The culture of ancient Egypt continues to amaze scientists, archaeologists and the general public to this day: it was a society known for architectural, astronomical and mathematical proficiency, which built one of the greatest civilizations in the world, and left its indestructible mark on history. Since those ancient times Egypt has changed a great lot, but that mark continues to draw a great number of visitors; tourists, who combine the spectacular sightseeing and exploration of ancient Egypt culture with some amazing summertime resorts.
Mount Sinai (source: wikimedia.org, credit: Berthold Werner)
The main destinations for a relaxing summer vacation are the city of Alexandria and the Sinai Peninsula. Alexandria is actually the most popular summer resorts; its beaches, plus the ancient history exhibited in the city’s museums, make it a charming combination of rest and learning. Sinai takes pride in its natural attractions, such as the rich coral reefs or Mount Sinai. Beach resorts like Taba, Nuweiba or Sharm el-Sheikh, however, are more than ready to welcome those who’d rather spent their holiday sunbathing.
Since the River Nile was always a focal point around which the life in Egypt revolved, there are many Nile cruises designed to show tourists the life around the mighty river. These cruises vary in routes and length, but most of them last seven nights; the shorter ones usually go from Luxor to Aswan, while the longer ones go all the way north to Dendera. Nile cruises usually consist of many day tours and activities to various locations are a viable option for those with adventurous spirit.
However, if you’re more interested in exploring the ancient temples and ruins, there are several locations you simply must not miss. Twenty kilometers southwest of Cairo lies Giza, with its centuries old historical monuments (some of them among oldest in the world, dating from the 26th century BC). Giza is the focal point of Egyptian tourism thanks to a number of major attractions such as the Great Sphinx and several great pyramids. The Great Pyramid of Giza, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world (the only one which stands to this day) was the tallest manmade object for more than 3000 years, with the height of 146.5 meters.
The city of Luxor is spectacular as well. It’s often nicknamed “the world’s greatest open air museum” since there are numerous ruins, most notably temple complexes, which are surrounded by the modern city. On the other side of the Nile lies the Necropolis, and two valleys which served as burial sites for pharaohs and their wives – the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of Queens, both UNESCO protected World Heritage sites.
Also worth visiting is the Saqqara, a great burial ground which was the necropolis of Memphis, a capital of ancient Egypt. It is located 30 kilometers south of Cairo and it’s the site of the oldest step pyramid in the world and a number of mastabas, flat-roofed tombs which predate the pyramids.
There’s so much culture and history in this transcontinental country that we’ve barely scratched the surface. You can either choose a simple, relaxing holiday in Egypt at one of the summer resorts, or embark on a journey to explore ancient sites which will take your breath away – whichever you choice, you’re going to have the time of your life.
Photo credit for featured image (Alexandria coast, aerial view): unesco.org