The land that gave birth to the first great civilisation needs little introduction. The pyramids, the minarets, the Nile – the scope of Egypt is magnificent. Visitors are surprised to discover that those legendary pyramids are merely the tip of the archaeological iceberg.
Egypt is a country situated mainly within North Africa, with its Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia, making it a transcontinental state. Covering an area of about 1,010,000 square kilometers (390,000 sq mi), Egypt is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, the Gaza Strip and Israel to the northeast, the Red Sea to the east, Sudan to the south and Libya to the west.
Egypt is full of fascinating people, cultures and history, and one of the most popular destinations in northern Africa.
While many head to the Sinai Peninsula to enjoy the “Red Sea Riviera”, just as many visit the county to take in the historical sites. These form the top attractions in Egypt, and are among the most famous sites in the entire world.
Home to the famous Biblical location of Mt. Sinai, the Sinai Peninsula in eastern Egypt also provides visitors with access to some of the oldest monasteries, most stunning deserts and canyons (wadis), remarkable diving and resorts, and many other vacation or holiday opportunities. It is a diverse region full of history and beauty.
The resorts of the Red Sea have plenty for tourists, from laid-back former fishing villages to bustling towns with a range of adventure sports. Sharm El Sheikh on the Sinai Peninsula remains the resort of choice for those seeking some winter sun……The best of the Red Sea Riviera.
Of course no list of the top five attractions in Egypt would be complete without the great Pyramids of Giza.
The Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu or the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and largest of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis bordering what is now El Giza, Egypt. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one to remain largely intact……Great Pyramid of Giza.
Several generations of Egyptian royalty constructed their great burial shrines on the plains outside of Cairo, and in addition to the massive stone pyramids, the area houses hundreds of “mastaba” structures that served as the final resting places for the relations and important court servants of the ancient Pharaohs. The location is also the home of the famous Sphinx.
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo contains the world’s most extensive collection of pharaonic antiquities; no visit to Egypt is complete without a trip through its galleries. The original collection was established in the late 19th century under Auguste Mariette and housed in Boulaq.
To see the actual and original homes of many of the treasures contained within the Cairo Museum, visitors must head up the Nile and make a visit to the Valley of the Kings.
The burial location for most of the pharaohs of the “New Kingdom”, the Valley of the Kings is one of the most heavily visited attractions in Egypt.
The Valley of the Kings is where many of the famous Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt were buried. Ravaged by tomb robbers the most famous of all the tombs was that of King Tut – Tutankhamun. The Valley of the Kings is a necropolis which is defined as a large cemetery or burial place near the sites of the centers of ancient civilizations.
Luckier tourists can enter the tomb of Tutankhamun or walk along the beautiful temple belonging to Queen Hatshepsut, among many other sites.
Heading back towards the river brings a visitor to yet another of the remarkably popular attractions in Egypt, and that is the Temple complex at Luxor. Here the historic capital of both the Middle and New Kingdom pharaohs can still be seen.
Luxor Temple is huge in scale — it once housed a village within its walls. It has several pylons (monumental gateways) that are some 70 yards long. The first pylon is over 70 feet high, fronted by massive statues and several obelisks.
The site is divided by the Nile and consists of the East Bank sites of Luxor Temple and the Temple of Karnak. On the West Bank, visitors can take in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens as well.
The temple of Karnak was known as Ipet-isut (Most select of places) by the ancient Egyptians. It is a city of temples built over 2000 years and dedicated to the Theben triad of Amun, Mut and Khonsu.
Finally among the top five attractions in Egypt is the site known as Abu Simbel. Both a historic site and tiny village, it was saved from destruction after the Aswan Dam began flooding Lake Nasser in the 1960s.
In 1257 BCE, Pharaoh Ramses II (1279-13 BCE) had two temples carved out of solid rock at a site on the west bank of the Nile south of Aswan in the land of Nubia and known today as Abu Simbel.
It is home to beautiful and glorious temples which were relocated to higher ground and include the Great Temple of Ramesses II, which is one of the most well recognized attractions in Egypt.
Egypt is one of the most modern nations in the Middle East, but also offers access to a wealth of human history and culture.
The Greek historian Herodotus observed that Egypt was the gift of the Nile and although it might now be a cliché, it also happens to be true. Ancient Egyptians called it simply iteru, the river. Without the Nile, Egypt as we know it would not exist.
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