Umm Kulthum Museum

Umm_Kulthum

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The preparation for founding the Umm Kulthum Museum began in 1998, and the museum was open to the public in Dec.2001. Umm Kulthum’s role as a pop singer, cultural icon in both the Egyptian community and the Arabic world contributed enormously to the creative phase of Egyptian modern history.
Therefore, it is important to preserve this legendary tradition through collecting Umm Kuhlthum’s music, personal belongings, and related artifacts and to house them in a well established archive center.
In this process, CDF is proud to take the leadership role in supervising and funding the museum. Moreover, in order to enrich the museum collection, CDF is also responsible for collecting lesser -known personal traits and artifacts through countless direct contacts with Umm Kulthum’s family members, hoping to provide with the public a more comprehensive view of Egyptian music during the 20th century.
Located on the Roda island, the Museum, a destination to display and store Umm Kulthum’s items, shares the 250m2 building attached to the Minsterley Palace. Another reason for choosing this location is that it contains the Nile-meter, the second oldest Islamic monument in Cairo and that it is adjacent to the 161 year-old Minsterley Palace (1000m2). The significant importance of this historical area reinforces Umm Kulthum’s
cultural status in Egypt.

The Umm Kulthum Museum
consists of four halls:
The Main Hall:
It displays the collection of her dresses, awards and pendants, five collages of her photos, as well as correspondences and letters.

The Cinema Hall:
It displays a documentary movie commissioned for the opening of
the museum about Umm Kulthum, and the hall seats a maximum of 30 people

The Multimedia Hall:
It consists of a digital archival system with bilingual notes (Arabic and English?) about her life, a complete list of her songs in audio and video formats, as well as a collection of her photos. In addition, there is a collection of archive of newspaper clippings about her from 19242000- and the most important written biography about her.

The Panorama Hall:
It features a 10-minute documentary photos in an artistic way accompanied by well-known
Egyptian composer “Ragh Daood.” Since Sep. 2011, and there is a monthly Saloon held in the museum, beside a bunch of music outreach programs to reach various audience; especially students. In addition, the museum is adapting a new topic in reaching out to the
world by presenting Umm Kulthum Open Daily from 9 am – 4 pm (except for National Days)
Tickets: Ordinary LE 2
Students LE 1
Foreigners LE 6
1 El-Malek El-Saleh street, Manyal, Telfax: 23631467
http://www.facebook.com/museum.ummkulthumcdf@cdf-eg.org

Classic Egypt back on map as FCO relaxes advice for tourists visiting Luxor and Aswan

British tourists wishing to visit the Valley of the Kings, home to Tutankhamun’s famous tomb, can once again do so safe in the knowledge that they will be covered by travel insurance after the British government relaxed long-standing advisories.

The FCO is still warning against all but essential travel to a large part of the country including Cairo and the North Sinai but destinations such as Luxor, Aswan and the Abu Simbel temples in Nubia are back on the map.

A spokesperson for the FCO said: ‘We continue to urge British nationals already in Egypt to follow the instructions of the local authorities and obey curfews where they are in place. There remains a high threat from terrorism throughout Egypt. This has not changed.’

They continued: ‘As always, the safety of British nationals is a priority. We continue to follow developments carefully, and keep our travel advice under continuous review.

‘British nationals should continue to monitor FCO travel advice closely for any updates and stay away from any demonstrations or protests.’

Speaking at a holiday industry conference in London last week, Egypt’s minister of tourism Hisham Zaazou told journalists: ‘More than 18 countries have lifted the travel advisory on Luxor and Aswan. As soon as the FCO revises its travel advice for the UK, we will work tirelessly with our valued media, travel agent and tour operator partners to communicate that the whole of Egypt is open.’

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2500039/Egypt-map-FCO-relaxes-advice-tourists-Luxor-Aswan.html#ixzz2kdoGTpIN

Arab tourism in good shape

The number of Saudi tourists visiting Egypt has increased remarkably for the second year in a row.

This increase has been accompanied by a noticeable rise in the number of other Arab and foreign tourists visiting the country, despite the political turmoil the country has been going through for months. In a statement published recently in the Saudi-based daily newspaper Al-Watan, Egyptian Minister of Tourism Hisham Zaazou confirmed that the number of Arab and foreign tourists visiting Egypt has increased tangibly this year.

The number of Saudi tourists flowing into Egypt has reached about 1.27 million, up from 855,000 in 2011.

Zaazou added that the total number of Arab tourists to Egypt has risen by one-third to 2.4 million from 1.8 million in 2011.  He explained that the total number of tourists visiting Egypt this year has hit about 10.5 million, compared to 8.3 million the previous year.

Zaazou stressed that the Ministry of Tourism is working around the clock to reinvigorate and develop the tourism industry, coming up with a package of measures to restore the number of visitors to the level of the good old days.  He pointed out that, in the wake of the chaos and continuous disputes nationwide since November, occupancy rates at tourist outlets have slipped by about 25 per cent.

Zaazou said that the only solution for tourism to bounce back to its normal levels is for security and stability to return to the streets.

He added that more propaganda campaigns for Egyptian tourist destinations are also necessary, as well as attracting new investments and facilitating entry visas for tourists. The Minister of Tourism affirmed that visitors from more than ten countries can now obtain their visas on arrival in Egypt.

Egyptian oasis: Dune surfing, desert swimming

EgyptDesert SafariOases

Desert safari driver Ahmed Bakrin building a small bonfire to make mint tea before sunset during a trek through the Great Sand Sea outside the Egyptian oasis of Siwa, a Berber town of some 27,000 people roughly 725 kilometers southwest of Cairo. The palm tree-lined area is known for its quiet charm, ancient ruins, abundant natural springs, a vast salt lake and rolling sand dunes in the surrounding desert. — AP

SIWA Oasis  – The driver pulled the Land Cruiser to a stop at the top of a 50-foot high dune for a breathtaking view of the endless golden sands that span the Egyptian and Libyan frontiers. He then backed up slightly, I assumed to turn around. Instead, the vehicle lurched over the edge and plunged down the steep slope at breakneck speed.

This is the only way to begin a desert safari in the Great Sand Sea, 72,000 square kilometers of rolling dunes along the northern edge of the Sahara, one of the main attractions of a visit to the Egyptian oasis of Siwa.

Siwa, a Berber town of some 27,000 people roughly 725 kilometers southwest of Cairo, was largely inaccessible to the outside world until the 1980s, when the road that leads to the closest city of Marsa Matrouh was paved, putting it on the tourist map.

It’s an admittedly daunting trip for all but the most adventurous travelers: A day’s journey along a dreary highway from Cairo by bus or car.

But the reward for making the trek is a glimpse of what paradise might look like.

Home to the oracle that is said to have confirmed Alexander the Great descended from the gods, Siwa isn’t much at first sight — a collection of mud-brick huts and concrete apartment blocs in one of the most isolated parts of Egypt.

But the labyrinthine old town and a jagged, conical Roman-era necropolis soon rise in front of you, inspiring a feeling of awe for a place stuck between its ancient past and modern times.

The palm tree-lined area’s isolation — along with natural springs, ancient ruins and of course, a roller coaster ride through the desert — are the main draws for tourists willing to make the trek.

A friend and I stayed at the Ghaliet Ecolodge and Spa, which is built around a date palm grove with buildings made of traditional mud and salt bricks known as kersheef. Owner Magdy Riad swears no trees were displaced, pointing to branches sprouting from the roofs.

The 12-room hotel, just outside the town center, is one of several ecolodges designed to blend into the surroundings. The more expensive Adrere Amellal, the choice of Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla in 2006, was closed for renovation in early September.

The Ghaliet staff welcomed us and my with hibiscus juice and cold towels before letting us choose between a room with a skylight and terrace overlooking a garden, or one downstairs near the pool. We chose the upstairs room decorated with charming woodwork and colorful Bedouin rugs.

Arriving weeks before the start of winter high season, we were happy to be the resort’s only guests but worried about the viability of businesses reeling from the steep drop in visitors to Egypt.

Tourism revenues in Egypt fell 30 percent to $9 billion in 2011, although the industry has started to show signs of recovery. Siwan businesses also suffered from worries over Libya’s civil war just 350 kilometers away. The vast desert that separates the two countries was a route for rebels smuggling weapons to fight Moammar Gadhafi.

Riad, a member of Egypt’s Coptic Christian minority, had bad timing. He opened the villa-style resort in December 2010, about a month before the start of protests that ousted Egypt’s leader Hosni Mubarak and inspired Libyans to launch their own uprising.

Worried about his family back in Cairo, Riad says at first he left Siwa to join protesters in Tahrir Square, saying “they had the right to change the regime.”

But like many Egyptians, his enthusiasm gradually waned as as crime rose with the collapse of the police state, and the growing Islamist influence raised Christian fears of persecution. Riad’s wife and daughter recently moved out of the country after he was threatened by an Islamist cleric who objected to the spa services. But he enjoys good relations with local clans and reopened the hotel last October.

The heart and soul of the hotel, Riad cooked our first meal himself. His spa staff was on vacation, but as a trained masseur, he offered us massages and facials. He also acted as tour guide, designing a packed itinerary for our four-day stay.

Our room had no curtains, so the sun was our wakeup call. Donkeys brayed as they dragged carts along the dirt road outside — Siwa’s rush hour. But it was easy to get up as the aqua pool beckoned, with breakfast served in the shade of date palm trees. After coffee, omelets, cheese spread and breakfast salsa with freshly made flat bread, we jumped in the pool and swam until our afternoon tour of historic sights.

First was the Temple of the Oracle, where Alexander the Great came in 331 BC to confirm that Zeus was his father.

For 25 Egyptian pounds (about $4) each, we tried to absorb the lingering wisdom of the oracle and enjoyed the view of the maze of mud hut roofs below as well as the Mountain of the Dead — filled with rock-cut tombs dating to the Ptolemaic and Roman periods.

We then hiked around the winding paths lining the steep Fortress of Shali, with stores at its base selling traditional handicrafts. The merchants were eager but not pushy, unlike more aggressive vendors in Cairo.

The area is dotted with bubbling hot and cold natural springs, which irrigate the thick date palm and olive groves. One of the most popular is Cleopatra’s Bath, a deep, round natural spring where tourists can take a dip while shopping for souvenirs.

The driver then took us to a vast salt lake reminiscent of the more famous Dead Sea but without the infrastructure. You can float in the lake for a while, then soak in a nearby freshwater spring to wash off the salt.

Back at the hotel, Riad administered much-needed massages in a top-floor studio with an open roof and nighttime view of the stars.

A tuk-tuk carried us to dinner at Abdu, a restaurant serving Middle Eastern fare such as lamb kebabs, hummus and baba ghanoush.

The next day started with a swim followed by facials. The open roof wasn’t so lovely under the glaring sun, but a straw cover was put in place to block it out.

Then Riad introduced us to our desert guide Ahmed Bakrin, with assurances that he was a very safe driver. We soon found out why that was important as the four-wheel drive raced up and down the wavelike dunes.

He slowed down as we approached Bir Wahed, a beautiful blue freshwater lake surrounded by cattails that whispered in the wind.

We had the place to ourselves for a half-hour until an Egyptian family arrived, followed by a rowdier group of Italian tourists. We jumped back into the Land Cruiser and sped to the next surprise, a sulfur-infused hot springs.

The next thrill was sandboarding. As I hesitated, Bakrin, who has been taking tourists through the desert for a decade, told me to close my eyes and gave me a push, sending me soaring down the dune. Going up wasn’t as much fun: For every one foot up, the sand pulls you two feet back.

A crunchy patch of white in the sand turned out to be a marine fossil bed from when the area was submerged in a prehistoric ocean.

Our adventure ended with mint tea made over a bonfire and dinner served in the desert. We ate under the stars while a desert fox lingered in the distance, hoping for some leftovers. – AP

© Saudi Gazette

Arab tourism increases 66% in August

The number of Arab tourists who visited Egypt in August was about 216,000, compared to 130,000 tourists during August 2011, an increase of 66 percent, the Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics said Wednesday.

The state-run agency, which monitors economic and social indicators, said in a report that the total number of tourists who visited Egypt in August was 1 million, compared to 907,000 tourists in August of last year, an increase of 14.4 percent.

A five-year plan conducted by the tourism sector seeks to increase the number of tourists visiting Egypt to 30 million a year by 2017, which would increase state tourism revenues to US$25 billion.

CAPMAS added in its report that Western Europe had the highest level of tourism last August, followed by Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

© Egypt Independent

UAE takes part in Arab Tourism Ministers Council meet

The UAE took part in the 15th session of the Arab Tourism Ministers Council, held Wednesday at the Arab League in Cairo.
The UAE was represented to the meeting by Ambassador to Egypt and the Permanent Representative to the Arab League Mohammed Nakheera Al-Dhaheri.
The current session of the Council is presided over by Sudan.
Secretary General of the Arab League Nabil Al Arabi, in opening remarks, underscored joint efforts by Arab countries to promote cooperation on intra-Arab tourism and to elevate their development rates.

© WAM