Catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa Overview
The catacomb of Kom El-Shuqafa (pile of shards) is one of Alexandria's most memorable monuments, it took its name from the design that was very similar to the Christian Catacombs in Rome.
The Catacombs lie in the district of Karmouz to the east of Alexandria. The cemetery dates back to the 1st century A.D and was used until the 4th century A.D. they were only discovered in the year 1900 when one unfortunate donkey disappeared into an opening where the catacombs lay beneath, It consist of a multi-level labyrinth, reached via a large spiral staircase.
As well as well organized and beautiful tombs, there is also the Hall of Caraculla, which was essentially a mass grave. The fact that this set of tombs serviced several different cultures can also be seen by the modes of internment themselves. It consists of 3 levels cut into the rock, a staircase, a rotunda, the triclinium or banquette hall, a vestibule, an antechamber and the burial chamber with three recesses in it; in each recess there is a sarcophagus.
The Catacombs has a six-pillared central shaft that opens off the vestibule. It is believed by the scholars that the catacombs at first were only for one family but was later expanded into a mass burial site. Visitors can still walk down the spiral staircase that leads onto the tombs, and see the well down the middle of these stairs where bodies were carefully lowered to their burial site.
Even the designs on the walls when you reach the chamber below are still intact and certainly reminiscent of 1st century AD Egyptian style. Considering they are many hundreds of years old, the Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa are in incredibly good condition, and they are a great testament to the architectural style of the time.
There is also a representation of an altar between Anubis and the mummy, from which incense smoke is rising. There is also a scene depicting an Emperor, who is offering the feather of Maat to a God, probably Petah (or Ptah). Between them there is an altar, which takes the shape of the lotus flower.
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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.