As a once mighty and powerful civilisation, there are plenty of ancient sites in Egypt that are simply awe-inspiring. The fact that these places and buildings were so fantastically constructed centuries ago with the most rudimentary tools and methods just makes them even more amazing. Come with me – walk like an Egyptian – as we go on a tour around some of the spectacular ancient sites of Egypt.
The pyramids are not only the most iconic and recognizable ancient sites of Egypt, but they are also the last remaining Wonder of the Ancient World. Located not too far from the capital city of Cairo, they are one of the world’s most visited attractions, although there are only 3 here out of the 138 that exist all over Egypt. Among them is the tallest pyramid in the country, the Pyramid of Khufu, aka the Great Pyramid, which stands 140 meters (460 feet) high. It is estimated that the construction of Khufu, which as well as being the biggest is also the oldest, dates back to 2560 BCE.
So incredible, yet made even more amazing, because this is one of the sites of ancient Egypt that is not in the place in which it was originally built. The massive temple of Abu Simbel, built around 1260 BCE, was relocated in its entirety to its current site to prevent it being submerged by the creation of Lake Nasser. The two temples of Abu Simbel are masterpieces of ancient carving with massive statues adorning the facades of and guarding the entrances to the Temple of Pharaoh Ramesses II and Queen Nefertari. The interiors of the temples are just as impressive, with statuary, carving and pillars.
As the country’s third largest pyramid, the Red Pyramid is one of the magnificent ancient Egyptian sights. It stands an impressive 104 meters (340 feet) high, but it is its distinctive reddish hue that makes it stand out. Made from a pinkish stone, in certain lights it takes on deep red tones. Accessed by a road that can only be described as a challenge, the effort is worth it to see the exterior but more so for the majesty of the interior with massive chambers and steep passages.
Seemingly marking, or maybe guarding the complex of the Giza Pyramids, the Great Sphinx is one of the most gorgeous and arresting ancient sites of Egypt. The magnificent Sphinx is half-human, half-lion, and is the largest monolith statue in the world – an amazing feat yet to be surpassed despite the statue having been around since 2500 BCE. The Sphinx stands over 20 meters (66 feet) tall and over 70 meters (230 feet) in length.
Luxor is a village and significant archaeological site in eastern Egypt in a picturesque valley on the banks of the River Nile surrounded by mountains and desert. One of the important ancient Egyptian sites here is the Temple of Hatshepsut, dedicated to Amon-Ra. Seemingly built into the mountainside, its construction boasts three layers of terraces, which includes halls, courts, pylons and statues, amongst other artifacts,
Karnak is a massive temple complex, which like the Temple of Hatshepsut is near Luxor. Constructed in four distinct sections, with a huge main temple and several smaller ones, there are avenues of sphinxes and statues and amazing carvings, as well as a hypostyle hall complete with massive columns and carved friezes. The impressive precinct of Amun-Re is one of the most photographed sites of Ancient Egypt.
Not content with being home to the Temples of Hatshepsut and Karnak, Luxor also has another temple, plainly named the Temple of Luxor. One of the largest Egyptian complexes, it is a collection of temples, monuments, buildings and statues built from sandstone. The central corridor and the avenue lined with sphinxes are particularly awesome. It is magnificently illuminated at night.
This is where the tomb of Tutankhamun was discovered in 1922, which set running massive excavations all over and eventually led to this huge area being named the Valley of the Kings. The valley in spectacular rocky mountains is home to tombs of various pharaohs who ruled between the 16th - 11th century BCE. Another of the impressive sites is the sitting colossi of Memnon and all the sites are accessible by walkways. The temples and tombs contain fabulous murals and hieroglyphics.
I really cannot extol the ancient sites of Egypt enough. There are ancient sites all over the world, but somehow there is just something totally magical and mystical about these. Just imagining how they were built is an endless source of wonder. Have you visited any of these sites?
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