Egypt is home to many of the most important and impressive archaeological monuments in the world. Here, in the valley of Nile developed one of the first and greatest civilizations – Ancient Egypt (3150 – 332 BC), leaving countless larger and smaller monuments. The stunning, colossal monuments of Ancient Egypt never fail to astonish. The heat, sight, and the light of the desert invigorate. The cool, turquoise waters rejuvenate.
A romantic cruise along the world’s longest river dazzles the senses. A first-class getaway resort in the Red Sea Riviera is pure escapism. No place has the magic, mystery, and pleasures of Egypt. Travel to Egypt to discover a world of wonder.
Egypt once ruled an empire from Al-Qahira – Cairo, the City Victorious. The metropolis is packed with soaring minarets and medieval schools and mosques, some of the greatest architecture of medieval Islam. At the same time, Egypt’s native Christians, the Copts, have carried on their traditions that in many respects – such as the church’s liturgical language and the traditional calendar – link back to the time of the pharaohs. Tap into the history in remote desert monasteries and ancient churches.
Beaches & Beyond
That empty beach with nothing but a candlelit cabin, and a teeming coral reef offshore: they’re waiting for you in Egypt. The coast along the Red Sea has a rugged desert beauty above the waterline and a psychedelic vibrancy below – rewarding to explore on a multiday outing to one of the globe’s great dives or on an afternoon’s snorkeling jaunt along a coral wall. There is just as much space and beauty in Egypt’s vast deserts. Whether you’re watching the sunrise between the beautiful shapes of the White Desert or the shimmering horizon from the comfort of a hot spring in Siwa Oasis, Egypt’s landscapes are endlessly fascinating.
The old saying that Egypt is the gift of the Nile still rings true: without the river, there would be no fertile land, no food, no electricity. And although people’s lives are increasingly physically detached from the water, the Nile still exerts a uniquely powerful role. Luckily for visitors, the river is also the perfect place from which to see many of the most spectacular ancient monuments, which is one reason why a Nile cruise remains such a popular way to travel.
Whether you’re watching the sunrise from the lofty heights of Mt Sinai (Gebel Musa) or the shimmering horizon from the comfort of a hot spring in Siwa Oasis, Egypt’s desert landscapes are endlessly fascinating – a good thing, because they make up 95% of the country. In a land where time is measured by dynasties and distance by the setting sun, there are plenty of opportunities to relax into the infinite expanse of sand and sea.
Egypt Landmarks – places you must visit
Pyramids of Giza
The Giza necropolis, situated in the immediate vicinity of the southwestern suburbs of Cairo is home to the most famous ancient Egyptian monuments. The pyramids in Giza were built over the span of three generations – by Khufu, his second reigning son Khafre, and Menkaure. The Great Pyramid of Khufu is the oldest and sole remnant of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Over 2 million blocks of stone were used to construct the pyramid, during a 20 year period concluding around 2560 BC. The pyramid is an awe-inspiring 139 meters (455 feet) high making it the largest pyramid in Egypt, although nearby Khafre’s Pyramid appears to be larger as it is built at a higher elevation.
Although badly ruined, few sites in Egypt are more impressive than Karnak. It is the largest ancient religious site in the world and represents the combined achievement of many generations of Egyptian builders. Most of the work on Karnak was done by the pharaohs of the New Kingdom (1570-1100 BC). The Temple of Karnak actually consists of three main temples, smaller enclosed temples, and several outer temples located about 2.5 kilometers north of Luxor. One of the most famous structures of Karnak is the Hypostyle Hall, a hall area of 5,000 m2 (50,000 sq ft) with 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows.
Valley of the Kings
Located at the Giza Plateau, The Great Sphinx is one of the largest and oldest monuments in the world, but basic facts about it, such as who was the model for the face, when it was built, and by whom, are still debated. It is the largest monolith statue in the world although it is considerably smaller than the Pyramids around it. Despite conflicting evidence and viewpoints over the years, the traditional view held by modern Egyptologists at large remains that the Great Sphinx was built in approximately 2500 BC by the pharaoh Khafre, the supposed builder of the second pyramid at Giza.
The Luxor Temple is located on the east bank of the River Nile in the ancient city of Thebes and was founded in 1400 BC during the New Kingdom. The temple was dedicated to the three Egyptian gods Amun, Mut, and Chons. The ancient temple was the center of the festival of Opet, Thebes’ most important festival. During the annual festival, the statues of the three Gods were escorted to the temple of Luxor along the avenue of sphinxes that connect the 2 temples.
Step Pyramid of Djoser
The Beny Pyramid located at Dahshur was the second pyramid built by pharaoh Sneferu. Mysteriously, the pyramid rises from the desert at an angle of 55 degrees and then suddenly changes to a more gradual angle of 43 degrees. One theory holds that due to the steepness of the original angle the weight to be added above the inner chambers and passageways became too large, forcing the builders to adopt a shallower angle. It is the only pyramid in Egypt of which the outer casing of polished limestone is still largely intact.
Temple of Hatshepsut
- Dahab Blue Hole – South Sinai. Approximately 130 m deep underwater sinkhole. At the depth of 56 m, there are a 26 m long tunnel – The Arch, leading out to the open sea. This unusual natural location has experienced many fatalities, bringing gruesome fame to the site.
- Gebel Elba – Red Sea. 1,435 m tall mountains – mist oasis, the only natural woodland in Egypt. This is a biodiversity hotspot with 458 plant species and numerous animal species. In many locations in the mountains is a dense cover of acacias and shrubs. At least one endemic species of plants – Biscutella Lebens is.
- Kamil Crater – New Valley. Well preserved, less than 5,000 years old impact crater. Width is 44.8 m, depth – 15.8 m. Around the crater still is visible the rayed structure created by the blast.
- Silica Glass Valley – New Valley. On the western side of the Great Sand Sea can be found pieces of pure, transparent silica glass (Libyan Glass) – the only such find in the world. The largest pieces are up to 26 kg heavy. It has been used as a jewel already in Ancient Egypt. Possibly created by the impact of a large meteorite.
- Wadi Al-Hitan – Faiyum. Globally important find of fossils of the extinct suborder of whales – Archaeoceti. These animals marked the change from land-based animals to ocean-going animals. Well, preserved fossils are located in an attractive desert landscape.
- Wadi El Rayan Falls – Faiyum. The largest waterfall in Egypt, a group of cascades on some 6 – 10 m wide river. Total height less than 10 m.
- Wadi Sannur Cave – Red Sea. The most beautiful known cave in Egypt adorned with speleothems. The cave is some 700 m long.
Why I Love Egypt
Is it the way the glorious past casts long shadows over the present? Is it the way the lush Nile Valley gives way, from one footstep to another, to the harshness of the desert? Is it the light in the eye of the person telling me a story in a cafe, who has just burst into laughter? Here are three reasons: the intensity of light, the love of life, the sense of family are three of many, many more.