Top Ten Egyptian Attractions

Top Ten Egyptian Attractions

       Egypt is a transcontinental country in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Covering an area of about 1,010,000 square km (390,000 square mi), Egypt is one of the most populous African and Middle Eastern countries, being bordered by the Mediterranean, the Gaza Strip, Israel, the Red Sea, Sudan and Libya. The great majority of its estimated 80 million people live near the banks of the Nile River, in an area of about 40,000 square km (15,000 square mi), where the only arable land is found. The large areas of the Sahara Desert are sparsely inhabited. About half of Egypt’s residents live in urban areas, with most spread across the densely populated centers of greater Cairo, Alexandria and other major cities in the Nile Delta. Monuments in Egypt such as the Giza pyramid complex and its Great Sphinx were constructed by its ancient civilization. Its ancient ruins, such as those of Memphis, Thebes, Karnak and the Valley of the Kings outside Luxor, are a significant focus of archaeological study. The tourism industry and the Red Sea Riviera employ about 12% of Egypt’s workforce. The economy of Egypt is one of the most diversified in the Middle East, with sectors such as tourism, agriculture, industry and service at almost equal production levels. In early 2011, Egypt underwent a revolution, which resulted in the ousting of President Hosni Mubarak after nearly 30 years in power.

  1. Giza Plateau


    The Giza Plateau is a plateau that is located in Giza, Egypt. The famous Giza Necropolis is located in this geographical area, which is characterized by a sandy, desert climate and terrain with little vegetation.
    Links: Pyramids, Top 100 Monuments, Top Ten Plateaus, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giza_Plateau,
  2. Cairo



    Cairo, literally “The Vanquisher” or “The Conqueror,” is the capital of Egypt, the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed “The City of a Thousand Minarets” for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a center of the region’s political and cultural life. Cairo was founded by the Fatimid dynasty in the 10th century AD; but the land composing the present-day city was the site of national capitals whose remnants remain visible in parts of Old Cairo. Cairo is also associated with Ancient Egypt due to its proximity to the ancient cities of Memphis, Giza and Fustat which are nearby to the Great Sphinx and the pyramids of Giza. Egyptians today often refer to Cairo as Maṣr, the Arabic pronunciation of the name for Egypt itself, emphasizing the city’s continued role in Egyptian influence. Cairo has the oldest and largest film and music industries in the Arab World, as well as the world’s 2nd oldest institution of higher learning, al-Azhar University. Many international media, businesses and organizations have regional headquarters in the city, and the Arab League has had its headquarters in Cairo for most of its existence. With a population of 6.76 million spread over 453 square km (175 sq mi), Cairo is by far the largest city in Egypt. With an additional ten million inhabitants just outside the city, Cairo resides at the center of the largest metropolitan area in Africa and the 11th largest urban area in the world. Cairo, like many other mega-cities, suffers from high levels of pollution and traffic, but its metro, currently the only one on the African continent, also ranks among the 15 busiest in the world, with over 700 million passenger rides annually. The economy of Cairo was ranked 1st in the Middle East and 43rd globally by Foreign Policy’s 2010 Global Cities Index.
    Links: Cities, Top Ten African Cities, Top 100 Artifacts, Top 100 Egyptian Artifacts, Museums and Galleries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cairo,
  3. Luxor


    Luxor is a city in Upper (southern) Egypt and the capital of Luxor Governorate. The population numbers 487,896 (2010), with an area of approximately 416 square kilometers (161 sq mi). As the site of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor has frequently been characterized as the “world’s greatest open air museum,” as the ruins of the temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor stand within the modern city. Immediately opposite, across the River Nile, lie the monuments, temples and tombs on the West Bank Necropolis, which include the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. Thousands of international tourists arrive annually to visit these monuments, contributing a large part towards the economy for the modern city.
    Links: Temples, Top Ten African Temples, Museums and Galleries, Top Ten Obelisks, Top Ten Relieves, Top Ten African Relieves, Top Ten Egyptian Relieves, Top Ten Columns/Pillars, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxor,
  4. Abu Simbel



    Abu Simbel temples refers to two massive rock temples in Abu Simbel in Nubia, southern Egypt on the western bank of Lake Nasser about 230 km southwest of Aswan. The complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the “Nubian Monuments,” which run from Abu Simbel downriver to Philae (near Aswan). The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh, and to intimidate his Nubian neighbors. The complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary to avoid their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River. Abu Simbel remains one of Egypt’s top tourist attractions.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nubian_Monuments_from_Abu_Simbel_to_Philae,
  5. Valley of the Kings



    The Valley of the Kings, also known as the Valley of the Gates of the Kings, is a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th centuries BC, tombs were constructed for the Pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom (the 18th to the 20th Dynasties of Ancient Egypt). The valley stands on the west bank of the Nile, opposite Thebes (modern Luxor), within the heart of the Theban Necropolis. The wadi consists of two valleys, East Valley (where the majority of the royal tombs are situated) and West Valley. With the 2006 discovery of a new chamber (KV63), and the 2008 discovery of 2 further tomb entrances, the valley is known to contain at least 63 tombs and chambers (ranging in size from a simple pit to a complex tomb with over 120 chambers), and was the principal burial place of the major royal figures of the Egyptian New Kingdom, together with those of a number of privileged nobles. The royal tombs are decorated with scenes from Egyptian mythology and give clues to the beliefs and funerary rituals of the period. Almost all of the tombs seem to have been opened and robbed in antiquity, but they still give an idea of the opulence and power of the rulers of this time. This area has been a focus of archaeological and egyptological exploration since the end of the 18th century, and its tombs and burials continue to stimulate research and interest. In modern times the valley has become famous for the discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun (with its rumors of the Curse of the Pharaohs), and is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. Exploration, excavation and conservation continues in the valley and a new tourist center has recently been opened.
    Links: Top Ten Pharaohs, Top Ten Tombs, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valley_Of_The_Kings,
  6. Karnak
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    The Karnak Temple Complex comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons and other buildings, notably the Great Temple of Amun and a massive structure begun by Pharaoh Ramses II (1391–1351 BC). Sacred Lake is part of the site as well. It is located near Luxor, some 500 km south of Cairo, in Egypt. The area around Karnak was the ancient Egyptian Ipet-isut (“The Most Selected of Places”) and the main place of worship of the 18th dynasty Theban Triad with the god Amun as its head. It is part of the monumental city of Thebes. The Karnak complex takes its name from the nearby and partly surrounded, modern village of el-Karnak, some 2.5 km north of Luxor.
    Links: Top Ten Holy Cities, Top Ten Spiritual DestinationsTop Ten Gates, Top Ten Lakes, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karnak,
  7. Thebes


    Thebes is the Greek name for a city in Ancient Egypt located about 800 km south of the Mediterranean, on the east bank of the river Nile within the modern city of Luxor. The Theban Necropolis is situated nearby on the west bank of the Nile.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thebes,_Egypt,
  8. Islamic Cairo


    Islamic Cairo is a part of central Cairo noted for its historically important mosques and other Islamic monuments. Islamic Cairo was founded in 969 AD as the royal enclosure for the Fatimid caliphs, while the actual economic and administrative capital was in nearby Fustat. Fustat was established by Arab military commander ‘Amr ibn al-‘As following the conquest of Egypt in 641, and took over as the capital which previously was located in Alexandria. Al-Askar, located in what is now Old Cairo, was the capital of Egypt from 750-868. Ahmad ibn Tulun established Al-Qatta’i as the new capital of Egypt, and remained the capital until 905, when the Fustat once again became the capital. After Fustat was destroyed in 1168/1169 to prevent its capture by the Crusaders, the administrative capital of Egypt moved to Cairo, where it has remained ever since. It took four years for the General Jawhar Al Sikilli (the Sicilian) to build Cairo and for the Fatimid Calif Al Muizz to leave his old Mahdia in Tunisia and settle in the new Capital of Fatimids in Egypt. After Memphis, Heliopolis, Giza and the Byzantine fortress of Babylon-in-Egypt, Fustat was a new city built as a military garrison for Arab troops. It was the closest central location to Arabia that was accessible to the Nile. Fustat became a regional center of Islam during the Umayyad period. It was where the Umayyad ruler, Marwan II, made his last stand against the Abbasids. Later, during the Fatimid era, Al-Qahira (Cairo) was officially founded in 969 as an imperial capital just to the north of Fustat. Over the centuries, Cairo grew to absorb other local cities such as Fustat, but the year 969 is considered the “founding year” of the modern city. In 1250, the slave soldiers or Mamluks seized Egypt and ruled from their capital at Cairo until 1517, when they were defeated by the Ottomans. By the 16th century, Cairo had high-rise apartment buildings with the two lower floors being used for commercial and storage purposes, while the stories above were rented out to tenants. Napoleon’s French army briefly occupied Egypt from 1798 to 1801, after which an Albanian officer in the Ottoman army named Muhammad Ali Pasha made Cairo the capital of an independent empire that lasted from 1805 to 1882. The city then came under British control until Egypt was granted its independence in 1922.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Cairo,
  9. Valley of the Golden Mummies


    The Valley of the Golden Mummies is a huge burial site at Bahariya Oasis in the Western Desert of Egypt, discovered by Dr. Zahi Hawass in 1996. Hawass and his Egyptian team found around 250 mummies over several seasons; however, the site has more than this number, according to the excavator even more than 10,000. The site dates to Greco-Roman Egypt.
    Links: Top 100 Masks, Top Ten Tombs, Top Ten Valleys, Top Ten Oases, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valley_of_the_Golden_Mummies,
  10. Deir el-Bahari

    Deir el-Bahari or Deir el-Bahri (“The Northern Monastery”) is a complex of mortuary temples and tombs located on the west bank of the Nile, opposite the city of Luxor, Egypt. The first monument built at the site was the mortuary temple of Mentuhotep II of the 11th dynasty. During the 18th dynasty, Amenhotep I and Hatshepsut also built extensively at the site.
    Links: Top Ten Monasteries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deir-el-Bahari,
  11. Modern Library of Alexandria (Bibliotheca Alexandrina, Maktabat al-Iskandarīyah)



    The Bibliotheca Alexandrina or Maktabat al-Iskandarīyah is a major library and cultural center located on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. It is both a commemoration of the Library of Alexandria that was lost in antiquity, and an attempt to rekindle something of the brilliance that this earlier center of study and erudition represented.
    Links: Top Ten Libraries, Top Ten Ancient Libraries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bibliotheca_Alexandrina,
  12. Memphis



    Memphis was the ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, the first nome of Lower Egypt. Its ruins are located near the town of Helwan, south of Cairo. According to legend related by Manetho, the city was founded by the pharaoh Menes around 3,000 BC. It was the capital of Egypt during the Old Kingdom and remained an important city throughout ancient Mediterranean history. It occupied a strategic position at the mouth of the Nile delta and was home to feverish activity. Its principal port, Peru-nefer, harbored a high density of workshops, factories and warehouses that distributed food and merchandise throughout the ancient kingdom. During its golden age, Memphis thrived as a regional center for commerce, trade and religion. Memphis was believed to be under the protection of the god Ptah, the patron of craftsmen. Its great temple, Hut-ka-Ptah (meaning “Enclosure of the ka of Ptah”), was one of the most prominent structures in the city. The name of this temple, rendered in Greek as Aί γυ πτoς (Ai-gy-ptos) by the historian Manetho, is believed to be the etymological origin of the modern English name Egypt. The history of Memphis is closely linked to that of the country itself. Its eventual downfall is believed to be due to the loss of its economic significance in late antiquity, following the rise of coastal Alexandria. Its religious significance also diminished after the abandonment of the ancient religion following the Edict of Thessalonica. The ruins of the former capital today offer fragmented evidence of its magnificent past. They have been preserved, along with the pyramid complex at Giza, as a World Heritage Site since 1979. The site is open to the public as an open-air museum.
    Links: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memphis,_Egypt,
  13. Dendera



    Dendera is a small town in Egypt situated on the west bank of the Nile, about 5 km south of Qena, on the opposite side of the river. The Dendera Temple complex, which contains the Temple of Hathor, is one of the best preserved temples, if not the best, in all Egypt. The whole complex covers some 40,000 square meters and is surrounded by a hefty mud brick wall. The present building dates back to the times of the Ptolemaic dynasty and was completed by the Roman emperor Tiberius, but it rests on the foundations of earlier buildings dating back at least as far as Khufu (known as the pyramid builder Cheops, the second king of the 4th dynasty [c. 2613–c. 2494 BC]). In it was found the celebrated zodiac now in Paris. There are also Roman and pharaonic Mammisi (birth houses), ruins of a Coptic church and a small chapel dedicated to Isis, dating to the Roman or the Ptolemaic epoch.
    Links: Temples, Top Ten African Temples, Top Ten Egyptian Temples, Relieves and Petroglyphs,
  14. Abusir


    Abusir, “the House or Temple of Osiris,” is the name given to an Egyptian archaeological locality, specifically, an extensive necropolis of the Old Kingdom period, together with later additions, in the vicinity of the modern capital Cairo. The name is also that of a neighboring village in the Nile Valley, whence the site takes its name. Abusir is located several km north of Saqqara and, like it, served as one of the main elite cemeteries for the ancient Egyptian capital city of Memphis. Several other villages in northern and southern Egypt are named Abusir or Busiri. Abusir is one relatively small segment of the extensive “pyramid field” that extends from north of Giza to below Saqqara, the locality of Abusir took its turn as the focus of the prestigious western burial rites operating out of the then-capital of Memphis during the Old Kingdom 5th Dynasty. As an elite cemetery, neighboring Giza had by then “filled up” with the massive pyramids and other monuments of the 4th Dynasty, leading the 5th Dynasty pharaohs to seek sites elsewhere for their own funerary monuments. Abusir was the origin of the largest find of Old Kingdom papyri to date, the Abusir Papyri. In the late 19th century, a number of Western museums acquired collections of fragmentary papyri from the administrative (temple) records of one Abusir funerary cult, that of king Neferirkare Kakai. This discovery was supplemented in the late 20th century when excavations by a Czech expedition to the site revealed papyri from two other cult complexes, that of the pharaoh Neferefre (also read Raneferef) and for the king’s mother Khentkaus II. The Czech Institute of Egyptology of the Faculty of Arts, Charles University in Prague has been conducting excavations at Abusir since 1976. They are presently directed by Miroslav Bárta. There are considerable catacombs near the ancient town of Busiris. To the south of Busiris one great cemetery appears to have stretched over the plain. The Heptanomite Busiris was in fact a hamlet standing at one extremity of the necropolis of Memphis.
    Links: Top Ten Tombs, Top Ten Sarcophagi, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abusir,
  15. Saqqara and the Pyramid of Unas

    Saqqara is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. Saqqara features numerous pyramids, including the world famous Step pyramid of Djoser, sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb due to its rectangular base, as well as a number of mastabas (Arabic word meaning ‘bench’). Located some 30 km (19 mi) south of modern-day Cairo, Saqqara covers an area of around 7 by 1.5 km (4.3 by 0.93 mi). At Saqqara, the oldest complete stone building complex known in history was built: Djoser’s step pyramid, built during the 3rd dynasty. Another 16 Egyptian kings built pyramids at Saqqara, which are now in various states of preservation or dilapidation. High officials added private funeral monuments to this necropolis during the entire pharaonic period. It remained an important complex for non-royal burials and cult ceremonies for more than 3,000 years, well into Ptolemaic and Roman times. Contrary to popular belief, the name Saqqara is not derived from the ancient Egyptian funerary god Sokar, but from the Beni Saqqar who are a local Berber tribe. Their name means “Sons of Saqqar.” Since they are not indigenous to the area it would not follow that they would fashion themselves as being born of an ancient Egyptian god whose identity was unknown until the age of archaeology.
    Links: Pyramids, Top Ten Necropolises, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saqqara, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyramid_of_Unas,
  16. Saint Catherine’s Monastery
    the_holy_monastery_church_of_saint_catherines_monastery_in_the_mount_sinai


    Saint Catherine’s Monastery lies on the Sinai Peninsula, at the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai in the city of Saint Catherine in Egypt’s South Sinai Governorate. According to the UNESCO report (60100 ha / Ref: 954), this monastery is one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world together with the Monastery of Saint Anthony, situated across the Red Sea in the desert south of Cairo, which also lays claim to that title.
    Links: Top Ten Monasteries, Top 100 Paintingshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Catherine_Monastery,
  17. Abu Mena

    Abu Mena was a town, monastery complex and Christian pilgrimage center in Late Antique Egypt, about 45 km southwest of Alexandria. There are very few standing remains, but the foundations of most major buildings, such as the great basilica, are easily discernible. Recent agricultural efforts in the area have led to a significant rise in the water table, which has caused a number of the site’s buildings to collapse or become unstable. Authorities were forced to place sand in the bases of buildings that are most endangered in the site.
    Links: Top Ten Sanctuaries, Top Ten Monasteries, Top Ten Basilicas,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Mena,
  18. Hermopolis

    Hermopolis Magna or simply Hermopolis or Hermopolis Megale or Hermupolis is the site of ancient Khmun, and is located near the modern Egyptian town of El Ashmunein in Al Minya governorate.
    Links: Top Ten Pillars/Columns, Sculptures, Top 100 African Sculptures, Top 100 Egyptian Sculptures, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hermopolis,
  19. Wadi Al-Hitan

    Wadi Al-Hitan, “Whales Valley,” is a paleontological site in the Al Fayyum Governorate of Egypt, some 150 km southwest of Cairo. Hundreds of fossils of some of the earliest forms of whale, the archaeoceti, a now extinct sub-order of whales, have been found here. The site reveals evidence for the explanation of one of the greatest mysteries of the evolution of whales: the emergence of the whale as an ocean-going mammal from a previous life as a land-based animal. No other place in the world yields the number, concentration and quality of such fossils, as is their accessibility and setting in an attractive and protected landscape. The fossils found at the site may not be the oldest but their great concentration in the area and the degree of their preservation is to the extent that even some stomach contents are intact. The presence of fossils of other early animals such as sharks, crocodiles, sawfish, turtles and rays found at Wadi El-Hitan makes it possible to reconstruct the surrounding environmental and ecological conditions of the time. The first fossil skeletons of whales were discovered in the winter of 1902-3. For the next 80 years they attracted relatively little interest, largely due to the difficulty of reaching the area. In the 1980’s interest in the site resumed as four wheel drive vehicles became more readily available. Continuing interest coincided with the site being visited by fossil collectors, and many bones were removed, prompting calls for the site to be conserved. The remains display the typical streamlined body form of modern whales, yet retaining some of the primitive aspects of skull and tooth structure. The largest skeleton found reached up to 21 m in length, with well-developed five-fingered flippers on the forelimbs and the unexpected presence of hind legs, feet and toes, not known previously in any archaeoceti. Their form was serpentine and they were carnivorous. A few of these skeletal remains are exposed but most are shallowly buried in sediments, slowly uncovered by erosion. Wadi El-Hitan provides evidences of millions of years of coastal marine life.
    Links: Top Ten Animal Skeletons, Top Ten Fossilshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wadi_Al-Hitan,
  20. Suez Canal Bridge

    The Suez Canal Bridge, also known as the Egyptian-Japanese Friendship Bridge, is a road bridge crossing the Suez Canal at El Qantara. The Arabic “al qantara” means “the bridge.” The bridge links the continents of Africa and Asia.
    Links: Top Ten Bridges, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suez_Canal_Bridge,
  21. Links: Top 100 Egyptian Artifacts, Artifacts, Top Ten Egyptian Hotels, Temples, Top Ten Egyptian Gods, Top 100 Monuments, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egypt,

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