Farafra Oasis The smallest oasis in Western Egypt in the Libyan Desert, it has 5,000 inhabitants in its single village and is mostly inhabited by Bedouins. The White Desert of Egypt has a white, cream color and has massive chalk rock formations that have been created as a result of sandstorms.
Egypt is a Middle Eastern country and has Middle Eastern customs. Whether Muslim or Copt, the Egyptians are deeply religious and religious principles govern their daily lives.
Drying dates in the Nile Valley
Customs In general, Egyptians are most accommodating and they will go out of their way to help you and respond to any questions. Most Egyptians require little personal space and will stand within inches of you to talk.
Invitations Egyptians, if offered anything, will refuse the first invitation which is customary. Therefore the tourist should do the same. If the offer is from the heart and not just politeness, it will be repeated. If you're invited into a home, especially in small villages, and have to refuse, the householder will often press for a promise from you to visit in the future, usually for a meal.
Egyptian women Before the famous Egyptian feminist Hoda Shaarawi deliberately removed hers in 1922, the veil was worn in public by all respectable middle-class and upper-class women, Muslim, Jew, or Christian.
Sabraa Ali Mohammad in Rafaa village, Assauit province, has permanently given up one of her two bedrooms to create a school for girls who haven't had access to education.
Children in Manfalout, Egypt, discuss education with BBC Arabic Service producer Safaa Faisal. They are now enrolled in the Zayed.
Detail of a drawing made by school children from Manfalout, Egypt.
A wall of drawings created by girls at the Zayed community school in Manfalout, Egypt.
The young boy in the picture is a minority in a largely girls' school.
Mosques Major tourism mosques are open to the public unless services are in progress. A mosque differs from a western church in that Christian churches are considered houses of God, while mosques are more a gathering place for the faithful of Islam.
Show respect All visitors to mosques, mausoleums, and madrasas must remove their shoes. Most Muslims walk around in their stockings but those mosques that are major tourist attractions have canvas overshoes available. Women must cover bare arms and should also have a hat.
Religion Proselytizing religion is illegal in Egypt. Foreigners actively working to convert Egyptians have been asked to leave. Most Egyptians are either conservative devoted Moslems or Coptics
Censorship Devout Muslims do not drink alcohol though most do not object to others imbibing in reasonable amounts. If in doubt, ask. In addition to the prohibition on alcohol, the faithful do not use drugs or eat pork, which is considered unclean.
Baksheesh In the West, we call it "tipping" or "service." But those words don't fully express the breadth of flexibility and purpose of the practice known as "baksheesh."
Crime In Egypt It is nearly nonexistent, and violence is usually limited to family feuds. However, in tourism areas some pickpockets and petty thieves may exists, so be careful and remember that the ever helpful tourism police are usually nearby.
Nubian culture Nubian culture resonates in its music which has been updated. Drums and clapping hands dominated the music of old Nubia. Now, musicians are plugging in new instruments. The change has been cheered by the young, and even many old-timers are swaying to the new beat. ( 57K AIFF sound or 57K WAV sound ) "Before there were only drums but now there are instruments, and it's much better with instruments," says one fan. ( 89K AIFF sound or 89K WAV sound )
Library at Alexandria
About 2,300 years ago the Pharaoh Ptolemy built the great library in Alexandria. It became the center of knowledge in the old world, before it burnt down in 48 BCE.
Pioneering mathematical theories were conceived here, once considered the intellectual memory of the ancient world.
Ras Um Cid beach resort on the Red Sea
Abu Simbel UNESCO is commemorating the mammoth combined effort by archaeologists, engineers and researchers from across the globe which led to the salvaging of extraordinary temples and Pharaonic monuments which would otherwise have disappeared under the waters of Lake Nasser with the construction of the Aswan High Dam.