If you are planning a trip to the ancient land of Egypt, a visit to its ancient sites is not something to be missed. The country is full of the marks from those who came before us. The river Nile runs straight through Egypt and is a perfect way to explore a lot of these sites while also taking in the beauty of the country. The architects from the ancient Egyptian civilisation were so advanced that many of their temples, pyramids, and large structures still stand today, 5000 years later. Here is a list of some of Egypt’s sites that are worth a visit if you are in the area.
Pyramids of Giza
No doubt on the top of the list for anyone visiting Egypt is a trip to the pyramids of Giza. Located on the outskirts of Cairo in Giza there are three spectacular large pyramids. The Great Pyramid of Khufu is one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. It once was the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu and towers 481 feet tall! Tourists do have the opportunity to go inside the pyramid which requires a ticket. There is only one way in and one way out of this pyramid, as you move through it starts fairly spacious however, as you proceed to move further in and climb the narrow passageways it can get very claustrophobic. Once you are inside though be sure to look up and admire how this pyramid was constructed, it is incredible that something as grand as this was built thousands of years ago.
The Pyramid of Khafre holds the tomb of Khafre, you can also access this pyramid of which there are an entrance and an exit. As you enter there is a narrow passage which is not ideal for those who are claustrophobic, however, the passageways do open up into corridors that are low but you should be able to stand nearly upright. When you speak in the pyramid your voice vibrates off the walls, an incredible feeling, and experience.
The third Pyramid built for Menkaure is the smallest of the three at 200 feet tall and can also be visited. This is the least claustrophobic of the three pyramids only due to its size; there is only one short passageway which means you arrive at the burial chamber quickly however the passageways are still a tight fit, just over more quickly. This pyramid is not as impressive as the other two, however, it is still an interesting experience!
Pyramid of Djoser
This is the oldest pyramid in the world and is located in the Saqqara necropolis which was once the Egyptian capital, Memphis. When you first see this period you will notice it looks different to those at Giza. This is one of the few step pyramids that are still standing and was built for the Pharaoh Djoser. The pyramid is 203 feet tall and is open to visitors. Access is through two different entrances on the north and south sides, these two sides do not connect. Once inside you will walk through an entrance and a passageway lined with pillars that were actually later built by people coming to worship. This pyramid is not claustrophobic like those at Giza and is rather spacious.
Temple of Luxor
This ancient temple sits on the east bank of the Nile in the city of Luxor, known in ancient times as Thebes. The temple was started by Amenhotep III and completed by Tutankhamun; however, Rameses II added extra. Towards the rear of the temple is a shrine dedicated to Alexander the Great. The temple was used by the ancients to celebrate festivals, rituals, and celebrations of marriage and fertility. The temple actually survived the Greeks and Romans and was used as a church for a period of time. Still to this day, a Muslim mosque remains in its halls. The temple looks its best at night when it is lit up, a visit at sunset is the best time as the temple looks absolutely breathtaking.
The temples at Abu Simbel are located in southern Egypt, 25 miles away from Sudan, and were built into a solid rock cliff face by Ramesses II. He had the temples built to celebrate his victory over the Hittites and as a way to immortalise himself which he certainly achieved. At the front of the Great Temple, there are large statues of Ramesses wearing crowns of upper and lower Egypt, built to guard the temple, its height is 98 feet. The smaller temple was dedicated to his wife, Nefertari. Both temples were also dedicated to the gods. An absolutely fascinating fact about the temples is this is not where they were originally located, they were moved by UNESCO as their original location is now underwater. Today the temples are now a UNESCO world heritage site. There are plenty of tour operators who go to the temples which you can arrange from Aswan.
Temple of Edfu
The temple of Edfu is the largest dedicated to the god Horus. It is considered one of the most preserved monuments from the ancient Egyptian world and is well worth a visit for this reason alone. This is a huge complex and has excellent carvings and texts displaying the story of Horus, there are also texts showing the Temple’s construction which is incredible. It would have been used as the center of several festivals sacred to Horus. The temple is usually one of the stops on the Nile River cruises as it is located between Aswan and Luxor.
Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings is located in Luxor and is the final resting place of many of the pharaohs from the 18th,19th, and 20th dynasties. The pharaohs abandoned the idea of pyramids as burial locations and instead went to the Valley of the Kings. The tombs are deep underground, the most famous being the tomb of Tutankhamun.
There are 63 known tombs in the valley however they expect there may be more that are still undiscovered. Eleven tombs are available to view, however, the standard tickets only allow you to visit three out of eight, and the other three tombs require extra tickets. You will also need a photo pass if you wish to take photos once inside the tombs, this must be purchased when you buy your tickets. One of the tombs that are well worth visiting is Ramses IV (KV2), this tomb is absolutely spectacular the hieroglyphics are so vibrant you will be amazed; it is also included on the standard ticket. Ramses V & VI costs extra to enter however it is another spectacular tomb that is well worth the extra ticket, those who have been into the burial chamber describe it as magic. The paintings are incredibly preserved.
The Valley of the Queens can be found at the southern end of the necropolis and is well worth a visit. It is overshadowed by The Valley of the Kings however arguably the most beautiful tomb in Egypt is located there, the tomb of Nefetari. There are also considerably fewer crowds at this location so it really is a great place to visit. There are a total of four tombs that are open for viewing.
This temple is located in Luxor and was built over 1,500 years. The temple is over 2km and was built in dedication to the god Amun-Ra. The complex is now ruins but yet it is still incredible and just seeing the ruins allows you to gain an insight into c of the temple in its heyday. You can expect to find an incredible maze of temples, incredibly towering columns and pylons as well as sphinxes. This temple is the second-largest ancient religious complex in the world. It is a must-see site while visiting Egypt.