The time the fast is broken begins at 6.29 and slowly gets earlier (by a minute most days) to 5:56. The time fasting is broken, and the iftar (breakfast) begins is when the sun goes down. This is also at the time of the Maghrab, the evening prayer.

 Ramadan Lantern


Ramadan is Cairo is an experience if you want to get closer to the local culture and see how the people live their lives. Changes that happen start with opening hours of sites and attractions that are shortened. You have to take into account the major traffic jam the cripples the city almost everyday between 2 and 5 pm as people are racing to catch breakfast at their homes.

 Many restaurants serve food during the day, especially up-market and hotel ones. Some Fast food outlets work during the day. If you will eat out during breakfast time at sunset, try to make a reservation in advance even in places that don’t require reservations in regular times. Egyptians like to have Ramadan breakfasts out in groups, so places get crowded. You shouldn’t expect also the best of a restaurant during the breakfast hour. It is impossible for any restaurant to serve all its capacity that wants to start eating at the same moment of time with high quality and always arrive early, at least 45 minutes before you would expect to get the first of your orders delivered to your table because orders take longer time to be prepared (again due to the fact that all people come in the same time). So, be more tolerant with service at that time of the day. You will get the best of any restaurant though 2 hours after breakfast. If sunset is at 6, try go for dinner at 8 after all the crowds had left and the place is almost deserted and the whole staff would be doing nothing except serving you. Life comes back at 9 or 10 pm after everybody is done with the evening entertainment on TV and people start invading the streets and cafes and life will keep on going until the first hours of the morning. Cafes will be packed in midweek days until 3 am and yet people will still go to work the next day, don't ask me how.

One tradition that exists only in Egypt is the "Fanous Ramadan" (Ramadan Lantern). the lanterns are lit at sunset to indicate the end of fasting and should be turned off at sunrise, the start of fasting. Traditionaly they are made of thin metal and painted glass, but now there are also plastic lanterns that even play music, China invading the market again.


Ramadan Lanterns

                  Ramadan Lanterns

Belly dancing and night clubs do not run in Ramadan and selling alcohol will be restricted to very few places. Ramadan is also special for some sweets and drinks that you would not find during the rest of the year. don't miss trying Kahk and Ghorayeba (two famous pastries Egyptians eat during that Eid celebrating the end of the fasting period). If you happen to be in Cairo during the last night of Ramadan you will notice how streets will stay alive overnight with people in Cafes and restaurants until 4 and 5 am and shops staying open to at least 2 am. People won't go to sleep until the morning Eid prayers. It would be lots of fun staying at the Islamic Cairo district during that night and enjoying the lively atmosphere there.

For tourists it is no problem to eat and drink during the day, everyone understands that you are not Moslem.  However make sure that you have water will you, as less places (like street kiosks) are open during the day, and some take-aways etc only open in the evenings.


El Hussein in Ramadan


           El Hussein Square in Ramadan