It is enough to list the names of Giza, Luxor, Karnak or Alexandria to desire to go to meet Egypt. Heir to the Pharaohs, Greeks, Romans, early Muslims and Copts, Egypt also offers the visitor the splendor of the desert and the shores of the Red Sea.
Egypt of the Pharaohs, Egypt of the desert or Egypt of the cities … there is something for all tastes.
Destination of holidays and discoveries par excellence, the inheritance of this country will not be able to amaze you. For thousands of years, each city has built its own character. A special atmosphere emerges from each of them. The bustling city of Cairo, day and night, calms down when you arrive at the edge of the prestigious and elegant Pyramids of Giza. Its mosques, its charming palaces and its fascinating museums will leave you with an unforgettable memory.
Beside the capital, Alexandria seems calm with its establishments that bear witness to its European past.
The desert of Sinai will leave some an indescribable impression as nature is resplendent. The Red Sea is full of jewels, do not hesitate to go for a walk in its depths.
The Pharaonic era will reveal to you its most precious secrets in Luxor. The ancient millennia temples of ancient Thebes, “city where every home is full of wealth” according to Homer, are beautifully preserved.
Further south, Aswan is an ideal place to rest and admire the tranquil Nile River Cruise. Simply magical!
In addition to these discoveries, Egypt is also a place where it is good to practice sports activities including diving. The Red Sea is one of the most extraordinary sites in the world for practicing this sport.
A last tip to follow: go to meet the Egyptians and discover their culture so rich. Very proud of their country (and they are right!), They will be delighted to make you discover their daily life as magical as the monuments of their ancestors.
A pharaonic treasure
The image that immediately comes to mind in evoking Egypt is that of the pyramids of Giza, the sphinxes and hieroglyphs, just as many monuments and culture belonging to the era of the Pharaohs and to visit absolutely.
Egypt also fascinates by the desert that covers a large part of its territory (the Arabian desert and the Sahara desert), as well as mythical places such as Sinai and St. Catherine Monastery.
However, the great treasure of Egypt remains the Nile, the nourishing river that was considered a god in the time of the Pharaohs. Today, it provides irrigation necessary for agricultural cultivation. Navigable, it allows you to make a beautiful ride or cruise felucca. It is this river that has ensured the prosperity of the country throughout the centuries, in the days of Ramses II, Cleopatra or Saladin.
Cairo is the largest city in Egypt and even in Africa. Plunge without hesitation into this world of diversity, noisy and dusty. This city will make you turn your head like a whirlwind.
The city of “thousand minarets” is discovered for example through the narrow streets of Islamic Cairo: at the sound of a thousand and one mosques, you will meet goats, camels and donkeys. This district is home to the Ibn-Touloun Mosque (9th century), one of the largest mosques in the world, Beit al-Souhaymi, a fine example of a traditional dwelling, and the citadel, an imposing medieval fortress that was the seat of power Egyptian for seven centuries.
At the Egyptian Museum you will find more than 120,000 pieces from almost every period of ancient Egyptian history.
Do not miss this magnificent museum, which holds some of the most fabulous antiquities in the world, the galleries of Tutankhamun, the royal mummies room, the rooms of the Old Kingdom, the pharaonic techniques …
It’s in Giza on the west bank of the Nile you will discover the Pyramids, works of art among the Seven Wonders of the World.
Despite the hordes of tourists who flock to it continuously, they are a unique sight. Nearby are the Sphinx and many temples and small pyramids.
Pyramids and temples
Pyramids of Giza
The pyramids of Gizeh are the most famous pyramids of Egypt (Giza is even one of the most famous places in the world: it is part of the world heritage since 1979) and are inseparable from this beautiful country.
It was under the Fourth Dynasty that this village on the west bank of the Nile became the royal necropolis of Menphis. To serve as a tomb for kings, the Egyptians erected three pyramids in less than a century: the Great Pyramid of Cheops, the Pyramid of Khafre and the Pyramid of Mykerinos. These pyramids, unique in the world, are part of the Seven Wonders of the World. On this same plateau is the famous Sphinx and many temples and other small pyramids.
Also enjoy sound and light several times a day.
Pyramids of Saqqara
The oldest necropolis, Saqqara served as a burial place for many pharaohs. It is especially for the finesse of the bas-reliefs that decorate her tombs that she deserves a visit. The Fayum is a kind of Eden: its landscapes an enchantment. As far as the eye can see, it is only orange orchards, lemon trees, mango trees and guavas that scent the air with intoxicating scents.
Valley of Kings and Queens
The valley served as a royal necropolis welcoming pharaohs (Valley of Kings) and royal wives (Valley of Queens). The scale of the task we have undertaken is far beyond our reach: four centuries of hard work for the sole purpose of offering the members of the royal family a grave in the image of their power.
The Valley of the Kings is a collection of royal necropolises where the remains of the pharaohs’ dynasties were buried. There are 63 in this valley alone. However, you will be able to visit only a few, because of the national will to preserve these treasures come from time immemorial.
The Valley of the Queens is the place where rest the royal wives, the girls and sometimes the sons of certain kings. There are about 80, but only two or three are open to the public: the tomb of Khâemouaset, the tomb of Amenherkhepshef and that of de Tyti.
This temple is very similar to that of Karnak by the elegance of its statues and columns. Before arriving at the entrance, you must go through an avenue lined with two rows of Sphinx, the guardians of the lower world and the doors of the temple. This avenue previously connected the Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple located 2 km away.
The entrance is composed of the famous pylon, added by Ramses II, whose bas-reliefs represent the military exploits of the Pharaoh, especially during the Battle of Kadesh. Two colossal statues of Ramses II sitting right in front of the temple. An obelisk is planted alone, while his twin was offered to France in 1833 by Mohammed Ali. He now decorates the Place de la Concorde in Paris.
Temple of Karnak
Located 2 km north of the Luxor Temple, the Karnak Temple was one of the main religious centers of ancient times. It is now the second most visited site in Egypt after the Pyramids of Giseh.
The temple of Karnak is divided into three distinct parts, the Greeks called it Hermonthis. The largest of the three 30-hectare parts is the best preserved part of the temple because of the many restoration works that were carried out, this part is for the god Amon. The temple is so large that it could contain the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, and according to Leonard Cottrell, it represents half of Manhattan.
Temple of Philae
The island of Philae is off the Nile. If it is part of the high places of Egyptian tourism, it is for the temple of Isis that it is known. Note that most buildings on this island date back to the time of the first pharaohs.
The sound and light of Philae is one of the most beautiful in Egypt. Every night, the story of Isis and her husband, Osiris, betrayed by Seth, cut in pieces and then thrown to the fish of the Nile, is told under the astonished eyes of the spectators.
In the small village of Abu Simbel, 280 km from Aswan and only 40 km from the Sudan border, are the famous Temples of Abu Simbel. Even if they are of modest dimensions compared to the immense Pyramids of Giza, these two temples do not
Built by Ramses II in the heart of Nubia, they stand on the left bank of the Nile, the one reserved for the afterlife. These are not funerary temples but rather temples dedicated to the glory of the pharaoh.
With the construction of the High Dam in 1960, many sites were engulfed by rising waters including the Abu Simbel Temples. UNESCO decided to save these monuments by cutting the temple in 1042 blocks of stone and going up 45 m further backed by an artificial cliff. This rescue lasted three years and 3,000 people worked to restore them.
Erected on the site of Thebes, Luxor has a magnificent and beautifully preserved monumental architecture, which you can admire from a felucca by letting you slide along the Nile. or you can take a Nile Cruise from Luxor to Aswan It actually comprises three distinct sectors: the city of Luxor proper, the village of Karnak, and the monuments and necropolises of the ancient city of Thebes, on the west bank of the river. Since Greco-Roman times, visitors have flocked to the temples of Luxor, Karnak, Ramses II and Hatshepsut and the famous tombs of the Valley of the Kings. The temple of Luxor was built largely by Pharaoh Amenophis III on the site of a sanctuary dedicated to the Theban triad of Amon, Mut and Khonsu, and underwent various modifications during the reigns of Tutankhamun, Ramses II, ‘ Alexander the Great and various Roman emperors. The temples of Karnak for their part constitute a vast set of sanctuaries, kiosks, pylons and obelisks erected to the glory of the gods of Thebes; the site is 1.5 km long and 800 m wide – the size of ten cathedrals! Perfected, restored, remodeled, decorated during 1500 years, it was, at the height of Thebes, the most venerated place of all Egypt (Ipet-Isut, “the most perfect place”).
Alexander the Great chose this small fishing village to establish his new capital. The city once housed a gigantic library of 700,000 volumes; at its peak, it was a great center for scientific, philosophical and intellectual scholarship. Few things remain of this glorious past, but the Midan Ramla district retains traces of the cosmopolitan history of Alexandria from the early twentieth century: the Cecil Hotel, the Swiss Pharmacy, the Trianon …
At the Greco-Roman Museum you will see artifacts dating back to the 3rd century BC. AD, including a magnificent basalt sculpture of Apis, the sacred bull of the Egyptians, mummies, sarcophagi, tapestries … The Roman Amphitheater is unique in the country, was recently discovered, and the Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa are the largest Roman necropolis in Egypt known to date.
Sharm el Sheikh
Egypt may be the land of the sun, but its coastline also offers a captivating variety of water attractions to discover! Sharm el-Sheikh is the most fascinating site of the Red Sea where beaches and turquoise seas seem endless with their underwater blue-night depths. All around Sharm el Sheikh discover magnificent scuba diving spots, as well as many spa and thalassotherapy centers.
The southernmost city in Egypt has long been the port of entry to Africa, giving birth to a thriving trade on the caravan route. Formerly garrison city and border city, the Copts called it “Souan” (“trading”). The modern city lies on the eastern bank of the Nile, north of the first Cataract. The Nile is superb: you can contemplate the Corniche, beautiful avenue along the river. Elephantine Island, formerly Abu, was the place of worship of Khnum with ram’s head, creator of humanity and lord of the cataracts in charge of the waters of the Nile, his wife Satis and his daughter Anukis.
Other sites to explore: the two pretty Nubian villages on the east coast of the island, the mausoleum of the Aga Khan, 48th imam of the Islamic sect of Ismailis, the monastery of Saint-Simeon (Deir Amba Samaan), built in the 7th century and very well preserved. The famous Aswan dam, 2.5 km long, now surpassed by the Grand Dam, 6 km upstream, irreparably changed the topography of this region, cradle of the Nubian culture. The temple of Philae, submerged at the beginning of the century after the construction of the Aswan Dam (which was visited by canoe), was saved from the waters by Unesco in the late 1960s. Between 1972 and 1980, the ruins were dismounted stone by stone and transplanted 20 m higher on the neighboring island of Agilkia.
Sinai, a place of refuge, conflict and curiosity for millennia, is a region of unparalleled beauty. Under the pharaohs, his quarries contained enormous quantities of turquoise, gold and copper. The Hebrews would have crossed this “vast and terrible desert” in search of the Promised Land, and it was from the summit of Mount Sinai that Moses received from God the Ten Commandments.
Wedged between Africa and Asia, bordered on the north by the Mediterranean, on the west by the Suez Canal and on the east by the Red Sea, it offers a multitude of contrasts: arid and glowing mountains surrounded by plateaus deserts, palm-fringed shores, dunes and swamps, coral reefs.