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Entertainment & Nightlife in Egypt


As the sun sets, people start spilling onto the streets, congregating in coffee shops and restaurants. Go to any water front - along the Nile in Cairo and Luxor, or the seafronts in Alexandria and Sharm el Sheikh – and you'll find the corniche humming with the chatter of friends cruising arm in arm to catch the breeze. Street vendors selling kebabs, chi-sellers shouldering giant urns and trinket merchants with the latest colourful imports vie for the attentions of passers-by. This is the place to meet the locals, gauge the national mood and share in the jubilations of a local football success.

The chief night-time attractions are undoubtedly the sound and light shows that are held in spectacular fashion in many of the country's archaeological sites. There is nothing quite like coming face-to-face with the spot-lit Sphinx at Giza or watching the entire Temple of Karnak unfold to music at Luxor. The best of these shows is held at the Temple of Ramses II in Abu Simbel.

Sophisticated nightclubs, discos, casinos and restaurants can be found in Cairo, Alexandria and most large towns. The nightlife in Luxor and Aswan often includes barbecues along the Nile or dinner cruises.

Egyptian laws towards alcohol are officially quite liberal compared to most Islamic countries, except for the month of Ramadan when alcohol is strictly forbidden. During Ramadan only holders of foreign passports are allowed to buy alcohol, by Egyptian law. However, the enforcement of this law is by no means consistent. In tourist areas like Luxor, alcohol is sold even during Ramadan, and those who look like foreigners will not be asked to show passports or other documentation.


For the capital of a Muslim country, Cairo is relatively liberal when it comes to the consumption of alcohol. A wide range of bars and dance clubs is available, basically in every major hotel, and some are open 24/7. If you would like to explore the less fancy drinking places in Cairo, Downtown is definitely the place to go. Upscale nightspots are found in and around the Zamalek area.

The new Cairo Opera House is the premier performance space in Cairo. Throughout the year, it hosts musical performances ranging from classical and opera to jazz and Arabic music, performed by both local and international artists. The Cairo Opera Company and the Cairo Symphony put on regular performances during the season. The Balloon Theatre has performances of traditional Egyptian music, and the Gumhuriya Theatre, a smaller venue than the Opera House, often has music performances.

Many popular nightclubs have regular live music performances such as the Cairo Jazz Club, where you can hear just about any variety of Western-influenced tunes including classical music. Many of the city's five star hotels also have live lounge singers, performing either Arabic or Western popular music.

The Cairo Opera House is also the first place to check for dance performances. The Cairo Opera House Ballet has a respectable repertoire and performs roughly from September to May, and the Opera House hosts a variety of foreign dance companies throughout the year ranging from classical ballet to modern and ethnic dance. Locally-choreographed modern dance performances are sometimes staged at the Opera or at the nearby Hanagar, a smaller performance space/art gallery on the Opera House grounds. The Gumhuriya Theatre sometimes hosts foreign dance troupes. The Balloon Theatre features traditional folk dancing troupes.

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