Clothes in Ancient Egypt Overview
The ancient Egyptians professionalized in producing different types of clothes and outfits putting into consideration many various factors like the color of the cloth, the type of it, and the climate conditions as well.
Many factors played a significant role in the outfits of the Pharaohs. Among the most important elements, there was the climatic conditions. With Egypt’s hot weather, the ancient Egyptians tended to use light types of clothes. Another important factor was the color and since most Egyptians are rather various shades of brown, the white color was among the most common used in ancient Egypt.
Flax was the most common material cloth was made of in ancient Egypt. Although the Pharaohs recognized the existence of many various types of cloths, they preferred cloths made out of flax.
There are a number of reasons why ancient Egyptians chose to wear flax. The first reason is that flax was cultivated in various regions around Egypt with huge quantities. This is in addition to the fact that ancient Egyptians believed that cloth that comes from animals, like wool, is unclean.
However, with time passing by cloths that originate from animals became the clothes of high priests. Afterwards, the high class of the Pharaohs used to wear them as well.
The quality of the outfits and clothes of ancient Egypt largely depended on the social level of the people. The flax the higher classes used to wear was of a much better quality. They also used to wear outfits with much more complicated designs.
The cheaper and thicker types of flax were used by the poorer. They also used to put on shorter outfits in order to facilitate their moving around grass fields and cultivated lands.
It is interesting also to know that it was acceptable for people in the middle and high classes to show their breasts, men and women. Kids for example, of all social classes, used to remain nude until they reach the age of 6 years. The women slaves used to be nude as well most of their lives. The common outfit around the beginning of the 15th century BC included a light sweater, shirt with short sleeves, and a skirt.
The clothes of young women never changed over centuries of time. In the upper classes, the sleeves used to begin from under the breasts with holders put on shoulders. The outfits of the royal family were made out of the best quality of materials and the finest designs. Nobles used to wear crowns like these of the Pharaohs.
The kings, for example, used to wear special outfits in festivals. They used to put on a short shirt with a royal veil. Their outfits were also wonderfully embroidered with colorful threads. The outfits of the judges and ministers of ancient Egypt consisted of a tight dress that covered from their breasts to their legs which was wrapped from behind the neck.
The clothes of the police and army soldiers of ancient Egypt largely varied according to the positon and rank of each individual. The arrow shooters, for example, used to wear a head cover that was distinguished with its green ornaments. While on the other hand, the police used to wrap their hair with a white ribbon symbolizing power and strength.
Some scholars asserted that there were unified outfits for all common women in ancient Egypt until the ruling period of the 18th century. All women of all social classes, including the royal family, used to put on tight outfits that show most of their bodies. It was featured with its one-piece robe that was linked to holders that were wrapped around the neck. Many of these outfits had the white color.
Servants used to wear a shirt that covers their neck with short sleeves. They also used to put on a gown while cleaning to make them move easier around the house. On the other hands, dancers used to wear tight and transparent outfits to show off their dancing movements. This is in addition to quite short dresses that were quite appealing.
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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.