All posts in Egypt


By Islam El Shazly

Conservation in Egypt is a sketchy thing; back when Mohamed Ali Pasha was in charge, it was reported that he wanted to use stones from the Pyramids to build his Nile barrages! He was trying to be thrifty: why go through the trouble of quarrying when you have some perfectly pre-cut stones right there! Thank God he was dissuaded by his accountant on the account that it would actually be more expensive to do so.

For all we know this might be an urban legend, but this very kind of indifferent attitude towards our nature and heritage is very rampant in Egypt, but only really became apparent over the last 60 years; and a phenomenon over the last 30. Read more…


By Islam El Shazly

I have been getting a lot of requests about the recipes for the drinks in our Top 10 Beverages in Egypt post; these are the basic recipes, so you can go ahead and tinker with them to your heart’s content.

If you’re a Muslim, Ramadan 1433 is right at our doorsteps (at the time of writing), and these drinks will come in handy, especially if you’re in North America or in Europe with long summer days of fasting. And if you’re not, then you can still show off your masterful skills at making some great non-alcoholic cocktails and drinks, and be the most exotic of your friends and family.

Bottoms up! Read more…


By Islam El Shazly

The Grand Street of Historic Islamic Cairo, the heart of the once capital of the Fatimid Empire; as old as Cairo, it saw its fair share of kings and vagabonds. Walking through it amidst the ancient villas and the architectural marvels left behind by four dynasties, is like being transported into the world of the Prince of Persia – without all the of the sand demons.

Taking a turn into one of the little alleys that spring out throughout the length of the street on a quiet day, stop for a moment and close your eyes, you can almost feel the ghosts of all the people who walked through here over the ages. There are shadows here. The time of the Fatimid also gave rise to their cousins, the Assassins. They lurked in the shadows.

But there is light here too, the whole length of the street is full of Masajid (Mosques), Madrasas (Schools), Bimaristans (Hospitals), Baths, and Sabeel/Kuttabs. Knowledge was available for all, and trade flourished here. It still does. Going inside one of the Kuttabs you can almost hear the walls still echoing the thousands of children who came to learn Quran. Read more…


By Islam El Shazly

Most tourists stick to certain locales when travelling, mostly due to their tour operators planning a specific itinerary that does not allow the flexibility for casual sight-seeing, so they end up mostly visiting the usual suspects; the Giza Plateau, Luxor, and Aswan, they might even get a glimpse of Sharm Al-Sheikh. That’s why they are normally referred to as package tourists, they go through the paces, but never really touch most of what makes Egypt what it is; the diversity of its history and its unique natural environment. Read more…


By Islam El Shazly

The Egyptian cuisine is not very fancy; it is not as elaborate as French or Italian cuisine and not as heavy as some of the food in the Arabian Gulf, it also doesn’t rely on a massive amount of spices. It is very simple, and this simplicity is what makes it very tasty.

A lot of the food on the menu relies heavily on vegetables and legumes rather than meats, same as it has been for millennia, mainly because veggies are much cheaper than meat. However, you will find that a lot of items on the list below are very much of the meat variety, after all, a balanced diet of meat and vegetables does wonders for the body. Read more…



By Mousha El-Haggar

Getting out of Cairo is always my favourite thing to do. I enjoy going to new places and experiencing new things that are outside of Cairo. This time around my trip was to Fayoum, a place I always wanted to go to but never had enough encouragement; people who live in the city are taken in by the city crowd and never want to leave their comfort zone. That; and many Egyptians don’t view travel within Egypt as a vacation, unless, of course, it’s to the beach! Recently, though, I had a friend who was planning a group trip to Fayoum and I decided it was time to go and experience it for myself. Read more…


By Islam El Shazly

It has been a little over 11 months since the January 25, 2011, ignited to culminate into the ouster of one of the worst rulers in the Arab world in modern history, Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, right on the heels of his brother-in-arms Bin Ali from Tunisia.

A lot has changed since then, some to the better, and some to the worst. We’re not going to get into either of them; they both have long lists.

What we’re going to be talking about is something that has managed somehow to divide the people, mostly triggered by a media that still plays by the pre-Mubarak days of divide and conquer for the sake of the person who is in charge at the time, SCAF (Supreme Council of Armed Forces) at the moment. That something is “Tourism”. Read more…


By Shereen Shirazy
Country Director at AID TO ARTISANS – Egypt

Aid to Artisans (ATA), an international non-profit organization, based in Connecticut, USA, is a recognized leader in economic development for the craft sector. By linking artisans to new markets and buyers to culturally meaningful and innovative products, ATA provides needed economic opportunities to artisans to build profitable craft businesses. Read more…


By Islam El Shazly

Since the Napoleon’s ill-fated campaign against Egypt in the late 18th century and the world became enthralled with everything Pharaonic. Especially Europeans and Americans, they came by the boat load to see the tombs, temples, and palaces that were long forgotten or half-covered in sand, they came, saw, and recorded what they saw in vivid illustrations; the only record of what a lot of these ancient monuments looked like. Since then many of these monuments became lost again under the waters of Lake Nasser, or just simply collapsed for neglect. Read more…


The beach at the Heliopolis Sporting Club Summer Resort.

By Islam El Shazly

It’s 14:30 on a Friday, time to hit the road for our family’s summer vacation: A week in Marsa Matrouh, 550km away from all the chaos that is Cairo. Crystal clear, all-shades-of-blue water, white sandy beaches, the perfect detox to the stress of day-to-day life.

My first visit to Marsa Matrouh was back around 1984, I was 10 years old, and the very first thing I did within a day of our 1 week vacation was attempt to get on a moving swing; it had two benches and a wood platform underneath. It was not a successful attempt. I got 13 stitches to the back of my head as a reward for my effort. My vacation ended before it even started. Read more…