There is a certain image that comes to mind when we think of Egypt, and it’s likely it involves the most famous pyramids in the world. Now, as majestic and fascinating as the pyramids are, Egypt is an ancient country full of history, monuments old and new, beautiful natural wonders, and life (and not just the afterlife).
From museums to markets to desert oases to temples to modern architecture, Egypt has a lot more to fill travelers' eyes with wonder, and these are just a few of them!
9 The Egyptian Museum
Established in 1902, the Egyptian Museum is the oldest archeological museum in the Middle East. Not only the home of over 170,000 antiquity treasures in more than 100 exhibit rooms, but the museum is also one of the most important landmarks in Cairo, built with the express desire to stop the theft and exportation of Egyptian artifacts to other countries, often to Europe. It holds artifacts from over 5,000 years of Egyptian history inside its red walls, a must-stop for anyone interested in history.
8 Khan el Khalili Market
The Khan el Khalili market is one of the most fascinating places in Egypt, the most famous street market in Africa and the Middle East. Right at the heart of Cairo, in narrow streets framed by medieval walls and buildings in Mamluk and Islamic architecture the bazaar sprawls for over 900 stalls. Local artisanry, like lambs and embroidery, can be found in Khan el Khalili and is often produced in studios nearby in the district. Fabrics, spices, jewels, clothes, antiques, musical instruments, sweets, street food and more are available, and several traditional cafés and restaurants - like the famous 17th century El Fishwavi, open 24 hours a day.
7 Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel consists of two monumental temples, the Temple of Ramses II and the Temple of Nefertari, with 20 meters high statues of the pharaohs carved into the rock. Colossal statues and well-preserved ancient mosaics line the walls of the inside chamber in what is one of Egypt's most astounding monuments. They were originally built in the 12th century B.C and relocated in the 1960s to prevent them from being flooded by the rising tides of the Nile caused by the construction of the Aswan High Dam.
6 The New Bibliotheca Alexandrina
The New Bibliotheca Alexandrina was developed and built as a commemoration to the famous ancient Library of Alexandria, which was a scientific, research, and educational center of the ancient world.
Rescuing that immense history, bringing it to this century, and doing it justice was a monumental effort, and in 2002, it came true. Today the Bibliotheca Alexandrina is a beautiful, massive library and cultural center, uniting Egyptian tradition and architecture ancient and modern.
The New Bibliotheca Alexandrina can house 500 people in its main reading room, specialized libraries in arts, maps, and rarities. It also houses a conference center, exhibit galleries, and a planetarium.
5 Luxor Temple and the Valley of the Kings
Luxor, known in the ancient world as Thebes, is a city with so much to do and see, (as is expected of one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world!), that could take a guide all to itself. Location of a few of the most popular UNESCO World Heritage Sites in history, in Luxor visitors, can see the monumental Luxor Temple, dating back to 1400 B.C, right before crossing the Nile to see the archeological marvel that is the Necropolis, the massive burial sites where ancient Egyptians were buried, where the impressive excavated royal tombs Valley of the Queens and the Valley of the Kings is located.
4 Karnak Temple
Only a couple of kilometers away from Luxor is the Karnak Temple complex, a city's worth of ruins of ancient temples, chapels, towers, and pylons, built around 2000 B.C. Massive mud-brick pillars and buildings rise all over 20 meters high in this city of ruins, a fascinating place to visit.
3 The Nile
Arguably the most famous river in western history, when visiting Egypt, the Nile can be enjoyed in many ways by travelers! Sailing or cruising through the Nile and watching such amazing structures like ancient temples and their surrounding modern cities pass by is a one-of-a-kind way to experience Egypt. Cruise ships, feluccas (sailboats), and dahabiyas (smaller wooden boats) are often available to take visitors up and down the Nile.
2 Mount Sinai and St. Catherine’s Monastery
The most ancient monastery in the world, St. Catherine’s Monastery was built in the 6th century A.D, and still has most of its structure intact and functioning, including a library that holds antique and rare books and the largest illuminated scriptures collections in the world after the Vatican.
The monastery is located at the foot of Mount Sinai, of biblical fame, where visitors can climb and watch a sunrise unlike any other.
1 Beaches and the Red Sea at Sinai
The mount and monasteries are in the Sinai Peninsula, where marbled, steep mountains and brown sand meet clear waters of the Red Sea. Sinai has many beautiful beaches and beachside accommodations, and activities such as snorkeling and diving are very popular among sea and thrill lovers.