The desire to visit Egypt stirred in our hearts three years ago when the nation was thrown into turmoil during the ousting of President Mubarak and the take-over of the Muslim Brotherhood. Dictators must go, but it is a shock when they are replaced by a power more dangerous. Stories of persecution began to flood the news, churches were burned down, Christians tortured and killed. Today, the Muslim Brotherhood is no longer in power and the new government led by President Sisi is tolerant of Christians. This does not mean that is it easy to be a Christian in Egypt today. It is forbidden to tell people about Christ or to hand out Christian literature outside of the premises of a church. Within church premises one is free to worship and proclaim the name of Jesus. Discrimination continues in various forms.
There are many vibrant churches overflowing with believers who fervently follow Jesus. There is an awakening amongst Muslims where a rapidly increasing number are receiving Jesus as Saviour while they continue in their families and communities as secret believers. (will share more about this later)
EGYPT CAPTIVATED OUR LIVES through their culture and customs, warmth and friendliness. Calling themselves neither Arab nor African, but Egyptian or Copt, these people are unlike anything we expected from a largely Muslim nation.
The traditions of Pharaohs, tribal culture and customs of invaders through the centuries, make up the cosmopolitan culture of a modern Egypt. We found the Egyptians ready to receive foreigners and tourists and not once did we feel unsafe or insecure. Even while walking through the very crowded Old Cairo part of the city, we could carry our camera, cell phone and money without anyone attempting to rob us.
The atmosphere is alive and vibrant. We absolutely loved Egypt though we confess we did not see much of it beyond Cairo and surrounding areas, and then also the beautiful city of Alexandria. To truly ‘see’ Egypt would take a very long time.
It is our pleasure to share some the highlights of our unforgettable trip. If you want to be continually surprised, enchanted and delighted, visit Egypt.
One of the biggest cities in the world, and the longest river in the world. Traffic is unbelievable, but the people drive quite politely and there are surprisingly few accidents. Mexico City traffic was far worse.
A ride on the Nile was our first adventure. No crocodiles north of the Aswan Dam, they have all been blocked out. There are frogs, though, and when I heard the first one soon after we landed, I wondered if it was one of the descendants of Moses’ plague.
Our grateful thanks to our friends Ashraf and Josephine, the beautiful Egyptian family who opened their home to us. They gave of their precious time to host us in a way we would never have imagined.
The square known as Tahrir (Liberation) Square, was a focal point for the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. President Mubarak was removed from power on Friday, 11 February 2011, when the president officially stepped down from office. Tahrir Square erupted in a night-long celebration after the twilight announcement, with shouts such as “Lift your head up high, you’re Egyptian”, “Everyone who loves Egypt, come and rebuild Egypt”, and others.
The next day, Egyptian Cairen women and men came to clean up the square, “they came and cleaned up after their revolution,” removing eighteen days’ worth of trash and graffiti.
They did not know they were paving the way for the Muslim Brotherhood and tremendous persecution of Christians. Two years later the Muslim Brotherhood was replaced by President Sisi.
Watch for Part Two and Part Three coming up for loads of culture, history and fun.