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The best of Cairo
Written by: Anita Lišková & Todd Shaw
Photo by: Tomáš Kubeš
In the 1001 Nights, it says "He who hath not seen Cairo, hath
not seen the world". While visitors are intrigued by the city's
twisting streets, oriental bazaars, and Islamic architecture of
sculptured domes and minarets, they should also be prepared for
some negative aspects of culture shock.
sales manager, Strojimport
Favorite hotels: Sheraton Cairo Hotel, Galae squaretel.:
+202 336 9700
Pyramisa, 60 El Giza streettel.: +202 336 7000
Favorite restaurant: Sheraton French Restaurant, Sheraton Cairo
Hotel, Galae square, tel.: +202 336 9700
Favorite attraction: Evening cruises on the Nile.
Best-kept secret: Sweet desserts every day. Local candy stores
Advice: Immediately after your arrival, reconfirm your return
owner, Caravella tours
Favorite hotel: Four Seasons,
35 Giza Street, tel.: +202 573 1212
Favorite night club: Hard Rock Café, Grand Hyatt Cairo,
Cornich El Nile, Garden City tel.: +202 532 1277
Favorite attractions: Dream park, Oasis Road, 6th of
October City, Maadi, tel.: +201 140 887
Egyptian Museum, Midan El Tahrir, tel.: +202 579 6948
Best-kept secret: Ancient Arabic market Khan el Khalili.
Advice: Don't miss a cruise on the Nile.
head of commercial department, Škodaexport
Favorite hotel: Hotel Safir Cairo, Al Missaha Square, Dokki,
tel.: +202 348 2828
Favorite restaurant: The Fish Market, 26 Shar'a al-Nil, tel.:
+202 570 9694 - on a boat permanently moored on the Nile
Favorite night club: Hilton Cairo Nile Bar, Tahrir Square,
tel.: +202 578 0444 - night club on the top floor
Favorite attraction: The program "Sound and Light" among
the pyramids in Giza, and dinner on a boat with a program
of belly dancers and dervishes.
Best-kept secret: Head of Pharoah Djoser near the step pyramid
Favorite shop: Most shops at Tahrir.
Advice: Don't eat leafy vegetables, and don't give any money
to kids; it's very difficult to get rid of them later.
Location: Egypt, North Africa
Country dialing code: 20
Population: 18-20 million (metropolitan area)
Religion: 90-94 % Muslim, most of the rest are Coptic
Time zone: GMT + 2
Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50 Hz; round two-pin plugs
Average January temp: 17.5° C (63.5° F)
Average July temp: 36.5° C (97.7° F)
Annual rainfall: 25 mm (1 inch) per year, usually
Where on the web?
For further information, we suggest the following websites dedicated
goafrica.about.com/cs/cairo/a/cairo_guide.htm - this "essential
travel guide" offers info about how to get there, and what
to see when you arrive.
www.worldexecutive.com/cityguides/cairo/ - an executive's guide
to hotels and accommodation services
www.lonelyplanet.com/destinations/africa/cairo/ - the good folks
at Lonely Planet offer orientation tips for a wide variety of
travel.guardian.co.uk/cities/story/0,7450,810735,00.html - this
lengthy article by The Guardian provides some au courant insight
into the city
www.journeymart.com/DExplorer/Africa/Egypt/Cairo/default.asp - an easy-to-navigate site that takes visitors on a virtual tour
wordtravels.com/Cities/Egypt/Cairo - good one-stop overview of
the city: attractions, sightseeing, accommodation, etc.
· 1.0-liter bottle of mineral water: EGP 1.60
· 33-cl bottle of beer: EGP 6.25
· Financial Times newspaper: EGP 3
· 36-exposure color film: EGP 25
· city-center bus ticket: 25 piastres
· adult football ticket: EGP 10-15
· three-course meal with wine/beer: EGP 20-35
1 Egyptian Pound (EGP 1) = GBP 0.09; USD 0.16; EUR
0.13; CZK 4.37
(Currency conversion rates as of press time.)
· Tourism is Egypt's key source of foreign income, while the public
sector, including government and social services and the military,
makes up the largest "industry". Cairo is also the center
of a growing trade, finance and insurance sector.
· With a GDP of USD 68.8 billion in 2001-02, Egypt has the third
largest economy in the Middle East and North Africa region. But
Egypt is still an emerging market, moving from nationalized industrial
economy to one that is increasingly being led by the private sector.
Reducing unemployment, primarily by encouraging private sector
initiatives, is a state priority.
· Although total revenues have been falling in recent years, petroleum
remains one of the key industries. With gas reserves of 57 billion
cubic meters and more reserves being exploited, Egypt has become
the 12th largest natural gas producer in the world. Oil companies
such as Mobil, Esso and Exxon are all investors here.
· Tourism, manufacturing, construction, communications and transport,
are all showing significant expansion. The government has also
pledged to make hi-tech development a priority, and to attract
export-oriented manufacturers to establish bases in Egypt.
· Courtesy and hospitality are important in business dealings
and Egyptian life in general. The host of a business meeting should
be sure to offer guests some tea or a small snack before commencing
the meeting proper.
· When drinking with Egyptians, visitors (especially women) should
only ever partake in moderation.
· Tact and diplomacy will be required to conduct business meetings
and much will be gained by a close observation of the way local
businesspeople operate. In the Arab world, it is considered the
height of bad manners either to display anger or to openly criticize
another person in public.
· In this Muslim country, women should not offer to shake a man's
hand, but only do so if the man offers his hand first. They should
dress smartly for business meetings and always dress modestly.
Government offices are open 8:30am-2pm, except Fridays and sometimes
Saturdays. Muslim businesses may be closed on Thursday afternoons