Luxor was the ancient city of Thebes, the great capital of Upper Egypt during the New Kingdom, and the glorious city of Amun, later to become the god Amun-Ra. The city was regarded in the ancient Egyptian texts as wAs.t (approximate pronunciation: “Waset”), which meant “city of the scepter”, and later in Demotic Egyptian as ta jpt (conventionally pronounced as “tA ipt” and meaning “the shrine/temple”, referring to the jpt-swt, the temple now known by its Arabic name Karnak, meaning “fortified village”), which the ancient Greeks adapted as Thebai and the Romans after them as Thebae. Thebes was also known as “the city of the 100 gates”, sometimes being called “southern Heliopolis” (‘Iunu-shemaa’ in Ancient Egyptian), to distinguish it from the city of Iunu or Heliopolis, the main place of worship for the god Ra in the north. It was also often referred to as niw.t, which simply means “city”, and was one of only three cities in Egypt for which this noun was used (the other two were Memphis and Heliopolis); it was also called niw.t rst, “southern city”, as the southernmost of them.
Aswan is the ancient city of Swenett, later known as Syene, which in antiquity was the frontier town of Ancient Egypt facing the south. Swenett is supposed to have derived its name from an Egyptian goddess with the same name. This goddess later was identified as Eileithyia by the Greeks and Lucina by the Romans during their occupation of Ancient Egypt because of the similar association of their goddesses with childbirth, and of which the import is “the opener”. The ancient name of the city also is said to be derived from the Egyptian symbol for “trade”, or “market”.
Because the Ancient Egyptians oriented themselves toward the origin of the life-giving waters of the Nile in the south, and as Swenett was the southernmost town in the country, Egypt always was conceived to “open” or begin at Swenett. The city stood upon a peninsula on the right (east) bank of the Nile, immediately below (and north of) the first cataract of the flowing waters, which extended to it from Philae. Navigation to the delta was possible from this location without encountering a barrier.
Hurghada was founded in the early 20th century. For many decades it was a small fishing village, but it has grown into a major Red Sea resort as a result of Egyptian and foreign investment that began in the 1980s. Holiday resorts and hotels provide facilities for windsurfing, kitesurfing, yachting, scuba diving and snorkeling. The city is known for its watersports, nightlife and warm weather. Daytime temperatures are around 30 °C (86 °F) most of the year, and during July and August temperatures can reach over 40 °C (104 °F).
Hurghada is a popular holiday destination for Europeans, especially during the winter, and some spend Christmas and New Year there.
Sharm El Sheikh is on a promontory overlooking the Straits of Tiran at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba. Its strategic importance led to its transformation from a fishing village into a major port and naval base for the Egyptian Navy. It was conquered by Israel during the Suez Crisis of 1956 and returned to Egypt in 1957. A United Nations peacekeeping force was stationed there until the 1967 Six-Day War when it was reoccupied by Israel. Sharm El Sheikh remained under Israeli control until the Sinai Peninsula was returned to Egypt in 1982 after the Egypt–Israel peace treaty of 1979. Egypt’s then-president Hosni Mubarak designated Sharm El Sheikh as The City of Peace in 1982 and the Egyptian government began a policy of encouraging the development of the city. Foreign and Egyptian investors contributed to building projects including mosques and churches. The city is now an international tourist destination, and environmental zoning laws limit the height of buildings to avoid obscuring the natural beauty of the surroundings.
The highest point in the park is at El Qess Abu Said at 353 m (1,158 ft) above sea level, and the lowest is at Wadi Hennis at 32 m (105 ft).The park serves as the refuge for various animals, including the endangered Rhim gazelle and the vulnerable Dorcas gazelle, as well as Barbary sheep; jackals; Rüppell’s, red and fennec foxes; and the sand cat.White Desert National Park covers an area of 3,010 km2 (1,160 sq mi). The altitude in the park varies from 32 to 353 m (105 to 1,158 ft) above sea level.