Visual art, music, dance, ballet and opera have always been an important part of life in Egypt. Until 1970 cultural life mainly centred around the world-famous opera house, but it was destroyed by fire in 1971. Today most cultural highlights take place in the new “opera house”, the Centre for Culture and Education in Cairo. Here you can enjoy opera, dance and musical productions. The Centre also includes a number of exposition areas and an open-air theatre. Outside Cairo, however, there is good entertainment too. All across Egypt there are tea houses, pleasant bars, markets and enjoyable restaurants to visit.
Since the Islamic calendar is moon-based, religious holidays are on different days every year. In 2014 the three-day Festival of Sacrifice begins on 4 October. Ramadan (the month of fasting) can be annoying for tourists, because many restaurants are closed; eating, drinking and smoking in public are not appreciated. Tourists will be cared and cooked for, however. It goes without saying that you should not provoke people by eating right under their noses.
Ramadan is the Islamic holy month of fasting. In 2014, Ramadan starts on 28th June and concludes on 27th July. This is then followed by 3 days of celebration (Eid al-Fitr) beginning on 28th July. During the oasis trip, in Luxor or Dahab, you will hardly notice it, but in Cairo you will see that life follows a different pattern. In the morning it is much quieter than usual and many shops are closed. This is the ideal time to visit the pyramids, the Egyptian Museum and the Sphinx. Suddenly, between 3 pm and 5 pm the traffic gets going: everybody is on their way to or from the hundreds of mosques in the city. Afterwards, the Egyptians have breakfast – around 6 pm. All the shops open up and the markets get busy, often until the small hours of the night. During Ramadan it is best to do interesting things in the morning and evening while taking a rest in the afternoon. Your Egyptian travel guides will be able to offer helpful suggestions.