Living in Egypt

Iyna Bort Caruso

Egypt’s history is layered and long. It’s the very foundation of civilization, where architecture, literature, science and government have its roots.

Centuries of successive dynasties and empires ended when an independent republic was declared in 1953, but the monumental relics that remain are among the most breathtaking on the planet. The Great Sphinx. The royal necropolis of ancient Thebes. The Great Pyramid of Giza, the only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still in existence.

Egyptian civilization evolved. The country has medieval temples, churches and monasteries and remains a cultural center of the Arab world.

The nation is transcontinental. Most of the landmass and population is in the northwest corner of Africa but the Sinai Peninsula, connected to the mainland by a land bridge, is in the southwest corner of the Asian continent.  Two geographical features define the country: desert and water. The arid expanse of lands to the west and south has resulted in 95 percent of the country’s 90 million-plus inhabitants concentrated in major cities along the banks of the Nile. The Mediterranean and Red Sea coastlines offers warm beaches, and the Red Sea, in particularly, great diving sites by coral gardens and shipwrecks.

The capital of Cairo is a beautifully chaotic megacity with its share of affluent neighborhoods like Zamale, located on a centrally located island in the Nile. Zamale boasts art galleries, boutique shopping and cultural attractions and is especially popular with expats. Golf is enjoying a rebirth in Egypt and many new courses are located in and around Cairo. Golf club resort communities are found in exclusive neighborhoods like Katameya Heights. Garden City is another prestigious area of the city and home to several embassies.

Wealthy Egyptians, mostly from Cairo, are the primary buyers of vacation homes in the country’s beach resort communities. The closest to Cairo are Ain Sokhna on the Red Sea and North Coast on the Mediterranean.  Another Red Sea beach town, El Gouna, fetches some of the highest prices owing to its well-developed infrastructure and range of amenities. In general, prices of Egyptian beach homes compare favorably to its counterparts in such destinations as the Seychelles, Malta and Mauritius.