It’s no surprise that Egypt lands on a high percentage of travelers’ bucket list destinations. Known around the world as the home of one of (if not the) oldest civilizations in history. The history of ancient Egyptian civilization predates most other historical events of humanity. It is said among scholars and archaeologists that the civilization of ancient Egypt dates back to approximately 3000 BCE. and continues through the Common Era. Furthermore, the Egyptians established their settlements strategically on the shores of their lifeline, the Nile. Along the legendary Nile River, the Ancient Egyptians constructed their lives. Abundant in this desert nation are a series of temple complexes, tombs and buried treasure that draw millions of tourists to them every year. So without further adieu, here are Tripio’s Top 10 Historical Sites in Egypt that you must add to your vacation itinerary.
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To kick off Tripio App’s Top 10 in Egypt, your itinerary must include a trip to the Abu Simbel Temple Complex. Upon your arrival in Abu Simbel, massive statues of Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II guard the interior of this temple. This tomb/temple complex commemorates the 19th-dynasty Pharaoh, his wife Nefertari and their children. As you enter the tomb of Ramesses II, decorative walls covered with Egyptian hieroglyphs transport travelers to what feels like another world. What’s more the Abu Simbel temple complex took nearly 20 years to build and dates back to the 13th-century BCE. Unlike many of Egypt’s other historical landmarks, the complex of Abu Simbel is located in the bottom of the nation (South of Aswan) along the Nasser Lake. The best way to visit Abu Simbel from Aswan is by taking one of many affordable cruises along the Nile.
If there is one thing that you cannot miss when you travel to Egypt is the Great Pyramids of Giza. The pyramids at Giza are the last remaining “Seven Wonders of the World”. Myths and legends have speculated around the Pyramids of Giza for centuries. Some are so abstract as to say that aliens helped build and establish the Great Pyramids. But when you visit them, it does make you wonder how something so massive and complex could have been built by a civilization with nothing near modern technology… could it have been so? The ancient Egyptians believed that in the afterlife those of royalty transcended and became Gods.
The Egyptians prepared the tombs of royalty with all the necessities (and more) that could come of use for the dead and they journeyed through the afterlife. Buried at the Great Pyramids of Giza are three generations of kings including the great Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. Archaeologists believe that it took an average of 100,000 workers nearly 20 years to build the Pyramids at Giza. Given that pyramids date back some 4,500 years, it’s no wonder that the enormous constructs of Giza made it into the “Seven Wonders of the World”. There is no question that The Great Pyramids of Giza must make it on your itinerary when you vacation to Egypt.
The Karnak Temple Complex is one of the oldest and well preserved sites of the ancient world. This former kingdom ruled by kings and members of high society dates back to 2055 BCE. For nearly 2000 years, the temple complex of Karnak served as a center for royalty and rulers of the ancient world. This ancient system of constructs was dedicated to the gods Amun, Mut and Khonso. The temple complex of Karnak is the world’s biggest construct for religious purposes ever built. Karnak is comprised of over 200 buildings (statues, temples, etc). The ancient Egyptians regarded Karnak as the holiest of places and only a select few were able to be connected with its many houses of worship. The Karnak Temple Complex simply could not evade Tripio App’s Top 10 Historical Sites to visit when you travel to Egypt.
Heading down the Nile, you’ll arrive in one of Egypts largest ancient cities known as Luxor. Opposite the Luxor Temple lies the massive park/archeological zone given the name “The Valley of the Kings”. The name was given to this site due to its many tombs of Pharaohs and rulers of ancient Egypt. The Valley of the Kings is known as the final resting place of Ramesses III and more. The most popular attraction of the Valley is the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut. Inside the tombs, the interiors are decorated with colorful Egyptian hieroglyphics and other trademarks to commemorate the souls of ancient royalty as they travel to the next part of eternity through the afterlife.
Luxor is one of the most famous destinations in Egypt. This system of temples and other religious relics dates back to 1500-1200 BCE. Luxor was a hub for civilization in the days of ancient Egypt. This central community was conveniently and strategically placed along the Nile River. The temple complex at Luxor was a sacred place for Egyptians. They (the ancient Egyptians), referred to Luxor as “Ipet Resyt”, translating to “The Southern Sanctuary”. What separates the Luxor Temple Complex from other historical sites of Egypt is what it honors. Rather than dedication to specific Kings and Pharaohs of Egypt, the Luxor Temple Complex commemorates the resurrection and rebirth of the Kingship. Luxor is typically the first place to explore after seeing all of what Cairo has to offer as the city of Luxor sits just south of the capital.
Conveniently situated right next to the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx is a historical marvel all in its own. There is no way that the Great Sphinx of Giza, or simply “the Sphinx” could not have made Tripio’s Top 10 historical sites in Egypt. Your Egypt bucket list should combine the Pyramids and the Sphinx into a once in a lifetime historical adventure. The Sphinx is an enormous limestone structure that dates back nearly 4500 years c. 2559 BCE. This attraction is no doubt one of Egypt’s most famous and desirable destinations. Hop on a camel, and explore The Great Sphinx of Egypt.
At #7 we have the Colossi of Memnon historical site. This once developed establishment is now the remains of two twin statues that are each over 60 feet tall! The statues at Memnon were built in dedication to the great Pharaoh Amenhotep III. These enormous relics were built c. 1350 BCE and have held strong and remain virtually untouched ever since. The Colossi of Memnon are the largest “temples” in the entire Theban complex. By no coincidence of any sort, the ancient Egyptians established the Colossi of Memnon adjacent to Luxor along the Nile River (near the Valley of the Kings). Just another otherworldly experience to add to your vacation itinerary!
The Egyptian Museum, more commonly referred to as the Cairo Museum is home to the largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts in the world. Here you will find more than 120,000 artifacts on display. Estimated dates of artifacts range from the beginning of Egyptian civilization, to the fall of ancient Egypt near the 6th-century BCE. The Cairo Museum offers a wonderful escape from the scorching desert sun with a nice air conditioned establishment. The most famous exhibit of the Cairo Museum is the Mummy Room. A wonderful, virtually real, educational experience teaching the process behind mummification.
In modern history (relatively for Egypt), there is no better destination than the Monastery of Saint Catherine. This house of servitude and solitude was built in the 6th-century CE and done so in honor of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. It is one of the world’s oldest functioning monasteries. Placed at the foothills of where the biblical Moses received the Ten Commandments from God himself upon Mount Sinai. Great experience combining history and adventure.
10. Temple of Horus
To conclude Tripio App’s Top 10 in Egypt we have the Temple of Horus at Edfu. During the Hellenistic era of Egypt, the city of Edfu played a crucial role in turmoil throughout the middle east. Built in honor of ancient Egyptian God Horus, this holy temple complex dates back to 237 BCE. The stone walls of the temple complex are beautifully decorated with hieroglyphic treasures and masterpieces. This is thought to be one of the holiest of places for the ancient Egyptians and as for all of the other historical sites, should be treated with the utmost respect. Touring the Temple of Horus at Edfu creates your own historic adventure along the great Nile River.
Headed south to South Africa? Check out: Cape Town: A First Timers Vacation To South Africa
Or want more history, check out: Istanbul: Top 10 Historic Sites
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-Matthew Knotek, Tripio Guru