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Location - Middle East/North Africa; Capital - Cairo; Population - 99 million; Currency - Egypt Pound MORE EGYPT

From Alexandria it's less than 3hrs by bus to the centre of Cairo, after which I returned to Hurghada for beach time and my flight home - January 2020.


egyptnote2The Sphinx appears on the 100 Pound note













egypt1063This is my favourite view of Cairo, from the terrace of the Citadel, retracing my steps of over 25 years ago. It's dominated by the Mosque-Madrasa of Sultan Hassan (left) and Ar Rifai Mosque (right) - Cairo


egypt1066Look to the left of the mosques and in the hazy distance are the Giza Pyramids - Cairo




egypt1054The Citadel was a 12th century fortress with mosques, palaces and now several museums. This is the 19th century Mohammed Ali Mosque - Cairo

















egypt1057Exhibits belonging to the Citadel's National Military Museum - Cairo
















egypt1068But the only reason I revisited the Citadel was for the magnificent views, including of the pyramids. The smallest on the left is the Pyramid of Menkaure, centre is the Pyramid of Khafre, and on the right the Great Pyramid of Khufu - Cairo


egypt1051The Citadel and the pyramids are connected via a tuk tuk to Al Malek As Salah Metro station, then the Metro to Giza followed by either a taxi or a local microbus to the pyramids - Cairo




egypt951aVia the main entrance the first pyramid you'll see is the Great Pyramid of Khufu, the last remaining Ancient Wonder of the World - Cairo


















egypt953Surrounding the Great Pyramid are the Queens' Pyramids belonging to the Khufu's mother, sister and wife - Cairo


















egypt957Climb up a few modern steps to enter the pyramid, though first buy the additional ticket at the entrance - Cairo


egypt960The entrance to the Great Pyramid of Khufu (also called Cheops). Construction was completed around 2,570BC and served as a tomb for the pharaoh Khufu - Cairo




egypt965I arrived just after 07:00 which was perfect for entering the pyramids, as there was noone else around, ideal when the interior is pretty claustrophobic - Cairo

















egypt966First up is a very steep slope via a slatted wooden ladder - Cairo



















egypt970After that it's a little more open, with a few steps, then slatted ladder (pictured) up a gentler gradient - Cairo


egypt972The entrance to the King's Chamber is through a very low passage-way (pictured) - crouch down! - Cairo




egypt974Then you finally reach the King's Chamber. So there's not much to see inside, but it's amazing to think you're walking inside a 4,500 year old pharaoh's pyramid. And it's far better if there's no crowding and queues! - Cairo

















egypt978Housed in a marquee next to the Great Pyramids is the Cheops Boat Museum - Cairo


















egypt981The museum houses one of the wooden boats that the pharaoh would have used in the afterlife - Cairo


egypt996The Pyramid of Khafre (or Chephren), built for Khufu's son, Khafre, has remnants of its limestone casing at the top - Cairo




egypt991From the other direction the Pyramid of Khafre also takes in the smaller Pyramid of Menkaure behind - Cairo

















egypt998On the left is the Great Pyramid, originally standing over 146m high, with casing), and to the right the Pyramid of Khafre, over 136m - Cairo


















egypt1000The stone blocks of the Pyramid of Khafre, looking towards the Great Pyramid of Khufu - Cairo


egypt1002It sounds like the inside passages of the Pyramid of Khafre aren't as long as the Great Pyramid's, but at 09:00 the queues are building.. - Cairo




egypt1014Walk further on to the smallest of the three Giza Pyramids, the 62m Pyramid of Menkaure (originally over 66m with casing), built around 2,510BC - Cairo

















egypt1012A less glamorous look at the Pyramid of Menkaure (or Mycerinus) complete with the caretaker's moped - Cairo


















egypt1015On the left is the Pyramid of Khafre with the Pyramid of Menkaure on the right - Cairo


egypt984A view of Giza and Cairo from the Giza Pyramids - Cairo




egypt1018You can make photos look like intrepid adventures through the desert, even though we're right next to town - Cairo

















egypt1022Walk downhill to the Sphinx, here with Menkaure Pyramid behind - Cairo



















egypt1029The Great Pyramid rises above the Sphinx, known as the Father of Terror in Arabic (though obviously translate this into Arabic first) - Cairo


egypt1024The Sphinx has the body of a lion and the head of a human, likely an impression of the pharaoh Khafre (his pyramid pictured) as it was built during his reign - Cairo




egypt1028There's not much left of his nose, and of the three times I've visited over 25 years, he still has scaffolding! Poor Sphinx - Cairo


















egypt1039The Sphinx lies in front of (left to right) the Pyramids of Menkaure, Khafre and the Great Pyramid of Khufu - Cairo


















egypt1040The Great Pyramid of Khufu and the Sphinx - Cairo


egypt1048Camel touts have a lot of patience and use the water torture drip-drip method until you finally succumb - Cairo




egypt1071The Al Azhar Mosque is a good indicator that the Khan al Khalili market is close by - Cairo


















egypt1072Khan al Khalili is a sprawling maze of alleyways and courtyards - Cairo

















egypt1073And this being the Middle East there's plenty of cafes to rest weary shopping legs - Cairo


egypt1075Hookah, or water pipes/shisha/nargile etc, for sale - Cairo




egypt1074All sorts on offer in Khan al Khalili - Cairo


















egypt1077Part of the 13th century Qalawun complex in the bazaar area - Cairo

















egypt1085Midan Talaat Harb, a busy square and intersection in central Cairo - Cairo


egypt1086Al fresco drinking in a dusty side road near Midan Talaat Harb - Cairo




egypt900Exhibits inside the impressive Egyptian Museum building are being moved to the very modern Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza - Cairo


















egypt913Many come to see this guy's treasures, Tutankhamun. This is a life-size model of the pharaoh found in his tomb - Cairo






















egypt906One of the gilded wooden shrines that encased Tutankhamun's sarcophagi - Cairo


egypt902The Anubis Shrine is one of the most famous of the Tutankhamun finds, and stands out in the black & white photos taken by Howard Carter's team - Cairo




IMG_7915Gold inlaid hands holding a crook and flail. This is one of the exhibits at the Tutankhamun Treasures when it visited London - Cairo
















IMG_7891A 'gold inlaid canopic coffinette' that contained some of the king's organs (from London exhibition) - Cairo



















egypt929IMG_7968The stunning golden death mask and two golden sarcophagi are in a room where no photos are allowed. Not sure why, and many sneak one or two but guards were out in force when I was there. Everything in glass boxes and without a flash? Maybe Egyptologists would say it degrades the exhibits, but I reckon it's about protecting image royalties. On the right is a replica by the Ministry of Antiquities, handmade in Egypt - Cairo


egypt923A coffin belonging to one of the greatest Egyptian pharaohs, Ramses II. His mummified body is on display in the Royal Mummies Halls of the Egyptian Museum - Cairo




egypt927A colourfully decorated coffin - Cairo


















egypt931The rock-cut sarcophagus of Ahmose-pen, a royal scribe and priest from the 5th/6th century BC - Cairo

















egypt941The Egyptian Museum lies just off Tahrir Square, known as the epicentre of the 2011 Revolution demonstrations. Conveniently (?) there's a lot of works going on here - Cairo


egypt947Street art (with a political twist?) just off Tahrir Square - Cairo




egypt152Before heading off to Luxor for the Nile cruise I had a couple of nights at the all-inclusive AMC Royal Hotel in Hurghada


















egypt157The hotel beach - Hurghada



















egypt165A lot of the resort hotels are several kms out of the centre so it's not straightforward to go for a walk around town, however they have everything you need - Hurghada


egypt1124A taxi ride to the centre and the main sight of Hurghada Marina - Hurghada




egypt1125There's waterside restaurant after waterside restaurant at the marina, so take your pick, many with outside heaters on winter evenings - Hurghada

















egypt1122Al Mina Mosque lies behind the marina - Hurghada


















egypt1118Take your pick from the luxurious yachts - Hurghada


egypt1119There's several companies organising boat trips to various dive sites and islands along the Red Sea coast - Hurghada




egypt1112Next to the marina is Al Sakia public beach - Hurghada


















egypt1111The sandiest pool table you'll find! - Hurghada



















egypt1114Just off the coast are the Giftun Islands, part of a marine reserve that offers reef dive sites and snorkelling, or simply lazing on the beach - Hurghada


egypt1090After returning from Cairo to Hurghada I stayed several nights at the Jasmine Palace Resort which has several swimming pools and plenty of space




egypt1094And of course it has a beach of its own. These all-inclusive resorts have shops, pools, bars, shisha bar, restaurants, gym, doctor, bad wi-fi, nightclub etc. Plenty! They don't feel like Egypt but they're very comfortable - Hurghada

















egypt1109Hibiscus flowers are used to make the popular Egyptian drink karkadai, served hot or cold - Hurghada















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