Egypt ~Home to the Famous Nile River and the Ancient Giza Pyramids~

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Egypt ~Home to the Famous Nile River and the Ancient Giza Pyramids~:table of contents

This article will cover some favorite tourist destinations in Egypt.Egypt which is known officially as the Arab Republic of Egypt and is located at the northeast corner of Africa. Egypt is famous for some of the world’s most famous monuments such as the Giza pyramids, the ancient temples of Luxor and the Great Sphinx which date back to thousands of years. Egypt is also famous for its ancient civilization which includes its temples, the hieroglyphs, and mummies.

However, a greater focus on Egypt is on its tourist attractions and some top list destinations to visit when you are planning a trip there. Most of Egypt’s great monuments are located along the Nile. Some of the extra activities one may indulge in aside from sightseeing ancient monuments including diving and snorkeling along the Red Sea coast, a camel trip around mount Sinai and tours around the many fascinating remote areas such as the Coptic monasteries of the Eastern Desert.

1. Great Pyramids of Giza (Giza)

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Thousands of photographs of the Pyramids of Giza flood the internet, however, regardless of how beautiful they look on screen or print, nothing beats getting up-close-and-personal with these ancient monuments. They boast to be Egypt's most famed and feted structures. These ancient tombs of kings have wowed spectators for centuries especially the fact that they are guarded by the serene Sphinx.

If you do choose to visit the Pyramids of Giza it is advisable to choose the smaller, cheaper one. This is because there isn't much difference with the larger ones. In addition to this, there is a gallery room which you can view to have a glimpse of the whole site. Hawkers can be rather annoying as they pull tourists to purchase their goods, it is best to purchase your items post visiting.

The best time to visit the area is during the months between May and October as the weather is favorable and if off-peak tourist season. No trip to Egypt is considered complete without taking a trip to the pyramids of Giza.

2. Valley of the Kings (Luxor)

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For more than 100 years, The Valley of the Kings has captured the imaginations of travelers. Since Howard Carter opened up King Tut's tomb to reveal the treasures of the child king, many people have shown remarkable interest in the site. The tombs are currently West Bank's greatest and most popular attraction.

Photographs are not allowed in the area.Avoid getting your devices confiscated and charged hefty fees. It is also advisable to carry some water as the place only one water selling point at the entrance which is somewhat expensive.

As tombs can be swelteringly hot, especially deep in the summer months, it is best to visit the Valley of the Kings during the late autumn, winter and early spring months.However, the order in which the tombs are visited varies in regards to the waiting time involved.In order to help preserve the wall paintings from degradation from the heat humidity caused by so many visitors, the tombs are opened and closed in a rotation.

3. Luxor Temple (Luxor)

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Luxor was an important religious and political center since it was part of the ancient city of Thebes, which was the capital of Egypt. The Temple of Luxor is a complex located near the eastern banks of the Nile and was dedicated to the veneration of Amon.

The temple has been continuously used as a place of worship till date.The temple’s hypostyle hall was converted into a Christian church during the Christian era remnants of a Coptic church could be seen towards the western side of the temple.

The place is really magical, as soon as you step into the temple you can feel that it is a special place. You may want to leave the other tourists and wander around the back of the walls if you would like to see more. There are some great drawings and paintings.

Also if you look towards the ground in the corner of the main temple, you will see an ancient game drawn on the cobbles that the workmen used to play while building the temple.It is a hidden gem as most tourists don't know about this but it is definitely worth a look.

Stay hydrated by taking plenty of water with you as it gets very, very hot and also wear comfortable shoes. This is one of the favorite places for travelers in Luxor, you may also do an evening visit if you can as the darkness adds a bit more mystery. A visit to Luxor Temple will cost you about 60LE.

4. Abu Simbel (Aswan)

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This site is located south of Aswan Dam, along Lake Nasser’s shore and is the second most famous landmark in Egypt. These temples are the largest sculptures that survive from the pharaonic era due to the four statues guarding the doorway to the larger of the Abu Simbel. Swiss explorer John Lewis Burckhardt rediscovered the Abu Simbel in 1813. The temples had long been forgotten because they had submerged in the sands of the desert covering all but the tops of the heads of the huge statues.

Six colossal statuses can be found on the temple’s facade.The larger temple is aligned with the sun so that twice a year the sun shines into its deepest recesses to illuminate a statue of Ramesses and the gods the temple is dedicated to. Every year on February 22nd and October 22nd , The Abu Simbel Sun Festival takes place making it an ideal time to visit the site.

Tourists may opt for a drive south of Aswan but most arrive by plane. There are only two flights a day each taking 30 minutes. The flights are timed giving tourists about 2 hours to visit the temples.

Another adventurous way of visiting the Abu Simbel is by joining a Lake Nasser Cruise. The cruise ship usually docks right in front of the temples for passengers to have a chance of seeing the temples by moonlight and at sunrise. A morning visit would be ideal compared to an afternoon tour.

5. Philae temple (Aswan)

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The Temples of Philae are located 12 kilometers south of Aswan. It is also at times referred to as the temple of Isis at Philae as it was an ancient pilgrimage center for the cult of goddess Isis, this intrigued travelers with its power for centuries. The temples were relocated to the island of Agilika as the building of the High Dam in Aswan caused them to submerge. Sanctuaries such as Pharaoh’s Bed and several shrines can be found at the temple.

Early morning, soon after the site has opened is the best time to visit Philae Temple. This is to avoid human traffic from people visiting Philae as part of an Abu Simbel day trip during their return leg of the journey. This suggests that the period from about midday until 2 pm is its busiest.

Sunscreen plays a vital role because of the scorching sun here in Upper Egypt as it can be brutal. Even in calm hours such as the early morning or nearing sunset.

There is a regular sound & light show at Philae with presentations in various multilingual such as English, French, German, and Spanish. This happens during the night. Visiting the temple complex at night while it's lit up adds a completely different feel to your experience

Getting to the temple is easy, just off the Low Dam, you walk through souvenir shops to a pier where ferry boats are lined up to take you to -and back from- Philae Temple.It takes about 10 - 15 minutes boat ride to Philae

6. Cairo Tower (Cairo)

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At a height of 600 feet, it ranks as the world’s fourth tallest tower and is about 45 meters taller than the Great Pyramid at Giza.Due to its great height, his tower offers beautiful panoramic views of the entire city and monuments. One of the best views is from the Cairo tower located on Gezira Island just north of the Museum of Modern Art.

Fancy some beautiful picture memories? One has to pay to take photos from the tower and video camera. The Cairo Tower is open every day from 9:00 in the morning until 1:00 the next morning.Entry fee for a tourist is 150 EGP.

If you get to Cairo, don’t forget to visit Cairo tower for an awesome 360 degrees view. You can also have a meal at the rotating restaurant while watching the perfect view.

7. Egyptian Museum (Cairo)

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The Egyptian Museum is somewhat famous because it houses more than 120,000 items on display being the world’s largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts.It also features the royal Mummy room, which houses an additional eleven Pharaonic dignitaries, the famous Tutankhamun collection with its beautiful gold death mask and sarcophagus.

It is located in downtown Cairo on the northern side of Midan Tahrir. A ticket guaranteeing you museum entry will cost you EGP 75. Its exterior color is rather catchy with an odd faded pink color.

A walk around the museum feels like an adventure through time. The museum is really huge and one may need a whole day to get through each section, however, one con is the lack of adequate places to sit when you are tired standing on your feet.But not to worry, you will not notice this as there is so much to distract your mind.

Other highlights that may fascinate you include the mummies and golden treasures of the boy-king Tut Ankhamun. An extra ticket is needed for this costing you EGP 100

8. Mosque of Muhammad Ali (Cairo)

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As you visit Cairo, you will easily identify the Mohamed Ali Mosque due to its prominent features: its dome rises up to 52 meters high and two east side minarets reach not less than 84 meters. The complex consists of, the open courtyard to the western wing and the mosque on its eastern wing.

It is also nicknamed the ‘Alabaster Mosque as its interior and exterior walls are amazingly coated with alabaster to the height of 11 meters. The Citadel of Salah el-Din in Cairo is crowned by The Mohammed Ali Mosque. It was built between 1830 and 1848 upon Mohamed Ali Pasha’s request by the architect Yousef Bushnak. The Mosque of Muhammad Ali is considered as the most popular Islamic mosque among tourists due to its grandeur and its location at the Citadel.

The place is considered sacred hence footwear can’t be worn inside the mosque, this means you can either hold it in your hands or wrap a plastic bag around it and then walk. A headscarf is also needed for the women.

The best period to visit is from October until April. The entrance fee to the mosque is around 60LE.

9. White desert (Farafra)

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Egypt's most unique natural wonder is the White Desert.A snowy wonderland in the middle of the arid sand has been created by the surreally shaped chalk mountains. One's experience of the White Desert is beyond ecstatic. No words or pictures can fully capture the experience. The white boulders and iceberg-like pinnacles make the landmarks look like something from a science fiction movie.

Remember to carry hiking shoes as they are more comfortable for the terrain.

The scene is great for milky way photography and star gazing. If you choose to camp, try while the moon is full as you will be amazed by the moonlight reflections over the white rocks. The scenery offers a different feel from the usual sandy deserts and may seem like an ideal place to visit for enthusiast of nature and science or, anybody who's had their fill of temples and tombs.

10. Karnak temple (Luxor)

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The Karnak temple is the largest Temple in the world. It is also one of the unique landmarks of Luxor in Egypt! A group of Temples such as the Great Temple of Amon Ra, The Temple of the God Osiris and The Temple of Khonso make up The complex. The complex is also surrounded by a 20m high mudbrick wall.

Consecutive kings liked to be differentiated from their predecessors hence tried to make their temples most magnificent. Hence trying to outshine each other. The evidence is seen in the Karnak temples’ evolution of architecture across ancient Egypt as they ruled in different eras.

The Karnak features a massive open air with various sections inside. It is wise to seek the company of a private tour guide which helps in understanding history so as to avoid cluelessly gazing at the wall and the other remains in the temple with no idea of what is going on. The quality of the carvings on the walls is incredible, accompanied by the large blocks is incredible. If you plan to visit or already in Hurghada, make the trip across to see this, you won't be disappointed!

As always take plenty of water with you as finding a shade can be difficult. The entrance fee required is 80LE.

◎ Closing

Egypt is not short on history, with monuments and museums full of information from early civilization, to religion and evolution of Egyptian culture. If you are one who enjoys history, some mystery, architecture, or love to learn new cultures and has a lust for adventure, Egypt guarantees a very long and fun trip!