Tuesday, March 31, 2015

News,: British Ambassador speaks to Luxor Times about UK's projects and plans for Luxor

The British ambassador John Casson’s first official visit to Luxor started on Saturday 28th of March. On Saturday, Luxor’s Governor Mohamed Badr met John Casson and discussed the different fields of cooperation. 

On the second day of his official visit to Luxor, British ambassador to Egypt John Casson started his day with a trip to Qena where he visited the projects funded by the British government as a part of the Arab partnership.

The projects aim at empowering youth and women by teaching them skills and handcrafts which enabled them to produce different products and sell them in Cairo or even export to UK.

In the evening, H.E. John Casson spoke to Luxor Times about the cooperation between UK and Egypt. He also talked about the ongoing preparations for the event to be held in Luxor in 2016. To know all about it and watch the interview with the editor of Luxor Times below.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

News: Egypt turned off lights at tourist attractions to mark Earth Hour 2015

CAIRO: Egypt observed Earth Hour this year by switching off the lights at tourist attractions to “protect the planet” for an hour Saturday, announced Minister of Environment Khaled Fahmy.

The annual event took place on Saturday from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. local time worldwide. Fahmy also called on individuals, companies and institutions to participate in the one-hour event, which is marked worldwide, by turning off unnecessary lights or reduce their consumption during this hour.
Organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF,) the event marks its ninth year since it first started in 2007.

Minister Fahmy also added that Egypt adheres to its commitment to the issue of adaptation to the adverse effects of climate change and considers it a top priority all nations must stand for it.

The event aims to unite people to protect the planet earth by encouraging individuals, households and businesses to turn off non-essential lights for one hour “as a symbol of their commitment to the planet,” according to the event’s website.  It marks the day with a slogan “Use your power to change climate change.”

The global event started March 31, 2007, where more than 2.2 million individuals and 2,000 businesses turned their lights out for one hour.
Source: Cairo Post– By/Rany Mostafa

Short Story: Mother’s Day, An Ancient Egyptian Tradition

Goddess Isis and her son Horus
photo courtesy of Torbakhopper via Flickr
CAIRO: Saturday is Mother’s Day in Egypt and most Arab countries, but the tradition of this holiday has roots in Pharaonic times.

“Cultures around the world celebrated the mother goddess as the representative of nurturing and the giver of life; the goddess Isis was considered the patron saint of women and children throughout the ancient Egyptian history,” archaeologist Sherif el-Sabban told The Cairo Post Friday.

The earliest known celebration of mothers and Goddess Isis in ancient Egypt dates back to the third Dynasty (2650B.C.-2575B.C.) “The Egyptians celebrated their goddess Isis, who was regarded as the Mother of the Pharaohs, each year with a special holiday,” according to Sabban.

Most of the dancers, musicians and singers during the festival were female. The festival was celebrated in different times and venues every tear, said Sabban, adding that the festival is related to an ancient Egyptian myth from which Isis earned her stature as the Mother of the Pharaohs. “The legend of Isis and Osiris has survived the centuries and even crossed into other cultures,” former head of the Supreme Council of Antiquities Abdel Halim Nour el-Din told The Cairo Post Saturday.

According to ancient Egyptian mythology, “Osiris, God of the afterlife, was murdered by his brother Seth, who was the God of disorder and chaos. Seth shut Osiris in a sarcophagus and threw it in the Nile River before the body was discovered by Seth’s sister and Osiris’s wife, Isis, the Egyptian goddess of magic and motherhood,” Nour el-Din said.

As the story goes, “when Seth knew that Isis saved her husband God Osiris, he decided to kill him, cut his body into 14 pieces and scattered them in different areas in Egypt,” said Nour el-Din adding that Isis re-assembled Osiris’ body and used it to impregnate herself. “She then gave birth to Horus, whom she hid among the marshes of the delta in order not to be slaughtered by Seth. Horus grew up and defeated Seth, and then became the first ruler of a unified Egypt.”

Scenes at the temples built during the New Kingdom period show the falcon-headed deity Horus, a representation of the Pharaoh, seated over her lab and being breastfed by the Mother Goddess, said Nour el-Din. “It is interesting to mention that the scenes of Isis and Horus, in which she cradles and suckles her son, are strikingly similar to that of the Virgin Mary and Jesus,” he added.
Source: Cairo Post By/Rany Mostafa

News, Cairo: Tutankhmun's Chair is 'Safe and Sound', says Museum Official

Reports emerged in the media today which suggested that artifacts belonging to Tutankhamun were damaged. written by / Nevine El-Aref.
Public outrage erupted today over rumours which emerged in the media reporting that further damage occurred to Tutankhamun’s funerary collection during its transportation between museums. 

Some media reported that the wooden gilded chair of the boy king Tutankhamun was broken during its transportation between the Egyptian museum in Tahrir Square to the planned Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) overlooking Giza plateau.

Almost two months ago news broke about the flawed restoration work on Tutankhamun's golden mask at the Egyptian museum. It was reported that three other artifacts of Tutankhamun’s collection were also damaged during their transportation. These objects, according to reports, are the top of the sarcophagus, a round offering table, and a marble vessel.

The reports also accused the Ministry of Antiquities of negligence. “What has been published in newspapers are unfounded claims,” GEM's director general Tarek Tawfik told Ahram Online. He continued to say that the objects that were transported to the GEM were not broken and do not even belong to the boy king’s funerary collection, despite photos in the media which suggest this to be the case.

“They are non-royal objects from the Old and Middle Kingdoms discovered in Dahshour necropolis and were dismantled at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir, and not broken as claimed,” confirmed Tawfik. The objects which were identified in the media as Tutankhamun’s chair, he asserted, is instead a non-royal table from the Middle Kingdom. The sarcophagus, the vessel and the offering table have been in two pieces since they were discovered last century and were not broken during transportation.

Eissa Zidan, the head of restoration at the GEM, told Ahram Online that what was thought to be a sarcophagus, was in fact an Old Kingdom alabaster plaque that was discovered last century in two pieces. All the newly transported objects, Zidan continued, are safe and none of them were broken. They came to the museum in their current condition and were subjected to normal restoration procedures like any other transported objects.

An archaeologist at the GEM who spoke to Ahram Online on condition of anonymity, said that the person behind the publishing of the false news is a former restorer at the GEM. The administration terminated his contract and transferred him to his original job as a restorer in the Al Manial Palace restoration department. The official said that the former restorer at the GEM made up the rumours as revenge for his demotion.
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Saturday, March 28, 2015

News, Luxor: Exclusive - The 5$ ticket issue of Mut and Isis temples, reason and solution

Luxor Times has had received several comments and complains from visitors to Luxor who tried to visit Mut temple on the east bank and Isis temple at Deir Shelwit on the West Bank. 
Visitors were complaining that at the ticket offices they were asked to pay the ticket price in American dollars as the ticket says it is for 5$ and of course they can't accept any other currency because as a governmental office so they have to deposit the money for the tickets in the same amount printed on each ticket.

Many visitors, especially if they were not Americans, didn't have dollars on them and had to find a way to get them which was a problem and created a black market to buy dollars at higher rates as one tour guide had to get the dollars for his clients.

Luxor Times tried to get to the bottom of this while at the same time we mentioned it to the Minister of Antiquities, Dr. Mamdouh El Damaty in person about couple of months ago and asked for it to be changed.  We managed to know from a reliable source that this issue was a mistake as a result of misunderstanding. The two temples were opened on the same day in January 2014 after the restoration work was done by ARCE (American Research Center in Egypt) funded by USAID and prepared them to be open for visits.  

When ARCE finished their work, it was suggested to make the ticket to each temple of 5 dollars worth.  Someone in the Ministry of Antiquities tickets printshop thought that what it should be, 5 US Dollars not the equivalent in Egyptian pounds beside the spelling mistakes.

On Saturday, Dr. Youssef Khalifa, head of ancient Egyptian antiquities department, told Luxor Times that the issues has been addressed and approval given to issue new tickets in Egyptian pounds without waiting for the existing tickets to be all sold. Remember that you need to get Mut temple ticket at Karnak temple ticket office and for the Isis temple at Deir Shelwit, tickets to be purchased at the main ticket office on the West Bank.

Friday, March 27, 2015

News, Cairo: King Tut’s chair broken in transit to new Grand Egyptian Museum

CAIRO: A chair that belonged to King Tutankhamen was broken in transit from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir Square to the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) in al-Haram of Giza, an anonymous official in the Grand Museum stated Wednesday.

The other three artifacts were also damaged in transit: the top of the sarcophagus, a round offering table, and a marble vessel, the official told Youm7.


Archeologists Found Top of Sarchophagus Broken
The chair’s base frame was broken, while the offering table’s stick detached from the round table. A glass cover for a papyrus was also broken. 

The archeologists in the Grand Museum received the artifacts that were wrapped and found them broken on Sep. 11, 2014; all records of the artifacts in the Tahrir museum had listed them in “sound” condition.

One of Tut’s Chairs was Broken
“The transporting process should be carried out by a specialized team with a high level of efficiency in packaging and opening the artifacts,” the official said, adding that all measures and precautions should be taken to secure an artifact through using hydraulic cars.

This is the second recent high-profile case of mishandling of artifacts at the downtown Cairo museum; the 3,000-year-old funerary mask of King Tutankhamun was inappropriately restored of using household epoxy glue, after the mask’s beard was broken during improper maintenance in mid-2014, and the museum admitted to the error in early 2015. 
Glass Cover of Papyus was Broken

In September 2014, the Ministry of Antiquities announced that 135 artifacts were transferred from the Egyptian museum in Tahrir Square to the under-construction Grand GEM in preparation for the latter’s inauguration in August 2015. 

Fifteen wooden beams of the dismantled Khufu’s second solar boat were transported to the GEM that scheduled to be on display in a separate section at the GEM, which is scheduled to be inaugurated in 2018. The GEM is being built over an area of 117 acres and is considered the largest Pharaonic museum ever built. Its foundation stone was laid in February 2002.

The Broken Offering Table
Another Artifact Broken

Thursday, March 26, 2015

New Discovery, Aswan: Spanish archaeological mission discovers oldest case of breast cancer

The archaeological mission of Spain’s Jaen University revealed a new discovery at the Tombs of the Nobles in Aswan on Tuesday.
Oldest cast of breast cancer discovered in 
Aswan's Tombs of the Nobles
The mummy, which belongs to the 6th Dynasty (2200 BC), had stains across the body, which offered hints of an infection that was later detected by medical tests. “This is the oldest discovered case of breast case in history,” according to Salama.

The team also discovered an unknown medication that the woman was taking to cure her disease.

The Director of Aswan and Nubia Artefacts Nasr Salama noted that the scientific discovery was made under the supervision of Miguel Ortega, one of the world’s pre-eminent anthropologists.

The Spanish archaeological mission has been working at the Tombs of the Nobles in Aswan since 2008, concentrating their efforts on discovering the daily life and funerary rites of the rulers and their families who lived during the 6th Dynasty in Ancient Egypt.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Recovered Artifacts, Germany: Egypt recovers smuggled artifacts from Berlin

CAIRO:  Egyptian antiquities headed for the auction block in Germany will be repatriated to Egypt, Mohamed Hegazy, Egypt’s ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany, told state-owned MENA Tuesday.

The artifacts, which had been shown in a mass exhibition in Berlin, may stay in Germany for some repairs in cooperation with the Egyptian Museum in Berlin before their return to Egypt, Hegazy said.

The Egyptian Embassy will host a concert April 2 to declare the receipt of the artifacts, and express thanks to German authorities and the Egyptian Museum in Berlin for their effort, he added.

The iconic bust of Queen Nefertiti, currently on display at Berlin’s Neues Museum, remains one of Egypt’s top artifacts the country has said should return. The bust was obtained in 1912 by German archaeologist Ludwig Borchardt, who Egypt claims misled authorities regarding to the value of the bust to be allowed to take it out of the country; Germany claims the ownership of the artifact is not in question.

Political turmoil in Egypt since the January 25 Revolution in 2011 and the subsequent security lapse left the country’s cultural heritage vulnerable to looting. In spite of the efforts of the Egyptian government in tracking artifacts smuggled outside Egypt and in auction houses abroad, the issue is still unsettled.

In July 2014, 24 ancient Egyptian artifacts were returned from the Egyptian Museum of Leipzig University in Germany. Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh el-Damaty traveled to Germany to supervise the administrative procedures accompanying the repatriation of the artifacts, ONA reported. The artifacts spanned several eras of ancient Egyptian civilization and were likely stolen from the west bank of Luxor, the head of the Antiquities Ministry’s Restored Artifacts Department Ali Ahmed told The Cairo Post.
Source: Cairo Post– By/Rany Mostafa

News: Ministry to inventory antiquities after 4 found in US Alexandria consulate

CAIRO: The Ministry of Antiquities announced Tuesday it will inventory antiquities in foreign embassies, after four undocumented antiquities were reportedly found at the U.S. consulate in Alexandria, Youm7 reported.

Head of the Egyptian Antiquities sector Yousef Khalefa told Youm7 his ministry would work in cooperation with the foreign ministry in order to “preserve state heritage.”

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh al-Damatty tasked a committee to check the four pieces, which were deemed to date from Greek, Romanian and Islamic ages. Further procedures were reported to be taken by the ministry to register the found pieces.

Earlier in March, Egypt’s monuments protection association demanded to check a piece found in the ministry’s headquarters in Zamalek claimed to be for decoration; other experts claimed it was an original and should be listed in the records.
Source: Cairo Post– By/Rany Mostafa

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kings & Queens: Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt’s First Female Pharaoh

CAIRO: Although the concept of monarchy in ancient Egypt was traditionally limited to males, a woman progressed from the role of co-regent to pharaoh and was a forerunner of such figures as Cleopatra.

Hatshepsut (1479 B.C.-1458 B.C,) whose name means “her majesty,” was the first female Pharaoh in ancient Egypt. She was the 5th Pharaoh of the 18th Dynasty (1580B.C.-1080B.C.) archaeologist Sherif el-Sabban told The Cairo Post.  “The way to become a Pharaoh in ancient Egypt was not only being the deceased pharaoh’s eldest son, you also became a Pharaoh by getting married to the right woman of pure royal blood flowing through her veins,” said Sabban.

Being the sole royal blood child of the 18th-dynasty king Thutmose I and his wife Queen Ahmose Nefertari, Hatshepsut was married to her half brother Thutmose II whose mother was one of Thutmose I’s wives, former Secretary General of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities Abdel Halim Nour el-Din told The Cairo Post Thursday.

There were three possible relationships a woman could have with the Pharaoh in ancient Egypt; the first is the “Great Wife.” “There is always one Great wife as the pharaoh could have plenty of wives and concubines,” said Nour el-Din adding that all the children from the Great Wife and the Pharaoh were the royals.

The second possible relationship was as a wife who lived in the harem and can have all kinds of legal and property rights while the third is a concubine who was also an important woman in the royal court and her children from the Pharaoh could also ascend the throne in ancient Egypt, according to Nour el-Din.

“A Pharaoh becomes one by getting married to the great wife’s daughter,” he said, adding that when Thutmose I died, he had a royal legitimate heir to the throne of Egypt; his son Thutmose I, but not by the great wife.

He also had a daughter by the Great Wife: Hatshepsut. So Thutmose II married the 12 year-old Hatshepsut and became a Pharaoh. “The then-20-year-old Pharaoh Thutmose II and Queen Hatshepsut were married for over 20 years during which Hatshepsut; who had an eye over the throne of Egypt, learnt a lot. During the 20 years marriage, they had a daughter,” said Nour el-Din.

Thutmose II died leaving a daughter from his marriage to the Hatshepsut and a 7-year-old son named Thutmose III but from a secondary wife, said Nour el-Din. “So the widow Queen Hatshepsut became regent of Egypt and decided to rule for a while until the legitimate infant Pharaoh Thutmose III grew up and could rule by himself,” he added.

A major and unique temple in her honor was built at Deir el-Bahri on the west bank of Luxor where scenes of her “divine birth”, supporting her legitimate right to be the ruler of Egypt, are to be seen at the western wing of the three-story temple, tour guide Magdy Abdel Mohsen told The Cairo Post Thursday.

“She depicted herself, in detailed scenes, as a result of the divine marriage between God Amun and her mother Queen Ahmose Nefertari. After a few years of ruling Egypt as a co-regent, Queen Hatshepsut proclaimed herself as Pharaoh. The boy was kept away from the court, and was sent off to join the army where he grew up,” Abdel Mohsen said.

Statues were erected and scenes were carved of the Queen depicted wearing all royal features of pharaohs including the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt, the royal headdress, the uraeus [Cobra] on her forehead and also the ceremonial beard, he added.

Hatshepsut was not interested in military campaigns but was most proud of sending trade expeditions to neighboring African areas including the “land of Punt (probably modern Eritrea or Somalia) through the Red Sea,” according to Abdel Mohsen.

The trade expedition to Punt was the first depiction of sub-Saharan Africa in the history of mankind, he said, adding that it was “an anthropological expedition and the scenes at her temple show the houses of Punt along with accurate details and carvings of Egyptian workers loading boats with goods including ivory, incense and frankincense.”

Queen Hatshepsut was also known for erecting obelisks, some of which still stand at the ancient Egyptian temples in Luxor while some others are scattered in squares all over the world. After her death, her monuments, names and statues were deliberately defaced and demolished apparently by her co-ruler and step-son/nephew Thutmose III, according to Nour el-Din.

“Her mummy was discovered in one of the tombs in the Valley of the Kings west of Luxor in 1895 and was left their unidentified until it was brought to the Egyptian museum for examination in June 2007. Evidences indicated the Queen has suffered diabetes and died from bone cancer in her mid-50s,” he added.
Source: Cairo Post By/Rany Mostafa

Re-Opening, Luxor: Two sections of Sphinxes Avenue in Luxor to open

First and fifth sections of Sphinxes Avenue in Luxor are to open Sunday after restoration work. Written by Nevine El-Aref
The Sphinxes Avenue
After five years of restoration the first and fifth Sphinxes Avenues, which once connected both Karnak and Luxor temples in ancient times, are to be opened tomorrow night for the first time.

Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty is to cut the ribbon to open a new tourist destination in the town. He told Ahram Online that the restoration of the Sphinx Avenue and installing new lightening and security systems in Luxor temple came within the framework of the ministry’s efforts to protect the country’s ancient shrine.

Eldamaty explained that the development of Luxor’s temple lighting and security systems is a part of a Spanish grant of 150 million euros used for the implementation of a scheme to protect every archaeological site in Theban so they can be visited at night and be well-protected. He went on to say that the new lighting system is made according to the latest technology which guarantees the preservation of the temple walls and engravings.

For his part Major General Mohamed Al-Sheikha, head of the Projects Department at the ministry of antiquities, said that the security system installed in the temple includes of an electronic curtain stretched around the temple, along with monitoring cameras connected to a TV circuit. He told Ahram Online that the restoration of the first and fifth sections of the Sphinxes Avenue represents 37 per cent of the whole path.  It was carried out in collaboration with the National Service Projects with a budget of LE66.5 million.

He went on to say that the restoration work of the first section, which stretches from the Luxor temple to 350 metres long, includes the removal of all encroachment as well as the consolidation of the avenue’s eastern wall and the restoration of the sphinxes themselves. The restoration of the 600-metre-long fifth section extends from the area behind Luxor Library to the town’s airport road.

Al-Sheikha pointed out that restoration is continuing on the other sections of the avenue in order to open more sections soon. The Sphinxes Avenue was the site of ceremonial processions that once connected both Luxor and Karnak temples. It is dated to around 380 BCE and stretches some 2.7 kilometers. It would have originally had 1,350 sphinxes lining both sides. Around half of those have been uncovered, with many reworked by later civilizations or sitting in museums. Much of the avenue is still covered by modern buildings.

Monday, March 23, 2015

News: Visa on Arrival Ban Angers Egyptian Tourism Sector

CAIRO: Egypt’s decision to end the visa upon arrival system for individual travelers has drawn sharp criticism among tourism sector employees.

“The decision is impetuous and unjustified and its timing is totally inconvenient,” a tourism manager at an Egyptian travel agency told The Cairo Post Wednesday on condition of anonymity.

The Foreign Ministry announced Monday Egypt would no longer offer visas upon arrival to any non-Egyptian wishing to travel to Egypt for tourism effective May 15, 2015. “Individual tourists must obtain visas (from the Egyptian Diplomatic Mission) prior to their arrival to Egypt. No visas will be issued upon arrival to the country. Organized tourist groups will be the only exception,” according to the statement.

Most individual clients are from the United States. According to the decision, U.S. citizens will have to physically fly to the Egyptian consulate in New York or the Egyptian embassy in Washington to obtain the visa and this would add to the cost of their trip, the manager said.

The website for the Egyptian embassy, however, does give instructions for mailing in passports to the embassy for processing, and does not say that applicants physically must be present. The cost for American citizens to apply for a visa is $15, and the site says processing takes approximately 10 days. “The decision will make them refrain from visiting Egypt and think of visiting other countries,” the manager added.

“The Tourism Ministry was not consulted regarding the decision. We do not know the motives beyond it but it will have a negative impact on tourism sector in general and cultural tourism in particular,”  Elhamy Zayat, the president of the Egyptian Tourism Federation told The Cairo Post Wednesday.

“The decision does not define ‘tourist groups’ and did not mention the minimum number of travelers in a group. Individual tourists are usually one family and most of them, especially Europeans traveling to Sharm el-Sheikh, decide to travel to Egypt a short time before the trip,” said Zayat, adding that if the Egyptian consulate if far from where they live, “they will probably think of cancelling the whole trip or visiting another touristic destination.”

The decision of tightening of visa rules was issued according to reports prepared by “sovereign bodies,” security sources told al-Masry al-Youm Wednesday. The sources suggested the decision was issued to “hinder infiltration of political activists to the country and working without a prior permission,” and its goal is to give intelligence services more time to assess individuals who want to visit Egypt, according to the source.

In December, Michele Dunne, a prominent American scholar who had made statements critical of the Egyptian government led by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi was barred from entering Egypt, held in Cairo airport for a few hours before she was put on a flight out of the country.

Mohamed Said, a tour leader who created a website through which he sells sightseeing for travelers to Cairo said that the decision will cause a “sharp decrease” in number of tourists visiting Egypt. “I have been customizing tour packages for travelers through the internet for over 10 years. Over 95 percent of my clients were getting their visas upon arrival to Cairo airport. The decision is not far. If the country wants to control activists coming to Egypt, it has to find another way,” Said said.
Source: Cairo Post– By/Rany Mostafa

Saturday, March 21, 2015

iCruise Egypt - Vol. 11: Sonesta Moon Goddess - 5* luxury river cruiser


Sonesta Moon Goddess is a 5-star luxury river cruiser that offers unmatched luxury. In addition to luxurious, yet tastefully decorated, accommodations and public areas, each of its 52 cabins and suites offers a private balcony.
  
Sonesta Moon Goddess Nile Cruise Ship offers 49 luxurious cabins with sliding glass doors opening to private balconies and four presidential suites with private lounge.  All accommodations feature their own private balcony. A variety of special services and facilities are available on the Sonesta Moon Goddess, known as one of the best Nile cruise ships. These amenities include discothèque, a restaurant, room service, jogging track, gym, bars, nightly entertainment, guided excursions, pool and sun deck.  All cabins offer private bath with full-size bathtub, international direct dial telephone and individual climate control.

video
Video by Memphis Tours
Official Website:
Sonesta Moon Goddess 
For Special Rates & Availability Visit Our Website

Thursday, March 19, 2015

New Opening, Cairo: Four Season’s Upper Deck Lounge Creates Food Heaven

The Four Season’s Upper Deck Lounge is the hotel’s newest restaurant, and it specialises in two unexpected cuisines. Right on top of a swimming pool, and in the heart of Nile Plaza’s Four Seasons hotel, lies Egypt’s new gem, the Upper Deck Lounge.
After being welcomed by a helpful waiter, the beautiful paintings and classical music will sufficiently categorise the night as relaxing. The lounge is strategically located on the hotel’s rooftop, which makes it look over the pool and the inland oasis.

The Four Season’s Upper Deck Lounge is the hotel’s newest restaurant, and it specialises in two unexpected cuisines. The lounge offers two separate menus, sushi and sashimi as well as tapas. Both choices have a wide range of cold, warm and hot plates. While the sushi and sashimi dishes meet the increasing popularity of far eastern food in Egypt, Tapas is effortlessly the place’s specialty. Tapas is a form of Spanish food that comes in small portions but plenty of flavour.

The restaurants innovative Konafa is not to be missed, as they top it with hummus and chicken liver. On the dessert side, the restaurant’s star plate is the blue berry, chocolate and tofu-cream mix. All dishes are made fresh and in a relatively short time. The team is also always open to alterations and suggestions to meet the guests’ preferences.

The overall service is quite fast and organised. The size of the team is very impressive but what is even better is their tasks-delegation as their services never overlap nor feel over whelming. To insure the guests’ full comfort, the lounge is divided into two areas, indoor and outdoor. As a solution to the old smoking problem, the indoor area, which is surrounded with an all-glass wall to maintain the beautiful view, offers an electronic Shisha that prevents second-hand smoke.

The management’s love for art is visible and contagious. In a gallery-like display several masterpieces are showcased. The lounge’s paintings and sculptures are courtesy of genuine Egyptian talent and Zamalek art gallery.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Urgent News: Egypt to End obtaining Visas Upon Arrival for All Foreign Tourists as of May 15, 2015

CAIRO: Egypt’s Tourism Promotion Authority office in New York announced Friday Egypt would no longer offer visas upon arrival to any non-Egyptian wishing to travel to Egypt for tourism effective May 15, 2015. “Individual tourists must obtain visas (from the Egyptian Diplomatic Mission) prior to their arrival to Egypt. No visas will be issued upon arrival to the country,” according to the statement.
The statement issued from New York states that groups who book travel through Egyptian Travel Agencies are exempt from this requirement, and may have the Egyptian company obtain the visa on their behalf. This statement, however, contradicts a message posted by the Egyptian Embassy in Paris on its website, which states that there are no exceptions for any foreigner, and all visas must be applied for in advance.

Multiple persons at Egyptian embassies and consulates, as well as officials at the local Tourism Promotion Authority were unable to comment. The timing of the announcement coincided with the start of the Egypt Economic Development Conference held in Sharm el-Sheikh, the goal of which is to drum up investment in the Egyptian economy; tourism constitutes 11.3 percent of Egypt’s GDP, and until now has offered visas upon arrival for most western nations.

According to the travel and tourism competitiveness report published by the World Economic Forum in 2013, Egypt dropped 10 places in the global assessment to the 85th position. “Why would the tourism authority issue such regulation now? Tourism in Egypt has witnessed a sharp decline in numbers of tourists visiting the country especially from the U.S. and North America, ”the chairman of a leading travel agency in Egypt spoke to The Cairo Post on the condition of anonymity.

North America accounts for 18 percent of annual incoming tourism to Egypt, according to the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism. “Though North American tourists [from U.S.A and Canada] represent only 18 percent of Egypt’s annual incoming tourism, they have been topping the list of Egypt’s tourists’ expenditures during the past two decades,” said the Chairman.

According to the Central Bank of Egypt, tourism is ranked second in terms of most important sources of income for Egypt after remittances from Egyptians abroad, and is followed by income from the Suez Canal.
Source: Cairo Post– By/Rany Mostafa

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

News, Cairo: Leaning minaret on downtown Cairo mosque to be restored

Fatma Al-Shaqraa Mosque in downtown Cairo, with its now-famous leaning minaret, is to be restored. Written by Nevine El-Aref

After two years of conservation work at the Fatma Al-Shaqraa mosque, its leaning minaret is to be straightened. Minister of Antiquities Mamdouh Eldamaty told Ahram Online that an archaeological team had finally completed all investigations into the minarets condition and restoration work will begin in collaboration with the Ministry of Endowments. The restoration will be undertaken within the framework of the Historic Cairo rehabilitation project which is in its third phase, he added.

Mohamed Abdel-Aziz of the ministry’s Islamic monuments department, explained that the mosque had been restored except for the minaret, which is leaning some 12cm. The mosque, which is located in the Babul-Khalq area of Cairo, was built in 1477 CE by Rashideddin Al-Bahaai for Fatma Al-Shaqraa, the wife of the Sultan Qaytbey.

During the Ottoman period, the mosque was renovated and renamed the Maraa Mosque, the Women’s Mosque, instead. The mosque has two tombs, one dedicated to Al-Shaqraa and the other dedicated to an unknown person. Time has taken its toll on the mosque since its last restoration, and before its present rehabilitation cracks had spread in its walls, its masonry had been broken, and water had leaked over its floors.

When in 1992, the mosque’s minaret started to lean some 12cm, the Ministry of Antiquities stepped in to consolidate it with wooden and iron scaffolding. This restoration work then stopped until 2004 when work resumed on the mosque, without, however, treating the problem of the leaning minaret. But the masonry was repaired, the walls consolidated and the cracks restored.

The mosque’s minaret remains in a dangerous condition, and earlier in 2013 the ministry assigned an archaeological committee to inspect its condition in order to undertake the required procedures for restoration.
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