What can I bring from Egypt
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The question "what to bring from Egypt?" excites many tourists. Egypt has long been the most popular holiday resort in Russia, and Egyptian souvenirs and gifts have not surprised anyone. However, if you want, you can bring something unusual, especially if you arm yourself with knowledge about Egyptian gods and ancient symbols, know the ripening seasons of different fruits in Egypt and have at least a basic idea of local spices.
Let's start with the fact that it is forbidden to export from Egypt
From Egypt it is forbidden to export the national currency - Egyptian pounds . A coin worth 1 pound is very beautiful with a picture of a golden mask from the tomb of Tutankhamun . This mask can now be seen in the Cairo Museum . It was this coin that became a popular souvenir. Despite the ban, tourists actively export such coins, simply putting them in their luggage.
The second object forbidden for transportation is coral. Live corals should not be taken with you, and it's not just a ban. Once you tear off the coral from the reef, it dies and begins to decompose actively in the air. The smell is awful.
You can try even during the rest to pull the coral out of the sea, put it in your room and see what happens. We assure that the desire to try to take a coral into an airplane will be lost forever.
In Egypt, there is a ban on the export of any "living creature". This applies not only to corals, but also fish, seahorses, lizards, violin crabs from Ras Mohammed Park and lovely little turtles that local traders sell to tourists.
Attempt to export coral from Egypt is punishable by a fine of $ 1000. Unfortunately, there were cases when our tourists were caught with corals and detained, not allowing them to board the plane, before paying a fine.
We strongly recommend not taking any chances. If for some reason you really need corals, they are easier to grow at home in the aquarium. This is not a joke, in specialized stores in Russia, everything you need to grow corals at home is sold.
The most popular gifts and souvenirs
The first thing tourists bring, of course, papyrus. In ancient times, paper was not yet, and the whole ancient world used an analogue of paper, which was called papyrus.
The technology of making papyrus is very simple. We need to take the stalk of the plant papyrus (a relative of our sedge), cut into small strips, split into two layers, the first vertically, the second horizontally, put under pressure and dry in the sun.
If you find a plant papyrus, then you can make papyrus yourself. But to meet this plant in our days is difficult, free land in the Nile delta, where it could grow, no longer exists. It is grown especially for the production of souvenirs in small quantities.
Most of what is sold in souvenir shops, this is not real papyrus, but fakes, which are made from almost any materials, just adding glue and dye. To distinguish a fake from the original is difficult, there is an opinion that fakes are necessarily fragile, but a real papyrus is elastic. But we saw handicrafts, which are not distinguishable by this feature, the technologies are moving forward.
Think for yourself, what is the fate of the papyrus after it reaches your home? We do not think that someone will actually write on it, especially given that they are already selling with inscriptions and drawings. In the best case, he will hang on the wall or lie on the sideboard, where he will simply be looked at. What difference does it make whether he is real or not?
Therefore, take cheap, but beautiful, and spend a little money, and doubts will not torment. If you are fundamentally important to buy real papyrus, then buy it in specialized stores, there you will even be given a certificate.
Figures of the Egyptian gods
Figures depicting the gods of ancient Egypt are very popular with tourists. In souvenir shops you can find such statuettes of different sizes - from 10 to 50 centimeters, from different materials - wood, stone, plastic and even ivory. In the Egyptian pantheon there were more than a hundred gods, there are plenty to choose from.
God Anubis (on the left in the picture) was portrayed as a man with a jackal's head. He escorted people to the realm of the dead, and also was the patron of poisons and medicines. Egyptians in ancient times realized that some substances can be both a medicine and a poison, a question only in a dose.
God of the Mountains (on the right in the picture) was portrayed by a man with a falcon's head. He was the patron of the power of the pharaohs. Not for nothing did the rulers of Egypt from the Ptolemaic dynasty build the grandiose temples of Kom Ombo and Edfu , because they were Greeks by origin, they were afraid for their power.
God Osiris (in the center in the picture) was the king of the afterlife. He taught people the art of cultivating the land. During the supreme court of the mortal soul, he played the role of chief judge.
Figures of these three gods are the most popular among tourists. If you are preparing a gift to the leader, then choose Horus. For doctors and pharmacists, Anubis is recommended. Law enforcement and judicial officials will be approached by Osiris.
If you need to buy a souvenir for a representative of the intellectual profession, then God will approach the one who was portrayed as a man with an ibis head (a bird with a long beak). This god was the embodiment of wisdom, he taught people to read and write.
Scarab beetle figurines
The scarab in ancient Egypt was identified with the sun, as this insect rolls dung balls, as if repeating the path of the sun. God Atum, the creator of all things, was sometimes depicted in the form of a scarab. He is dedicated to a large statue in the Karnak temple , with which tourists like to be photographed during the excursion.
Amulets in the form of a scarab were popular in ancient Egypt. In the tombs often find such amulets or simply figures of a scarab. In the photo on the right is just such an amulet from the tomb in Saqqara in the south of Cairo.
Despite the abundance of scarabs found in the tombs, historians still argue about what cult role these beetles played and what place they occupied in the religious system. And it is not exactly established what effect the amulets should have in the form of a scarab, nowhere in the texts is it said.
Merchants of souvenirs tell that it is necessary to buy a scarab standing on legs - it brings good luck. And sitting on the belly of a scarab is a funerary object, and one can not buy it. This is also a belief, not backed up by some archaeological finds or ancient written sources.
There is a written testimony that one Roman soldier killed the cat when he drove the cart. The Egyptian stabbed him with a knife, although he understood that the Romans would kill him. So Egyptians honored this animal.
The cat is the keeper of the house, coziness and well-being. Often it is depicted with a snake, which surprises many tourists. In fact, cats hunt and eat snakes, this is not surprising. Of course, our cats do not hunt for snakes due to a small population of the latter, but in Egypt snakes enter the cat's diet.
There is an opinion that a cat with a snake is a funerary symbol, but the source of this information is not clear, as in the case of a scarab. A cat with a snake, busy destroying the danger to man, is more like a symbol of well-being than a symbol of death.
"Jericho Rose" or "Kaf Mariam" is an amazing example of how living organisms adapt to any conditions of existence. This plant is well known to all readers, it is called "roll-field". It withers and waits until it finds itself in favorable conditions, and in the presence of water it turns green and blossoms.
In each large hotel there is a store with a wide range of aromatic oils. The most popular flavors are sandalwood, menthol and aloe. A feature of natural oils is that they do not leave stains on clothes. They can be used as perfume or simply put home for a good smell.
Some oils are considered medicinal. Of course, about menthol oil will not argue, it is good "pierces the nose" for colds, menthol is a good antiseptic. The "magic" healing properties of the remaining oils are rather doubtful.
Especially with such gifts you need to be allergic, little if any reaction can happen.
Gold and precious stones
We categorically do not recommend buying in the resort countries precious stones, gold and other precious metals. Think for yourself - you will fly to your homeland and you will not be able to return back to exchange low-quality or counterfeit goods.
A tourist is an ideal target for sellers of fakes, and forgeries of jewelry in the first place. It is better to buy jewelry at home, because here they will give a check, and the product will have an official stamp.
Especially fruit is interesting to bring in the winter, when in Russian supermarkets they are very expensive. In winter, strawberries, guava, dates, and pomegranates are ripening in Egypt. In May, you can try watermelons, melons and peaches.
If you read the reviews of tourists, you can find many complaints that Egyptian fruit is tasteless. This is often true, but now we will not dwell on this. Read our article " How not to poison yourself in Egypt, " there we explained in detail the reason for this state of affairs.
We remind you that, according to Russian law, the import of fresh fruits and vegetables to Russia is prohibited. Theoretically, our customs can stop you and confiscate the fruit, although such cases were not in our memory.
About the remaining possible gifts we will tell briefly:
- Hibiscus tea. The larger the petals, the better and more expensive.
- Cartouche is an amulet in the shape of an oval, on which you will write your name on ancient hieroglyphs. It's unclear where the chasers know how your name sounds, the ancient language has not been spoken for a long time.
- Hookah. A good acquisition, given the difference in price between us and in Egypt.
- Porcelain. A good purchase, the main thing is that this was not an odd job of the famous Egyptian artisan Majdin Chainov (his creations are usually signed with the phrase "made in China").
- Bottles with sand patterns. A good souvenir, the main thing is to pack it well in luggage, often tourists bring them chopped.
- Cotton in Egypt is excellent, for its cultivation there are ideal conditions. But be careful, the famous Egyptian weaver Maidin Chainov is not slumbering.
- Spices. A good acquisition, it's a pity that many of them to Russians are not very clear.
Good shopping in Egypt, and read our helpful articles about this country ( links below ).