Ancient Egyptian Music Overview
The Pharaohs valued music since the reign of the first dynasty around the year 3400 BC. It is noted in many historical records that the king, priests, and high officials gave special attention to music as it was associated with various religious ceremonies.
Various activities of ancient Egypt included live music. Pharaonic temples musicians are displayed on different wall inscriptions playing music in dissimilar occasions.
There were also some gods that were linked to music and festive like Bes and Hathor. The worship of these gods included different music and dance performances and some dances as well. Moreover, walking around ancient Egypt, you would find people singing and listening to different types of music while cultivating their lands, at home, in royal palaces, and even in wartime.
The Pharaohs even made use of all types of musical instruments. This is besides the fact that music was commonly accompanied by the clapping, chanting, and cheering of the people.
For example, the percussion instruments frequently used in ancient Egypt included different instruments that are still used until today like drums, castanets, and different types of bells.
There was also this instrument that was called the “Sistrum.” It mainly consisted of a medium sized metal piece with the U shape. It used to contain various types of metal pieces attached to it. Moving it up and down or horizontally resulted in various sounds of music.
The Pharaohs used several various wind instruments and free-reed instruments as well. Factually speaking, the wind musical instruments the ancient Egyptian musicians used looked similar to the ones musicians use in contemporary times. These instruments included flutes and trumpets. There were also a number of strings instruments like harps and lutes.
During the reign of the Pharaohs, music was actually a profession where a number of people would earn their living from performing music in various gatherings and activities. The highest levels of musicians in ancient Egypt would usually perform during religious rituals. Certain musicians would reach a stature when they would play specific music that is associated with particular gods.
The royal family members would have their own private professional musicians that would perform music whenever they please. On the other hand, the musicians of the commons used to perform in various gatherings like festivals or even when a large family commune.
As a matter of fact, ancient Egyptians loved and appreciated music of all types. They even had some specific songs written to escort the performed music. Most of these lyrics were written for the gods, kings, queens, and members of the royal family. Romantic songs were not yet commonly recognized.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Egypt is safe country to visit with notable low crime rate, tourist attractions are well secured and there is no common negative attitude towards foreigners, with some sensible precautions and preparations you will feel at home and as safe as you'll ever be.
There is no special dress code when visiting Egypt tourist sites, modest dress is recommended in less tourist sites and there is no special concern for women traveling alone.
Egyptian Arabic is the most commonly spoken language in Egypt, it is also the national language in the country but Egyptians speak and understand English as they study it in school. Fewer Egyptians can speak other languages like French, Italian, Spanish, and German. Egyptians working in tourism sector are accustomed to speak enough English and other languages to fulfill the needs of most travelers.
Egypt is very connected to the world, it has many direct flights with Africa, Asia, European Union and United States. Visit Cairo Airport website for a full list of Airlines that fly to Egypt.
Duty free allowances on arrival to Egypt are 1L alcohol, 1L perfume, and either 200 cigarettes, 25 cigars or 200g tobacco. Duty free shops are available in Egypt airports and major tourist cities (Cairo, Luxor, Hurghada, El Gouna and Sharm El Sheikh).
Giza Pyramids and most monuments and Museums in Egypt open between 8 Am to 5 Pm. During Ramadan, the holy month of the Islamic calendar, be aware that these hours will change significantly.
Shops and stores in Egypt are usually opened from 10 Am to 10 Pm however in major cities it opens much later and some are open 24 hours.
Visitors are welcome in most mosques throughout the year. Modest dress is recommended, women should cover their hair, arms and legs. Both Women and men will remove their shoes before entering.
Taking pictures for people and streets is fine after people permission While Taking pictures for official type or army structures is not permitted. In most historical sites and museums in Egypt it is allowed to use camera, some of them may charge you for camera but at the Egyptian Museum and some similar historical sites it is prohibited and you will be asked to leave camera at reception before entering.
Egypt enjoys big hotel variety from world class luxury to simple hostel accommodations; Check in time in most hotels in Egypt is around midday, 12 or 1 PM.
There in no health concerns or vaccinations required to visit Egypt but we recommend to check with your own doctor, he knows you and your medical history best.
The currency in Egypt is the Egyptian pound (LE), it is about ,06 to USD. Money exchange is widely available, Credit cards are largely used in Egypt major cities and tourist spots.
We do not recommend the public buses in big cities. Taxi and limousine service are fine every where but price is negotiable. Trains go to all big cities in Egypt except Sinai and the Red Sea. Flights from / to tourist cities are always available.
Tipping in Egypt is an appreciated habitual attitude but is Not obligatory. Generally 5 to 10 EGP for small favors is fine for carrying luggage, parking a car or to guys who clean bathrooms. 10 % is fine in restaurant and spa. Tipping your tour guide and vehicle driver should be considered if you're provided with good to great service, feel free to give what you think your experience was worth.
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In Cairo, visit the Egyptian Museum, Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, Khan El Khalili Bazaar and relish a walking tour on foot in Old Cairo. In Luxor visit the impressive Luxor temple, Hatshepsut temple, Valley of the Kings and Karnak temple. Aswan tours go to Philae Temple, Edfu, Kom Ombo and Abu Simbel temples. Uncover the Western Desert oases like Siwa and Bahariya. Diving or snorkeling in the magic waters of Red Sea and Sinai beaches like Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Taba, Hurghada and Marsa Alam to explore the magic of the underwater world. Board a Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan or vise versa, Lake Nasser Cruise from Aswan to Abu Simbel or vise versa and Cruise from Cairo to Aswan or vise versa.