There’s no getting around the fact that the Egyptian pyramids are remarkable. The only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still intact, it’s not surprising this site is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world. However, there’s so much more to Egypt than just the pyramids. Here are five suggestions of what else to see when you’re in this historic Middle Eastern nation:
Valley of the Kings
Nile River and Red Sea cruises are a great way to see some of the many fantastic ancient Egyptian sites. One such site is the incredible Valley of the Kings, on the west bank of the Nile, near Luxor. The valley was part of the ancient city of Thebes and is home to countless tombs, built for the kings of the 18th, 19th and 20th dynasties. Be sure to check out tomb 62 when you arrive - it was built for the great pharaoh King Tutankhamen, also known as ‘King Tut.’
Head over to the east bank of the Nile and you’ll find the magnificent Luxor Temple. Constructed with sandstone 4,000 years ago, this impressive structure was built by King Amenhotep III and dedicated to Amon-Re, the king of the gods. Sitting parallel to the Nile riverbank, Luxor Temple provides not only a place to worship but stunning views as well.
The Abu Simbel temples are two enormous rock structures located in Nubia, in southern Egypt. These temples, together with other ‘Nubian monuments,’ are considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site today. Built for pharaoh Ramesses II, in the 13th century BC, the temples were actually completely relocated in the 1960s to avoid flooding by the Nile.
Colossi of Memnon
The Colossi of Memnon, also near Luxor, is a historical site existing of two 23-metre high statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III, an 18th dynasty king. The twin statues, made of quartzite sandstone, were originally built to guard a mortuary temple built by the pharaoh. If you really want a unique view of this site, book a hot air balloon tour of Luxor and you’ll zoom right over.
Temple of Kom Ombo
Finally, consider visiting the Temple of Kom Ombo when you’re in Egypt. This ‘double temple’ was built to honour two gods and is thus completely symmetrical, with two entrances, two courts, two halls and so on. One side of the temple honours the crocodile god Sobek and the other the falcon god Haroeris.
A trip to Egypt should be on very history buff's bucket list and there are so many fascinating ancient sites beyond the Pyramids. Hop on board a cruise - or a camel - and see them all!
Do you consider yourself a history buff? What historical site is on your travel bucket list?
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Image by Arian Zwigers https://www.flickr.com/photos/azwegers/6201194723/ used under Creative Commons license.