- See also: Ancient Egypt
|“||I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.||”|
Exodus is the second book of the Jewish Torah and of the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. It states that the descendants of Jews who fled a drought in Canaan to find good pasture land in Egypt were enslaved, then liberated after God inflicted ten plagues on the Egyptians and sustained the Jews through 40 years in the Sinai desert on their way to conquering Canaan. The liberation from slavery in Egypt and the Exodus to the "promised land" of Israel are central to Jewish religion and identity and celebrated every year during the 8-day Passover (Hebrew: Pesach) holiday — and to a lesser extent, every other holiday. However, historians and archaeologists have found no strong evidence that there was ever a large-scale enslavement of Jews in Egypt, nor a large-scale exodus of Jews from Egypt to Canaan, which would seem to contradict the Biblical account since the ancient Egyptians were known to be meticulous record keepers and almost certainly would have recorded such a significant event. Regardless, it is in the Book of Exodus that one God is defined as the God of the Jews, and therefore, it is that book that marks the time when the Jewish people stopped being indiscriminately polytheistic and started regarding YHWH as their (only) god and later the only god.
The Exodus contains the founding myth of the Hebrew people, and the Ten Commandments. It is commemorated on every Jewish holiday, but especially the Seder, the feast on the Jewish holiday of Pesach (Passover); the last Seder celebrated by Jesus and his Apostles is recounted in the Gospels as the Last Supper and gives context to the death of Jesus commemorated by Christians on Good Friday and the subsequent Resurrection celebrated on Easter. As the second book of the Old Testament, the Exodus is an essential story in Christianity, featured in countless works of European art, and used as an allegory for later migration routes, such as the Hebraic exile in Babylon, the Crusades, the colonization of the Old West, the Underground Railroad, and the Aliya movement starting in the late 19th century and gathering strength between the two world wars and before and after the Nazi Holocaust in which Jews have been "returning" to Palestine and then current-day Israel.
The Exodus has shaped the world's image of ancient Egypt, and is the source of some misconceptions, such as the idea that Hebrew slaves built the Pyramids of Giza or other great monuments. While much of Egypt's population was made up by slaves, they were not typically commissioned to build monuments, and the Pyramids of Giza were already a thousand years old during the reign of Ramesses.
Almost all countries in this region prefer visas to be paid for in US dollars, and accept other currencies at unfavourable rates if at all.
Egypt: Visas are available to almost all Westerners on arrival for USD $15. This is true even if you arrive by ferry at Aswan, though in this case getting the visa on arrival may cause some delays. Some embassies (e.g. Khartoum) issue advance Egyptian visas in around 24 hours, while others (e.g. Addis Ababa) take weeks for some nationalities.
- Memphis-Mount Sinai (5 days)
- Mount Sinai-Petra (1 day)
- Petra-Tiberias (1 day)
- Tiberias-Jerusalem (2 days)
- 1 Memphis. Ancient capital of Pharaonic Egypt, from which grew Cairo, the modern Egypt's capital and transportation hub, centuries later. There are important sites, such as the Pyramids of Giza, nearby.
- 2 Luxor. Known to posterity for its Hellenic name, Thebes. The capital of the New Kingdom, the Biblical Egypt and the home of the Pharaoh. West of the river is the Valley of the Kings.
- 3 Mount Sinai. A sacred site for Jews, Christians and Muslims with a monastery complex.
- 4 Petra. Home of the Edomite in Mosaic times, later capital of the Nabataean kingdom.
- 5 Tiberias. At the Sea of Galilee. First mentioned in the Book of Joshua.
- 6 Jerusalem. The traditional Jewish capital and sacred for Christians and Muslims as well.
- Pyramids of Giza (1 day)
- Sea of Galilee (1 day)
- Jordan Valley (1 day)
- Bethlehem (1 day)
- Masada and Qumran (1 day)
The political situation in Egypt remains unpredictable but has mostly been peaceful since the early 2011 revolution.
In general, only Israel has potable tap water.