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The first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Egypt are its world famous Pyramids of Giza but Egypt has much more to offer to the avid traveler. Located in North Africa and acting as a bridge between Africa and the Middle East, the country’s diverse landscape ranges from the world’s largest non-polar desert – Sahara to the longest river – Nile. Packed with impressive historical treasures, natural beauty, great food and friendly people, Egypt is without doubt one of the best destinations on the planet.
Capital Cairo is a melting pot of African and Middle Eastern culture and intersected by the Nile River. Some of the city’s major highlights are the Tahrir Square (also known as Martyr Square) which is Cairo’s main public square, Salah El Din Al Ayouby Citadel (also known as Cairo Citadel), a 12th-century fortification and Khan el-Khalili, a historical bazaar. The city also features great mosques like Mosque of Muhammad Ali, Al-Azhar Mosque and Mosque of Ibn Tulun and numerous museums like the Egyptian Museum and Museum of Islamic Art.
Near the capital lies Egypt’s iconic landmark – Giza, where you can witness the only survivor of the seven wonders of the ancient world – the pyramids. These triangular stone structures were constructed as tombs for ancient Egyptian Kings and are more than 4,000 years old. Out of the three pyramids of the Giza pyramid complex, The Great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest and most popular. The adjacent Great Sphinx of Giza, a limestone statue of a mythical creature with the body of a lion and head of a human is another popular landmark of ancient Egypt.
Alexandria, founded by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, was once the capital and the largest city of ancient Egypt. It was home to the Lighthouse of Alexandria – one of the seven wonders of the ancient world which was completely destroyed by several earthquakes. Nowadays, Alexandria is a bustling commercial port on the Mediterranean coast and Egypt’s second-largest city.
Luxor, located on the banks of the Nile is popularly known as the “world’s greatest open-air museum“. The city was once known as Waset and believed to be the home of Egyptian God Amun. Today, you can visit its wealth of ancient ruins including the Karnak temple, Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens, which were royal tombs and multiple Egyptian temples and statues. Aswan, located south of Luxor on the banks of the Nile, has been a commercial gateway for a millennia and is popular for Nile River cruises. Along with archaeological sites like Ruins of Abu, Unfinished Obelisk and the Philae temple complex, the city also boasts a scenic landscape. The Aswan Governorate is home to one of Egypt’s most renowned monuments – the Abu Simbel Temples, which are huge rock temples with an excellent museum.
A fitting break from all this history awaits in the resort town of Hurghada, on the coast of Red sea. Here you can simply relax, go scuba diving or hit the numerous bars and nightclubs. From Hurghada, you can go on a ferry trip to the Ras Mohammed National Park in Sharm El-Sheikh which offers great diving and snorkelling among its amazing corals and rich marine life. Sharm El-Sheik is located on the tip of the Sinai Peninsula which is the only part of Egypt that lies in Asia. The peninsula houses the UNESCO world heritage Saint Catherine’s Monastery – one of the world’s oldest Christian Monasteries.
Egypt has an unparalleled historical and cultural wealth which are justified by the endless list of ancient ruins and structures. Adding to this, it also has fine coastlines along the Mediterranean and Red Seas, thus presenting its visitors with a wholesome experience.
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the only surviving monument of the seven wonders of the ancient world.