Arts & Entertainment

Walk like an Egyptian to hidden gems

By Rosa Soto

Cairo, Apr 5 (EFE).- When Asmaa Khattab kicked off the Walk Like an Egyptian tour guide initiative eight years ago, her main objective was to recover the Egyptian cultural heritage and guide tourists through the country’s hidden gems. Today, she set a benchmark in the tourism sector.

Her initiative provides something new to foreigners and Egyptian citizens away from the dynamics the traditional travel agencies follow, which focus on the main tourist attractions and leave behind the gems that many people do not know about.

“Tourists came here with a package to see the pyramids, the Egyptian Museum, navigate a section of the Nile, and eat in a pricey tourist restaurant (…) They are not really seeing Egypt, they only see 20% of what the country can offer them,” Khattab tells Efe.

The entrepreneur set up the Walk Like an Egyptian Facebook page in 2012 to comment on monuments and places beyond the usual spots but it was not until 2015 that she started street tours.


“We have countless monuments from Islamic, Coptic and Jewish cultures, as well as all the pharaonic things because the history of Egypt is huge thanks to the diversity of all the communities that have established the country’s identity over the millennia,” she says.

The hidden attractions, common for Egyptians but unknown to tourists, include the path through the City of the Dead, an area known for its tombs, and the walk from Ibn Tulun mosque to Sultan Hassan mosque, passing through the Citadel of Saladin in Islamic Cairo.

Routes through Downtown Cairo with details about the unique architecture of the buildings there and the day-to-day life of Egyptians are also on the agenda.

“These tours are not really for tourists or Egyptians, they are for people in love with history, culture, art, who want to really know the roots of the place and where they are and want to interact with neighbors,” Khattab explains.


The young tour guide acknowledges that “as time passes, the government realizes the importance of caring for and investing in all these places, as well as looking for formulas to boost tourism as an economic engine.”

This type of initiative benefits local services directly.

“Taxi drivers, guides, shops that are on the way (…) They all benefit from this project that makes the gems of Egyptian heritage known,” she points out.

Khattab’s initiative is just one of the many projects that Egyptians are promoting to share their heritage, boost tourism, and restart the economy during the economic crisis currently gripping the country.EFE


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