Egypt is one of the oldest countries in the world, and has one of the longest histories as well. Considered to be a cradle of civilisation, Ancient Egypt witnessed some the earliest development of agriculture, urbanisation, writing, organised religion and central government.
Egypt is home to the great ancient Pharaohs, the Pyramids of Giza, Valley of the Kings, the Egyptian Museum, soon to open the Grand Egyptian Museum, and many more ancient and historical sites and monuments. But not everything is about ancient history; beach lovers can go to the Sinai to soak up the sun, and archaeology fans will have a field day in Luxor.
It is a great place to visit, and you should not miss on the opportunity to travel to Egypt and learn all about ancient Egyptians and their contributions to humanity. Here are some of our favorite places to see on your trip:
The Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza are one of the world’s most ancient and iconic monuments that surprisingly, still stand today. They are the last surviving of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and are on the most recognizable landmarks of the world.
They were built as tombs for the ancient Pharaohs and are guarded by the enigmatic Sphinx, another iconic and historical monument. The Pyramids of Giza is a big complex that awed local residents and travelers over the centuries, and to this day have many archaeologists (and more than a couple of conspiracy theorists) wondering and trying to determine how they were built ages ago.
These pyramids are a beautiful sight and are worthy of admiration in person. It is a definite highlight and must see on your trip to Egypt.
The Grand Egyptian Museum
Located just 2 km from the legendary Pyramids of Giza and just outside of Cairo, the planned Grand Egyptian Museum, also known as the Giza Museum, will pay an homage to ancient Egyptian artefacts, monuments, treasures, and historical items that tell the story of ancient Egypt.
The Grand Egyptian Museum will allow visitors from all over the world to interact and engage with ancient artifacts and items that will take you back to ancient times. It will hold a complete chronological statement over the past 7000 years of history. Although it is not officially open to the public, it is available for private museum tours.
It is a very big complex to be highly flexible and suitable to display permanent and temporary exhibitions that will allow a capacity up to 15,000 visitors each day. The museum has a research center, restoration laboratories, a library, a public square with a great variety of shops, various cafes and restaurants, and a museum adapted for children, one for people with disabilities, an open air museum and parking spaces too. It will be an upgraded version of the current Egyptian museum, located in the city of Cairo.
The Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum of Cairo has one of the best museum collections, a treasure haven of ancient Pharaohs and Egyptians. It houses a wonderful exhibition of ancient artifacts and items with no specific chronological order, which is part of the old school charm of the museum.
You will find the treasures of King Tutankhamen and authentic royal mummies exhibits, but you will also find on every corner an ancient and interesting piece or statue from Egypt. It is open to the public but is able to receive fewer visitors than the planned Grand Egyptian Museum, which is planned to open to the public in 2021.
The Temple of Luxor Karnak and the Valley of the Kings
Located on the banks of the Nile, the town of Luxor in Upper Egypt harbors a wide array of attractions for tourists. It is famous for the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings. It is the power base of the New Kingdom Pharaohs, in ancient Thebes.
In the Valley of the Kings you will find several tombs that belong to Ramses VII, Ramses IV, Ramses IX, Ramses II, and so much more. You have to be prepared to spend the entire day with high temperatures and learning a lot of ancient Egypt and their rulers.
There is also the Temple of Karnak complex, one of the biggest building projects of ancient Egypt. Each Pharaoh added or remodeled buildings here during their reign period, leaving their seal on the most treasured religious sanctuary of the kingdom. Because Karnak was the house of the gods, and their glories were to be worshiped by all.
The Islamic Cairo District
In the city of Cairo, you will find narrow lanes in the Islamic Cairo district, that house mosques, madrassas – that are Islamic schools for learning -, and monuments that date way back to ancient times. You can visit the labyrinth shopping bazaar of Khan el-Khalili, where you will find artisans and coppersmiths in their small workshops, and stalls filled with perfume, ceramics, spice, textiles and more.
Surrounding the Arab market there are several roads, home to a few of the most beautifully preserved architecture of the ancient Islamic empires. There is an abundance of history just waiting for you to explore and know.
Abu Simbel, the Great Temple of Ramses II
Egypt is widely known for its ancient temples and historical buildings, but still Abu Simbel is quite special. It is the great temple of Ramses II, and it is decorated with enormous statues that stand guard outside, and on the inside you will find highly decorated painted walls.
What makes this temple outstanding is that the entire temple was moved from its original location, which was going to disappear under water because of the Aswan dam, in the decade of the 60s thanks to a massive operation led by UNESCO that was completed in four years.
These are just a few of our favorite places to visit in Egypt, a country that offers a great mix of ancient and modern history. Also, if you plan to visit after the first semester of 2021, you will be most likely be able to visit the Grand Egyptian Museum.