Last Updated on
← Back to ‘Best Vacation Spots for History Buffs’
Egypt is one of the oldest countries in the world and with thousands of years of history, it’s home to some of the most important landmarks on the planet. Egyptian landmarks showcase the ingenious, impressive, and mysterious works of the Ancient Egyptians, whose first kingdom emerged around 4,000 years ago in modern-day Egypt. From soaring pyramids through to intricate hieroglyphics and complex underground systems and temples, here are the best of Egypt’s landmarks.
1.The Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is one of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World. The enormous pyramid has a base of 754 feet and a height of 474 feet. The pyramid is made of more than two million stone blocks, and even by modern day standards, it is a marvel of engineering and construction. It’s the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and was built around 2560 BCE. It’s also the last standing of the Seven Wonders. The Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed during Egypt’s Old Kingdom, which is when Pharaohs were thought to be Gods and large tombs were built for their afterlives.
2. The Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza is thought to be the oldest large statue in Egypt. It is believed to have been built in around 2500 BCE, making it over 4,000 years old. The limestone statue is an enormous sphinx 238 feet long and 68 feet high. The sphinx is a mythical creature that has its origins in Greek mythology. In Ancient Greece, the sphinx was known as a creature who was crafty and cruel. It is thought that statues of sphinxes keep a watchful eye over the subjects and this sphinx in particular is thought to resemble the Egyptian Pharaoh Khafre, who was ruler of Ancient Egypt at the time of construction.
3. Abu Simbel
Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Ramesses II ordered the construction of the Abu Simbel temple in around 1200 BCE. Abu Simbel is located on the banks of the Nile River and features two enormous temples that have been carved into a cliff. The entrance is adorned with large standing guard statues. It is thought to have taken over 20 years to build and is an incredible sight for the eyes.
4. Karnak Temple
The Karnak Temple is a city complex made of different temples. It is thought to have been constructed in 2000 BCE and features ornate detailing, with over one hundred intricately carved columns in the temple’s main hall. The hall was built as a place of worship for some of the main Egyptian gods. While the temple has fallen into ruin, you can still see much of its original columns and imagine what life might have been like 4,000 years ago.
5. Colossi of Memnon
The Colossi of Memnon, built in 3400 BCE, is one of the oldest landmarks in Egypt. There are two statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep, built facing the Nile and the sun, standing at the entrance of the Colossi. There are several other statues surrounding the main two statues, which are said to represent Pharaoh Amenhotep III’s wife and mother.
6. Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings is one of the most important archeological sites in Egypt. It’s a wide valley that’s home to over 60 ancient tombs and burial chambers belonging to Pharaohs and powerful noble, including the likes of Tutankhamun, Seti I, and Ramses II. It’s one of the first examples of a necropolis — or city of the dead. The Ancient Egyptians carved the tombs into rocks in the valley over a five-hundred-year period from around 1600 BCE to 1100 BCE. While the Egyptians liked to build monuments to their pharaohs, they also liked to build intricate, hidden underground mausoleums to protect them and their treasures.
7. Abydos’ Temple of Osiris
The Ancient Egyptians carved hieroglyphics and intricate paintings into the walls of the Abydos’ Temple of Osiris. The world’s second oldest written language is hieroglyphics. While it can be seen at many Egyptian landmarks, the Abydos’ Temple of Osiris doesn’t draw as many crowds as that of more famous sites.
8. Egypt Museum
No trip to Egypt would be complete without exploring the Egypt Museum, which is home to thousands of artifacts. The museum is located in downtown Cairo and has items on display from the time of the Pharaohs. You can also find out more about King Tutankhamun’s tomb, where you can see a detailed exhibit about his mummification and what treasures were discovered.
9. White Desert
While not an ancient Egyptian landmark, the White Desert is certainly a landmark of Mother Nature. The White Desert is an alien-like landscape., home to enormous mushroom-shaped chalk formations that are the result of thousands of years of wind erosion.
10. St. Catherine’s Monastery
St. Catherine’s is one of the oldest monasteries in the world. It was built around 565 CE and lies at the foot of Mount Sinai, which is sacred territory where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments. St Catherine’s is a desert monastery that’s home to a collection of religious manuscripts and art. Many visitors also hike to the top of Mount Sinai to see sunrise or sunset.
Planning a trip to Egypt? Here’s everything from staying safe to the country’s best beaches.