Cairo's Museums and the Nile

I visited the popular historical sights, the pyramids (including the night show), museums, and took a cruise on the Nile. And even managed to do some shopping.


Cairo's Museums and the Nile

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by nmagann on December 5, 2000

The evening Nile cruise offered the chance to see the Nile lit up and to try a variety of main dishes and sweets during the buffet.${QuickSuggestions} ${BestWay} Every mode of transportation is available, the choice is yours.

Happy Dolphin

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by nmagann on December 5, 2000

This is a moderately priced restaurant that is convenient while visiting the sites in Old Cairo. There is nice water fountain outside with a dolphin in the center. Lots of greenery and a nice setting. Lunch consisted of rice, vegetable, fish, and large pieces of bread. Meals consist of chicken, beef, lamb or fish cooked how you desire.
Happy Dolphin Restaurant
70 Abd El-Aziz Al-Seoud Street, Comiche El-Nil
Manial, Cairo, Egypt
02 3621180

Salaam Restaurant

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by nmagann on December 5, 2000

This restaurant offers a very nice buffet in the $20 range with main dishes of eggplant, chicken and beef. Also a few salads and and vegetables. I did feel the price of a soda at 6LE to be a little high, but I enjoyed the fact this place was buffet so I could try new dishes. This is a popular restaurant for people coming from the Giza Pyramids which are also on Pyramid Street. The pyramids, much to my surprise are only about a block from residents and businesses.
Salaam Restaurant
Pyramid Street
Cairo, Egypt

Rahma Papyrus Center

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by nmagann on December 5, 2000

Papyrus is a plant that grows near the waters edge and has many uses. The stock is soaked in water after peeling of the green outside. Then strips are taken off and soaked in water, flattened and eventually laid out in a criss cross pattern to create paper. This paper is drawn and painted on with beautifully colored Egyptian scenes.

This was explained to me as I drank tea and then I chose a couple pieces of artwork to purchase. The owner talked a bit with me and did provide a discount.
Papyrus Institute
Avenue Of The Pyramids
Cairo, Egypt

Egyptian Museum/Including Mummy Room

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by nmagann on December 5, 2000

The entrance fee is 20LE and an additional 40LE for the mummy room. (There are mummies not in the mummy room, but I guess since they were Greek no extra charge.) Only flash free pictures can be taken at an extra charge of 10LE, otherwise they hold your camera until you leave. They go through your purse and you go through a metal detector.

The museum houses more than 100,000 relics and antiquities arranged chronologically. King Tut's treasures are something to behold, three coffins within each other within the sarcophagus. Also his jewelry, shoes, chariot, boat (to transport him to the next life) etc... There are also statues, Greek mummies, sarcophagus, vases, chariots and more.

The mummy room on the second contains 8 mummies. You can see the hands, feet and heads with the remainder wrapped in gauze. I could even notice toenails.
Egyptian Museum
Tahrir Square
Cairo, Egypt
+20 (2) 579 6974

Pyramids of Giza

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by nmagann on December 5, 2000

The Pyramids of Giza consist of three pyramids each with a temple to the east and a sphinx. The largest pyramid is Cheops, the second largest is Kefra which has the Sphinx in front of it (guarding) and the smallest is Mekalaus. The smallest is the only one open to visit. Cost to visit the pyramids is 20LE and if you wish to go inside Mekalaus, it is 10LE more.

The size of pyramids is just incomprehensible until you are actually there. Going inside, the stairs consist of a long flat wooden plank with horizontal strips every few feet. It is steep, and additionally unless you are four feet high you must stoop half the distance down to the chamber. In the chamber is sarcophagus and some wall paintings. It gets very humid, very quickly.

Outside camels are available for about 20-30LE to sit on for about 5 minutes. Skinny and shorter than any I had seen in the movies, but teeth just as nasty.
Pyramid of Cheops (Khufu)
Giza Pyramids Plateau
Cairo, Egypt
+20 2 383 8823

Saqqara Pyramid

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by nmagann on December 5, 2000

Saqqara Pyramid, I was informed, was the first attempt at constructing a pyramid. I had never heard of this. It does not come close in size to the pyramids at Giza nor is the structure so tightly built. It does have the oldest columns and shrines to house statues. The price is 20LE and 10LE if you are a student with ID (including foreign).
Step Pyramid of Saqqara
North Saqqara
Cairo, Egypt
No phone available

Temple of Memphis

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by nmagann on December 5, 2000

This dates back to 332BC and contains the Colossus of Ramses II. You need to be on the second floor to view it. It really is spectacular and in excellent condition. Around the grounds outside are other statues and sarcophagus. This is a small uncrowded place that with my guide's explanations made it a very good choice.
Memphis
24 kilometres south of Cairo
Cairo, Egypt
No phone available

Pharonic Village

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by nmagann on December 5, 2000

This site should have been the first tour, not the last. This is a great precursor to other sites in Cairo and something children could appreciate.

First you are given a tour in a boat around an island with live people depicting workers practicing their trade such as weaving and boat making. The papyrus plant is dried and tied with rope to make a make a boat. Dropped into the water the papyrus swells and makes for an airtight boat.

After the tour there are scaled down models of popular temples, statues, coffins and living quarters. And very good ample supply of versions of King Tut's treasures.

The gift shop has set prices which I found to be very good and so I made several purchases.
The Pharaonic Village
3 El Bahr El Aazam Street
Cairo, Egypt
+20 2 571 8675

Citadel

Member Rating 4 out of 5 by nmagann on December 5, 2000

The Citadel here looks like a medieval castle complete with little holes in the walls for arrows to be shot through against the crusaders. It dates back to 1100AD and contains the Mohammed Ali Mosque who wanted to modernize Egypt. Shoes must be taken off to enter. The mosque is from the 1800's and has 365 lights, a tomb, a praying area for women, stained glass windows in the domes and two sets of staircases that lead to enclosed pulpits.

Mohammed is believed to be the last prophet and provided the basic rules for the Muslims. They must pray 5 times a day, read the Holy Qur'an for the next life, give to the poor, belief in one God, and visit Mecca if they can afford it.
Citadel Complex
Salah Salem Highway
Cairo, Egypt
20 2 512 9619

General Shopping and Pricing Guides

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by nmagann on December 5, 2000

Khan Al Khalili is the biggest shopping area with bargaining for everything. It is very crowded and noisy and I chose not to go there after the discoveries I made where I did shop.

Most of the shops along the streets will allowing bargaining to an extent. Usually, this means an extra item will be included or a discount for multiple purchases. Just about every shopkeeper offered me tea, coffee (Turkish), or soda before and/or after a purchase. This is rather a custom and considered rude not to accept. I did accept and drank as I was browsing and sometimes enjoyed a cup after I made purchases just to chat.

I feel it is a good idea to browse these shops before deciding to go to a place like Khan Al Khalili. You will be better prepared about prices and quality. And in all places, to say you are just browsing doesn't work. Every item you glance at they will tell you about and/or offer a good deal to you.

Important Information on Ramadan Religious Occassion

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by nmagann on December 5, 2000

Ramadan last for 30 days and is observed by most people and all places of business. For the tourist, there are pros and cons.

During Ramadan people fast (not even water) from sunrise to sunset then have a feast (pigging out). Sunset occured around 5:00 while I was there. This means schools are let are let out early, shops close around 3:30-4:00 (depending on how long it takes them to get to their home) and museums also close at this time. But, thankfully not all restaurants. As a side note places that are usually open very late will reopen around 6:30-7:00.

This means that if you have guide, you may be rushed because he wants to get home before 5:00. It also means heavy traffic (like it isn't always) and fewer hours at the sights.

On the other hand, I found this also meant less crowds in the Egyptian Museum as well as other tourist sites. I didn't know why, but I appreciated it.

Like our Easter, Ramadan does not occur on the same date, so if it matters to you, inquire before you make your plans.

Nile Dinner Cruise on the Aquarius

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by nmagann on December 5, 2000

This two hour cruise was a beautiful three level boat that also is occassionally used for the longer trips to Luxor. The top deck had living plants, tables and chairs, and a pool. The spiral staircase was marble and the entire boat's decor was wonderful.

We had a sumptuous buffet on the lower level complete with at least a dozen desserts from pies to cakes and several different types of salads. There were about four main dishes to choose from, eggplant, chicken, beef, and pasta. I tasted many new things and liked everything.

After the meal a man and woman came out to sing. Each sang two songs by themselves and in spite of it being in Arabic, I could tell they had nice voices. The last song was a duet in English and of all songs "Take Me Home Country Road by" John Denver. Elvis Presley or Frank Sinatra would have made more sense, but they did Denver proud.

Next came an untypically dressed belly dancer. No symbols, beads, coins, or veils. More like a lounge entertainer in a straight full length lycra dress with slits up to her thighs. No swords, nothing special at all, but the next act had me mesmerized.

The darwesh dancer spun in a circle continuously for over 10 minutes. He would undo a string around his waist of the skirt he was wearing and next thing you knew it was on top on his head like a big mushroom. All the while spinning. I just can't describe it well.

The view of the Nile from the top deck at night with all the lights was spectacular and I am so glad I did not miss this. Five hours later I was on the plane heading home, after a couple hours sleep.

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