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CICLing 2015
Cultural Program

Detailed schedule of the tours is available.

Pre- or Post-conference Tours

Pre-conference tours: Aswan, Luxor; post-conf Nile Cruise. Arrive several days earlier or leave same days later, and see a lot more of Egypt in company of fellow computational linguists, participants of CICLing. This is an excellent opportunity of makes friends and contacts for future collaboration and study. Note: these tours are for a separate fee. Limited number of places; please contact them ASAP (preferably by March 26) to book or express interest.

If you want to team up with other participants to visit a specific place, or just to join others who do know what to visit, please contact us, and we will put you in contact with others, or will suggest a route, and also will put you in contact with a tour agency.

The conference follows the Easter vacations (or, for some universities, is held during vacations), which is a great opportunity to discover more of Egypt than it is feasible within the conference schedule.

We can probably organize other pre-/post-conference tours, Luxor and Aswan / Abu-Simbel being examples of excellent destinations; there are many others. These tours are not part of the conference program -- we will just help people to self-organize into groups to visit a specific place, and help such a group to contact a tour agency.

About Cairo

Cairo is the capital of Egypt and is the largest City in the Middle East. The zone dubbed as “Greater Cairo” encompasses land that goes back to ancient Egyptian civilization, including Giza and Fustat. Sites across Cairo have monuments from different historical eras, making it a unique hub for rich and diverse cultures.

Climate: Cairo tends to be rather hot during the time of the conference, with temperature around 22°C (70°F), which can reach 28°C (83°F).

Sites we plan to visit during the conference

All information in this section is tentative. We still may found better options for tours.

Please contact us if you know another place worth (and feasible) to visit, or if you have any suggestions about the cultural program.

We will have three full-day tours: Wednesday 15, Friday 17, and Tuesday 20.

Listed below are some of the sites we expect to visit. The distribution of the tours by specific dates will be announced later.

The Giza Plateau (Pyramids and Sphinx)

Three large pyramids populate the Giza plateau, the largest of which is the Cheops pyramid (Khufu pyramid) also known as the Great pyramid of Giza. This pyramid was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world (and the only remaining one) and till this day is one of the most massive human-built structures in the world.

Till this day, many theories abound as to how the pyramids could have been built. Blocks from which the Great pyramid was built weighed an average of 2.5 tons. More than  2,300,000 of these were used to build the Great pyramid. How these could have been cut, transported, lifted, and aligned, has been subject to many different theories. In addition, the Great Pyramid is the most accurately aligned structure in existence and faces true north with only 3/60th of a degree of error. The position of the North Pole moves over time and the pyramid was probably exactly aligned at one time. See more mathematical and architecturally amazing facts about the pyramids.

The Sphinx, a large statue of a mystical creature having the body of a lion and the head of the a human, also lies on the Giza plateau and is often photographed with the other pyramids as a backdrop. The Sphinx of Giza is the largest monolith statue in the world.

Within the Giza plateau, we will also visit the Sun or Solar boat, which was only rather recently discovered, excavated, and reconstructed. In general, a Sun boat is believed to be the vessel that transports the deceased to the afterlife. This particular boat we will see is believed to belong to king Cheops (Khufu).

The Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum is home to the largest collection of  Pharaonic or ancient Egyptian relics and pieces. Of all collections that it houses, the Tutankhamen is perhaps the most famous, as it contains many of the treasures recovered from his tomb.

Coptic Cairo (Old Cairo)

At one point in history, Egypt was predominantly Christian. The Coptic quarter in Cairo, which is part of Old Cairo, encompasses many ancient churches, as well as a Coptic museum (Copts are Christians). We will visit one of the churches and examine the unique architectural elements of Egyptian churches.

Mosque of Sultan Hassan  

We will visit the Mosque of Sultan Hassan, located near the Citadel as a representative of Islamic architecture that prevailed in Egypt for many years. Through this visit you will get to observe the components of Islamic architecture and their symbolism.

The Ghory Dome


The Ghory dome, located in the heart of Old Cairo, has been recently renovated and is used as a creative hub for spreading the message of peace and tolerance. Tentative: we will go there to listen to band called “Sama3” which combines Muslim Sufi music with Christian choir music.

Fayoum Oasis

The Fayoum Oasis is located less than two hours away from where we will be stationed. On our way to the oasis, we will see rural side of Egypt. When we get there, you will get the chance to see current day rural handicrafts. From there, we will proceed to visit the Valley of the whales (Wadi Al-Hitan), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The valley has hundreds of well-preserved fossils, some of which include the earliest forms of whales. Tentative: after visiting this site, we will head into the desert for yet another flavor of Egypt, in the form of a desert Safari. During the Safari, we will have lunch, and the more adventurous members of our party will get to do sand boarding.

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