Being a cradle of civilization, Egypt with its numerous archeological sites and monuments fully repays your attention and time spent in the country. It leads in the bucket list of travelers for its sunny weather, world-renowned attractions, natural wonders and truly oriental essence. This treasure trove of history and culture worth a visit for many reasons.
Why would I think about travelling to Egypt ?
Loads of Attractions
Pyramids, temples, tombs, monuments, churches and mosques of various dynasties and periods are scattered all over the Egypt. However, the most recognizable landmarks are the Pyramids of Giza
, the last of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that time didn’t raze, and the Sphinx
with the face of the Pharaoh Khafre guarding the royal burials. The Egyptian Museum
in Cairo showcasing 150,000 artifacts and more than twenty mummies is the best guide through 5,000-year history of Egypt. Coptic and Islamic parts of the capital city also offer a number of must-see sights, such as the Babylon Fortress
, the Coptic Museum
erected in 1908, one of the oldest Egyptian churches known widely as the Hanging Church
, the Greek Church of Saint George
, medieval Saladin Citadel
with the Mosque of Muhammad Ali,
the oldest mosque named after Ahmad Ibn Tulun and the oldest university in the World – Al-Azhar University
Another city packed with attractions is Luxor, where the vast Karnak Temple, the Valley of the Kings
and the Temple of the Queen Hatshepsut
Modern and ancient architectural marvels are concentrated in Aswan. Here you can find the Temple of the Goddess Isis
, the High Dam
constructed between 1960 and 1970, the Botanical Garden
located on Elnabatat's Island, exotic Nubian settlements and the International Museum of Nubia
with its 3,000 pieces of antiquities from different eras. Edfu
and Kom Ombo
temples situated between Luxor and Aswan are definitely among unmissable sites.
with its Roman heritage offers a bit different ambience. This modern city on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea once housed the Pharos of Alexandria
, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World which was considered the tallest building for many centuries. Today there is the Citadel of Qaitbay
on the exact place of the lighthouse. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina
constructed in commemoration of the ancient Library of Alexandria preserves millions of books and is worth your attention.
Seas, Mountains and Deserts
Rich with ancient sights, Egypt as well boasts charming and unusual nature. The crystal clear Red Sea
with its diverse underwater life and rare fish and animals offers fascinating diving and snorkeling opportunities, golden beaches and water activities, including kite and windsurfing, semi submarine tours and many more.
The naked ragged mountains of Egypt represent another place of interest, as here you will find the biblical Mount Sinai
, a sacred mountain where Moses received the Ten Commandments. Besides, at the foot of this mount is located the oldest working monastery in the world named after Saint Catherine. It preserves the earliest known icon of the Savior, as well as large library full of manuscripts written in Arabic, Aramaic, Armenian, Coptic, Greek, Georgian and Hebrew.
Deserts… endless sand dunes and oasis with their own not-to-miss sights, such as the Temple of the Oracle of Amun
in Siwa, where Alexander the Great consulted Amun before marching against Persia, or Medinet Madi
with its well-preserved temple constructed during the Middle Kingdom in Fayoum. However, unearthly giant chalk sculptures designed by the Mother Nature is what you certainly are not going to see anywhere else apart from other planets of our Solar System – Mars, for instance. The scientists claim that Egypt’s White Desert
was once a sea bed that dried out; the sedimentary rocks are formed by dead marine fauna.
Relaxing voyage down the Nile River for a couple of hours if you order a dinner onboard a luxurious Nile cruise
ship or a marvelous trip that lasts from four to eight days is definitely what you don’t want to miss. You will find many cruising restaurants with delicious meal, tanoura and belly dancing shows while enjoying illuminated skyline of Cairo. A longer trip takes you from Luxor to Aswan or vice versa and offers some sightseeing en route; the most remarkable is the unusual double Temple of Kom Ombo
dedicated to falcon-headed Haroeris, known as Horus the Elder, and crocodile-headed Sobek. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets coloring the horizon sky into different hues, from all shades of pinkish to fiery red reflected in the waters of the river, make this trip special in all aspects.
One more encouraging point is, of course, the tour package price. There is hardly any other place on the Earth where you can enjoy warm sun in the winter, splash in the water, tan on the white sandy beach, visit the most incredible human-made monuments dating back to the times of the legendary Pharaohs and inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List for such a price. Cairo city tour, for example, starts from 350 USD, while 10-day travel around the country including the most famous sights can cost only 1,300-1,500 USD. So, the time to visit Egypt is just right!
The Sun Festival
at Abu Simbel that is expected to occur on February 22 and marks the date of coronation of the Pharaoh Ramses II gathers many thousands of local and foreign tourists wishing to witness the sun illuminating the inner chamber of the Great Temple, where the four statues are seated. The sun rays penetrate the sanctuary and light up the sculptures of Ramses, the God Ra and Ra Harakhte, leaving Ptah, the God of the Underworld, in eternal darkness.
Another much awaited event is Easter
. Around this time travel agencies publish their hot offers, discounts and bonuses.
Not much needs to be said about the inviting weather of Egypt; even the coldest place in winter is twice as warm as in any western country. Bright sun and clear azure sky any day and anywhere is what makes the holidays in Egypt perfectly fantastic.
Egyptian cuisine is a special gastronomic experience. The meals might seem a little bit too heavy for some, though the gourmets will definitely relish them. Locals as well as foreigners favor Kushari
, a mix of spaghetti, round pasta rings, black lentils, hummus, rice, and caramelized onion under thick tomato sauce. Taamiya
is another famous dish made of crushed fava beans, oregano, onion, cumin, parsley and pepper; vegetable balls are fried with sesame in a big amount of oil. Cooked eggplants with onion, greens and tomatoes under Egyptian Tahina sauce known as Baba Ganoush
are among the most loved meals. This list can be proudly crowned with Molokhiyya
, thick green sauce served with chicken and rice. The deserts are also specific here: cooked semolina with syrup called Basbousa
consisting of thin pastry strands, syrup and nuts.
2015: World glitterati in EGYPT
Are you still thinking, why to visit Egypt? Well, world leaders and businessmen, Hollywood and Bollywood megastars, TV anchors and singers did it and deservedly paid credits to the glorious past of the country and its architectural masterpieces.
In March Indian
movie star and ex-politician Amitabh Bachchan
visited Egypt for the second time (the first visit was in 1991) in frames of large-scale festival India by the Nile. The first quarter of the year gathered the presidents and prime ministers of African, Gulf and Middle Eastern countries as well as the US Secretary of State John Kerry
for the economic summit in Sharm El Sheikh.
American actor Morgan Freeman
arrived in Egypt in October to shoot National Geographic documentary movie The Story of God, and of course didn’t miss the chance to tour around the Land of the Pharaohs. The same month Yanni
, famous Greek-American musician, held his Dream Concert at Pyramids of Giza. Russian singer Nyusha
and scandalous TV anchor Ksenya Sobchak
close the list of the celebrities, who visited Egypt