Born in the tenth millennium BC, Egypt is one of the first nation states in the world. Ancient Egypt gave the world some of the first advancements in writing, agriculture, urbanisation, organized religion and central government. Geographically characterized by large areas of desert, including both the Sahara and Libyan deserts, Egypt is typically hot, sunny and dry. Egypt has a rich cultural history that makes it a country to put on your “must-see” list. Below is a list of 10 sights to see.
1. Giza Necropolis
It’s difficult to picture Egypt without visualizing the landscape of the Pyramids of Giza. The last surviving member of the Seven Wonders of the World, each of the Pyramids is a tomb for a former Pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.
2. The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, more commonly know as the Egyptian Museum, is located in Cairo and contains a large catalog of more than 120,000 ancient Egyptian artifacts. The collection includes King Tutankhamen’s socks, underwear and his solid gold death mask.
3. Siwa Oasis
The Siwa Oasis, located in the Libyan Desert, is centered around the ruins of a large mud-brick citadel from the 13th century. Today the Siwa Oasis is inhabited by the Berber people, who count tourism as a vital source of income.
4. Abu Simbel
Built in the 13th century, Abu Simbel is the archeological site of two temples carved out of the mountainside in honor of the ruler of the time, Pharaoh Ramesses II, and his wife, Queen Neferati.
5. The Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings, located on the ancient site of Thebes, is the burial ground for many pharaohs and privileged nobles of the New Kingdom. The valley contains 63 tombs and chambers adorned with scenes from Egyptian mythology.
6. The Temples of Karnak
Located north of the modern city of Luxor, the Temples of Karnak are some of the last remains of the ancient capital of Thebes. One of the ancient complex’s most notable sites, Hypostyle Hall, is composed of 134 columns set in 16 rows, which at one pointed supported a roof that has since fallen.
7. Islamic Cairo
Islamic Cairo, also known as Medieval Cairo, or Fatimid Cairo, was founded as a royal enclosure for the leaders of the time, the Fatimid caliphate. Some sites to see in Islamic Cairo include the Cairo Citadel, Al-Azhar University (the oldest university in the world), and Khan el-Khalili, Cairo’s giant market.
8. Mosque of Ibn Tulun
Mosque of Ibn Tulun, completed in 879 A.D., is the oldest mosque to survive in most of its original form. The third largest mosque in the world, the Ibn Tulun Mosque covers more than 6 acres and includes a minaret, inspired by the minarets of Samarra, which was constructed later on.
9. The White Desert
The White Desert, one of Egypt’s national parks, is a natural wonder characterized by its pale white sand which forms surreal chalk mountains. Located 28 miles north of Farafa, this is a must-see site for nature enthusiasts.
Saqqara is an ancient burial ground, the necropolis, for Memphis, the capital of Ancient Egypt. Amongst the pyramids at Saqqara, the most well know is the Step Pyramid of Djoser, the oldest known pyramid, built in the 27th century BC.