Temples, tombs and monuments of myth: this is the landscape that many seek as they embark upon an adventure to Egypt. Indeed, pyramids, pharaohs and sphinxes remain the best known of Egypt’s wonders, although the shores of the fabled Red Sea have likewise developed an international reputation. Dazzling white beaches lead into an ocean filled with kaleidoscopic coral and underwater life. Some of the world’s best diving spots and beach life have thus become as much a part of Egypt’s charm as its ancient past.
For some of the greatest archaeological discoveries and ancient structures in the world, many choose to begin their adventures in Cairo. Coffee houses, markets and historic mosques characterise the city, the skyline filled with minarets and domes. Visit the Egyptian Museum to immerse yourself in ancient artefacts and see Tutankhamen’s iconic death mask up close.
In the desert west of the capital are the only remaining of the Seven Wonders of the World, The Giza pyramids. Arrive early to get a ticket for exploring inside; an experience not to be missed. On a day’s trip you can also take in other nearby sites. Saqqarah and the ancient capital of Memphis are home to the oldest remaining Step Pyramid and some of the most beautifully decorated tombs in the country. Arrive back in Giza for the evening lightshow, when the voice of the sphinx tells of history and myth as the pyramids are bathed in a stunning display of lights.
The other group of Egypt’s most prominent ancient sites are found straddling the Nile to the south. If visiting from Cairo you will need to take a train or flight to Luxor in order to explore this area. Many then choose a cruise along the river Nile to explore the sites in style and at a steady pace. Watching the dawn sun alight on the heads of stone colossi at Abu Simble has to be one of the cruise highlights. Lying to the south of Aswan, this temple is carved into a cliff face overlooking a lake. Four colossi sit stoically, hands on knees, towering over the entrance.
Travelling north, the Thebes Necropolis is where the valleys of the Kings, Queens and Nobles are found. The tombs are filled with incredible paintings which give real insight into ancient life and custom as well as the complex mythology which underpinned society and burial traditions. The natural paints and details are stunningly well preserved.
On the other side of the Nile is the Temple of Karnak with its huge Hypostyle Hall of crumbling pillars all intricately carved with hieroglyphics. Hire a guide to hear the stories and histories inscribed there.
Egypt has also become a popular coastal holiday destination. Many a diver’s paradise is to be found along miles of pristine beach. Sharm el Sheikh and Hurghada are the best know resorts, both of which have their own airports. Sharm el Sheikh is situated at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba and is the gateway to a myriad of diving spots.
Last Edit by sophie mcgovern on 9/11/2011 EDIT NOW >>