Heliopolis is a wealthy neighborhood and where many of the Egyptian Military Memorials and headquarters are located and one of the prominent things to do in Heliopolis is the Unknown Soldier Tomb at the Main El Nasr Road. the pyramid shaped memorial was erected by the late beloved egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1974 to honor all the egyptian soldiers who fell during the October War of 1973 (known as the Yom Kippur War of 1973 in Israel). Anwar Sadat was also buried here in 1981 after being assasinated by an egpytian soldier.
the monument is open to the public from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm everyday and lies a short drive away from the city stars mall.
Having lots of time while shopping in City Stars Center, we decided to visit the Ritzy Intercontinental Hotel Heliopolis, which is part of the City Stars Complex (they have a more budget friendly holiday Inn Hotel and a luxe Staybridge Suites hotel in the complex too) and is connected by a passageway in the basement to the hotel. the lobby of the hotel is opulent and is done in Egyptian Pharaonic Style and the hotel has 790 rooms divided into standard, deluxe and suites. it has several restaurants that serve world class food and it was a pity that we had a lack of time to eat in one. They also have a casino which is only available for Non Muslim Guests.
What was once a dusty town lying along the old dusty desert camel route to the Pyramids at the Giza Plateau, Giza is now a full fledged and crowded city (the third largest after nearby Cairo and Alexandria) which is built mainly on the tourism trade of the Last Surviving Wonder of the Ancient World, The Great Pyramids of Giza. It is located on the west bank of the Nile, some 20 km (12.43 mi) southwest of central Cairo and near the New City of Sixth of October. Giza has a population of almost 4 million people and there are various hotels, shops, inns, restaurants and souks in Giza within view of the Great Pyramids of Giza.Many of the Tourists going on an egyptian tour actually stay here in Giza or at the Swanky 6th of October city as the prices of the accomodations are cheaper. there are many ring roads that connect the City of Giza to Cairo and Beyond
This will be my things to do tips for City Stars Center
City Stars Centre is a large Mixed Use Commercial and Shopping and Residential Complex in the Heart of Nasr City in Heliopolis District of Cairo. The City Stars Centre is the anchor of the complex and is the largest shopping mall in all of egypt, occupying more than 151,000 square meters in retail space and more than 650 stalls, two large food courts, several restaurants, a Large Spinney's Supermarket and coffee shops and hotels like the Intercontinental Hotel and Holiday Inn. It is patterned after the shopping complexes of Dubai and South East Asia. You can spend a day going around the mall and shop and eat, and hang around the Intercontinental Hotel Nearby.
Mon - Wed: 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Thu - Fri: 10:00 am - 1:00 am
Sat - Sun: 10:00 am - 12:00 am
as most tours around Cairo and Giza leads to stops at the Fragrance and Oils and Essences shops, many of these shops have private testing and teaching 101 on how the various oils and essences are mixed to produce the wonderful aromatic fragrances that egypt is known for since the ancient times. many of these essences are imported but are extracted and mixed at the factories around egypt and these demonstrations show how to mix the pure oils with alcohol to make colognes, eau de toilette and aftershaves. they also let you smell and put into your hands the various fragrances they make (both local and their copy of the famous fragrances of Calvin Klein, YSL, Hermes, Guy Laroche, Lacoste, DKNY and more). after these aromatic demonstrations, you will now be tempted to buy!
once you are into one of the many papryus shops in Cairo and Giza, they would do a demonstration on how papryus is processed into the parchment which is then used for painting, diaries, stationaries and even wallets. papyrus making demonstrations lasts for 5 minutes (see my video here on the actual demonstration). first, the outer fibers are peeled away and the core of the stalk and sliced into very thin strips that are as broad as possible. Then the papyrus strips are next soaked in water to remove the sugar content. after that, they are removed from the water and dried. the dried papryus strips are cut to the desired length.Next, the papyrus strips are pounded and the excess water drained away, after which they are placed side by side, overlapping slightly. A second set of papyrus strips are placed at right angles to the first, again overlapping slightly. They are then polished with cloths to dry and then you can now write into the papryus parchments.
Amr Ibn El aas Mosque' has a tent in the entrance managed by nice Mohamed he is a nice person with a good smile , i bought from there a Sibha , which we use to count prayers , he sells some oriental perfumes , some Islamic clothing and hats
in Amr Ibn El aas Mosque you can find people from all over the world
it no problem from any religion to enter that mosque , only the women have to cover body and hair
can only keep face and hands unveiled ( they offer for free in the Mosque admin office )
This place now is not the same like when it was built , when it was built it was simple Palm fronds , it was rebuilt if destoried several time , one time during the crescendo war in year 1168 AD ( 564 Hijri )
Amr Ibn El aas Mosque is the first mosque in Egypt and in Africa , built by Amr Ibn El as in year 642 AC in Fostat City where the Fostat or the tent of Amr ibn El as upon his arrival to Egypt as the representative of prophet Mohammed to deliver his message to Egypt and north Africa it started as Palm fronds building with no concrete or bricks with space of 17 M X 29 M and now it is 110 M X 120 M
In the Coptic Cairo there is also a cemetery that contains a very small and nice curch, at the beginning we thought it was the virgin Mary church cause of the many rapresentations of the virgin. In the cemetery which is worth a short visit the graves are all decorated with angels, saints, crosses, it is said to be one of the orettiest cemeteries in all Egypt.
At the opposite side of the Mohamed Ali mosque there is the smaller El Nasir mosque which I enjoyed more as it was poorer I mean not as much decorated as the other one.
This one was built between 1318 and 1335 by Mohamed El Nasir. The minarets have domes with brightly colored decorations in Persian style.
The Cairo Tower is a free-standing concrete tower located in Cairo, Egypt. At 187 m (614 ft), it has been the tallest structure in Egypt and North Africa for 50 years. It was the tallest structure in Africa for 10 years, until 1971 when it was surpassed by Hillbrow Tower in South Africa.
it stands in the Zamalek district on Gezira Island in the River Nile, close to Downtown Cairo.
There's a plenty of restaurants up there with an amazing view but you pay for the view not the food!!!
20 pounds for Egyptian - 70 pounds for non Egyptian
We packed up camp for the last time and were all set to leave when my prophecy from the previous day became an unfortunate reality. The battery on the Land Cruiser was dead and we needed a jump start. Luckily the whole of Bahareya seemed to be driving past our camp at this stage, so we simply flagged down a passing friend of Mohammed and we were soon on our way. We drove fairly quickly and uneventfully back to El Bawity.
The final leg of our desert trip was an hour long camel ride on some particularly reluctant and not very well kept camels with makeshift uncomfortable wooden saddles and no blankets. Uncomfortable both physically and emotionally for me, as the camels appeared to be very unhappy. Not the experience I wanted from my first camel ride, and not one I would repeat unless I could be sure the camels were better kept.
The afternoon and evening were spent at the hotel, eating, lazing in the sun, spending some time reading and cuddling the sleepy cats. A group of French tourists had checked into the hotel since we'd been in the desert, so dinner was a bit more lively. We chatted to Amy about eveything from horror movies to religion, then she offered to take us across the road to a Bedouin party which we could hear going on. We were interested to experience this, as it was a local party, not generally open to tourists. When we arrived, it was clear that the Bedouin women were not invited to this particular gathering. Amy defiantly strode in announcing to us that she was a Muslim woman, not a Bedouin woman and didn't stand for such disrespectful behaviour towards the women in the village. Germaine Greer has nothing on this woman! The format of the party was that men of all ages from the village (and us) arrived, left their shoes at the door, and sat on the ground around the edge of what appeared to be a dance floor, drinking Bedouin tea from low ornately carved wooden tables and smoking. A live band came on with some slightly more upbeat than the traditionally Bedouin music, and as the rhythm started to take hold, individual men stood up to express themselves through dance. Other men applauding any particularly impressive dance moves. To our western eyes, a culture where real men do not dance, this looked strange, but they were having a great time. The favourite move appeared to be 'dancing with the stick'. There was a long staff being passed around to anyone who felt the need to dance with a pseudo partner, and they would lean on the stick for support (both physical and moral) Rob was offered to dance, but he only dances when he is really, really drunk, and as Bedouin tea was all that was on offer, he politely declined. It was a very interesting experience though, and one I feel honoured to have been a part of. Out of respect I didn't take any pictures, which I regret a little, but I have my memories.
We left the Black Desert behind and drove on into the White Desert in search of more desert tourist spots. Mainly, we saw some rocks in the desert. All very impressive but rocks, still and not very memorable. We stopped for lunch at the kind of oasis you see in old black and white movies. A few densely growing palm trees growing out of one tiny green island in the middle of the barren landscape. I didn't actually think such places existed for real and had always imagined them to be an exaggeration of the film industry, but I was delighted to discover a real life one! We bathed our hot feet in the cool lower spring, and drank from the upper spring. Camels relaxed around the island. It was like a huge desert cliche, which made me smile. We wandered about the area and made the macabre discovery of some human remains, but no-one seemed to now or care what they were or why they were there.
Next stop was the White Desert National Park. The pale sand gave way to white reflective stones resembling ice shining in the sun. It was a curiously confusing sight. The white stone became more dense until it covered the entire area, and huge rock formations resembling animals rose up out of the apparently icy landscape. We camped that night on the edge of the National Park, as it was. Amy left her music playing in the Land Cruiser, Mohammed hooked up a light to the battery. I voiced my concern that we might not want to do that, but I was told it was fine. After dinner, a cacophony of screeching came out of the pitch dark. It was desert foxes in search of food and some foxy loving! Three of them stumbled into our camp with two of them becoming shamelessly engaged in noisy coitus causing Amy to avert her eyes in embarrassment. Even Rob was a little uncomfortable. The spare fox found the food remains and we realised that our camp had been earmarked as a foxes playground. No-one got much sleep.
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