Ten Alluring Wonders of Ancient Egypt                     

Egypt or Misr is a country located in the sandy, northeast corner of Africa. It is one of the unique countries on the world map for reasons like: 1) It is considered a ‘Transcontinental country’ between Asia and Africa, 2) It had one of the world’s most glorious civilisations, 3) A large part of the country is covered in desert, and 4) The majority of its population lives around the banks of the Nile, the world’s longest river. The country has a lot of attractions, both natural as well as man-made. But the places where the tourists throng the most are the monumental structures built during the reign of the Pharaohs (Egyptian Kings), thousands of years ago. We have curated ten such historical wonders which you can visit on your tour to Egypt.

Pyramids of Giza

Location: Giza, Giza Governorate
Coordinates:  29.9792° N, 31.1342° E
If you are touring Egypt, you cannot go ahead and tour the country without visiting the Necropolis of Giza first, located to the southwest of the Egyptian capital, Cairo. The complex has pyramids of different sizes, with the largest and the most famous being the Great Pyramid of Giza, built for the pharaoh Khufu, at a height of 141 metres. The Necropolis of Giza is a mandated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Great Pyramid being one of the 7 man-made wonders of the ancient world. The complex includes around 8 other pyramids and other structures such as tombs and temples. At night, the structures at the site are illuminated with Light Show, which makes them more appealing to spectators.

The Great Sphinx of Giza

Location: Giza, Giza Governorate
Coordinates: 29.9753° N, 31.1376° E
Situated along with the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Great Sphinx of Giza is one of the star attractions of the Necropolis of Giza. The monumental Great Sphinx has a torso of a lion and the face of a human, and wearing a pharaoh’s crown, seated in the style of a lion. Along with the Pyramids of Giza, the Great Sphinx is amongst the most recognisable structures of Egypt, believed to be built during the reign of the pharaoh Khafre. The Great Sphinx as a part of the Necropolis of Giza is a mandated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Edfu Temple

Location: Edfu, Aswan Governorate
Coordinates: 24.9779° N, 32.8734° E
The Temple of Edfu is dedicated to Horus, one of the chief deities of Egyptian Mythology. It is one of the oldest surviving and well preserved monuments of ancient Egypt. The temple was said to be built during the rule of the Greeks over Egypt, by the descendant pharaohs of Ptolemy, a general in Alexander the Great’s army, who conquered Egypt from the rule of the natives. Hence, the temple is also called the Temple of Apollo by historians, given its mixed Greco-Egyptian heritage.

Karnak Temple

Location: Luxor, Luxor Governorate
Coordinates: 25.7188° N, 32.6573° E
Situated near the ancient city of Luxor on the banks of the river Nile, the Karnak Temple was the largest of all religious buildings in ancient Egypt. The ‘temple’ is not one temple, but a series of many temples built in the honour of deities Amun-Ra (the God of the Sun), Khonsu (the God of the Moon) and Mut (the Egyptian Mother Goddess and wife of Amun-Ra). The temple complex was built over a period of years in the order to periodically ‘rejuvenate’ the three deities. In order for farmers to have a good harvest that year, numerous annual grand ceremonies were held here in the presence of the Egyptian Pharaoh and priests in ancient times to appease the enshrined deities. The Hypostyle Room of the Temple is counted as the largest single religious structure in the world.

Luxor Temple

Location: Luxor, Luxor Governorate
Coordinates: 25.6995° N, 32.6391° E
On the same bank of the river Nile near the city of Luxor lies the Luxor Temple, built periodically by the Pharaohs Amenhotep III, Tutankhamun and Ramesses II. Like the Temple of Karnak, Luxor Temple is also dedicated to the deities Amun-Ra, Khonsu and Mut. During ancient times, the statue of Amun-Ra used to be ceremonially paraded from the Karnak Temple to the Temple of Luxor in order for it to ‘spend some time’ with his wife Mut. This parade was carried along the Avenue of Sphinxes connecting the two temples. The temple also contains an altar to Alexander, built when Egypt was under Greek suzerainty.

Kom Ombo Temple

Location: Kom Ombo, Aswan Governorate
Coordinates: 24.4521° N, 32.9284° E
The Temple of Kom Ombo is situated in the town of Kom Ombo, north of the city of Aswan on the eastern bank of the river Nile. The Temple is dedicated to two deities of Egyptian mythology – Horus, the Sun God and Sobek, the Crocodile God. Hence, the architecture is in the form of a ‘double temple’, where components such as halls and pillars have been duplicated for each of the two deities, considered rivals of each other. The temple complex has had many specimens of ‘crocodile mummies’, as it was said that worshipping crocodiles in this form would invite blessings of Sobek, who will make sure that crocodiles don’t attack them.

Valley of the Kings

Location: Luxor, Luxor Governorate
Coordinates: 25.7402° N, 32.6014° E
The Valley of the Kings located near Luxor on the western bank of the river Nile is a cemetery where Pharaohs from the New Kingdom of Egypt were buried. The area has around 63 different royal tombs including that of Ramesses II and the boy Pharaoh Tutankhamun. Here was from where the latter’s world famous gold mask was excavated. The necropolis also includes a magnificent, well preserved monument temple to Hatsepshut, the first de-facto woman Pharaoh of the kingdom. The difference in this necropolis is that the tombs here were built by excavating a valley rather than building grand structures in an open place.

Temples at Abu Simbel

Location: Abu Simbel, Aswan Governorate
Coordinates: 22.3372° N, 31.6258° E
The Temples of Abu Simbel were built as rock-cut cave temples chiefly honouring the Pharaoh Ramesses II and his wife Queen Nefertari. The two Temples are one of the few sites which were relocated from their original places in a joint UNESCO – Egyptian Government operation to save them from submerging under the waters of the river Nile. The site has two temples, the bigger one dedicated to Ramesses II and the smaller one dedicated to Nefertari. Egyptian deities Amun, Ptah and Ra have also been honoured by the Pharaoh with their own gigantic statues. Each year, on February 22 and October 22, visitors can witness a spectacle when the sun rays directly fall through the entrance on the indoor statues of Ramesses II, Amun and Ra, while Ptah remains in darkness, denoting his connection with the realm of the dead.

Saqqara Necropolis

Location: Saqqara, Giza Governorate
Coordinates: 29.8713° N, 31.2165° E
Located some kilometres south of Giza, the Necropolis complex at Saqqara is the lesser known cousin of the Giza Necropolis. The Saqqara Necropolis is known to be the burial grounds of the ancient city of Memphis, with its name likely derived from the name of the Egyptian deity Sokar, a hawk-headed deity related to the God of the Underworld, Osiris. The necropolis has tombs of Egyptian Royals as well as Noblemen of the Old Kingdom of Egypt, most notably the pharaoh Djoser, who has his own old yet unique step pyramid, a rare sight in Egypt. Other examples of strange pyramids also exist nearby, like the Bent Pyramid, the Red Pyramid and the Black Pyramid, all unique in their own ways.

Philae Temple

Location: Agilkia Island, Aswan Governorate
Coordinates: 24.0127° N, 32.8775° E
Dedicated to Egyptian mythological deities Isis (the Goddess of Magic and Healing), her brother-husband Osiris (the God of the Underworld) and son Horus (the God of the Sun), the Temple of Philae is one of the monuments constructed during the reign of Greek origin Pharaohs of Egypt. Along with the temples and monuments of Abu Simbel, the Temple of Philae was also shifted from its original location in the 1960’s and 70’s owing to the construction of the Aswan High Dam on the River Nile. The temple depicts themes from the Egyptian Mythology with the deities Isis, Osiris and Horus as main characters. This temple complex is one of the best specimens of later ancient Egyptian architecture.
Though the ancient civilisation of Egypt is long gone, its legacy lives on in the modern era in the form of the grand structures of the yesteryears. From the Great Pyramids to the rock cut temples at Abu Simbel, the Egyptians have surely left their mark in the field of architecture, which continue to put people in awe. At least once in a lifetime, one should go on a tour to Egypt just to experience the architectural wonders the country has produced.

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