Arab Republic of Egypt
Currency: 1 Egyptian pound (ЈE) = 100 piastres.
Dialing code: 20.
Time: GMT +2 (GMT +3 from last Friday in April to last Friday in September).
Local time now:
Main cities : Alexandria (the nation’s chief port), Giza, Port Said, Suez.
Land and Resources: Egypt is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea on the north; the Red Sea to the east; Sudan is to the south; and Libya is on the west. Israel and the Gulf of Aqaba border Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on the east. Most of the country is desert (the Libyan Desert and the Eastern Desert, the Nubian Desert). Lake Nasser, Lake Qarun.
Climate: Egypt has a hot season from May to September and a cool season from November to March. The prevailing north winds modify extreme temperatures during both seasons. In the coastal region, temperatures range between a mean annual maximum of 37°C (99°F) and a mean annual minimum of 14°C (57°F). Wide variations of temperature occur in the deserts, ranging from 46°C (115°F) during daylight hours to 6°C (43°F) after sunset. During the winter season, desert temperatures often drop to freezing. The most humid area in Egypt is along the Mediterranean coast.
Government: The president has executive power and is assisted by a prime minister and a cabinet. Egypt is divided into 26 administrative zones.
Population: Almost all of the people are Egyptians, Bedouins, or Berbers. The rest of the population is composed of Nubians, Greeks, Armenians, and other Europeans.
Languages: Arabic is the official language in Egypt, although English and French are used in business and education. Many dialects are spoken, of which Cairene is the most common.
Religion: The majority are Sunni Muslim. Other religious groups include a significant minority of Coptic Christians.
1 January – New Year Day
1 May - Labour Day
23 July - Revolution Day
6 October - Armed Forces Day
Visa: US, UK, South African, Irish nationals, Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders require both a passport and visa for travel to Egypt. A 30-day visa for touristic purposes only may be obtained on arrival for US$15. Visa requirements change at short notice. With the exception of travellers from the US, Canada and EU countries, all visitors must register with the police within one week of arrival; this can usually be organised by the hotel. If entering Egypt via South Sinai, a 14 days' visa (free of charge) can be obtained on arrival for visitors remaining solely in the South Sinai resorts.
Customs regulations: The following goods may be imported without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes or 25 cigars or 200g of tobacco; 1l of alcoholic beverages; a reasonable amount of perfume and 1l of eau de cologne; goods up to E£20. Persons travelling with valuable electronic equipment (cameras, video cameras or computers) may be required to list these in their passports to ensure that they will be exported on departure. Prohibited items include narcotics, firearms, cotton, gold and silver purchased locally unless for personal use only and in small quantities.
Transportation: People travel by car, bus, taxi, and aeroplane. Cairo has a modern underground system. Egypt’s public transport system is overburdened, particularly in the cities. In rural areas, some people still travel by donkey and camel. Water taxis ply the Nile.
Sightseeing: Egypt’s wondrous pyramids on the outskirts of Giza. The mysterious Sphinx. Among the many outstanding museums in Cairo is the Egyptian Museum, also known as the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, which houses a vast collection of relics and artefacts from almost every period of ancient Egypt. The ancient city of Alexandria. At the top of Mount Sinai offers a spectacular view of the surrounding jagged peaks and steep slopes. The summit of the mountain, venerated by Jews and Christians as the site where Moses received the Ten Commandments from God, draws crowds of pilgrims and tourists every year. The country has various cultural facilities, including the Pocket Theatre, the National Puppet Theatre, the Opera House, and the National Symphony.
Money: Most credit cards are accepted. Visitors are advised to take travellers cheques in US Dollars or Pounds to avoid additional exchange rate charges. Banks are usually closed on Friday and Saturday, but private exchange bureaux, called 'Forex', are open daily.
Communications: There are high surcharges on international calls from hotels; it is cheaper to phone long-distance from the 24-hour Post, Telephone and Telegraph (PTT) offices that are available in the major cities. The local mobile phone operators use GSM networks and have roaming agreements with all major European operators; US cell phones won't work. Mobile phones only work in the major towns and cities. Internet cafes are available in the main tourist areas.
Shops and cafes: Business hours are generally from 8:30 to 13:30 and from 16:30 to 19:00 Saturday to Thursday. Shops are generally closed on Friday afternoon, but work is not prohibited. There are many street vendors, and people living in high-rise flats will often lower a basket from the balcony to purchase goods from a passing vendor. Also common are outdoor aswak (markets) where it is normal to haggle over prices. During the month of Ramadan, business hours are often cut by an hour, and work slows down in many areas. However, many shops open again in the evening.
Tipping: Tipping is known as ‘baksheesh’ and some small change is expected for most services. A service charge is added to most restaurant and hotel bills but a 5% tip is normally given directly to the waiter. Taxi drivers are tipped about 10%.
Health and safety: Typhoid, Hepatitis A and polio immunisation is recommended. Drinking water in the main cities and towns is normally chlorinated but it is advisable to only drink bottled water. Traveller's diarrhoea is the most common form of illness for travellers; visitors should only eat thoroughly cooked food and fruits they have peeled themselves. The waters of the Nile are contaminated and should not be consumed or bathed in. A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travellers over one year of age coming from infected areas. Medical treatment can be expensive and standards vary so insurance is strongly advised, including evacuation. The threat from terrorist attacks remains very high on the east coast of the Sinai Peninsula, and visitors are warned that further attacks may occur. Visitors to the cities and tourist sites will experience a fair amount of hassle and are advised not to carry more money on them than needed at a time.
Electricity: Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. European-style two-pin plugs are standard.
Important phone numbers:
Police – 122
Ambulance – 123
Fire brigade - 125
56, avenue d'Iéna
Tel: + 33 1 220.127.116.11
Fax: + 33 1 47.23.06.43
1-5-4 Aobadai Meguro-ku
Tel: + 03 3770 8022(3)
Fax: + 03 3770 8021
Tel: + (91) 577 63 08
26 South Street
W1Y 6DD London
Tel: 020 7499 2401; 020 7499 3304
Fax: 020 7355-3568
3521 International Ct. NW
20008 Washington D.C.
Tel: + 1 202 895-5400
Fax: + 1 202 244 5131; + 1 202 244 4319
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