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Preface Last Updated: 5/11/2004 7:45 AM

Egypt is “Misr” in Arabic. It occupies the northeastern corner of Africa, and is connected to Asia by the Sinai Peninsula. Egypt is bordered by Libya on the west, Sudan on the south, Israel on the east, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north. Egypt has a surface area of 386,662 square miles, approximately the same size as Texas.

The population of Egypt is about 75 million. Cairo, Egypt's capital city, has a population of more than 17 million. This great metropolis is the meeting place of Africa, the Arab world, Europe and Asia. Cairo is the most important city in the country and is the political, cultural, and economic center. The oldest part of Cairo lies in the vicinity of the Khan El Khalili Bazaar and Al Azhar Mosque. The modern part of Cairo was built by a descendant of Mohamed Ali, in the 19th century. Today a sprawling city, with its ever expanding suburbs, surrounds this historic core. The most famous mosque, the Mohamed Ali Mosque, was built in Cairo in his memory. Cairo is known as the city of a thousand minarets due to the profusion of mosques.

In approximately 3000 B.C., a civilization emerged on the banks of the River Nile. It reached a stage of development and sophistication that none of its contemporaries surpassed. The ancient Egyptians' ability to organize society, keep careful records, and maintain the continuity and advancement of their civilization almost without interruption for 30 centuries set them apart from all other civilizations.

A land of motion within the stillness of centuries, the silent felucca sails in contrast to the chaos and cacophony along the Nile. Among today's monuments are the world's largest textile mill, one of the highest dams, and the largest manmade lake. Yet, all the noises of construction, cries of street vendors, even the braying of donkeys, in ever-expanding Cairo are absorbed by the eternal quiet of the deserts.

Egypt is a country with many secrets tied to its past. It is an explorer's land, with places to find treasures such as antiquities, gold or jewels. It is a place to see palaces and bazaars, where the real and the reproduced can be considered. It is a land where flowers bloom in the desert and in the underwater gardens. For those who can “drink the water of the Nile,” the rewards are magnificent.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 5/11/2004 7:45 AM

The Arab Republic of Egypt is located in northeast Africa and, with the Sinai Peninsula, extends into southwest Asia. It consists of 1,002,000 square kilometers of land. There are three land borders: Israel, Libya, and the Sudan, as well as four water barriers: the Mediterranean Sea, Gulf of Suez, Gulf of Aqaba, and the Red Sea. Most of the country is part of the band of desert stretching from the Atlantic Coast of Africa to the Middle East.

Geological changes have produced four distinct physical regions: the Nile River's Valley and Delta, where 95% of the population lives: the Western Desert, with two-thirds of the country's total land area in barren limestone plateaus and depressions; the Eastern Desert, scored by gullies in rugged hills; and the Sinai Peninsula, geographically a barren part of the Asian Continent, separating slowly from Africa.

Only the Nile Valley, Delta, and a few desert oases can support productive agriculture. The date palm is the most prevalent indigenous tree, though frequently eucalyptus, acacia, sycamore, juniper, jacaranda, and tamarind are seen. Papyrus, once prevalent throughout Egypt, exists now only in botanical gardens.

According to reports written in the first century A.D., seven branches of the Nile ran through the Delta to the Mediterranean. Since then, nature and man have closed all but two outlets—the Damietta and the Rosetta. A network of canals, salt marshes, and lakes now supplement these channels.

Lower Egypt is the area north of the 30th parallel of latitude, which passes through Cairo and Suez. Upper Egypt is everything south. The highest point in the country, Jebel Katrinah (Mount St. Catherine), is 8,600 feet above sea level—a part of the red-colored Sinai terrain that gave the Red Sea its name. Nearby is Jebel Musa (Mount Sinai), the legendary site where Moses received the Ten Commandments.

The lowest point, the Qattarah Depression in the Western Desert, drops at places to 132 meters below sea level and covers an area the size of New Jersey. Alexandria receives the majority of Egypt's limited rainfall, with 19cm (about 7 ½”) being the yearly average. Two cm (about ¾”) is the usual annual total in Cairo.

From November to April, temperatures range in Cairo from 40° to 65°F, and during the hot period, May to October, from 70° to 110°F. The Mediterranean coast is usually 10° cooler, while Upper Egypt is 10° to 20° warmer. Extreme temperatures during both seasons are moderated by the prevailing northerly winds. The exception is the hot, dry southerly Khamaseen, named for the number 50 because it occurs in a 50-day timeframe from April to June. With winds up to 90 miles an hour, the resulting sandstorms close down airports and roads.

Population Last Updated: 4/21/2004 7:50 AM

Population Egypt's population was 74.7 million in the year 2003. The growth rate is estimated at 1.8% annually. The population density in its habitable areas is greater than 3,250 per square mile, making the Nile Valley one of the world's densest populated areas.

Although more than half of the population lives in rural areas, this proportion is decreasing as jobs lure people to the urban centers. Cairo is the largest city in Africa and the Arab World. The disparity between national resources and this ever-growing population is an obstacle facing the Egyptian Government's drive to raise living standards.

A heterogeneous population, blended from Hamitic-Armenoid and Arab stock, has developed. Today, the majority are considered a single people, sharing a common ancestry and culture. Arabic is their common language. Colloquial Cairene is expressive and rich in words of Coptic, European, and Turkish origins. The written language differs from the spoken. Modern standard Arabic, based on the language of the Koran, is heard on radio and TV and in formal speeches.

About 90% of Egyptians are Moslem, and Islam is the state religion. The remaining 10% are Christian, either Coptic, Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, or Anglican Protestants. Indigenous minorities include 4-6 million Copts, Nubians, Bedouin, and a tiny Jewish community. Coptic has remained the liturgical language of the Coptic Church. Berber is also spoken, as are the Bedouin and Sudanese-Hamitic dialects of Arabic, primarily in Upper Egypt.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 4/26/2004 7:49 AM

In 1952, a group of Egyptian “Free Officers” overthrew the monarchy and exiled King Farouk, who had inherited the throne in 1935 from his father, King Fouad. A republic was established under a Revolutionary Command Council.

The revolution established the first purely Egyptian leadership since Pharaonic times. From the time of Alexander the Great, Egypt had been continuously under various foreign rulers. The “Free Officers” divested their military connections and sought to raise the standard of living, while developing both military and economic strength.

In 1958, Egypt merged with Syria and formed the “United Arab Republic.” In 1961, Syria separated from this union, but Egypt kept the name until 1971, when it was formally designated the Arab Republic of Egypt.

The Egyptian Constitution provides for a strong executive. Authority is vested in a President elected by the People's Assembly and confirmed by a popular referendum. The President appoints the Prime Minister and Cabinet and may appoint a Vice President. President Hosni Mubarak was reelected and confirmed for a fourth 6-year term in 1999. The legislature is bicameral. The more active house, the People's Assembly, has 448 elected members and 10 Presidential Appointees. The 210 members of the National Consultative or "Shura" Council are known as the “Upper House.” Seventy are appointed, and 140 are elected. The Council's functions are advisory rather than legislative. The governing National Democratic Party was established by President Anwar Sadat in 1978. There are five legal opposition parties, three of which are represented in the Assembly and the Consultative Council.

Egypt's judicial system is based on a combination of French and Islamic legal concepts and methods. The Supreme Court, with presidentially appointed judges, is the highest. Under President Mubarak, the judiciary has strongly maintained its independence from executive intervention. The principles of due process and judicial review are generally observed. Politically, the government aims to preserve stability by gradually expanding and liberalizing democratic processes, while attempting to improve the standard of living and quality of life.

Following the signing of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty in 1979, most Arab states broke relations with Egypt. The Amman Arab Summit Conference in November 1987 paved the way for other Arab states to restore relations with Egypt. In spring 1989, Egypt was readmitted into the League of Arab States. Headquartered in Cairo, its 22 member nations, which have a population of 230 million people, cover 14 million square kilometers, and control 67.2% of the world's oil and 24.2% of its gas.

President Mubarak has maintained the peace treaty's commitments to Israel and has worked to broaden the overall Arab-Israeli peace process in the Middle East. Many international and nongovernmental organizations maintain headquarters or field offices in Cairo, including CARE, UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO, Project Hope, Catholic Relief Services, American Field Service International, American Friends of the Middle East, the Ford Foundation, and the Fulbright Commission.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 4/26/2004 7:52 AM

Of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, only the pyramids remain. Previous scholars speculated as to their purpose. One theory suggested a correlation between seven of them and the constellation Orion, with the Nile cast as the Milky Way. Egyptologists now agree that they had only one purpose, to be tombs containing all that the deceased would need for the afterlife.

There are actually 97 pyramids in Egypt, but the ones at Giza are the most famous. As pyramids were large and could be seen for miles, thieves were able to locate them easily. For this reason, in the later dynasties, tombs were hidden in places such as the Valley of the Kings at Luxor. Most of these burial sites were also desecrated, except for the Pharaoh Tutankhamun's (King Tut's). His escaped the fate of others because another king built his crypt directly on top of the former's. When thieves found the upper burial site, assuming they had found everything, they left the crypt below intact. No great works are attributed to King Tutankhamun during his brief reign. He was Pharaoh for only nine years, from 1361-1352 B.C. Today, he is the best-known Pharaoh only because of the wealth of items found at his gravesite. However, the wealth of Egypt's past is not limited to that 9-year period.

Temples such as Karnak, Luxor, Philae, and Abu Simbel span 5,000 years of history, beginning with the Pharaonic period (3,000–341 B.C.), the Greek period (332–30 B.C.) and the Roman and Byzantine period (30 B.C.–A.D. 638), which saw the rise of the Coptic Church. Then the Arab conquest introduced Islam and the Omayyads from Damascus, who remained until A.D. 750, when the Abbasids from Baghdad brought both violent change and their slaves, the Turkish Mamelukes, who would become the rulers and remain until Napoleon invaded in July 1798. Each period brought new monuments and changes to the old. Preserved by the dry climate, Egypt’s ruins are world-renowned.

In September 1801, British and Ottoman forces drove the French out, only to come up against Mohammad Ali, an Albanian soldier serving in the Turkish Army. After he led his regiment in a rebellion over their lack of pay, subsequent conquests in Greece, Syria, Sudan, and on the Arabian Peninsula granted his temporary control of much of the Ottoman Empire and a dynasty which controlled Egypt until 1952. His grandson sponsored the building of Egypt's railways and the Suez Canal. Next came the Pasha Ismail, who would open the Canal in 1869 and declare independence in 1873. However, he would soon lose it all in 1879, as a victim of foreign debts and international events. The British took control in 1879. Egypt's first nationalist movement created the semblance of independence in 1922 under a constitutional monarchy with an elected Royal, King Fouad I. The “Free Officers” overthrew Fouad's descendant, Farouk (and the British) in 1952.

The cultural capital of the Arab world, Cairo has over two dozen museums. The Egyptian, Coptic, and Islamic Arts Museums each present an array of masterpieces. More esoteric collections include the geologic, railway, post office, agricultural, military, and carriage museums. The Ministry of Culture and many private organizations sponsor fine arts exhibits. In addition to four art museums, the Ministry administers several historic buildings, in which artists and artisans have studios. The Cairo Opera house is a part of a $30 million cultural complex which includes the Museum of Modern Arts. It was opened in 1988 on Gezira Island, 17 years after a fire had destroyed its predecessor in the downtown Opera Square. Egyptian ballet, choir, dance, opera, and symphony performances appear in the three theaters and alternate with offerings by touring companies.

The Academy of the Arabic Languages and l’Institute d’Egypte, the latter established by the French administration in 1798, are both located in Cairo, as are newer research institutes and specialized libraries spanning all fields.

Egypt has 13 state-run universities, with five in the Cairo area. The oldest university in the world, Al-Azhar, was founded in 970 in a mosque built near the then-new eastern wall. It is still the center of Moslem theology. Ein Shams University was founded in 1950 in the Zafaran Palace in the Abbasiyya area. It took over a space vacated by the Egyptian University, which became Cairo University after it was reconstituted with 11 faculties in the Giza area.

The American University in Cairo (AUC) is a private university accredited in the United States. AUC is located near the Embassy, on the East Side of Tahrir Square, although the campus will relocate to the suburb of Katameya in 2006. Cairo American College, a private, coeducational day school in Maadi, serves students from kindergarten through grade 12 and is covered in detail in the Education section.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 4/26/2004 7:54 AM

Since the early 1990s, the Government of Egypt has generally pursued a policy of macroeconomic stabilization. The economy has seen positive growth rates (averaging an estimated 2.5% in fiscal years 2002 and 2003), an inflation rate of 4% over the same period, and substantial foreign currency reserves (estimated at $14.8 billion - enough to cover more than ten months of imports). Potentially, Egypt has a large consumer market, though per capita income remains modest ($1,470 in FY 2001/02). Unemployment was officially reported to be at 9.9% in FY2002/03. The role of private investment in key infrastructure increased significantly throughout the 1990s. Cellular phone concessions were sold to private firms while new airports, ports, and port services were at least partially opened to private investors. The private sector's role has steadily expanded in key sectors such as textiles, steel, petrochemicals, cement, light consumer goods, oil and gas, and pharmaceuticals.

The outlook for some sectors of the economy, particularly tourism and natural gas, is bright. Growing budget deficits, however, represent a challenge to economic recovery. In 2002, the government revised its budgetary accounts to present three increasingly broad measures of the budget and deficits: a narrow budget that included only line government agencies and programs; a broader definition that included transfers to or from independent state-owned agencies, and a third definition that also included the social insurance funds (social security), currently in surplus because of Egypt's growing working-age population. Earlier estimates of the budget deficit were based on features of the first and second figures; the government now appears to have adopted the favorable, broad definition as its benchmark of the deficit. The government has also revised its estimates of past budget deficits upwards several times in recent years. Based on the government's current reported figures, the budget deficit grew from 5.5% of GDP by the narrowest measure and 2.2% of GDP by the broadest measure in FY 2000/01 to 5.8% (narrow) and 2.5% (broad) in FY 2001/02.

An array of economic legislation has been developed over the past few years, including a Mortgage Law passed in 2001, Telecom Regulatory Authority Law in February 2003, the Unified Labor Law and Unified Banking Law in May 2003, and Money Laundering Law in 2002. In August 2003, the government issued implementing regulations for the comprehensive Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Law passed in 2002.

Tourism and the Suez Canal dominate Egypt’s services sector. Tourism, Egypt’s largest foreign exchange earner, posted a modest recovery from its low point in FY 2001/2002 – though it was still short of levels prior to September 11, 2001. Suez Canal revenues, which had been flat for several years, surged from $1.82 billion in FY2001/02 to a record $2.25 billion in FY 2002/03. Egypt's leading merchandise export is crude oil and petroleum products ($2.2 billion in 2002), followed by finished goods (chiefly textiles and apparel), and raw materials (cotton and other agricultural products). Steel exports (particularly to the U.S. and EU) grew sharply in 2002 and the first half of 2003, as Egyptian producers looked beyond the weak domestic market (their competitiveness improved by the pound's depreciation and U.S. and EU restrictions on steel imports from other countries). Cement producers also began to find overseas markets. On the other side of the ledger, leading imports include capital goods, machinery, and agricultural commodities. Chief U.S. exports to Egypt include agricultural commodities (usually around $1 billion annually), capital goods, and equipment. The value of U.S. exports shrank over the last two years, from nearly $3.8 billion in 2001 to under $2.9 billion in 2002, largely in line with the drop in overall Egyptian imports. Egypt’s exports to the U.S. were worth $1,352 million in 2002, making the U.S. Egypt’s largest bilateral trading partner.

Agriculture remains one of Egypt's most important sectors and continues to achieve steady growth rates of 3-4% per year. Growing middle-income countries generally exhibit a decline in agriculture's share of GDP and employment; Egypt is no exception. The sector's contribution to GDP has fallen gradually from 20% in FY 1986/87 to 16% in FY 2001/02, and the number of Egyptians employed in the sector has fallen, from 34% of the total labor force in FY 1990/91 to 27% in Fy2001/02.

Construction on the Toshka project began in January 1997 in the area bordering Lake Nasser, north of Abu Simbel. The project aims to irrigate some 500,000 acres of arable arid soil with water from Lake Nasser. The main canal has been completed since 2000. Construction is proceeding on four branch canals of 28 km each, with the first two nearly complete, the third about 50% complete and the fourth in its beginning phase. This private sector project's aim is to grow fresh fruits and vegetables for export to Europe in the winter months. Several Egyptian government-sponsored entities are doing field tests in the Toshka region as well.

Since 1975, USAID has been instrumental in infrastructure development (water, wastewater, power, and telecommunications) and has also launched projects for job creation, improvement of economic policy infrastructure, education, democracy and governance, health and nutrition, environment, and natural resource management. USAID adopted a new strategy in 2000 that focuses on expanding the role of Egypt’s private sector to help move Egypt from an assistance-based relationship with the U.S. to a relationship based on trade and investment. New areas of emphasis under this program include the development of the information technology sector, strengthening Egypt’s capacity for human resource development, trade policy capacity building, financial sector reform, and continuing efforts to enhance Egypt’s business and export competitiveness.

In addition, post is working to actively support the President's Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI). The effort, launched in December 2002, is intended to increase economic and educational opportunities throughout the Middle East. In particular, its programs are intended to: promote the development of civil society; improve the quality of education offered to the children of the area; promote economic growth and job creation; and support programs that improve the status of women in the Middle East.

Economic assistance levels averaged over $800 million annually from the time of the Camp David accords (1978) until mid-1998. Food aid averaged over $218 million/year starting in 1975, but ended in 1992 in light of Egypt's gains in agricultural self- sufficiency. As part of an overall revision in U.S. assistance policy, aid levels have, by mutual agreement with the Government of Egypt, been on a downward glide path since 1999. The USAID budget for Egypt during U.S. FY 2003 was $615 million, and the anticipated budget for FY 2004 is $575 million. Current planning is that economic assistance levels for Egypt will continue to be reduced by $40 million per year to a level of $407 million by 2009.


Automobiles Last Updated: 4/21/2004 8:25 AM

Bringing your personally owned vehicle (POV) is desirable, and many people hire drivers to deal with finding places and parking when they get there. Driving in Cairo is challenging. Many use their privately owned vehicles only on weekends.

Difficulties for U.S. drivers in Egypt include nonexistent signs or signs written only in Arabic, confusing traffic patterns, and unfamiliar rules of the road. Smaller cars are more maneuverable, and air-conditioning is a must, not a luxury. Importation regulations change occasionally; check with the Embassy for current information.

We recommend you bring replacement parts such as sealed beam headlights, sparkplugs, air and oil filters Even a replacement water and fuel pump should be considered for U.S. specification vehicles. Replacement tires may be purchased locally or ordered and shipped via APO. All vehicles used or new must have a catalytic converter to be imported into Egypt.

Eighty-octane gas, also known locally as “benzine”, is common, but it may produce pinging and poor performance in some U.S.-spec engines. Ninety-octane benzine is also available. A gallon costs about $.60. Lead-free gas is available in all metropolitan areas in Egypt.

All car owners must carry third-party liability insurance in accordance with Egyptian law and Embassy policy. Premium reductions are given if your previous insurance company furnishes written proof of an accident-free driving record. The reduction percentage increases in proportion to the length of time you were without claims. Egyptian insurance company representatives keep limited office hours at the embassy to offer assistance. Check with both local and U.S. insurance companies to determine if they will provide comprehensive insurance to cover the replacement value and GOE sales tax and customs duties of your POV. In the event your POV is stolen or is declared a total loss, the government of Egypt requires that the owner pay sales tax and customs duties on the vehicle. An example of the cost of locally procured auto insurance is approximately $3,028/annually for a vehicle valued at $25,000. The average annual cost from a U.S. insurer is $2,000 annually for a vehicle valued at $25,000, if it provides the coverage.

There are restrictions on selling POVs at the end of your tour if you ship a car that is older than the current model year when it is imported into Egypt. In this case you can only sell to another diplomat or you must ship your car out of Egypt when you leave. Used vehicles are not always easy to sell in Egypt, so you must be prepared to export any vehicle that you import.

Egyptian Drivers Licenses. A local drivers license can be obtained if you have a valid U.S. license. The Cairo traffic office allows Mission employees and their family members 18 years of age or older to use an international drivers license and a valid U.S. license for 3 months following arrival at post. If you have no current license, a driver's test will be required. Visit the Transportation, Shipping and Customs (TSC) Section upon arrival at post for help in obtaining a local license.


Local Transportation Last Updated: 4/26/2004 7:55 AM

For safety and security reasons, and because parking is scarce in Cairo, the Embassy runs an extensive shuttle system for American employees.

Effectively using Cairo’s black-and-white taxis requires some basic Arabic phrases and practice. During rush hours, a taxi may be shared, reducing an individual’s fare. Negotiating the fare is best done before the trip, especially if the destination is to a tourist area. Often, if you know the fair price for your taxi trip (you can ask others in the Embassy before you go) you can just get in, tell the driver where you want to go, and hand him your money after you exit the vehicle. The official rate for taxis is very low. Variables that determine actual fares are your familiarity with the city, the driver’s demeanor, and the taxi’s physical attributes (i.e., age and size). Although newer, larger taxis command higher fares, the cost is very reasonable and is much less than in the U.S.

Persons under 18 years of age are not allowed to drive cars or motorcycles. Accidents involving unlicensed motorcyclists have caused problems in the past and have strained relations. Bicycles may be used in the suburbs and may be shipped with household effects. The most practical and safest bikes to bring are mountain or hybrid bikes, and cycling groups engage in both mountain and road biking on the outskirts of Cairo at low-traffic periods. Helmets are a must.

Subway. The Cairo Metro is a light rail system, partly underground. One line maintains service from al-Marg in the north through the center of the city to Maadi and on to Helwan. Another line crosses the Nile to Giza and Imbaba to connect Shubra al-Kheima in the north with the Opera House, Cairo University and Salah Salim in the east.

The Metro may be used between Maadi residences and the Embassy offices near Tahrir Square, and, outside of rush hour, is perhaps the most relaxing way to get north or south. The Metro has done little to ease the increasing traffic congestion.

Buses. An extensive bus system does exist in Cairo and other areas. However, due to excessive overcrowding and poor maintenance, the Embassy does not recommend using buses.


Regional Transportation Last Updated: 4/21/2004 9:08 AM

The Western Desert Highway, a high-speed toll road, and the busier Delta Road connect Alexandria and Cairo. Buses take 3½ hours, with a rest stop. A non-stop Turbini train takes just over 2 hours. The Embassy travel agent can book the required seat reservations. Currently, a roundtrip ticket for first class costs 72 LE or approximately $12. The Turbini travels round trip between Alexandria and Cairo three times a day. A second train called the Spanish runs twice daily in summer and once a day in winter. Train service to Upper Egypt is also available, however, travel restrictions currently apply to this service.

Nile cruises that travel between Luxor and Aswan may be booked by any travel agent. Egypt Air is the only domestic airline, and it provides service to Abu Simbel, Alexandria, Aswan, Hurghada, Luxor, the New Valley development at Kharga Oasis, and Sharm el Sheikh. Dual pricing for residents and nonresidents is standard practice.



Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 4/21/2004 9:11 AM

Telecom Egypt is in the midst of a major upgrade of equipment throughout the city. However, many older exchanges still use rotary dial (pulse) phones, and, should a touch-tone phone be used, it must be the type that will convert the touch-tone to pulse. Most Embassy home phones have restricted service that prohibits making international calls. Official calls can be made through the Embassy’s 24-hour switchboard. Employees assigned to Cairo need to have an AT&T, MCI, or other credit or calling card. Long-distance services can be accessed by dialing local numbers.

Wireless Service Two companies currently provide cell-phone service in Egypt. They use the GSM standard. There is excellent coverage in Cairo and the infrastructure is rapidly expanding throughout the country. International and roaming service is available, and the two companies offer a variety of tariff programs, including prepaid cards.


Telephones and Telecommunications

Wireless Service Last Updated: 1/14/2004 8:54 AM Two companies currently provide cell-phone service in Egypt. They use the GSM standard. There is excellent coverage in Cairo and the infrastructure is rapidly expanding throughout the country. International and roaming service is available, and the two companies offer a variety of tariff programs, including prepaid cards.


Internet Last Updated: 4/21/2004 9:13 AM

Internet service is also available through a number of service providers at costs comparable with those found in the U.S. High speed ISDN and ADSL are widely available. Dial-up low-speed connections are also available. For dial-up service the user is charged for the telephone call but not by the Internet Service Provider.


Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 4/26/2004 7:57 AM

The Department of State has designated Cairo as a Category “A” post for mail purposes. A Category “A” post requires all personnel assigned to the Embassy to use the APO for all incoming and outgoing personal mail except for clearly marked prescriptions and eyeglasses. The pouch address is:

Name 7700 Cairo Place Washington DC 20521-7700

The APO facility operates as part of the Air Force Postal Service and its use is available to all direct-hire U.S. Government employees and their dependents assigned to the Mission in Cairo.

Postal rates are the same as for the U.S. Postal system and include first class, priority and standard options, as well as certified, registered and insured services. All packages require customs declarations and are subject to the following restrictions: maximum weight is 70 lbs. and length and girth combined cannot exceed 108 inches. The APO also processes mail being sent to international addresses and other APOs. Mail is received daily from two code share carriers, KLM/NW and Lufthansa/United and is dispatched 5 days a week. The APO hours of operation are: Sunday through Thursday from 9 am to 3 pm.

Address for Box numbers using UNIT 64900:

Full Name Unit 64900 Box ## APO AE 09839-4900

Box numbers using UNIT 64900 are: Box 1 - Ambassador (AMB) Box 2 - Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Box 3 – Management (MGT) Box 4 - Information Management Office (IMO) Box 5 - Economic/Political Sections (ECPO) Box 6 - Economic/Political Sections (ECPO) Box 7 - General Services Office (GSO) Box 11 - Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) Box 12 - Regional Security Office (RSO) Box 13 - Human Resources Management (HRM) Box 14 – Post Reference Library Box 15 - Consular Section (CONS) Box 16 - Financial Management Center (FMC) Box 19 - Regional Medical Office (RMO) Box 21 - Cairo American College (CAC) Limited to official, first-class letter mail addressed to superintendent. Box 22 - Foreign Agriculture Service (FAS) Box 23 - American Employees Cooperation and Welfare Association (AECWA) Limited to first class letter, official correspondence. Box 24 - Public Affairs Office (PA) Box 25 - Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Box 26 - Library of Congress (LOC) Box 31 - Community Liaison Office (CLO) Box 38 - Voice of America (VOA) Box 39 - Legal Attaché Office (LEGATT) Box 53 - Office of Regional Affairs (ORA) Box 64 - Regional Information Management Center (RIMC)

Address for Box numbers using UNIT 64901:

Full Name Unit 64901 Box ## APO AE 09839-4901

Box numbers using Unit 64901 are: Box 18 - Apache Taft Box 28 - OLA, 83rd CS Box 29 - Office of Military Cooperation (OMC) Box 34 - HAWK Box 36 - PV-1 TAFT Box 41 - Corps of Engineers (COE) Box 42 - Commissary (DECA) Box 43 - Airlift Military Command (AMC) Box 46 - PV-2 Box 47 - ILS (PMO) Box 51 - UPM/USASAC-EAS Box 54 - Katemaya Box 57 - M1A1 Taft Box 58 - Det 32 Box 59 - OMC/Training Box 65 - WHO Box 67 - TACOM Box 71 - PV-3 Box 75 - AFLC and WSLO Box 78 - PV-4 Geniclis Box 80 – CDC

Mail for U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) should be addressed:

Full Name Unit 64902 APO AE 09839-4902

Mail for contractors:

Full Name Unit 64903 APO AE 09868-9998

Mail for the Defense Attaché‚ Office (DAO) should be addressed:

Full Name DAO Unit 64910 APO AE 09839-9998

Mail for the Marine Security Guard Detachment (MSG) should be addressed:

Full name MSG DET Unit 64911 APO AE 09839-9998 Mail for the U.S. Naval Medical Research Team should be addressed:

Full Name PSC 452 FPO AE 09835 -9998

First-class letters and packages sent via the APO average 5–10 days transit time between the U.S. and Cairo. Packages sent to and from Egypt must have customs tags and may be insured. Packages may be sent through APO by:

Space Available Mail (SAM) - flown between Cairo and New York, it travels via surface for the U.S. portion of the journey. Fourth class rates apply. Maximum weight is 70 lbs. but parcels may not exceed 100 inches, length and girth combined.

Parcel Airlift (PAL) - flown to the U.S. airport nearest to the addressee. Fourth class rates apply plus an additional fee. Maximum weight is 30 lbs. but parcels may not exceed 60 inches, length and girth combined.

Priority Mail - more expensive but gets priority handling over other parcel mail. Maximum weight per piece is 70 lbs. and maximum size is 130 inches in length and girth combined.

Airmail - letters sent through the APO bound for Europe and other Middle East countries are dispatched to the International Exchange Office in Frankfurt, Germany.


Radio and TV Last Updated: 4/21/2004 9:22 AM

The Voice of America and the BBC’s World Service programming are carried periodically on a variety of radio frequencies.

Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) is available at the Embassy and some government-owned residential compounds. There are two to eight (depending on where you live) AFRTS channels, and programming includes news, sports, and entertainment from the U.S. One of these channels is radio-only. Most employees who want AFRTS must contact the Armed Forces Network (AFN) offices to purchase a decoder and have their decoder digitally enabled. The employee must have a dish installed and aimed, which can be done by a number of local technicians. Decoders can be sold to other eligible employees who must then contact AFN to get the decoder re-registered in their name.

In addition, the Embassy has contacts with local satellite providers for Mission employees wanting more than the AFRTS channels. There is a choice between Orbit or ShowTime Channels. Orbit has a variety of channels including Star channels, ESPN, and the Disney Channel. ShowTime channels include MTV, CNN, the Discovery Channel, Disney, TVLAND, Style, and Nickelodeon among others. Since channel selection and price change frequently, check with the CLO office for the most updated list of choices.

Cairo has its own TV channels, which operate at varying times during the day and evening. Although most programs are in Arabic, newscasts are presented daily in English, French, and Hebrew. Some American TV series and old movies are shown in English, with Arabic subtitles.

Multisystem sets receiving both PAL (the local broadcast format) and NTSC (the U.S. format) can be purchased locally and at the AECWA-run Convenience Store, but can be more expensive than sets purchased in the U.S. An NTSC set will not receive local. We recommend that you bring a multisystem television to post.

AECWA (The Employees’ Association) rents VHS videotapes (U.S. format NTSC only) and DVDs.

It is recommended that you bring a supply of CDs, records, and tapes. Note, however, that older model record players and tape decks must be adapted to the 240 volt, 50-cycle operating standard. Most new electronic equipment is compatible (with adapter plugs) to local current. Consult owner’s the manual whenever possible.


Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 4/26/2004 7:59 AM

The International Harold Tribune and other international newspapers in many languages are available at local outlets. A local news weekly, The Cairo Times, is also available at the E-Mart. The Embassy’s weekly newsletter, The Niler, published on Thursdays, is where the official community shares information.

The Commissary carries the Stars and Stripes, Marine Corps Times, Navy Times, and Army Times. Newsweek, Time, People and an assortment of special interest magazines are also available.

Cairo supports four major Arabic-language daily newspapers and one in English, The Egyptian Gazette. Al Ahram Weekly, an English-language offshoot of a major Arabic daily, appears every Thursday.

Publications in English and other languages are sold at hotels and from street kiosks. Egypt Today, a glossy full-color monthly magazine published in English, has features on Cairo, Alexandria, and Red Sea resort areas with restaurant reviews, event notices, and listings that are useful.

The Cairo Times is a weekly magazine with lively coverage of local politics, arts, and culture. The bookstores of the American University in Cairo (AUC) carry English-language fiction and nonfiction titles and put them on sale twice a year. For a small annual fee, around $10, you can join their book club and purchase books at a discount all year. Due to substantial import duties, prices are higher even with the discount than in the U.S. To save money, you may wish to subscribe to magazines and order from bookstores by mail or on the Internet.

Many of the books published in the Arab World come from Egypt’s major publishing houses. The AUC Press represents Naguib Mahfouz, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1988. Born in Cairo in 1911, he was cited for his “Arabic narrative art.”

Libraries. In the Embassy compound are the American Studies Information Resource Center, the Foreign Commercial Service Library, and the Community Liaison Office, which has a collection of mail-order catalogs, post reports, and previously owned fiction and nonfiction books, and a freestanding Internet terminal.

The Information Resource Center, open to the public, houses fiction and non-fiction books and magazines, a large documentary video collection, internet access, an internet training facility, and audio cassettes for English language learning.

The American Research Center's (ARCE) library is near the Embassy, at 2 Midan Qasr el-Dubaraji (also known as Simon Bolivar Square). The library of the American University in Cairo has over 100,000 volumes and rare old manuscripts but none are for circulation.

Maadi residents may use the libraries of the Cairo American College and the Community Services Association (CSA); both are located in Maadi.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 4/21/2004 9:35 AM

The Embassy Health Unit is open five days a week, Sunday through Thursday, and a satellite health unit in the residential area of Maadi is open two days a week, Monday and Wednesday, to provide medical treatment, medical clearance examinations, immunizations, and laboratory testing to U.S. employees of the Mission and their dependents. There is always a medical officer, who can be contacted through the embassy operator, on duty evenings, weekends, and holidays.

The U.S. hired medical staff include two DOS Regional Medical Officers, a Regional Psychiatrist, a FS Health Practitioner, and a Regional Medical Technologist. Locally hired nurses have American training or a European equivalent.

Local physician consultants covering a broad range of specialties have trained in the US or Europe. Concerns about local medical care include a lack of enforcement of standards, lack of peer review, inadequate nurse training, and the very high prevalence of hepatitis C, which increases the transfusion risk. The Health Unit maintains a list of local providers, hospitals, x-ray and laboratory services, and other local medical facilities. Basic dental and orthodontic services in Cairo are quite good.

The Health Unit staff advises that elective surgeries and childbirth be done in the United States or Europe. Expectant mothers should depart post six weeks prior to delivery. Within Egypt, there is very limited technical expertise in neonatal care and a high risk of infection in the neonatal care units. The Health Unit staff will arrange for medical evacuation to London, the regional medevac point, the United States, or, for military personnel, the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center near Frankfurt, Germany. All personnel coming to Egypt should be sure that they have medical evacuation coverage through their agency or with a private insurance policy.

The Health Unit stocks some medications for treatment of acute conditions and emergencies. Persons who are using medicines long-term should bring their own supply and plan on sending refill prescriptions (obtained from the Health Unit) to the U.S. Many medications are available in local pharmacies, but these are frequently sold under a different brand name. Tylenol, vitamins, and a very limited number of other over-the-counter, nonprescription medicines are sold in the commissary.

Health and Medicine

Community Health Last Updated: 4/21/2004 9:34 AM

Staying healthy means taking preventive measures and precautions. Standards of hygiene and cleanliness are below those in the United States. Human waste is still used for fertilizing the crops, later sold in markets.

Traveler's diarrhea is a common problem. Avoid fruits that have been already peeled, fruits without peels, and uncooked vegetables, particularly salads, at restaurants. Local vegetables, which are purchased should be soaked in dilute Clorox (1 T per gallon of water) for twenty minutes, then rinsed in safe water, before being eaten.

Water treatment plants in Cairo adequately purify the water, but the antiquated water distribution system sometimes re-contaminates it. Only bottled, boiled (more than 3 minutes), distilled, or highly filtered (through a high-tech filter) water should be used for drinking and making ice. The Mission will supply one PentaPure double-canister filter per household to purify tap water. The bottled waters sold throughout Egypt are safe to drink.

Do not consume unpasteurized milk and cheese products. (Products sold in large, Western-style markets have been pasteurized.) Unpasteurized products may be contaminated with tuberculosis, brucellosis, and a variety of other bacteria that can cause serious illness.

The high concentration of particulate matter in the sometimes very smoggy air of Cairo may cause eye irritation, runny nose or nasal stuffiness, or exacerbations of asthma. Contact lens wearers should bring their glasses, as eye irritation could prevent use of the contacts. Air purifiers in the house may decrease bronchial, nasal, and eye irritation.

Traffic accidents are the number one danger to Americans in Cairo. Drive defensively. Outside of Cairo and Alexandria, no driving is permitted after dark, due to a variety of risks, including large sand drifts being blown across the roads. Seat belts should always be worn when driving.

Health and Medicine

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 4/21/2004 9:35 AM

Prior to coming to Egypt, personnel should be immunized against typhoid, meningococcal meningitis, hepatitis A and B, and rabies, in addition to the standard childhood vaccinations and a booster for tetanus every ten years. Rabies vaccination is recommended because of the extremely high prevalence of rabies among stray dogs and cats in Cairo. Documentation of a yellow fever vaccination is necessary if coming from a region endemic with yellow fever or if you plan to travel to other countries in Africa. In Egypt, it is not necessary to take malaria prophylactic medication. Brucellosis, typhoid, sporadic outbreaks of Rift Valley Fever, schistosomiasis (bilhardzia) (which still infects about 12% of the rural population), Chlymidia trachomatis (the bacteria causing trachoma, which still afflicts about 35% of the rural population), and hepatitis C (present in about 20% of the population) are common diseases, but these illness rarely affect Americans working at the US Mission in Cairo. The incidence of HIV is thought to be low (less than 1% of the population), but statistics are not available. The Health Unit maintains a walking blood bank donor list to provide a safer reservoir of blood products to Americans.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 4/21/2004 9:38 AM

The Embassy has an active hiring program. Post has numerous employment opportunities for family members within U.S. Agencies at post. However, very few of these positions are highly compensated. The FLO in Washington and the CLO in Cairo will provide guidance in filling out the necessary forms for U.S. Government jobs. The CLO in Cairo also serves as a resource regarding information about jobs in the Mission and in the private sector. Although many openings are secretarial or clerical, some semiprofessional and managerial jobs exist. Sometimes, depending on your post arrival date, a spouse wishing full-time employment may have to take a part-time job for a while. Full-time positions usually become vacant in May, June, or July. All vacancies are circulated as State Announcements, listed in The Niler, and posted on a board outside the Human Resources Office.

Employment is also available for family members wishing short-term or intermittent work. Although these are also often secretarial, special projects become available occasionally. Family members may also register with Human Resources Management for the temporary/part-time roster and remain on it indefinitely.

The Strategic Networking Assistance Program (SNAP) pilot began in Cairo in May 2002. The Local Employment Advisor (LEA) networks within the community to establish necessary contacts in assisting family members with their job search. The LEA also provides assistance with job counseling, resume writing, and interview techniques. Employment opportunities outside the Mission are not extensive. Some may require work permits from the Ministry of Interior. However, portable careers are almost always transferable, and family members have been employed outside the Embassy as teachers, nurses, writers, photographers, lawyers, researchers, architects, travel agents, secretaries, and caterers, among other positions.

Family members accepting outside employment must have the Embassy’s prior approval, to avoid a tacit waiver of diplomatic immunity. Only the Department of State can permit a waiver of diplomatic immunity. Foreigners working in Egypt are usually subject to Egyptian income tax and social security laws.

The Foreign Commercial Service has a list of U.S. firms in Egypt.

CLO is frequently contacted for outside jobs, including some local and international firms and agencies. Some opportunities also exist for freelance employment. With the recent change in home-operated businesses, portable careers are also viable.

The Cairo American College recruits the majority of its teachers from the U.S. Most of the rest come from the expatriate community, but several family members are also employed there. All teachers must hold valid teaching certificates. For current information, write: Superintendent, Cairo American College, Unit 64900 Box 21, APO AE 09839-4900.

Dependent children ages 16 and over are eligible for employment in the CLO Summer-Hire Program, which starts in June and continues through mid-August. It attempts to provide meaningful work for as many qualifying high school and college students as possible. Employment opportunities for dependents under age 16 are very limited.

American Embassy - Cairo

Post City Last Updated: 5/25/2004 1:10 AM

Estimates of the daytime population of Cairo range 12–17 million. The city’s urban area stretches from Shubra in the north to Helwan in the south; from the Moqattam Hills in the east to Giza in the west. This area encompasses all of the Cairo governorate, most of the Giza governorate, and a small part of the Qalyubia megalopolis governorate in the north.

In the vicinity of Cairo’s two newest suburbs, archeologists have found some of the area’s oldest remains. West and south of Maadi, Neolithic communities flourished about 4000 B.C. Heliopolis was once an important religious and intellectual center. One of a pair of 22-meter high, pink granite obelisks, dating from the 12th Dynasty reign of Senusert I, circa 1950 B.C., remains in Cairo. Another pair of obelisks, dating from the reign of Tuthmosis III, of the 18th Dynasty, circa 1450 B.C., was later exported. One now stands in London, the other in Central Park in New York City.

The word “Cairo” means unconquered, and may be derived from the ancient Egyptian word for City of the Sun. From its 7th century origin, Cairo flourished as the “victorious city” under a series of Moslem rulers. Just one of its masterpieces of Islamic architecture would be the pride of a city, but Cairo has hundreds of outstanding mosques, madrassas (schools), and palaces. Inside the medieval walls, the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar flourishes.

The foreign contingent of the population lives and works in many neighborhoods. Garden City, on the east bank of the Nile where the Embassy is located, borders the modern downtown section, with shops, squares, hotels, and markets. The island of Zamalek has both Embassy- owned and -leased housing in its residential areas. This island was once restricted to foreigners only, who lived and played by the fields of the Gezira Club, but now is a community of Egyptian and foreign residents.

On the west bank, Mohandessin, Agouza, Dokki, and the Giza areas all have residents from the Mission. These downtown neighborhoods offer the excitement of big city living, with museums, shops, and restaurants nearby, as well as proximity to the Embassy.

South, from downtown about 8 miles, is the suburb of Maadi, home of Cairo American College, the international school most Embassy children attend. Its shaded streets and local shopping area contrast with Cairo’s bustling atmosphere.

Security Last Updated: 6/20/2004 7:28 AM

Cairo is a high terrorist threat environment. However, the threat of crime in Egyptian cities is low and violent crimes are rare. As is the case in any large city, instances of purse snatching, pick pocketing, and petty theft are not uncommon. Unescorted women are vulnerable to sexual harassment and verbal abuse.

Egyptian law enforcement and security officials have increased their counter-terrorism activities and security presence throughout Egypt following the November 1997 extremist attack on foreign tourists and Egyptians in Luxor. There have been no reports of terrorist attacks in Egypt since. However, the Department of State has issued warnings of terrorist threats in the region when the situation merited such action. Demonstrations have occurred in Cairo during 2004. They have mainly focused on expressing solidarity with the Palestinian cause and against the U.S.-led military coalition in Iraq. There has been substantial police presence at all demonstrations.

The most serious threat to American travelers in Egypt is the risk of automobile/transportation accidents. Driving in Egypt can be hazardous. Automobiles and large trucks are often observed driving at night without headlights, at high rates of speed, and on the wrong side of the road. For this reason, the U.S. Embassy strongly discourages (prohibits except in exigent circumstances) its employees from driving at night outside of urban areas. The use of common sense, extreme caution, and defensive driving are a person’s best actions for avoiding trouble.

The police in Egypt are generally very concerned about the welfare of foreigners, both tourists and businesspersons. In practice, foreigners who are crime victims often receive more support from the police than Egyptians. Tourism and Antiquities Police are stationed at hotels and tourist sites throughout the country. They are recognizable by the arm band they wear with the words “Tourist and Antiquities Police” written in English.

Foreigners are prohibited from photographing official structures such as military facilities and buildings established as part of Egypt’s national security. It is always best to ask a police official before taking a photograph if there is any question about the facility.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 5/11/2004 8:52 AM

U.S. diplomatic relations with Egypt began in the 19th century, but were severed in 1967 because of a Middle East war. Spain protected U.S. interests until diplomatic relations were reestablished on February 28, 1974. The Embassy in Egypt has since grown to be the largest American Mission in the world. There are almost 500 direct hires in Cairo.

The Embassy is headed by the Ambassador, assisted by the Deputy Chief of Mission and includes Political, Economic, Consular, Security, and Administrative Sections. The contingent of Marine Security Guards is the largest in the Foreign Service.

Other agencies in Egypt include the Department of Justice Legal Attaché, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Foreign Agriculture Service, the Foreign Commercial Service, the Library of Congress, Naval Medical Research Unit 3, the Office of the Defense Attaché, the Office of Military Cooperation with its sub-agencies, and the United States Agency for International Development. The Embassy Public Affairs Section and the Foreign Commercial Service both have Branch Offices in Alexandria.

The Chancery building, Cairo I, was completed in 1988. A second tower, Cairo II, and the Ambassador’s residence were completed in December 1995. Both towers and the EMR are in a triangular compound in the Garden City district. The North Gate is at 8 Kamal el-Din Salah Street; and the West Gate, at 5 Latin America Street. Currently, the Embassy has limited parking. Most employees ride shuttle buses provided by the Embassy or take taxis.

The new USAID Mission offices are approximately located in a separate building (called the new office building or NOB) close to the area of New Maadi. The workforce is about 388, including Americans and FSNs. The address is USAID Egypt, Plot 1/a off El-Laselki Street, New Maadi, Cairo, Egypt 11435. You can reach them using the following local number of 522–7000. USAID has its own Personnel and Administrative Offices and shares in oversight and supervision of the Embassy’s motorpool. USAID plans to move into its New Office Building also located in Maadi, by the end of calendar year 2000.

To reach an Embassy operator, 24 hours daily, call 795–7371 or direct dial an office by dialing 797 + extension. From outside Egypt, dial the international access code, then 202–795–7371.

In an emergency, call 795–4342. This number is not transferable to any other extension. The workweek is Sunday through Thursday, from 8 am to 4:30 pm, with 30 minutes for lunch.

Housing Last Updated: 4/22/2004 8:03 AM

The Post Housing Handbook is in the arrival packet CLO sends to incoming employees at their current posts and on the Intranet web-site. This book is also available at NEA/EX, FLO, at the Department of State, and the Overseas Briefing Center at National Foreign Affairs Training Center (NFATC). This useful document explains the housing and maintenance policies, lists what furniture is supplied, and lists procedures for checking in and out of post.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 4/22/2004 8:04 AM

The Embassy’s goal is to move all newcomers directly into their permanent residential housing. Temporary quarters will be provided in those few cases where permanent quarters are not ready.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 4/22/2004 8:05 AM

Permanent housing for employees and their families consists of a pool of government-owned and -leased apartments in various parts of the city. A few government-owned houses are in the housing pool for a few senior officers entitled to dedicated housing. The Embassy also owns and operates four apartment buildings. The three built by FBO in the 1980s have backup generators and water supply tanks.

Generally, about 60% of the official community lives in Maadi, including most families with school-aged children, to be near the Cairo American College (CAC). Many singles and couples live in various areas downtown, but some are assigned units in Maadi.

Housing Assignment. Upon assignment to Cairo, you will receive a cable or email from either the Embassy Housing Office or the USAID Human Resources Office outlining the relevant housing assignment policy and requesting information regarding your needs and preferences. A timely reply is essential.

All assignments are made by the Interagency Housing Board in consultation with your agency, and the Housing Office. All USAID employees, except for the Director, are housed in apartments. New arrivals may contact the USAID/Management Directorate with questions and problems, by e-mail or telephone.


Furnishings Last Updated: 4/26/2004 8:04 AM

All employees are provided with furnished quarters including a washer, dryer, stove, refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner, transformers, and dual-use air-conditioner/heaters. Because the climate is dry much of the year, a humidifier can be useful, but it must be personally supplied. People with respiratory problems should also consider bringing one or more room-size air purifiers to cope with the dust and pollution. AID provides one and OMC provides two air purifiers to each house. Living room furniture includes a sofa and a love seat, chairs, lamps, tables, bookcase, and a carpet. Dining room furniture includes a table and chairs, a buffet, china cabinet, and a carpet.

Bedroom furniture includes one queen-sized bed or twin beds for the master bedroom and twin beds for additional bedrooms. Other furnishings include night tables, lamps, mirrors, bureaus and chests. Desks are supplied for each student attending school in Cairo. Ship orthopedic mattresses, if required, with HHE as they are not provided.

Draperies are provided. The Cairo housing handbook relates policy on draperies, sheers, carpets and upholstered furniture.

Extensive Welcome Kits are provided by either the Embassy or the USAID Management Office for new arrivals to use until their airfreight arrives. Kits include bedding, kitchenware, cleaning gear, and an iron and ironing board. It is loaned on a temporary basis until your UAB arrives up to a maximum of three months.


Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 4/22/2004 8:07 AM

The local power supply is 240v, 50 cycles. Government-owned apartments are also 240v but the kitchens also have one 110v outlet. Kitchens in leased housing generally have only 240v power.

Although almost all 110v appliances may be operated with the power transformers supplied by the Embassy, toasters generally need more time and built-in clocks will run fast. A 240v microwave is supplied by the Embassy. You can purchase 240v appliances through mail-order catalogs or locally.

Food Last Updated: 4/26/2004 8:04 AM

Egyptian cuisine features mostly vegetables, fruits, grains, beans, and pastas. Locally grown vegetables include potatoes, onions, garlic, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, celery, green beans, beets, carrots, green and red cabbage, spinach, okra, radishes, turnips, eggplant, parsley, dill, coriander, and mint. Local fruits include bananas, apples, citrus, mangoes, melons, dates, figs, grapes, papayas, strawberries, pears, coconuts, persimmons, and pomegranates.

Meat products, such as beef, lamb, poultry, and seafood are found in the local meat markets and small grocery shops. For religious reasons, pork and products containing pork are sold only in specialty shops.

Popular beverages are hot tea, sweetened and often served in a glass, Turkish coffee, juices, and carbonated drinks. Local and imported bottled water, both still and sparkling, are available, as are locally produced wine and beer.

The commissary is located near Maadi in a secure compound. Operated by the Defense Department’s Commissary Agency (DECA), it is similar to a small U.S. supermarket in stock, equipment, and style. Stocked weekly from Germany, the commissary carries a good variety of brand-name staples, frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, health and beauty items, cleaning supplies, and bakery and dairy products. Though usually well supplied, occasionally there are bare spots on the shelves, due to transportation delays or the long-term requirements for ordering.

AECWA. The American Employees Cooperative and Welfare Association (AECWA) is run by a Board of Directors that govern this private, nonprofit, membership organization. The management office, located in the Embassy, issues a personalized picture ID card and an alcohol ration card for alcohol purchase to each authorized member. Additionally, AECWA offers services through the following five major AECWA centers.

E-Mart. AECWA operates the E-Mart located on the lower level of Cairo I, providing film developing, dry-cleaning service, and movie rentals. The E-Mart also sells snacks, magazines, some medicines and toiletries, cleaning supplies, pet food, film, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, cards, and gifts. This small store is a convenience for personnel not able to travel to Maadi for last-minute items. They offer a variety of local handicrafts and gold jewelry. Embassy shuttle tickets are also sold here.

Convenience Store. AECWA operates this Convenience Store located next to the DECA Commissary in the ESSA Compound in the Maadi Digla area south of Cairo. This Convenience Store is similar to a mini-military exchange. Liquor, a good selection of beer and wine, gifts, children's toys, greeting cards, film, some clothing, houseware products, electronics, dog/cat food, beauty products, and other items are routinely stocked. Unlike an exchange, however, AECWA cannot use military flights to import items and this difference is reflected in the price of the goods. Embassy Cafeteria. AECWA operates the cafeteria on the 4th floor of Cairo I, which is open workdays to everyone for breakfast, lunch, and snacks. The cafeteria provides catering services and carryout services for employees.

Maadi House. The recently renovated Maadi House restaurant, bar, and recreational center is another AECWA facility. The Maadi House is generally used by Mission members residing in the Maadi area. However, many downtown residents enjoy driving out to Maadi House for breakfast or social events on the weekends. Employees living downtown tend to find local restaurants, and use the recreational facilities, multi purpose court and gym in the Embassy compound during the week. The Maadi House offers family style dining, video rentals, heated pool, two tennis courts, a bar, poolrooms and a playground. AECWA offers a scuba diving certification course, water aerobic classes, and swimming lessons for all ages. It is frequented by employees with families at post.

Embassy Gym. AECWA also runs a fitness center on the Embassy compound. This gym has a heated swimming pool, free weights, weight machines, treadmills, a bike, a stepper, and a rowing machine. The USAID facility has a gym as well that is managed by AECWA.


Men Last Updated: 4/22/2004 8:10 AM

Slacks and a shirt with tie are common dress during summer months, though suits are worn for meetings at ministries and for other official calls. A dark suit is commonly worn for dinner parties or other evening functions. Black tie is not required for Egyptian official functions, but may be worn at the November Marine Corps Ball and is suggested for other social events.

Summer entertaining is frequently outdoors. Casual dress for summer evenings is common, but Egyptians do not wear shorts in public. Clothes can be made to order at very reasonable cost. Tailors often stock their own fabrics but will also make clothes from fabric you supply. Egypt has several fine shirt makers and several chain stores similar to the Gap, that specialize in U.S.-style casual sportswear of high quality and reasonable prices. Mission personnel can, of course, order clothes by mail or Internet for shipment via the APO.


Women Last Updated: 4/26/2004 8:05 AM

Since Egypt is a conservative Moslem country, modesty should be observed in clothing. Sleeveless and low-cut blouses and dresses, miniskirts, tank tops and shorts will be offensive to most Egyptians and should not be worn in public. You will feel more comfortable in below-the-knee skirts, slacks or pantsuits. Flat walking shoes are essential for comfort and safety, since sidewalks are uneven and marble floors are slippery.

Office clothing is the same as is worn in Washington or other headquarters. Seasonal dresses or pantsuits are appropriate for teas, luncheons, and other daytime functions. Cocktail dresses are sometimes needed for evenings. The Marine Ball, as well as several other functions, is formal, and you may wear either short or long dresses. Egyptians may wear far more ornate clothes than Americans.

Since the transitional seasons are not clearly defined, warm-weather clothing is suitable from April through October. Cottons and drip-dries are most popular during summer months for comfort. Wool sweaters and jackets are worn in winter. Warm dresses, suits, long-sleeved blouses, and sweaters are all useful in Cairo. (Residential quarters are not excessively warm in winter and air conditioning is sometimes too cool in the summer.) In winter, light-to-medium weight coats are useful.

Women with considerable representational responsibilities will find several evening dresses necessary. An attractive wrap will be useful on cool evenings.

Bring all special sports attire for golf, tennis, horseback riding, and swimming. Riding boots and jodhpurs can be made to order at reasonable prices. Locally made caftan-like “gallabayas” and cotton shirts are comfortable and inexpensive. Most clothing needs can be ordered through the catalogs available in the CLO’s office.

Sunhats and caps are very useful for beach and desert outings. Gloves are not necessary for diplomatic functions. Although locally made leather handbags are attractive in design and price, shoes, whether readymade or made-to-order, are generally less satisfactory. Most personnel, both men and women, find it more satisfactory to bring work, dress, and sports shoes.

Several boutiques carry readymade clothing matching U.S. taste and quality expectations. Dressmakers are available, but quality varies. The many fine fabric stores in Cairo stock a good variety of Egyptian cotton and silk. Those who sew should bring sewing machines and adequate supplies of threads, zippers, bindings, and patterns.


Children Last Updated: 4/22/2004 8:13 AM

Cairo American College's dress code for grades 6 to 12 requires students to wear what is appropriate both for a learning institution and the local culture: modest and neat. Specifically prohibited are: cut-offs, torn clothes, shorts shorter than 3” above the bend of the knee, shirts and blouses not covering the shoulders, tanktops, and midriffs. Wearing hats and caps in class requires the classroom teacher's approval. Shoes or sandals should be worn at all times and clothing worn in P.E. classes should not be worn in other classes. Final judgment on acceptable appearance is reserved for the school’s administration.

Bring all children’s clothing. Locally manufactured sandals are available and inexpensive. Boys and girls in grades 6 to 12 at Cairo American College may wear any cloth or Spandex knee-length shorts, white T-shirts, socks, and gym shoes for the athletic program. P.E. T-shirts may be purchased at the school store. Girls may wear slacks or jeans to school. Elementary students are required to purchase P.E. uniforms available in the school store. For the swimming program, one-piece suits are needed by all grades (1 to 12).


Office Attire Last Updated: 4/22/2004 8:14 AM

Employees who do not have special dress requirements should use common sense in determining what is appropriate for their particular situation at work. Employees should follow basic requirements for safety and comfort and be neat and businesslike in appearance. Dress should be suitable to the work setting (for example, casual wear, such as flip-flops and halter tops-bare midriffs, are not acceptable). Supervisors and managers also have the responsibility to counsel employees whose hygiene, grooming, or dress is inappropriate or results in disruption in the workplace.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 4/26/2004 8:17 AM

Although the availability of supplies is improving greatly, selections are still limited, and imported items are expensive. However, most things can be found after a persistent search, or you can visit the New Maadi Carrefour shopping center on the outskirts of the city, which is one-stop shopping for a wide variety of food, household goods, electronics, and clothing. Variety stores stock toys, Pyrex ware, plastics, and small appliances. A few specialty stores sell sporting goods and beauty products; hardware items may be found in the “souks.” CLO publishes a comprehensive area-by-area shopping guide and offers periodic shopping trips for a nominal fee.

The AECWA convenience store provides a limited stock of utilitarian items such as kitchen implements, small appliances, baking pans, flashlights, and batteries. Twice a year trips are made to Germany where large purchases are made to restock both the convenience store and the E-Mart. Such items as videos, CDs, German beer, and locally made items, which can be used as gifts, are sold in the Convenience Store.

Powdered American baby formula is available on the local market, and Gerber baby food is sold in most local grocery stores as well as the commissary. It is helpful to bring stationery, favorite cosmetics, prescription drugs, extra hangers, Christmas decorations and artificial trees, sewing supplies, musical instruments, and sporting goods.

With home entertaining prevalent, bring the things you want to make your new place a home, such as hobby materials, music and books, recreational items, kitchen appliances, dinner service for eight, and serving pieces.

Voltage regulators and surge protectors are recommended for electronic equipment and battery backups for computers. Power surges and outages routinely occur in all parts of the city and country.

The E-mart sells film and handles photo processing services. Local photo shops, providing 1-hour and overnight services, can be found at hotels and shops downtown and in Maadi. Photo processing and buying film via mail-order firms is slower but cheaper. Video camera supplies are available, but at much higher prices than from U.S. suppliers.

Supplies and Services

Basic Services Last Updated: 4/22/2004 8:41 AM

Drycleaners, tailors, barbers, hairdressers, and shoe repair services are easily found locally, while the E-mart offers both laundry and dry-cleaning, with pickup and delivery on the Embassy compound. Clothing repairs and reweaving are Cairene specialties, as are picture framing, leatherwork, photography, book binding, oriental carpet repair, furniture making, textiles, and electrical repairs. Local rental services can provide colorful tents for parties; AECWA, local hotels and several restaurants offer catering services for parties at home.

Supplies and Services

Domestic Help Last Updated: 4/22/2004 8:42 AM

Most people find employing a part-time maid makes life more pleasant, especially for dealing with the perpetual dust and shopping chores. The average monthly salary is about $175 for 2–3 hours three times a week. Some families have found it convenient and useful to hire full-time, English-speaking drivers. Full-time salaries range from $200–$350 per month depending on their experience and English language ability. A few maids or nannies will live in and many cook. Servants should have references, medical and security clearances, and an identity card.

The Niler carries ads for people wanting to work in the community, including cooks, “suffragis” (cleaners, houseboys), nannies, drivers, gardeners, and “makwaggis” (ironers). The representational residences are provided with gardeners.

A “boab”(doorman/janitor/watchman) is found at the entry to some apartment buildings. He receives a monthly tip for performing various small services and in many apartment buildings, each occupant contributes to his salary. Garbage collection is handled by a “zabbal,” for a nominal fee. The Embassy does not pay for the “boabs” and “zabbals.” In the government-owned apartments/houses, all staff is salaried, and occupants do not need to contribute to their incomes.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 4/22/2004 8:43 AM

Five times a day, from thousands of minarets, muezzins call Moslems to prayer at the mosques, to reaffirm their faith in Islam. Non-Moslems must not enter a mosque during prayer time and should respect the sensitivity to their dress and behavior at all other times. Unless you are specifically invited to enter a neighborhood mosque, do not enter. Only the designated tourist sites are accessible to non-Moslems.

Cairo also offers a range of places of worship. The CLO office is a source for church references as well as the monthly magazines, Egypt Today and The Maadi Messager, which list churches holding services in English.


Dependent Education Last Updated: 4/26/2004 8:19 AM

Listings of recommended nursery schools in town and in Maadi are available at the Community Liaison Office (797–2341 or 797–2342) and at the Community Services Association (CSA) at 4 Road 21 in Maadi (Telephones: 358–5284 and 358–0754). There are several school choices for education on the elementary level and higher. The majority of Mission children attend Cairo American College, the only Department of State assisted overseas school in Cairo, but some select other schools. Further information about these schools can be obtained from the CLO, or by contacting the schools directly.

Cairo American College (CAC), founded in 1945, is a private, coeducational dayschool serving students from 60 countries in kindergarten through grade 12 in a general, college prep curriculum. About 67% of the faculty and 52% of the students during the 2003-2004 scholastic year were U.S. citizens. The enrollment for 2003–2004 was 1,274 students. Classes average 12–22 students.

The address for official correspondence is: Cairo American College, Unit 64900 Box 21, APO AE 09839–4900. The current Director of Admissions is Amina O'Kane. The admissions office telephone is (202) 519–6665. The FAX is (202) 519–6584. The e-mail address is: They also have a Web site at

On a campus of 11 acres in the Maadi Digla suburb, kindergarten through grade 2 classes are housed in low buildings; 3rd and 4th grades are in a separate three-story building and 5th grade is in the Administration building.

Grades 6 through 8 are together in a separate structure. Grades 9 through 12 are in the secondary school complex, which includes six science labs, the media center, and rooms for computer and business education.

The technical and the fine arts departments occupy separate buildings. There is a 600-seat theater, a gymnasium, swimming pool, 400-meter track, soccer field, weight-training area and tennis, volleyball, and basketball courts.

The school year runs from August to early June and includes 178 school days in two semesters and 4 quarters. Classes are held Sunday through Thursday.

To be eligible for a CAC high school diploma, students must complete 25 credits, spending a minimum of four years in high school and their entire senior year at CAC. All the graduation requirements must be satisfied before their 20th birthday.

CAC offers the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. Students may participate by undertaking the full IB Diploma, taking a package of IB certificates or enrolling in IB courses without the external examinations.

Secondary school students enroll in seven classes daily. The curriculum includes English, social studies, science, math, physical education, foreign language (Arabic, French, and Spanish) and English as a second language for grades 9 and 10. Electives include Spanish, French, or Arabic, vocal and instrumental music, drama, art, computers, and business and technology courses.

Middle school (grades 6, 7 & 8) students enroll in eight classes organized in a 2-day rotating schedule. These include five required subjects—English, social studies, science, math and physical education and three elective courses, including foreign language, fine and performing arts, and technology education. English as a second language is also offered.

Elementary school includes kindergarten through grade 5. The program includes reading and language arts, science, math, social studies, physical education, music art and Arab culture. Foreign languages are available to students in grades 3 to 5 and English as a second language to grades 1- 5.

The school buzzes with student activities including language clubs, concerts, plays, art exhibits, a model UN, and athletic events. At the high school level, students involved in these various activities make trips to Europe and the Middle East for competitions.

Bus service is available to CAC from most areas of Cairo.

CAC requests you have the last school the child attended send transcripts and school records directly to the Office of the Registrar. For seniors, three years of records are required; for other grades, too. You may want to bring an extra copy of these transcripts, if you will arrive near the beginning of the school year.

Three CAC medical forms must also be completed before admission, including a full report of a physical examination made no more than four months earlier. The overseas medical clearance will suffice for the CAC physical exam form.

CAC reserves the right to refuse admittance to any child not meeting its academic standards. Kindergarten students must be five years old before September 30. CLO will send packets containing registration and health forms and a booklet describing the school, if school-aged children are mentioned in the assignment notice received by CLO, providing there is sufficient time.

Most textbooks are from U.S. publishers and are furnished by the school. High school and middle school students must supply notebooks, paper and pencils, available at the school store. Elementary students are provided with school supplies; however, purchase of PE uniforms is required. Lunch is not provided on a regular basis for elementary students. A rotating schedule of pizza days, Egyptian foods, and various other types of foods is provided throughout the school year. A small cafeteria sells snacks and light lunches to high school and middle school students.

In addition to CAC, there is the U.S.- accredited American International School in Nasr City and other schools organized by French, German, and British educators. The Maadi British International School (for American grades pre-K to 5th) located in Maadi can be reached at, the British International School of Cairo (pre-K to 12th) located downtown in Zamalek can be reached at, the New Cairo British International School (pre-K to 12th) located in the developing suburb of Katameya can be reached at, and the American International School in Nasr City can be reached at

Since space availability fluctuates constantly, parents should seek detailed information after assignment and make their selection after arrival. There are often lengthy waiting lists for entrance to the non-American schools, particularly the British School in Zamalek.


Special Needs Education Last Updated: 4/22/2004 8:49 AM

Families with children having learning disabilities should carefully weigh the acceptance of an assignment in Cairo. CAC has only very limited facilities for children with special needs and not all U.S. dependent children are admitted. Parents of children with learning disabilities or other special needs should have school records forwarded as soon as possible to CAC, so that a determination can be made as to whether CAC’s program can meet their needs and to allow adequate time for parents to make alternative arrangements if necessary.

Several employees send their learning-disabled children to boarding schools in the U.S. Costs are usually covered by the special allowance for children who have been diagnosed as having serious learning disabilities. Before deciding, parents should write to the superintendent and also discuss their options with the Office of Overseas Schools in the Department of State.

Special Education/Home Schooling

The Learning Resource Center (LRC) is an independent diagnostic and therapeutic unit which provides services based on an interdisciplinary approach in the assessment and on going management of children, adolescents or adults, with developmental and/or learning problems. A treatment plan is only as good as the diagnosis on which it is based; it is therefore crucial to obtain the best evaluation possible. Some children may present with multiple or complex symptoms, and would thus require assessment from a number of developmental specialists to provide comprehensive evaluations and unified treatment plans. Services are highly individualized, based on each child’s needs and the family’s preferences. Services are provided in a variety of environments depending on where the child and family can benefit most- at home, in preschool, in school, or at the Center. Services include educational assessments for screening and identification of the learning problems; academic support/tutoring services for children with specific learning disabilities, including dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, or poor study skills; after school support programs; and school consultations. LRC also provides home schooling support and resources in which the home schooling program can be administered at the Center.

The address is 30 Road 252, Degla, Maadi. The office telephone number is (202)519-6119/fax: 520-3110. The Director is Beth Noujaim. The email address is or They also have a website at


Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 4/26/2004 8:20 AM

A language-learning program organized by the Embassy offers courses from beginning through conversational and written Egyptian Arabic to employees and their family members. Classes are held on the compound and in Maadi. Contact the post language officer for complete information.

Courses are also offered at private institutions and by private tutors. The Embassy has a special English-language program for Egyptian employees. It is taught primarily by family members. English classes are also available for foreign- born spouses.

College Level Courses. The American University in Cairo (AUC) has undergraduate and graduate courses to audit or take for credit. Courses in Islamic Art and Egyptology are popular, as is the master's degree in teaching English as a foreign language. Some 4,000 undergraduates pursue degrees in Arabic studies, English and comparative literature, political science/sociology, and other fields. Master's degrees include economics, management, and sociology/anthropology. The AUC Center for Adult and Continuing Education has part-time courses for working professionals in computer science, engineering, travel and hotel service, and translation and interpretation. Check out their website at The CLO has up-to-date information and catalogs on distance-learning programs. In addition to Arabic language courses, the British Council has an excellent series of computer courses in key Microsoft applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and Publisher.

Community Courses. In Maadi, the Community Services Association (CSA) offers a variety of daytime and evening classes and special programs on such subjects as Egyptology, personal development, various hobbies, and other interests. Instruction in art, music and dance is available. Pianos may be rented or purchased, but it takes patience to find a good one.

Educational Clubs. Membership in the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) is tax-deductible and permits you to join their Archeology Club, which sponsors at least one lecture and tour a month. The Egyptian Exploration Society, sponsored by the British Council, has bimonthly lectures on ancient Egypt.

Cultural Centers. The Egyptian Center for International Cultural Cooperation in Zamalek was established to introduce visiting diplomats to Egyptian culture through programs, exhibits and tours. Arabic language classes are also offered at the center.

CLO offers special trips almost every weekend. These include newcomer orientation walking tours in selected neighborhoods, historical sites in Coptic and Islamic Cairo, visits to local artists' studios and exhibits, shopping orientations to several areas and specialties, as well as trips of interest outside of Cairo.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 4/26/2004 8:22 AM

Sports activities include golf, tennis, softball, volleyball, soccer, swimming, horseback and camel riding, squash, jogging, fishing, diving, and hunting. For downtown residents, in addition to the Embassy’s pool and exercise facility, there are private clubs. Membership is usually open to foreign residents, and waivers and discounts on their annual fees are offered; they are still relatively expensive.

The Gezira Club downtown on the island of Zamalek has two swimming pools, basketball, tennis and squash courts, a golf course, croquet lawn, a race course, and a running track. This club is within walking distance of the American compound in Zamalek. Parking is a problem and traffic is often congested. An additional riding club is near the Gezira Club, while the Shooting Club in Dokki attracts skeet-shooters.

Several commercial riding stables are located near the Giza pyramids and are used by many Embassy employees. A golf course is located by the Mena House Hotel.

The yacht clubs may arrange for boating adventures, but are primarily restaurants. Feluccas can be hired, and there are floating restaurants at many places along the Nile River. A picnic or sunset cruise for six or eight people in a felucca is a typical summer activity, with the north wind providing motion and relative coolness.

Soccer is the national sport, with well-attended matches being played every weekend around the city. Softball teams for both women and men meet for practice and games in a well-organized league.

The Cairo Divers meet once a month and organize trips to the Red Sea, one of the world’s finest diving locations. Instruction in diving is offered through several sources, including the Maadi House.

Other energetic local groups are the Cairo Rugby Club, Cairo Cycling Club, Hash House Harriers (a noncompetitive group holding pre-sundown fun runs on Fridays, which are for walkers, too), and the Maadi Waadi Runners, who hold long runs Friday mornings.

The Cairo Classic is an annual running and cycling event. A $10/10km event is held in March. Egypt Today magazine carries contact numbers in its listings. During the spring, the city of Luxor hosts a marathon.

AECWA members, including downtown residents, may use the Maadi House, a recreational facility. A tennis pro schedules lessons, clinics, and tournaments. A heated swimming pool is open year-round and there is a children’s pool, playground, snackbar, and video rentals.

CAC has a 25-meter long pool and an active, varied swimming program for all ages, which runs all year. This pool is open to the immediate family of students, at selected hours, for a small fee.

Embassy personnel not having family members enrolled at CAC may use some facilities, as a nonaffiliated member. This is arranged on a quota system, based on the number of Embassy children enrolled at the school. Contact the school and the Embassy’s Human Resources office for details.

CAC has two large playing fields and a children's playground. A circular ¼- mile track is a popular site for jogging after hours and on weekends. Children’s activities held on weekends include soccer, basketball, and Little League baseball for ages 6–13.

The Maadi Club, a private organization, has two pools, croquet, tennis courts, stables, and big crowds on weekends.

Recreation and Social Life

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 4/26/2004 8:22 AM

In Egypt, one lives in the shadow of the pharaohs, sultans, caliphs, and emirs. The legacy they left can be seen today in great monuments and buildings. An assignment to Egypt gives a unique opportunity to visit some of the outstanding sites of world history. You can go alone, with a guidebook, a map and a few words of Arabic, or join a group. Without leaving metropolitan Cairo, you can visit the walls of the Citadel Saladin built to withstand the assault of the Crusaders, see medieval houses with harem windows, private gardens, mausoleums, mosques, and palaces. You can wander down streets full of tent and saddle makers or other traditional craftsmen still at work. CLO organizes many tours of the city as well and shopping trips to areas of the bazaar.

In solitude, you see the Petrified Forest just outside Maadi or, amidst crowds, spend time at the Zoo or the pyramids and the Sphinx at nearby Giza.

Many archeological sites are within a day's drive: Saqqara, Memphis, Maydoum and Hawara. Two nearby villages, Harania and Kerdassa, are known for their fabrics, rugs, and weaving.

With a few restrictions because of security considerations, most areas are accessible by car. Within an easy drive of Cairo are Alexandria and other cities in the Delta, the Mediterranean beaches, the Suez Canal cities, Port Said and Ismailia and the Red Sea resorts of Hurghada, Sharm el Sheik, Fayoum, the “land of roses,” and much of the Sinai.

There are nine oases in the Western Desert. Siwa, isolated in the northwest, is famous for its Berber culture, bird migrations, dates, olives, Cleopatra's bath, and Alexander's pilgrimage in 331 B.C., when he sought certification of his hereditary relationships with Zeus and Amun, the Egyptian ram-headed god.

The resorts on the Mediterranean, Sinai, and Red Sea are served by combined flights and bus tours. Luxury boat trips in Upper Egypt between Aswan and Luxor include such famed archeological sites as Karnak, Kom Ombo, Esna, Edfu, and Abydos. Abu Simbel is accessible by air and also by cruising Lake Nasser.

Local travel agents can plan and confirm a wide variety of trips. As prices vary with the seasons and the number of tourists, it is best to plan in advance and keep in touch for last minute changes. All flights must be reconfirmed before the return departure.

Recreation and Social Life

Entertainment Last Updated: 4/26/2004 8:23 AM

Ballets, concerts, plays and dance troupes schedule performances all year. Theatrical productions are held at the Howard Theater, the New Theater, and the Children’s Theater at AUC. The Cairo Opera House has a year-round program including touring ballet companies, musical programs, plays, and exhibitions at reasonable prices. The Maadi Community Players, the Cairo Players, and the Greek Theater Group at AUC all produce plays.

The Government of Egypt’s Center for International Cultural Cooperation and the French, Dutch, German, Italian, Spanish, and U.S. Cultural Centers all present readings, lectures, concerts, plays, films and exhibits.

Feature films are shown at the American Cultural Center, Ewart Hall of AUC, the Maadi Club, and at Maadi House. Egypt Today has information on city theaters which show a wide selection of international films.

A film festival brings a selection of foreign films to local screens each fall. Shown with Arabic subtitles, English-language films dominate the offerings.

Clubs throughout the city and at major hotels feature Nubian and Egyptian performers. The shows usually start around 11 p.m. Most five-star hotels have casinos. For religious reasons, only foreigners are permitted to enter casinos

Cairo has numerous restaurants, ranging from small, inexpensive, noisy neighborhood places serving local specialties, to fast food franchises doing chicken and hamburgers, frozen yogurt, pizza, and doughnuts to world class restaurants with European, Asian, American and Middle Eastern menus. The big hotels have restaurants with a variety of price levels, and riverboats offer food with entertainment

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 4/22/2004 8:57 AM The Maadi House Recreation Center has activities for all ages in a homelike atmosphere. For tots, playgroups under the supervision of volunteers are available. The garden is a pleasant social center with tennis courts and lawns for quiet repose by the pool. The manager organizes wine tastings, special dinners, flea markets, videos, exhibits, and other events. The CLO publishes in The Niler a listing of all events scheduled at the Maadi House.

The Women’s Association and the Maadi Women’s Guild have educational, philanthropic, and social programs. The Petroleum Wives Group is open to the community and involved in activities. Cub Scout, Brownie, Girl and Boy Scouts are active. There are several well organized Bridge Clubs.

Special interest groups include bridge, yoga, the Choral Society and the CAC Parent Teacher Organization. There is an extensive 6-week Summer Enrichment Program for CAC for school-aged children. Visit the CAC web site at, click on “About Us”, then “Summer School” for registration information.

Recreation and Social Life

Social Activities

International Contacts Last Updated: 4/22/2004 8:58 AM Some groups that meet are the Cairo Young Diplomats (for 1st Secretary rank and below); the American Chamber of Commerce, which has a monthly luncheon for business; the All Nations Women’s Group; the Petroleum Wives Club, and the Baladi Association for the Preservation of Nature. The sports-minded can meet members of the international community at clubs and tournaments. International contacts can also be made at the Cairo Chorale Society, an English-speaking group comprising a wide range of enthusiastic amateur singers.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 4/22/2004 8:59 AM

Official representational responsibilities are especially significant for the Ambassador, the DCM, the Minister-Counselor for Economic and Political Affairs, the USAID Director, Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation, the Defense Attaché, the Public Affairs Officer, and other senior Mission officers.

Other officers and their spouses may be included on the guest lists of their counterparts in the Egyptian Government and from other embassies. Diplomatic functions include luncheons, teas and coffees, receptions, cocktail parties, and dinners.

Official Functions

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 4/22/2004 9:00 AM

The Ambassador and the DCM and their spouses look forward to welcoming new arrivals as soon as possible. The Embassy protocol officer will assist with any questions regarding social conduct and dress.

Staff members are requested to call briefly on the Ambassador and the DCM as soon as possible after their arrival. Arrangements for these calls will be made by the appropriate section chief. The Ambassador, the DCM, and the section chief may suggest other calls.

Although leaving calling cards is not necessary in Egypt, calling cards are useful in other ways. They should state your name, title, “Embassy of the United States of America,” and can also include office address, telephone number, and email address. If printed locally, the reverse side of the card can be in Arabic. Married Mission members will find “Mr. and Mrs.” cards useful. Locally printed invitations and “informals” are also widely used. Because of the possible difficulty in finding places, maps indicating the location are often copied and included with invitations.

Special Information Last Updated: 4/26/2004 8:25 AM

Personnel assigned to the U.S. Defense Attaché’s Office (USDAO), Office of Military Cooperation (OMC), U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit 3 (NAMRU–3) and the Marine Security Guard Detachment (USMG) should contact the appropriate section to establish weight allowances before shipping household effects.

USDAO. USDAO was officially reestablished on March 18, 1974. Business suits are the proper everyday attire for the office. Uniforms are only worn for special occasions. Both summer and winter uniforms are required for Cairo. Attaché’s should have appropriate summer and winter mess dress, semi-formal and service uniforms. The summer season begins in April and ends in October. Military personnel assigned to USDAO should contact the station prior to purchasing uniforms. Enlisted personnel are authorized to wear slacks and a sport shirt without tie during the summer.

NAMRU-3. Personnel assigned to Cairo wear civilian clothing on duty. Prior to assignment, personnel will be advised of uniform requirements.

OMC. OMC was officially established on October 1, 1978, to coordinate with the Egyptian Ministry of Defense on the operations of and training related to U.S. military equipment. Its offices are located in the Embassy compound in and around Cairo. Military personnel will wear civilian clothes (coats and ties, dresses, pantsuits) to work daily in Cairo, but it will be less formal in the field. Clothes for entertainment can be anything from civilian informal (coat and tie) to casual. Men will need at least one business suit and several sport coat ensembles. All military personnel are authorized civilian clothing allowances.

Military members should bring the uniforms required by your service’s regulations. There are occasions for Officer’s Mess Dress and service uniforms as well as field uniforms. Chief, OMC determines uniform requirements on a case by case basis. Bring your Class A uniform and service hat as applicable to each service; they will be needed. All uniforms should be current, reflecting the most recent medals, ribbons, etc.

Housing for OMC is usually short-term leased apartments. OMC provides furniture and appliances.

USMG. Marine Security Guards receive a civilian clothing allowance from the Department of State through the Marine Security Guard School, Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA. Uniforms worn at Cairo Mission are Dress Blue “C” and “D,” depending on the season. Uniforms are worn only on duty. Civilian clothes are worn to and from duty and at all other off-duty times.

Before departing, Marines should read the Detachment’s Post Report, on file at the Marine Security Guard School.

Post Orientation Program

When the post is notified of an assignment, the prospective newcomer is sent a welcome cable and a prearrival packet containing Welcome to Cairo; the Housing Handbook; travel and shipping information; cross-cultural cues; and, when appropriate, brochures from schools. After arrival, CLO provides further information about Embassy operations, safety, health, and living in Egypt. An assigned sponsor meets the newcomer on arrival and assists in settling in at post. CLO prefers to conduct a personal orientation session with each newcomer within a week of arrival. CLO also arranges neighborhood orientation tours quarterly for newcomers to become familiar with their new home.

Once a year CLO conducts a Newcomers' Orientation in a trade show format, which presents background information on the Embassy and advice on living in Egypt as a member of the American Mission. Participants include the Ambassador, the DCM, heads of Embassy offices, security officers and representatives of other agencies at post, as well as outside organizations having close ties to the official community.

Community Services Association (CSA) in Maadi has a 2-day intensive orientation program that concentrates on the cross-cultural aspects of living in Egypt. USAID, OMC and NAMRU will pay both employee and family members' costs for attending this highly recommended program.

Related Internet Sites Last Updated: 6/14/2004 6:04 AM


Official - U.S. Homepage of the U.S. Embassy in Egypt

Official - Egyptian Homepage of the Government of Egypt's State Information Service

Living in Egypt Homepage of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt. Varied information on Egypt's business environment. "Egypt 101" site, including list of further links. Homepage of American University in Cairo Homepage of Cairo American College. Bilingual news and entertainment guide. Cairo's online delivery service - food, flowers, and more. Delivery service available in all mission-housing neighborhoods. Youth-oriented entertainment guide.

Egyptian Culture and History Homepage of the American Research Center in Egypt, the leading professional society for Egyptian studies. Information on nineteenth-and twentieth-century Cairo and Alexandria. Comprehensive site on Ancient Egypt; a joint venture between Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities and IBM. Travel-oriented resources on Egyptian culture and history.

Media Informative English-language monthly magazine. Weekly English-language newsmagazine. Regional English-language newsweekly with a focus on Egypt. Online edition of Al-Ahram Weekly, the English-language publication of Egypt's leading newspaper, the government-owned Al-Ahram.

Sites listed are current at time of publication. Private/commercial websites are listed for information purposes only; listing does not indicate Embassy endorsement

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 4/26/2004 8:25 AM

As soon as possible, notify the Embassy or the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) of your estimated date of arrival and the number of family members who will be residing at post, including the ages of your children. This information is essential for making your housing assignment.

Human Resources Management, Shipping and the Housing offices will send welcome telegrams with information about education, housing and packing of personal effects. The Community Liaison Office (CLO) also sends a pre-arrival packet and a welcome letter.

The U.S. Government strictly enforces the Fly America Act; violations will result in penalties. Currently there are three code-share airlines that serve Cairo: Northwest/KLM, United/Lufthansa and Delta/Air France. Please contact the Embassy for the latest details.

When travel plans are firm, cable your arrival date and flight information so you can be met and assisted at Cairo’s International Airport. USAID employees should e-mail their itinerary to the Financial Management Office.

As regulations regarding travel to and from Cairo change frequently, depending on many factors, the Embassy’s Travel, Shipping and Customs Section (TSC), part of the General Services Office (GSO) should be contacted with any questions concerning your travel arrangements. The TSC office can be contacted by fax from the U.S. at 011–20–2–797–3519.

Each traveler must have a valid diplomatic or official passport. It is recommended, although not mandatory, that people with diplomatic passports obtain a visa (at no cost) before coming to Egypt. People with official or tourist passports can obtain a visa upon arrival at the airport for US $15 and an international immunization certificate. Travelers from yellow fever areas must have had yellow fever shots at least eight days prior to arrival. This rule is rarely enforced but should be followed.

Various forms will be issued to you soon after your arrival in Egypt and each requires several passport-size photographs. Bring at least 20 photos for you and each of your accompanying family members. Additional photographs can also be obtained locally.

Customs, Duties, and Passage Last Updated: 5/25/2004 1:14 AM

On arrival, all U.S. Government personnel are granted duty-free entry privileges for their personal and household effects. Full privileges, valid during the entire tour, are extended to those on the diplomatic list and to USAID and Office of Military Cooperation (OMC) personnel. Those not on the diplomatic list are granted duty-free entry of their household and personal effects up to six months after their arrival.

The Embassy cannot initiate clearance for personal effects or privately owned vehicles until after your arrival at post and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has issued your diplomatic ID card. Personnel considering the importation of a boat or motorcycle should request appropriate information and permission from the TSC Office.

Unaccompanied Air Baggage (UAB) and Household Effects (HHE). Ship only those items immediately necessary to set up residence in your UAB. Post provides hospitality kits upon arrival that contain commonly needed item’s. Please forward copies of your inventories, airway bill and bill of lading to the post’s shipping section, at fax 202–797–3519, at the earliest opportunity and bring additional copies with you. These documents are essential to begin the customs clearance process. Clearances of UAB, HHE, and POV cannot begin until after you arrive. As shipping addresses and information change constantly, consult your copy of the post shipping cable or contact the shipping section for current information.

Personally Owned Vehicles (POV). The Government of Egypt requires that all vehicles, new or used, imported into Egypt must have a catalytic converter.

GOE Importation and Sale Regulations Applicable to USAID Employees’ POV’s. Under the terms of the 1978 USAID bilateral agreement, a USAID employee (single or married) may import one new or used POV every three years for personal use. Rules for the sale of POV’s change regularly. Contact TSC for current regulations.

Rules applicable to USAID employees under the bilateral agreement differ from those of other diplomatic personnel assigned to Cairo under the Vienna Convention. An employee planning to import a POV under the USAID bilateral needs to contact TSC as early as possible at fax (20) (2) 797–3519.

GOE Importation and Sale Regulations Applicable to Non-USAID Mission Employees’ POV’s. Under the Vienna Convention, the Government of Egypt allows diplomatic agents and administrative and technical staff assigned to Egypt to import POVs duty free.

Administrative and technical staff under nondiplomatic status may import only one POV duty free. It must be exported or sold to another diplomat with duty-free privileges at the end of tour. Currently, no vehicles imported into Egypt under the Vienna Convention can be sold duty free to a nonprivileged person, i.e., a person without duty-free status.

Diplomatic agents are allowed to import one vehicle duty free for their own use and, if married, a second vehicle for their spouse. The second vehicle must be exported or sold to a diplomat other person with duty-free privileges at the end of tour.

Purchase of Duty-Free Vehicles. Effective June 15, 1999, duty-free vehicles can no longer be purchased locally. The only option for non-USAID Mission employees is to order a new car from a European or American manufacturer and have the car shipped directly to post. This can be done before or after your arrival at post. This rule does not apply to USAID employees.

Additional Information on Shipping a POV. Car radios, tape decks, lighters, detachable mirrors, emblems and spare or removable parts should be removed from your vehicle prior to shipping. These items should be included in your HHE or mailed through the APO. The Embassy strongly recommends that you obtain private shipping and marine insurance.

Motorcycles and Motorboats. According to Government of Egypt regulations, motorcycles and motorboats may be imported into Egypt. If the item is to be shipped as part of your HHE, it must be inspected by customs officials at the port of entry, the VIN number verified, and the item recorded for official entry into Egypt. You must ensure that it is crated separately and clearly marked as to the contents and with the owner’s name. Also, insure that it is clearly identified on your packout inventory. By so doing, only this crate will be opened at the port of entry to verify VIN numbers. Unless the above procedures are followed, motorcycles or motorboats will not be able to be registered for use in Egypt.

Electronic Equipment. Cairo Airport Customs officials will impound electronic equipment, such as computers and computer parts, televisions, VCR’s, and video cameras that are being hand-carried and are easily visible. However, such items can be imported in your HHE, mailed through the APO or packed in your suitcase. Any type of radio transmitter such as CBs, two-way and HAM radios cannot be imported into Egypt.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Food. No alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or food products may be imported in the HHE or UAB. These items are available in the Embassy commissary.

Antique Oriental Carpets. Exporting antique oriental carpets from Egypt is forbidden. All antique oriental carpets must be listed on your incoming inventory in order to obtain export clearance when you depart post.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 4/26/2004 8:27 AM

On arrival, all U.S. Government personnel are granted duty-free entry privileges for their personal and household effects. Full privileges, valid during the entire tour, are extended to those on the diplomatic list and to USAID and Office of Military Cooperation (OMC) personnel.

The Embassy cannot initiate clearance for personal effects or privately owned vehicles until after your arrival at post and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has issued your diplomatic ID card. Personnel considering the importation of a boat or motorcycle should request appropriate information and permission from the TSC Office.

Unaccompanied Air Baggage (UAB) and Household Effects (HHE). Ship only those items immediately necessary to set up residence in your UAB. Post provides hospitality kits upon arrival that contain commonly needed item’s. Please forward copies of your inventories, airway bill and bill of lading to the post's shipping section, at fax 20-2–797–3519, at the earliest opportunity and bring additional copies with you. These documents are essential to begin the customs clearance process. Clearances of UAB, HHE, and POV cannot begin until after you arrive. As shipping addresses and information change constantly, consult your copy of the post shipping cable or contact the shipping section for current information.

Personally Owned Vehicles (POV). The Government of Egypt requires that all vehicles, new or used, imported into Egypt have a catalytic converter. GOE Importation and Sale Regulations Applicable to USAID Employees’ POV’s. Under the terms of the 1978 USAID bilateral agreement, a USAID employee (single or married) may import one new or used POV every three years for personal use. Rules for the sale of POV’s change occasionally. Contact GSO/TSC for current regulations.

Rules applicable to USAID employees under the bilateral agreement differ from those of other diplomatic personnel assigned to Cairo under the Vienna Convention. An employee planning to import a POV under the USAID bilateral needs to contact TSC as early as possible at fax (20) (2) 797–3519. GOE Importation and Sale Regulations Applicable to Non-USAID Mission Employees’ POV’s. Under the Vienna Convention, the Government of Egypt allows diplomatic agents and administrative and technical staff assigned to Egypt to import POVs duty free. A vehicle imported to Egypt is considered Permanent Release if it is the current year model and may be sold to other diplomats with duty-free privileges or on the local economy. If a vehicle is older than the current year when imported into Egypt it is considered Temporary Release and it may only be sold to another diplomat with duty-free privileges or exported at the end of tour. Used vehicles are often difficult to sell in Egypt so anyone importing a vehicle must be prepared to export it at the end of their tour.

Administrative and technical staff under non-diplomatic status may import only one POV duty free. It must be exported or sold to another diplomat with duty-free privileges at the end of tour. Diplomatic agents are allowed to import one vehicle duty free for their own use and, if married, a second vehicle for their spouse. The second vehicle must be exported or sold to a diplomat or another person with duty-free privileges at the end of tour.

Purchase of Duty-Free Vehicles.

Duty-free vehicles can be purchased locally from several dealers through Alexandria and Suez Free Zone. Additional Information on Shipping a POV. Car radios, tape decks, lighters, detachable mirrors, emblems and spare or removable parts should be removed from your vehicle prior to shipping. These items should be included in your HHE or mailed through the APO. The Embassy strongly recommends that you obtain private shipping and marine insurance. The vehicles arrive in Egypt at the Port of Alexandria and are driven to Cairo by contractor service. Employees may choose to travel to Alexandria in order to drive their own vehicles to Cairo.

Motorcycles and Motorboats. According to Government of Egypt regulations, motorcycles and motorboats may be imported into Egypt. If the item is to be shipped as part of your HHE, it must be inspected by customs officials at the port of entry, the VIN number verified, and the item recorded for official entry into Egypt. You must ensure that it is crated separately and clearly marked as to the contents and with the owner’s name and loaded near the container’s door. Also, insure that it is clearly identified on your packout inventory. By so doing, only this crate will be opened at the port of entry to verify VIN numbers. Unless the above procedures are followed, motorcycles or motorboats will not be able to be registered for use in Egypt.

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Food. No alcoholic beverages, tobacco, or food products may be imported in the HHE or UAB. These items are available in the Embassy commissary.

Antique Oriental Carpets. Exporting antique oriental carpets from Egypt is forbidden. All antique oriental carpets must be listed on your incoming inventory in order to obtain export clearance when you depart post.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Pets Last Updated: 4/22/2004 9:08 AM

Egypt has no quarantine restrictions for pets. Dogs and cats entering the country must have proof of a valid rabies shot and a current health certificate. The rabies vaccination must be more than 30 days, but not more than 1 year old. A licensed veterinarian must authorize the certificate of good health issued not more than 10 to 14 days prior to date of departure. These documents should accompany the pet, which ideally accompanies you. If you ship your pet as unaccompanied air baggage, attach a copy of these documents in a sturdy plastic envelope to the pet’s kennel with the notation “health documents enclosed” and be sure to notify the TSC Section immediately. Keep the originals with you. This will facilitate clearing your pets at the airport. For more information on flying with your pet, check with the individual airline carrier.

Other pets such as birds, ferrets, hamsters, and reptiles are not as easy to import as compared to dogs and cats. There are more rules and paperwork required for these pets. There may also be additional fees depending on the type of pet you bring.

While in Egypt, adequate veterinary care is available but kennel facilities are limited. Bring a supply of soap, powder and/or collars. Although such products are available, supplies vary. Dog/cat food is readily available at the commissary, as is cat litter. Most personnel live in apartments during their Cairo tour and this, along with hot weather, may complicate caring for pets. Do not bring any pet requiring medication or specialized care.

Because many apartments are in high-rise buildings and there is little outside yard space, your pet will probably remain indoors at all times. Some people find smaller pets more adaptable overall than larger ones.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 4/22/2004 9:08 AM

Employees assigned to the American Embassy in Cairo are not permitted to import handguns. The Chief of Mission may authorize an exception to this policy if the employee is on direct transfer from an overseas post and unable to store or otherwise dispose of a handgun already in his/her possession, or if the employee is authorized by their agency to carry a weapon as part of their official duty. Handguns not authorized by an employee’s agency must be surrendered to the RSO for storage for the duration of the employee’s assignment. The Chief of Mission may also authorize the importation of shotguns for recreational use. Shotguns may be stored at the employee’s residence. To request Chief of Mission approval, an employee must send a telegram or memo to the Ambassador through the DCM including the make, model and serial number, and caliber of each firearm. Firearms can only be shipped in an employee’s HHE. Firearms cannot be shipped through the diplomatic pouch, the APO or carried in an employee’s baggage. There is no authorized means of shipping ammunition to post.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 4/26/2004 8:27 AM

The currency denomination is the Egyptian pound (marked L.E.), which comprises 100 piasters (marked PT). The dollar fluctuated around LE 6.14 in early 2004.

Egyptian pounds and U.S. dollars may be purchased from the Embassy’s bank with foreign currencies or checks. You do not need to bring a large supply of checks to post as the number of ATMs is increasing all over the city.

Commissary and AECWA purchases are paid for by credit card or in U.S. dollars either in cash or by checks drawn on a U.S. account. Opening a local bank account is neither necessary nor recommended by the Financial Management Center.

Egypt Standard Time is two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and seven hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard Time zone. Egypt is on daylight savings time (GMT+3) from approximately May 1 until October 1.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 4/22/2004 9:13 AM

U.S. Government employees are not subject to either Egyptian income or property taxes. However, stamp and sales taxes may be included in the prices of goods, services, tickets, and the issuance of documents. You must pay these. Family members working outside the official community are subject to Egyptian income tax.


The Embassy’s Management Counselor has been delegated the authority to approve and forward all requests for the sale of personal property and POVs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Embassy follows the Department of State rules regarding the sale and retention of any profits from the sale of personal property. Approval from the Management Counselor must be obtained before any personal property is disposed of in Egypt.


Recommended Reading Last Updated: 5/25/2004 1:16 AM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.


Blue Guide. Veronica Seton-Williams and Peter Stocks. A & C Black (Publishers) Ltd.: London. 3rd edition.

Lonely Planet Egypt. Andrew Humpreys, et. al. Hawthorn, Victoria, Australia. 6th ed., 2002.

Historic Cairo: A Walk Through the Islamic City. Jim Antoniu, published in 1999.

Egyptian Museum, The: A Brief Description of the Principal Monuments. Egyptian Antiquities Organization: Cairo, 1992.

A Reader's Guide to Egypt. School of Area Studies, F. S. I., Department of State: Washington DC, 1992.

Yellow Pages: Cairo Classified (Advertising) Business Directory. Egypt Yellow Pages Ltd., a Bell Canada Co.: New Maadi. See also directories for Alexandria, the Suez Canal and the Nile River.


The Orion Mystery. Bauval, Robert and Gilbert, Adrian., Heinernann: London, 1994.

Common Birds of Egypt. Bruun, Beriel & Baha el Din, Sherif. AUC Press: Revised, illustrated ed. Cairo, 1990.

The Alexandria Quartet. Durrell, Lawrence. Penguin USA, 1991.

A Thousand Miles Up the Nile. Facsimile of the Illustrated 2nd edition published originally in 1888. Parkway Publishing: London, 1993.

Flaubert in Egypt, A Sensibility on Tour. Flaubert, Gustave. Selected and translated by Francis Steegmuller. Academy Chicago Publishers: Chicago, 1987.

Soldiers of Fortune: The Story of the Mamelukes. Glubb, John Bagot. Hodder: London,1972.

Red Sea Fishwatcher's Field Guide. Greenberg, Michael and Jerry. Seahawk Press: Miami, 1982.

The Fayoum: a Practical Guide. Hewison, R. Neil.. AUC Press: Revised edition Cairo, 1986.

Exploring the World of the Pharaohs: A guide to ancient Egypt. Hobson, Christine. Thames and Hudson: London, reprinted 1991.

Cairo Walks. Humphries, Andrew. The Palm Press: Cairo, 1994.

The Arabs: Journeys Beyond the Mirage. Lamb, David. Random House: New York, 1987.

Guide to the Antiquities of the Fayoum. Lane, Mary Ellen. AUC Press, Cairo, 1985.

Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street. Mahfouz, Naguib. AUC Press, Cairo, 1990-1992. (Also see: The Harafish, Adrift on the Nile, Autumn Quail, The Journey of Ibn Fattouma, Midaq Alley, The Time and the Place, The Search, Respected Sir, The Beggar, Wedding Song, Miramar, The Beginning the Cairo Trilogy and the End and The Thief and the Dogs.)

The Blue Nile. Moorehead, Alan. Reprinted with illustrations. Penguin Books: London, 1983. (Also see: The While Nile.)

The Islamic Monuments of Cairo. Parker, Richard B., and Robin Sabin. Revised by Caroline Williams. AUC Press: Cairo, 1985.

The Mummy Case. Peters, Elizabeth. A Tor Book: New York, 1986. (Also see: Crocodile on the Sandbank, Curse of the Pharaohs and The Last Camel Died at Noon.)

Cairo, The City Victorious. Rodenbeck, Max. London, 1999.

Egypt from the Air. Rodenbeck, Max and Rossi, Guido Alberto. Thames and Hudson: London, 1991.

Ancient Egyptian Myths and Legends. Spence, Lewis. Dover Books: New York, 1990.

Egyptian Magic. Budge, E. A. Wallis. and K. Paul, Trench, Trubner: London, 1899. Republished by Wings Books: Avenel, NJ, 1991. (Also see: From Fetish to God in Ancient Egypt, The Mummy, The Rosetta Stone, Dwellers on the Nile, An Hieroglyphic Dictionary, Easy Lessons in Hieroglyphs, The Book of the Dead, Osiris and The Egyptian Resurrection, and The Gods of the Egyptians.)

Life Among the Poor in Cairo. Unni Wikan, 1996

Tomorrow, God Willing: Self-Made Destinies in Cairo, Unni Wikan, Kirkus Associates, 1996

An Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, Edward Lane, 2003

Harem Years: Memoirs of an Egyptian Feminist, Hoda Shaarawi, 1998

All the Pasha’s Men, Khaled Fahmy, 2002

The Question of Palestine and Orientalism, Time Books, Edward Said, 1979

Zaat, Sonallah Ibrahim, 1992

Out of Place: A Memoir, Edward Said, autobiography, 1999

Local Holidays Last Updated: 4/27/2004 4:42 AM

Both Moslem and Christian Egyptian holidays and American holidays are celebrated. The dates of the religious holidays change year to year, because they are calculated on the lunar calendar. Ramadan is the Moslem month of fasting; it lasts for a lunar month of 29–30 days and occurs 11–12 days earlier each year. The daily fast lasts from sunrise to sunset, when not even water may be taken. The fast is broken with the Iftar meal taken at sunset each day.

Ramadan ends with Eid al-Fitr (the small feast of Ramadan) which lasts for 3 days. Eid al-Adha (the big feast of Ramadan) occurs 70 days later and lasts for 4 days. This largest Moslem religious festival of the year commemorates Ibrahim's offering his son as a sacrifice.

Ramadan and both the Eid feasts are inconvenient times for official and business visits; government offices and many businesses and shops are either closed or operating on shortened schedules. Entertaining Muslims during Ramadan is limited to the Iftar or a late supper that breaks the fast.

Sham el Nessim (Smell the Breezes Day) is a celebration for all religions dating back to the ancient Egyptian festival marking the first day of spring. It always occurs on the Monday following the Coptic Easter and is celebrated with many traditional foods, including hardboiled eggs and pickles.

The Islamic New Year’s Day marks the beginning of the Hegira year and commemorates the flight of the Prophet Mohammed from Mecca to Medina, to save the prophetic mission. Moulid el Nabi celebrates the anniversary of the birth of the Prophet Mohammed. Egyptian Christian employees are given time off for Easter. Secular Egyptian holidays are Sinai Liberation Day, Labor Day, National Revolution Day, and Armed Forces Day.

The complete list of Egyptian holidays that will be observed in the calendar year 2004 is:

January 1 Thursday New Year's Day American January 7 Wednesday Coptic Christmas Egyptian January 18 Sunday Martin Luther King's Birthday American *Jan-Feb 31/1/2 Sat-Mon Eid al-Adha Egyptian February 15 Sunday Presidents' Day American *February 21 Saturday Islamic New Year Egyptian April 12 Monday Sham El Nessim Egyptian April 25 Sunday Sinai Liberation Day Egyptian May 1 Saturday Labor Day Egyptian *May 2 Sunday Moulid El Nabi Egyptian May 30 Sunday Memorial Day American July 4 Sunday Independence Day American July 23 Friday National Day Egyptian September 5 Sunday Labor Day American October 6 Wednesday Armed Forces Day Egyptian October 10 Sunday Columbus Day American November 11 Thursday Veterans' Day American *November 14/15 Sun/Mon Eid al-Fitr Egyptian November 25 Thursday Thanksgiving Day American Decembe 26 Sunday Christmas Day American

*Dates for religious holidays are dependent upon the sighting of the moon and are likely to vary from the above estimated dates.

Note: Egyptian Holidays may be adjusted at a later date, after consideration of decisions made by the GOE authorities and prevailing practice.

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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