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An Egyptian Adventure
By Devine Gilbert
The mysterious allure of an ancient civilisation and an overwhelming mythical and architectural heritage are just two of the inspiring reasons why every year millions of people head to Egypt for a taste of the unknown. Endless television documentaries and pieces of travel journalism will never truly portray the full grandeur of The Sphinx or The Pyramids of Giza, just as they will never entirely capture the intensity of the landscapeís beauty surrounding The Nile no matter how rich a history of these cultural landmarks is provided. The fact is, Egypt is breathtaking Ė though such adjectives are rendered inadequate on first hand experience of the country.

There is a lot more to Egypt than its ancient artefacts, too. It has made its mark firmly within the contemporary cultural world on many counts. Firstly there is the Cairo International Film Festival, which aspires to bring peace and joy into the country, providing world wide cinematic material to the general public, opening peopleís eyes to the culture

of their immediate vicinity and those that are strikingly different across the globe. The festival aims to promote cultural tolerance and is a celebration of humanity as well as art. Taking place in November, the film festival is a great excuse, as if one were needed, to see Cairo out of the main tourist season. For a wider snapshot of modern culture, take a look at the contemporary architectural work of designers such as Hassan Fathy and Ramses Wissa Wassef, and wander down to the spectacular Cairo Opera House while youíre there.

For a taste of the quieter side of life, away from the gloriously bustling cities of Cairo, Alexandria, Sharm El Sheikh and Luxor (cities also hosting some of Egyptís busiest airports), head down to Sinai to experience deserted stretches of sandy beach and rugged red mountainous terrain stood stark against deep blue skies. The sunrises and sunsets are phenomenal in this most dramatic of scenic locations, as the vivid colours are bleached the sunís rising or fading light. Itís even been known for the red sea to turn blood red in the sunís glow.

There are several things to consider when planning Egypt holidays. Tourist visas are easily obtainable but it is necessary to allow sufficient time for the process to complete prior to the departure date, and they do incur a small fee. Flights, however, are available cheaply from airlines such as Fly Monarch and shopping around online is always a great way to save money.

Egypt is a country full of surprises and cultural contradictions, where ancient civilisations live and breath amongst modern art, architecture, commerce and tourism. An entirely unique historical landscape has endowed Egypt with one of the richest cultural legacies in the world, making it an entirely unforgettable experience.
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