DAY TRIPS FROM CAIRO                          

Unique decorations inside Kom el-ShuqafaMAIN CHURCH IN ISMAILIAMAP OF ALEXANDRIA

The Underwater Discoveries

Relatively new discoveries in the Eastern Harbor involve two different sites.  Around Fort Qaitbey the site has unearthed hundreds of objects, including what experts believe are the remains of the Pharos Lighthouse, one of the ancient wonders of the world

In the south east part of the harbor archaeologists have apparently found the Royal Quarters, including granite columns and fabulous statues, including one of Isis and a sphinx with a head thought to be that of Cleopatra's father.

There may vary well be an underwater exhibit in the future.

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.










The Corniche is doted with Casinos built on stilts and rows of beach huts.  The avenue here did not always exists, for until the 20th century, the areas remained fortified by a five mile long wall with towers which had protected the city since the 13th Century.  In the early 1900s, a strip of land with a width of about 100 years was reclaimed from the sea, and the area became popular with beach goers. That is no longer the case, but it remains a lively area of Alexandria. 

On the western end of the Corniche near Silsila where the New Alexandria Library is built is the Shatby Tombs which are said to be the oldest in Alexandria. Nearer the San Stefano area across the tram tracks is also the Royal Jewelry Museum.

Muntaza Gardens

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

POMPAY’S pillar

An approximately 25m red Aswan granite column with a circumference of 9m, was constructed in honor of the Emperor Diocletain. Originally from the temple of the Serapis, it was once a magnificent structure rivaling the Soma and the Caesareum. Nearby are subterranean galleries where sacred Apis bulls were buried, and three sphinxes. After his defeat by Julius Caesar in the civil war, Pompey fled to Egypt where he was murdered in 48 BC; mediaeval travelers later believed he must be buried here, and that the capital atop the corner served as a container for his head. In fact, the pillar was raised in honor of Diocletian at the very end of the 4th century. Diocletain captured Alexandria after it had been under siege. The Arabs called it "Amoud el-Sawari", Column of the Horsemen. The Pillar is the tallest ancient monument in Alexandria.

The catacomb of Kom El-Shuqafa (Shoqafa, Shaqafa) is one of Alexandria's most memorable monuments.  Identified as "a tour-de-force of rock-cut architecture which would be remarkable in any period," the Great Catacomb defies comprehensible description. Its vast, intricately decorated interior spaces cut at so great a depth into the rock present an enormity of experience outside the normal human realm and tell us of a level of technological expertise equaling enterprises of modern subways and tunnels while far surpassing them in aesthetic response.

These catacombs date back to the late first century AD. Kom El-Shuqafa lies on the site where the village and fishing port of Rhakotis, the oldest part of Alexandria that predates Alexander the Great, was located. They are situated in the Karmouz district of western Alexandria, which is now one of the most densely populated districts of Alexandria. This district itself  was used by Mohammad Ali Pasha to defend the city. Then the area was destroyed in about 1850.

On its western side, as usual in Egyptian funerary practices,  lies its “City of the Dead.”  However, while the ancient Egyptians mummified their dead, the Hellenistic custom was for cremation. This area used to contain a mound of shards of terra cotta which mostly consisted of jars and objects made of clay. These objects were mostly left by those visiting the tombs, who would bring food and wine for their consumption during the visit. However, they did not wish to carry these containers home from this place of death. 

Excavations of the site began in 1892 but no catacombs were actually found until Friday, September 28th, 1900 when according to tradition, by mere chance, a donkey pulling a cart fell through a hole in the ground and into one of the catacombs. However, in reality, the discovery was made on that date by an Alexandrian, Monsieur Es-Sayed Aly Gibarah, who immediately sought out Botti at the Museum, explaining that, "While quarrying for stone, I broke open the vault of a subterranean tomb; come see it, take the antiquities if there are any, and authorize me to get on with my work without delay."

Little did Botti know what glorious finds he would make, but this day he would not visit the catacombs. He later explained that, since the discovery happened on a Friday, a day off for most Muslims, the museum was very busy and he had meetings that day. Besides, he had often been called out to see valueless work, and was therefore very satisfied to leave his visit until the next day. However, because the stone worker was so insistent on getting back to work, he allowed his inspector, Silvio Beghe, and an attendant, Abdou Daoud, to leave the museum at five o'clock, one half hour early, in order to visit the find and report back to him that evening. The next day, he would be astounded by this discovery. The site was opened for the public only in 1995 after pumping the subsoil water from the 2nd level.

The Necropolis is of the catacomb type that was widespread during the first three centuries in Italy (Rome). This type of catacomb was usually limited to the burial of deceased Christians. It was, to the believers of this new religion, an asylum where they could be safe from the injustice of the emperors. In the tombs below the cathedral of Saint Sebastian in Rome we can find catacombs in the form of streets stretching for many miles, with tombs to their sites. However, in the Necropolis of Kom el-Shuqafa there is no trace of Christian burials.

The catacombs are unique both for their plan and for its

decoration which

represents a melding and mixing of the cultures and traditions of

 the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It was a place where people

 seemed to have a talent for combining rather than destroying

cultures. Though the funerary motifs are pure ancient Egyptian,

 the architects and artists were clearly trained in the Greco-Roman

style. Here then, we find decorations related to ancient Egyptian

themes, but with an amazing twist that makes them quite unlike

anything else in the world.

Scholars believe that the catacombs at first may have served

only one wealthy family that still practiced the ancient Egyptian

 pagan religion. However, they were expanded into a mass burial

site, probably administered by a corporation with dues-paying

 members, perhaps because of its pagan heritage. This theory

could explain why so many chambers were hewn from the rock.

 In its final stage, the complex contained over one hundred loculi and numerous rock-cut sarcophagus tombs.

Some believe that the scale of this endeavor precludes the catacombs as representing a private monument. Alan Rowe thought that the complex was cut originally as a Serapeum rather than as a tomb complex. Though there is no solid evidence to support his theory, the complexity of the undertaking seems to almost preclude private patronage.

These tombs represent the last existing major construction related to the ancient Egyptian religion.  This was also the case in the Pankrati tomb in Rome. They dug out loculi and then closed the openings with marble and limestone. The name was written on the tomb in a different way from Italy, depending on the artistic style used. At Kom El-Shuqafa there is a mixture between Roman and the Pharaonic arts, which is not only represented in the architecture of the tomb, but also its engraving and statues. This mixture may have perhaps resulted because the opportunity in both Egypt and Alexandria gave rise to the mixture of the Greek and Romans arts with the Pharaonic art of Egypt which was prevalent in Egypt since Alexander's feet trod its grounds. Or perhaps it was the desire of the tomb's owner that the artist realize a mixture between both the Roman and Egyptian arts as was the effect of religious scenes shown in the drawings, and effect of Roman and Egyptian religions

The catacomb is composed of a ground level construction that probably served as a funerary chapel, a deep spiral stairway and three underground levels for the funerary ritual and entombment. The first level consists of a vestibule with a double exedra, a rotunda and a triclinium. The second level, in its original state, was the main tomb, with various surrounding corridors. It was reached by a monumental staircase from the rotunda. The third level is submerged in ground water, which has also caused it to be saturated with sand. The Catacomb is one of the most inspired monuments of Alexandrian funerary architecture, following the conceptual design laid down in the Ptolemaic period, but disposing the elements of the tomb on a vertical rather than a horizontal axis.

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The Ismailia Governorate consists of an area of approximately 4482.8 km2 or 0.46% of Egypt's area, along the west bank of the Suez Canal. It has 70 km along the east coast.

The Ismailia Governorate is the capital of the Canal region where the Suez Canal Authority has its headquarters, and where the Suez Canal University is established.

Ismailia is located on Lake Timsah along the coast of the Canal, half-way between

 Port Said and Suez.

In the early days, Ismailia was called Timsah Village, but it was subsequently named

after Khedive Ismail of Egypt. According to the census conducted in 1996, the estimated


 figure of the population was 715,000 inhabitants (58% urban 42% rural), or 1.21% of


Ismailia City is approximately 120 km from Cairo by the direct route "desert highway"

or 135 km by the countryside road. All parts of the Governorate are joined with an

integrated network of roads. This enables traffic to join the city of Ismailia with its


El-Timsah Lake Egypt

As to tourism and places of interest, Ismailia is strengthening its position as a city of the

 future in tourism field. There are lots of opportunities to have recreation, but there are

also chances to relax in peaceful natural surroundings. It is undoubtedly the place to be


The Ismailia Regional Museum was established in 1932. It contains Pharaonic, Islamic,

Greek and Roman collections from different periods.

Free Post or Area no 6 is a marvelous peaceful spot overlooking the Suez Canal.

It witnessed many battles during the Arab-Israeli conflict. It was the site where in 1969

an Israeli shell killed Lieutenant General Abdul-Monaim Reyad, the then Egyptian


The memorial of 6 October, 1973 Victory was inaugurated on 5 October, 1992 on the

 east bank of the Suez Canal and was modeled after a Bayonet.

Mallaha Park is a truly magnificent park covering an area of 500 acres, planted with varieties of rare flowers, trees and palm that belong to many overseas environments.

Lake Timsah is known for its calm water on which many beaches are located and where there is opportunity for many water sports. It covers an area of 14 square km. The beaches that overlook the lake are Moslem Youth, Fayrouz, Melaha, Bahary, Taawen, in addition to the Suez Canal Authority beaches.

The Bitter Lakes are truly impressive lakes where the governorate has encouraged tourism by establishing new tourist villages such as: Morgan, Mashrabeya, Canary, Bullman, Safa and many other beaches.

Tablet El Shagara is 10 km from Ismailia. It was the headquarters of the Israeli enemy leadership during the October war.

The fields of investment are clothes and food industry, electrical appliances industry, land cultivation, animal production projects, establishing tourist villages, clays, glasses and crystal industries. Natural resources are sands, pebbles, lime stone, gypsum and pebble soil. The most important crops are clover, maize, sesame and wheat. Its fish catch amounts to 81.84% of the total figure for the country.

The National Day is 16 October, as on that day in 1951, people of Ismailia ignited spark of resistance against the British occupation.

The city is clearly divided by Sharia Sultan Hussein (street).  One one side (east) the city is very peaceful and quite, while on the other side is a huge urban area.  

SUEZ & MOSES’SPRINGS IN SINAI.Suez (el-Suweis) Private /Personal GUIDED TOUR Egypt    Suez (el-Suweis) is located on the Southern tip of the Suez Canal, and has been a commercial port since the 7th century. The spice trade and pilgrimages to Mecca made it prosperous throughout the Middle Ages. It became a naval base in the 15th century and, in 1869, the opening of the Suez Canal ensured its development as a modern city. Today, Suez is one of Egypt's largest ports. It is situated near the scenic Ataga Hills (Jebel Ataga), about 134 kilometers (83 miles) from Cairo and 88 kilometers (55 miles) from Ismailia, this city affords an excellent view of Sinai and the Red Sea. It is also interesting to watch ships passing through the Canal form Suez's vantage point.


The Fayoum is a wonderful area of Egypt with a rich and interesting history. It is an area where Egyptians often vacation and which is constantly growing more popular among Europeans. This 692 sq. mile depression was a lush paradise during prehistoric times. It's water level was eighty-five meters higher than today (currently 45 meters below sea level) and the Nile regularly flooded through the low mountains separating it from the Fayoum. At 215 square km,  the current lake Qaroun remains Egypt's largest salt water lake. The prehistoric people who lived here were, at first, nomadic hunters and gatherers, but later began harvesting plants near the lake. This developed into what is said to be the earliest agricultural area in the world, where fences were erected and guarded warehouses built. It has remained an agriculture center, well known for it's fruits, vegetables and chickens.

But agriculture is not the Fayoums only claim for being first.  The Greek mummy portraits found in the Fayoum are said to be the worlds first true life portraits, and examples can be found in area museums.  In addition, a paved road, which has been noted as a landmark of engineering by engineering societies along side the Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty, is said to be possibly the first paved road in the world and dates to over 4,500 years.  And finally, the worlds first dam was probably built here in order to control the Nile floods into the area.

The peacefulness of the area is a relief from the hustle and bustle of Cairo, from which it is a brief trip. Bird life still abounds around Lake Qaroun, bordered by semi-nomadic Bedouin settlements and fishing villages. Here, on the edge of the desert, you can sail, windsurf, swim and fish. Other places of outstanding natural beauty near Fayoum are the hot springs at Ain al-Siliyin, where you can bath and the waterfalls at Wadi al-Rayan, 40km towards Bahariyya, also suitable for swimming and picnics.

Fayoum is not a true oasis since it depends on Nile water instead of underground springs or wells. The ancient Bahr Yussef canal runs through the center of the city and irrigates the land. Only two hours from Cairo by road, Fayoum is renouned for its year-round warm climate, numerous water wheels (introduced by the Ptolemies in the 3rd century) and lush agricultural land. Cotton, clover, tomatoes, medicinal plants and fruit are all grown here. The local Souk (market) in Fayoum City sells copperware, spices and gold jewelry and there is a special pottery market once a week.

Other small villages in the area too small to document independently include Qasr Qarun at the western end of Birket Qarun and Shakshuk also by the lake on a bay.



Ain Sukhna

Ain Sukhna, the Arabic for "hot spring", was named after the nearby sulfur springs. The springs originate at Gebel Ataka, the northern most mountain in the Eastern Desert.  Close enough to Cairo for a day-trip, this popular weekend resort has fine beaches, coral reefs, fishing and water sports. It is located about 55 kilometers (34 miles) south of Suez, and is the nearest bathing resort to Cairo. Some hotels in Ain Sukhna are the best on the Red Sea.


55 Km South of Suez, Red Sea

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 Shore Excursions from Alexandria and Port Said to Cairo


DISCOVER EGYPT, Day Trips , from Cairo to, Alexandria, Ismailia, Suez Canal, Fayoum , new cities around Cairo, Sightseeing   Private /Personal GUIDED TOURS,  with, HANY HALIM , a professional, experienced, freelance guide,


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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 the sights.