.
The last time I had the chance for a vacation abroad, it was to visit my brother when he was living in New York, NY and this was over two years ago.
As I’ve previously said, I have always been a lazy vacationer – only visiting English-speaking countries, and despite the fact that Australia and New Zealand are on my list of places I would like to visit, I have always wanted to travel far and beyond these and challenge my language skills and experience new cultures. Countries currently on my list to visit are Japan, China, Thailand, etc.
Anyways, I am a certified diver and many of my peers from diving school, had on several occasions mentioned about the wonderful diving opportunities around Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. So I had decided that once I had my certification, Egypt would make it onto my mental list of places to visit at some point in the future as vacation spot. I had not originally considered Egypt as a place I would like to visit, but that has now changed, and despite still not having the finances available – that’s what a credit card is for…right? I am getting a chance to go and see the Pyramids and experience Egypt’s wonderful culture.
Sadly though… due to an unknown medical issue (which I’ll not go into here) I have been advised not to dive until this is rectified and as a result means I will not be able to experience the diving out in Egypt, but I most certainly will be taking up the opportunity to do some snorkeling.
I would certainly be here all day writing, and it would make it a very long blog post if I was to write about the history of Egypt. So I will give a very brief account of what Egypt’s history is about:
Wikipedia refers to Egypt as being one of the most populous countries of Africa and that of the Middle East. The majority of the 81 million people live near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of around 40,000 square kilometers (15,000 sq miles). About half of Egypt’s residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centers of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta.
Monuments in Egypt such as the Giza Pyramid Complex and its Great Sphinx were constructed by it’s ancient civilization. It’s ancient ruins, such as those of Memphis, Thebes, and Karnak and the Valley of the Kings outside Luxor, are a significant focus of archaeological study. The tourism industry and the Red Sea Riviera employ about 12% of Egypt’s workforce.
The economy of Egypt is one of the most diversified in the Middle East, with sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry and service at almost equal production levels.
One British Pound will currently get you around 9.47 Egyptian Pounds.
One US Dollar will currently get you around 6.03 Egyptian Pounds.
One AU Dollar will currently get you around 6.45 Egyptian Pounds.
The English name Egypt was borrowed from the Middle French Egypte, from Latin Aegyptus, from ancient Greek Aigyptos.
In the 10th millennium BC, a culture of hunter-gatherers and fishers replaced a grain-grinding culture. Climate changes and/or overgrazing around 8000 BC began to desiccate the pastoral lands of Egypt, forming the Sahara. Early tribal peoples migrated to the Nile River where they developed a settled agricultural economy and more centralized society.
By about 6000 BC a Neolithic culture rooted in the Nile Valley. During the Neolithic era, several pre-dynastic cultures developed independently in Upper and Lower Egypt. The Badarian culture and the successor Naqada series are generally regarded as precursors to dynastic Egypt. The earliest known Lower Egyptian site, Merimda, predates the Badarian by about seven hundred years. Contemporaneous Lower Egyptian communities coexisted with their southern counterparts for more than two thousand years, remaining culturally distinct, but maintaining frequent contact through trade. The earliest known evidence of Egyptian hieroglyphic inscriptions appeared during the pre-dynastic period on Naqada III pottery vessels, dated to about 3200 BC.
A unified kingdom was founded c. 3150 BC by King Menes, leading to a series of dynasties that ruled Egypt for the next three millennia. Egyptian culture flourished during this long period and remained distinctively Egyptian in its religion, arts, language and customs. The first two ruling dynasties of a unified Egypt set the stage for the Old Kingdom period, c. 2700–2200 BC., which constructed many pyramids, most notably the Third Dynasty pyramid of Djoser and the Fourth Dynasty Giza Pyramids.
Sharm el-Sheikh, where I will be visiting, pronounced Sharm al-Shaykh, is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea. Its population is approximately 35,000 (2008). Sharm el-Sheikh is the administrative hub of Egypt’s South Sinai Governorate which includes the smaller coastal towns of Dahab and Nuweiba as well as the mountainous interior, Saint Catherine’s Monastery and Mount Sinai.
Sharm el-Sheikh sometimes referred to as the City of Peace because of the large number of international peace conferences that have been held in the city. However, among Egyptians, the name of the city is commonly shortened to “Sharm”.
Sharm el-Sheikh is on a promontory overlooking the Straits of Tiran at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba. Its strategic importance led to its transformation from a fishing village into a major port and naval base for the Egyptian Navy. It was captured by Israel during the Suez Crisis of 1956 and restored to Egypt in 1957. A United Nations peacekeeping force was subsequently stationed there until the 1967 Six-Day War when it was recaptured by Israel. Sharm el-Sheikh remained under Israeli control until the Sinai peninsula was restored again to Egypt in 1982 after the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty of 1979.
A hierarchical planning approach was adopted for the Gulf of Aqaba, whereby their components were evaluated and subdivided into zones, cities and centers. In accordance with this approach the Gulf of Aqaba zone was subdivided into four cities: Taba, Nuweiba, Dahab and Sharm El-Sheikh. Sharm el-Sheikh city has been subdivided into five homogeneous centers, namely Nabq, Ras Nusrani, Naama Bay, Umm Sid and Sharm El Maya.
As I said, I could go on for some time talking about the history of Egypt, so I will leave it there. I am hoping that the pictures I hope to get when I am there, will do the country justice.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you will enjoy my posts that are to follow.