The city of Hurghada is another major tourist attraction in Egypt. This city draws more than 3 million visitors every year, and yields more than 3 billion dollars to Egypt’s economy.
Hurghada is located on the Red Sea coast, almost 550 Km from Cairo & 395 km south of Suez. Egyptian’s used to call it Ghardaka, from which the name of the city was derived.
Hurghada stretches for about 60 Km along the Red Sea coast, and has more than 80,000 inhabitants: mostly immigrants from Upper Egypt, seeking investment and work opportunities in the this newly developed sea resort. Hurghada today has more than 170 hotels and it is still developing.
Although a town in its own right Hurgada’s current major industry is foreign and domestic tourism, owing to its dramatic landscape, year-round dry and temperate climate and long stretches of natural beaches. Its waters are clear and calm for most of the year and have become popular for various watersports, particularly recreational scuba diving and snorkelling.
There are plenty of diveshops. Most take you out on a daytrip and make one dive in the morning and one in the afternoon. Dive sites around Abu Ramada Island, Giftun Kebir and Giftun Soraya are very popular. But you can also visit wrecks such as the El Mina or the Rosalie Moller.
Hurghada has a subtropical-desert climate (Köppen climate classification: BWh), with mild-warm winters and hot to very hot summers. Temperatures in the period December–January–February are warm, while November, March and April – comfortably warm. May and October is hot and the period from June to September is very hot. Sunshine hours are around 3,800 per year (one of the highest results in the world), from average 9 hours of sunshine / day in December to average 13 hours in July. Average annual temperature of sea is 24 °C (75 °F), from 21 °C (70 °F) in February and March to 28 °C (82 °F) in August.
The city was founded in the early 20th century, and since the 1980s has been continually enlarged by Egyptian and foreign investors to become the leading seashore resort on the Red Sea. Holiday villages and hotels provide aquatic sport facilities for sailboarders, yachtsmen, scuba divers and snorkelers.
Hurghada stretches for about 36 kilometres (22 mi) along the seashore, and it does not reach far into the surrounding desert. The resort is a destination for Egyptian tourists from Cairo, the Delta and Upper Egypt, as well as package holiday tourists from Europe, notably Italians and Germans. Until a few years ago it was a small fishing village. Today Hurghada counts 248,000 inhabitants and is divided into three parts: Downtown (El Dahar) is the old part; Sekalla is the city center, and El Memsha (Village road) is the modern part. Sakalla is the relatively modest hotel quarter. Dahar is where the town’s largest bazaar, the post office and the long-distance bus station are situated.
The city is served by the Hurghada International Airport with scheduled passenger traffic to and from Cairo and direct connections with several cities in Europe. The airport has undergone massive renovations to accommodate rising traffic. Hurghada is known for its watersports activities, nightlife and warm weather. Daily temperature hovers round 30 degrees celsius most of the year. Numerous Europeans spend their Christmas and New Year holidays in the city, primarily Germans, Russians and Italians.
And is noted for its magnificent summer and winter climate. The clarity of its water made it a center of tourist attraction especially for divers and practicing water sports is use of the worldwide fame of its coral reefs and rat marine life through well-equipped glass bottom submarines. Hurghada was founded in the early 20th century, and until a few years ago, remained a small fishing village. But today, it has gone on to become the foremost tour resort of the Red Sea coast and an international center for aquatic sports.
If it takes place in or on the ‘Nat you can do it here: windsurfing sailing, deep-seaing. Swimming, but, above all, snorkeling and diving – The unique underwater gardens offshore are some of the finest in the world, justifiably famous divers. The warm waters here are ideal for many varieties of rare fish and coral reefs, which might be observed through glass bottom boats. This area has many fine accommodations, usually offering warm and efficient service. Restaurants are mostly along the main road. While in Hurghada done is the museum and aquarium, with their complete collections offiora and fauna of the Red Sea.
Life in Hurghada
Today, Hurghada is known as a party town, particularly among Europeans. Locals and others will tell you that life begins at night in Hurghada, with the many, many clubs. They are particularly frequented by the young, but certainly many others of all ages. One may often find a rousing party centered around the visitors from a tour group taking over the action of a particular bar. They are easy to find along the main street, along with loads of inexpensive and expensive hotels.
Islands near Hurghada And Water activities
Islands near Hurghada offer all kinds of fun and excitement. Take a day trip to Giftun Island for snorkeling and a fish barbecue, or view the Red Sea from a submarine! When you’re not in the sea you can shop in the boutiques, relax in the luxury holiday villages or visit the Roman Mons Porphyrites (mountain of porphyry) remains at nearby Gebel Abu Dukhan (Father of Smoke). Day-trips or safaris to explore the Red Sea Mountains by camel or jeep are also available. Other nearby islands and destinations include the Shadwan Island (diving, snorkeling, and fishing), Shaab Abu Shiban (diving, snorkeling, and swimming), Shaab el-Erg (diving, fishing, and snorkeling), Umm Gammar Island (diving and snorkeling), Shasb Saghir Umm Gammae (diving -Careless Reef), Abu Ramada Island (diving), Shaab Abu Ramada (fishing), Dishet el-Dhaba (beaches and swimming), Shaab Abu Hashish (beaches, diving, snorkeling, swimming, and fishing), Sharm el-Arab (diving, swimming, and fishing) and Abu Minqar Island (beaches and swimming).
In addition to the wealth of classical organized excursions to historical sites or natural parks, you can give a twist to you holiday spending some hours in or around your resort in fun-filled activities on land. Practically everywhere in the Red Sea Riviera you will have the chance of going horse or camel riding, whether for half an hour along your hotel beach, or on a longer trip in the desert. Beach horse and camel riding is pretty easy and apt to everybody. Rides in the desert need a little preparation and good guides. Most of the desert safari trips sold as a half day excursion includes also a camel ride. Some destinations such as El Gouna and Sharm el Sheikh have well maintained horse stables where you can take proper riding courses with professional trainers and embark in discovery rides of some length.
Places to visit nearby Hurgahad
Ancient Emerald Mines
The emerald is the oldest known gemstone. Uniquely green in color and widely used in jewelry, emeralds were prized and cherished as symbols of eternity and power during antiquity. It believed that Egyptian Pharaohs began mining emeralds in the mountainous area in the Eastern Desert so °west of Marsa Alam. Later identified as the Cleopatra Mines or Mons Smaragdus ( Emerald Mountains), the area be me the most famous mining complex throughout the arc world. The mines at Wadi Gimal, Wadi Sikeit, Wadi Nuqrus and Gebel Zabara were energetically exploited during the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. The mines were also worked during late” centuries until left deserted after the Spaniards discovered emeralds in Columbia in 1545.
Two thousand years ago Myos Hormos was the Roman Empire’s principal gateway to India and East Africa. Only recently have archaeologists been able to identify the exact location of this ancient port, just eight kilometers north a Quseir. During its peak period around 20 AD, reportedly 120 ships laden with wines, fine pottery, glass, precious metals and textiles set out each year from Myos Hron – to India. They brought back all kinds of luxury goods including spices, medicines, silk and pearls. Myos Hormos seems to have been abandoned in the 2nd century AD. During the 14th and 15th centuries however, the site was revived into a thriving port for Mecca pilgrims and a rejuvenated India trade. At Myos Hormos you can see foundations of ancient port structures and have a numerous remnants of empty Roman storage jars (amphorae). Pottery shards are strewn all over the area, evidence of thriving economic activity.
Bir Um Fawakhir
Bir Um Fawakhir lies in the rugged Precambrian mountains of the central Eastern Desert and is almost exactly halfway between the Nile and he Red Sea. The site is approximately 65 km (two and a half to three days by camel) from Quft (ancient Coptos). This route, which is the shortest from the Nile to the Red Sea has been in use for at least 5,000 years and follows a Series of wadis (dry canyons) cutting through the mountains. The most famous ancient site enroute is the Wadi hammamat, which was the Source of a fine-grained dark greywacke that was highly prized in Pharaonic times for statues, sarcophagi, and the like. Bir Umm Fawakhir, about 5km northeast, lies in a different geological zone.
The Fawakhir granite is a stock intruded into the older Precambrian rocks. As no agriculture has ever succeeded in this hyperarid desert, the only resources are mineral, namely, gold, granite and water. The granite was quarried to no great extent in the Roman period, but it also acts as aquifer, carrying water in tiny cracks until it is stopped by the dense ultramafic rocks to the West. 3 V have always been dug there. Most importantly, however, the quartz veins injected into the granite are auriferous, particularly towards the edge of the stock. (Many other minerals occur as well, including pyrite, chalcopyrite, and hematite, which stain the quartz reddish.)
This Ottoman fortress in the town center of Quseir is certainly worth a visit. It was built in the 16th century during the reign of Sultan Selim to protect trade links with India. Napoleon’s troops occupied the fortress in 1799, fortifying it with cannons mounted high on the walls. They also added a new viewing platform. A few years later, British forces ejected the French after a fierce battle and added a new gate to the fortress. The opening of the Suez Canal in 1869 led to the decline of Quseir and its fortress.
Mons Claudianus is at the foot of Jebel Fatira, located about 30 miles from Port Safaga just of the Qena road. This was a Roman Penal Colony of substance, where Quartzy diorite, high quality granite, was mined as building materials for the Roman Empire. This black stone can still be seen in Rome in the portico of the Pantheon, in Hadrian’s Villa, and public baths and in the columns and floor of the Temple of Venus. A temple begun by Hadrian but never finished is in ruins, but the staircase leading to it can still be seen. There is also a Roman camp, dwellings, workshops, stables and a dromos.
The camp is surrounded by granite walls with rounded defense towers on the corners, to protect it from Bedouin attacks. There are hot springs today, which where used in a complex underground heating system for the sweating baths. The actual quarries are on the opposite side of the wadi. There are fragments of granite, with several ruined artifacts such as a broken column and column slab.
Mons Porphyrites ( Porphyry Mountain) was an important Roman quarry complex near Gebel Abu Dukhan (Father of Smoke Mountain) in the heart of the Eastern Desert. For over three centuries, from 29 AD to 335 AD, an exquisite purple rock found nowhere else in the world called Imperial Porphyry was extracted for the glory of Roman emperors. This purple stone, fine grained and speckled with white crystals, was discovered by a Roman legionnaire named Caius Cominius Leugas in 18 AD. Its beauty soon made it a symbol of royalty and successive emperors claimed exclusive rights to it. Much of this gem-like rock ended up as pillars, basins, statues and sarcophagi in Rome and Istanbul. Today excursions to Mons Porphyrites can be arranged from Hurghada, Safaga and Quseir. You can explore the remains of ruined fortresses, dwellings, temples, shrines, wells, broken pillars and cracked stone baths.
The Temple of Seti 1
Located in Kanais, east of Edfu along the desert road to Marsa Alam, lies a small rock-cut temple built by Seti I (1305-1290 BC). Unfortunately, you will only be able to view the entrance of the temple. The chamber inside the cliff, which has magnificent drawings of Seti I slashing at his enemies and offering a gift to the god Amun, is closed to the public to protect it against defacement. Not far from the temple there is an ancient well. Superb rock art from pre-dynastic times about 6000 years old up to the period of Seti I decorate the wadi’s steep walls with rowing boats, dancing goddesses, long-horned gazelles, fat hippos and hunting scenes. Closer to the main road are the remains of a Roman fort; an indication of how important this area was in ancient times.
Wadi el Gemal National Park
The stunning Wadi el Gemal National Park is one of the most recent additions to the high number of parks and protected areas of the Red Sea. At only half an hour drive by bus, the park has a very well organized eco-lodge which offers guided tours of the wadi with camel or by foot. The lodge has also a cinema where you will be shown a documentary about the park, its nature, geology and inhabitants, the ancient nomadic tribes of the Bishari and the Ababde. Finally, you will seat in the exotic, desert-elegant main “fustat”, adorned with antiques and local handicrafts, and served breakfast, lunch or dinner, depending on the type of excursion you join.
St. Anthony’s Monastery
St. Anthony the Great, when orphaned at the age of 18, became a hermit and thus lived to 105 years old. He lived as an Anchorite, as still exists in Egypt, and it is said that he was tormented his entire life by flatteries and temptations of the devil. He, along with St. Pachomius, was two of the first exponents of Christian monasticism, which originated in the Egyptian desert. He is buried beneath one of the ancient churches (St. Anthony) of the monastery.
St. Anthony’s Monastery (Deir Mar Antonio’s), and its neighbor St. Paul’s, are the oldest monasteries in Egypt Hidden deep in the Red Sea Mountains and relying on springs for their water supply, both still Observe rituals that have hardly changed in 16 centuries. They are accessible by special tours from Cairo, Suez or Hurghada and a stay in either monastery can be arranged in advance. St. Anthony’s was founded in 356 AD, just after the saint’s death. Between the 12th and 15th centuries, the monastery flourished but was plundered in 1454 by Bedouin servants.
Today it is a self-contained village with gardens, a mill, a bakery and five churches with exceptional wall paintings of holy knights in bright Colors and the hermit founders of the monastery in subdued colors and icons, There is also a library with over 1 700 handwritten manuscripts, but the Bedouin servants who plundered the monastery used many manuscripts for cooking fuel. At one time, there must have been a much more extensive library.
St. Anthony’s Cave (magharah), where he lived as a hermit, is a 2 km hike from the monastery and 680 m. above the Red Sea It offers stunning views of the mountains and the sea, and the chance to see a Wide range of bird life.