The stadiums and their cities
AS THE EGYPTIAN 2010 World Cup bid committee prepares for the FIFA delegation's arrival in the last week of January, the frenzy of meetings and announcements continues. This week came the final announcement of the 10 hosting stadiums, and the youth and sports minister's reiteration of his commitment to the bid.
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Anticlockwise from top: The Giza plateau; the ancient city of Alexandria; the bustling hub of export, Port Said; Ismailia, the city surrounded by water; diving among the world's richest coral reefs in the warm waters of the Red Sea; the Hurghada stadium; Ismailia Stadium; Suez Stadium; Port Said Stadium; Arab Contractors Stadium; Giza Stadium
Before a gathering of media and press representatives from around the country, Minister Alieddin Hilal pledged $1.525 billion for preparations if the bid to stage the 2010 World Cup succeeds.
The pledge was coupled with the announcement of the 10 stadiums -- on which construction and renovation work is already underway.
"We are committed to upgrading and completing the construction of these stadiums regardless of whether or not we win the bid," the minister told the press. "This is about doing something for the country and our people, bettering the stadiums, not impressing a delegation."
The minister emphasised Egypt's football history, its incomparably safe and strategic location, and the depth of both its culture and history.
"And of course the Egyptian passion for the game cannot be compared to any other nation," the bid committee announced. "Football is in our blood."
The FIFA delegation has already visited three of the five bidding African nations.
The other nations bidding are South Africa, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco. South Africa, pipped at the post by Germany for the 2006 competition, has been tipped as favourites this time round. The decision will be made in May.
6th October City, Giza
THE GIZA Governorate hosts on its plateau one of the seven wonders of the world; the Great Pyramids. Not far from this historic richness, the nation's modernity converges -- the nearby Sixth of October City housing the biggest media free zone in the Middle East with Egypt's three million square metre Media Production City home to hotels, entertainment facilities, and global media studios. Giza population: 8,400,000
Status: New Stadium
Access: Corridor form Cairo-Fayoum Road
30kms (45 min) from Cairo International Airport
10kms (20 min) from town centre
THE HUSTLE and bustle of Cairo has long captivated visitors. Merging the modernity of a cosmopolitan city, with the wonders of its ancient heritage, Cairo is home not only to the Egyptian Museum, but to the country's Coptic and Islamic cities, a 24-hour downtown dazzle, cinema complexes, theatres, the Cairo Opera House, ancient bazaars and modern shopping malls. Cairo population: 7,388,000.
Cairo International Stadium
Access: Salah Salem Street
8kms (20 min) from Cairo International Airport
14kms (30min) from town centre
Arab Contractors Stadium
Access: Al-Nasr Road
10kms (25min) from Cairo International Airport
12kms (30min) from town centre
THE COUNTRY'S second largest city, Alexandria is a cultural and intellectual hub. Boasting the Bibliotheca Alexandrina and Egypt's biggest port, the ancient city famed for Pompey's Pillar and the Graeco-Roman Museum was the source of inspiration for both Alexander the Great and Greek poet Cavafy. Alexandria is linked to Cairo by two major highways, a railroad line and daily flights. It is one of the most popular Middle East summer beach resorts. Alexandria population: 3,632,000.
Borg Al-Arab Stadium
Status: Under construction (completion date: 2006)
Access: Cairo-Alex Desert Road
Borg Al-Arab Road
10kms (20 min) to Borg Al-Arab Airport
15km (20min) from Alexandria town centre
Three hour drive/train ride from Cairo/half an hour by plane
HOME of the historic Suez Canal, Ismailia is surrounded by water -- Lake Timsah, the Bitter Lake, and the Canal. Aside from its scenic setting of water and greenery, the De Lesseps Museum and Monument of the Unkown Soldier draw much attention.
Ismailia population: 808,000.
Suez Canal Authority Stadium
Access: Street No. 6
120km (90min) to Cairo International Airport
13km (20min) to Ismailia town centre
Status: New Stadium
Access: 120km (90min) from Cairo International Airport
13km (20 min) from town centre
WITH A VIEW of the Asian coastline, the city is an important and busy harbour for the export of Egypt's internationally renown cotton and rice. Port Said is home to the Military Museum, the Historical Museum, and the statue of Ferdinand de Lesseps. Port Said population: 515,000.
Port Said Stadium
Status: New stadium
Access: New Olympic City Zone
10km (20min) from Al-Gamil Airport
5km (15min) to Port Said town centre
LYING at the southern entrance of the Suez Canal, the city of Suez has been a commercial port since the seventh century. Situated near the scenic Ataga Hills, the city offers a captivating view of Sinai and the Red Sea. Suez is known for its dry climate and beautiful beaches -- including the nearby popular resort of Ain Sokhna -- known for its hot mountain springs. Suez population: 461,000.
Access: Al-Galaa Street
120km (90min) from Cairo International Airport
5km (10min) Suez town centre
FOUNDED in the early 20th century as a small fishing village, Hurghada has become one of Egypt's foremost tourist resorts -- attracting divers, beach-goers, and water sports fanatics from around the world. The warm waters of the Red Sea make Hurghada's coral reefs among the finest in the world, and the luxurious hotels developed in recent years offer divers an engaging nightlife too.
Hurghada International Stadium
Status: On drawing board.