Top 20 Egypt Landmarks to Explore


14 min read
The pyramids of Giza is an iconic symbol of Egypt

When it comes to travelling, the cost is one major factor that is always considered! Travelling to Egypt depending on where you are travelling from is considered to be quite affordable. It is affordable because when you break all the costs down, vacations to Egypt are great value, you can fit quite a lot in for a lot less and if you do have a large budget - there are many luxurious options as well.

Egypt, the ancient country in Africa, the home of ancient Pharaohs, is a country with many dazzling monuments and landmarks to visit. The country has many activities for visitors to explore. You can go site seeing, take a stroll, go diving, and other activities based on your preferences.

If you are planning to travel to Egypt for any reason, especially for a vacation, then this is the guide for you. You can include these landmarks in your own personal list. I hope this guide helps you plan your visit to Egypt!

  • 20 landmarks

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Egypt Map

Using the map of Egypt, you can explore all the landmarks.

The Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian museum is hard to miss, especially when you are in Cairo. It was opened in 1902 with the purpose of housing the antiquities of Ancient Egypt. Inside the historical museum is a collection of the archaeological history of Ancient Egypt. The Egyptian Museum is the home of over 120,000 artefacts, with some including the contents of Tutankhamen's tomb, and most of the mummies that were discovered since the 19th century.

The building is made up of two floors, which is the ground floor and the top floor. When you are on the ground floor, you see artefacts that educate you on the history of Egypt from the Old Kingdom to the Greco-Roman period. On the top floor, the majority of the area is used to exhibit contents Tutankhamun’s tomb.

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The Giza Necropolis is a site consisting of the pyramids of Egypt

Giza Necropolis

The major attraction of Giza Necropolis is the Giza Pyramids. With its incredible size, the pyramids continue to be one of the major attractions in Egypt, drawing millions of visitors into the country each year. Many visitors are still trying to understand why the three kings, named Khufu, Menkaure, and Khafre could construct these huge structures during their reigns.

The pyramids were constructed using blocks of limestone, and surprisingly they have survived the elements from nature better than other pyramids. All three pyramids you see - with the small ones next to them, were built during the 4th dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. The Old Kingdom is the first era out of the three significant periods of Ancient Egypt.

Visiting the Giza Necropolis should be included in your itinerary to Egypt if you are interested in Ancient Egypt!

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Mosque of Muhammad Ali is situated in the beautiful city of Cairo

Mosque of Muhammad Ali

Even though the Mosque of Muhammad Ali is not really ancient or historic, it is still one of the most popular Islamic mosques among tourists.

The Mosque of Muhammad Ali is located in the Citadel of Cairo. The mosque is usually referred to as the Alabaster Mosque because of the use of alabaster stones in its construction. It was built between 1830 and 1848, and this is probably because the architects wanted to make sure it was as gigantic as possible.

The structure of the mosque is impressive especially when you are viewing it from a distance. One thing contributing to its popularity and prestige is its prominent location. The Egyptians consider the mosque as a major landmark in the country. Since the majority of Egyptians are Muslims, the mosque is cherished by the local Egyptians.

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Khan El Khalili will take you back in time with its medieval style market

Khan el-Khalili

Visiting Cairo without making a stop at the Khan el-Khalili is almost impossible.

Khan el-Khalili is a popular bazaar which was established in the 14th century. There are many cultural and historic sites in Khan El-Khalili, so it is no surprise that it attracts many visitors. You can locate the Al-Hussein Mosque as well as the Al-Azhar market in Khan el-Khalili.

I recommend visiting visit both Khan el-Khalili during the Mawlid Al-Hussein celebrations. The Mawlid Al-Hussein celebrations is a Sufi celebration of Iman Hussein's birth. Sufist perform litanies and other traditional activities during this time. If you are a Muslim, you get the opportunity to learn more about your culture. Aside from that, if you are of a different religion, there is no harm in witnessing different cultural activities aside from yours.

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Abu Simbel Temples is made up of rock solid cliff built by pharaoh Ramesses the Great

Abu Simbel Temples

Abu Simbel Temples is one of the most famous landmarks in Egypt. It is an ancient temple complex. The temples were originally located on the west bank of the Nile River for about 3,000 years. However, the temples were later dismantled and rebuilt on a higher hill in the 1960s.

Getting to the Abu Simbel Temples requires a 4-hour car ride from Cairo, however many companies run private transfers or buses. If you are willing to pay more, you can also take a plane. Several companies offer day trips from either Cairo or Aswan.

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St. Catherine's Monastery is a sacred site that sits at the foot of Mount Sinai

St. Catherine's Monastery

St. Catherine's Monastery is one of the oldest and still active monasteries in the world. It is believed that the burning bush recorded in the old testament of the Bible of Christians is enshrined in the monastery. The monastery has been the home of many monks, using Mount Sinai as their protection from the outside world.

This should not come as a surprise, but inside St Catherine’s Monastery is the Chapel of the Burning Bush. It is a small chamber found behind the alter, but unfortunately, it is often closed to the public. If you are fortunate and it is open when you visit, you have to take off your footwear before entering the chamber. This is to show the respect you have for God in a holy place. The monastery is one of the best places you can learn about Christianity.

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Valley of the Kings is a famous ancient city ruins in Egypt

Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings is one of the major landmarks in Egypt, and this is mostly because of its royal tombs. The popular landmark is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tombs were built between 1539 and 1075 BC. It was the burial ground for the Egyptian pharaohs from the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties. Some of the Pharaohs buried there include Tutankhamun, Tuthmosis III, and Seti I.

In all, you can find about 62 tombs in total at the Valley of the Kings. In the past, exploring the tombs was scary since it was dark and mostly undiscovered. Today the tombs are lit and well-marked, making your experience more memorable.

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Alexandria city's most famous tourist attraction is the Citadel of Qaitbay

Citadel of Qaitbay

Another famous Egyptian landmark is the Citadel of Qaitbay. You can locate the Citadel of Qaitbay on the Island of Pharos, west of Alexandria city. It was built on the same location as an old lighthouse after it was destroyed by an earthquake, and was named after the sultan Ashraf. The sultan at that time wanted to protect Alexandria city from the direct threats of the ottoman empire.

The first floor of the citadel contains a mosque and a defence hall, which allows soldiers to defend the citadel when it is under attack easily. The second floor contains the chambers and halls. On the third floor, you can find the throne chamber of the sultan. Visiting the Citadel of Qaitbay gives you an idea of how sultan Ashraf lived while he was trying to protect Alexandria.

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Temple of Seti I is a memorial temple built by Pharaoh Seti I

Temple of Seti I

Seti I is known to be one of the less popular pharaohs to have ruled during the New Kingdom era of ancient Egypt. One surprising thing is his son by the name Ramesses II is one of the popular pharaohs in the country. Even though he is not one of the popular pharaohs of Egypt, his temple is included when you are listing famous temples in the country.

Many people who travel to Egypt claim that the temple is one of the most impressive religious structures in existence. The temple built in 1279 BC is a limestone L-shaped structure instead of the normal rectangular shape. The temple has many features that attract visitors. You can visit the Temple of Seti I when you find yourself in Luxor.

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Philae is an island in Egypt famous for the Temple of Isis

Philae

The sacred site of Philae is one of the attractions in Egypt that attracts many travellers every year. It is a small island located in Aswan, mainly popular because of the temple of Isis. The temple was built in 280 BCE by Ptolemy II and was dedicated to the Isis, Horus, and Osiris. When you check the walls of the temple, it shows illustrations from Egyptian mythology. For example, one illustration shows the goddess Isis bringing Osiris back from the dead.

The temple survived from being destroyed when the Aswan dam was built during the 1960s. With the cooperation between the Egyptian government and UNESCO, the temple was rescued. The rescuing process took about 10 years to complete, and it is no surprise that it attracts many visitors because of the history it contains.

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Saqqara Necropolis is an Egyptian ancient site that consists of ancient pyramids

Saqqara Necropolis

When it comes to Egyptian pyramids, many people think the only one available is the Giza pyramids. On the contrary, there is another group of pyramids called the Saqqara Necropolis located 30 kilometres north of Cairo, the country's capital. Saqqara covers a ground area of about 7 by 1.5 kilometres. For those who love history, taking a day trip to the Saqqara Necropolis when you are in Cairo should be on your list.

There are a numerous amount of pyramids for you to visit once you arrive at the location. One popular pyramid is the Step pyramid of Djoser. The step pyramid is the oldest tomb, and it was built during the 3rd Dynasty. It is quite amusing how strong these pyramids are after all these years. This is one of the main reasons why Egypt's pyramids are one of the major attractions in Egypt.

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Luxor Temple consists of complex ancient ruin temples in the city of Luxor

Luxor Temple

Luxor city (previously known as ancient Thebes) in Egypt used to be the state capital, but this was during the 12th Dynasty in 1991. The city is the home of one of the ancient and most beautiful temples in Egypt, by the name Luxor Temple.

The Luxor Temple is a mark of Ancient Egyptian civilization, strikingly graceful monument in the heart of modern Luxor. Luxor Temple was constructed in 1400 BCE during the New Kingdom, using sandstone as the building materials.

Unlike other temples found in Luxor, the Luxor temple was built to rejuvenate kingship instead of a god or godly figure of the kings and pharaohs. Many kings have been crowned at the Luxor City. I recommend you go around sunset if you want to visit the temple. During sunset, the evening sky makes the environment perfect for a photo opportunity.

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Montaza Palace is a museum that has its own massive garden that overlooks the sea

Montaza Palace

Khedive Abbas II built the Montaza Palace and Royal Gardens at the beginning of the 20th century. Khedive was a relative of the King Farouk, the ruler of Egypt at that time. The palace was built using Turkish and Florentine architecture together to make it beautiful.

The palace contains an extensive museum and gardens that overlook the Mediterranean Sea. The gardens are open to the public - if you have the time, I recommend exploring the area, it is one of the fun things to do in Egypt!

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Karnak Temple is a historical site with several ancient ruins of Egyptian buildings

Karnak

The Karnak Temple is one of the most famous attractions in Egypt. It is one massive temple complex which is located on the east bank of the Nile River. The temple covers a ground area of 100 hectares, bigger than some ancient Egyptian cities. Construction of the temple took close to 2000 years to complete by dozens of pharaohs.

Karnak Temple is undoubtedly the biggest temple complex in Egypt. The immense size of the temple immediately makes it a historical landmark in Egypt. The main structure within the complex is the temple of Amun; it attracts many visitors as it is the largest place of worship to have been built in the area.

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Great Sphinx of Giza is a massive statue of a sphinx made of limestone

Great Sphinx of Giza

When you are looking for a monument from the Old Kingdom of Egypt, you cannot overlook the Sphinx of Giza. As a matter of fact, the Sphinx of Giza is the oldest stone, specifically limestone built sculpture in the Old Kingdom.

The Sphinx of Giza was called "Horus of the Necropolis" during the 18th dynasty, which means the "sun god that stands above the horizon." Many believe that the face of the Sphinx is that of the Chephren, the pharaoh who built the second-largest pyramid in the Giza triad.

Over the years, the sculpture has gone through lots of challenges. For example, the Sphinx monument is missing its nose, how the nose went missing is a mystery and was not recorded in the monument's history. Today the Great Sphinx of Giza is being preserved and protected from damage, so visitors are not allowed to get too close. This does not mean you cannot view it from a distance.

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Dendera Temple Complex is a famous landmark that contains fascinating ancient temples

Dendera Temple Complex

Dendera Temple is another famous landmark in Egypt. It is one of the most well-preserved temple complexes in Egypt and the world at large. The whole complex covers a ground area of about 40,000 square metres surrounded by a mudbrick wall. It was built in the 1st century BC by Queen Cleopatra the 2nd and the Ptolemy the 8th. The temple complex contains a basilica, a sacred lake, two birth houses, and other temples and shrines within it.

When you enter the main temple, you get the opportunity to witness exquisite, highly detailed astrological calendars painted and carved on the temple ceilings. There are hieroglyphic wall reliefs everywhere in the temple. One unique feature of the Dendera temple is the mysterious crypts found underground enclosed within the double walls of the upper temple.

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Nubian Museum

Nubia is a region located between Aswan and the city of Debba in Sudan. It is believed that Nubia was derived from the word "Nebo" which means "mines of gold," and this is what probably made the region famous in the past. The Nubian Museum exhibits the history, art and culture of Nubia. It was built in 1997 to serve as a reminder of what the people of Nubia lost beneath Lake Nasser.

The exhibits of the museum range from prehistoric artefacts from the Kingdom of Kush to recently discovered artefacts. One highlight of the museum is the 6000-year-old painted bowls. There are many more impressive artefacts you can find in the museum that shows you the history of the Nubia.

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Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Bibliotheca Alexandrina is also known as Library of Alexandria built with Contemporary architecture style, is one of the largest and most significant libraries in the world - making it one of the most famous places in Egypt. This particular library was inaugurated in 2002 to commemorate the ancient library that was burned down in 48 BC by Julius Caesar. You can locate this library alongside Alexandria's ancient harbour.

The library serves as a place of inspiration if you are pursuing the journey of knowledge, providing information for eager Egyptian students. It is estimated that the library is capable of holding more than 8 million items. Some contents of the library include four museums, a planetarium, a collection of books, and other impressive collections.

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Pompey's Pillar is a known column in Egypt dedicated to the Roman Emperor Diocletian

Serapeum and Pompey's Pillar

Pompey's Pillar is a single column of a pillar, the largest of its kind found outside of Greece. The pillar can be located on a rocky hill in Alexandria, Egypt. Even though the pillar is named Pompey, it has no relation with General Gaius Pompey. The pillar is 67 feet high, having a diameter of about 8 feet at its base. This popular pillar is the remains of the Temple of Serapeum.

During the middle ages, many crusaders believed that the ashes of the Roman general Pompey were kept in a pot on top of the column. As of today, the pillar serves as a site to mark the spot that once held the temple. When you are in Alexandria, you can take a taxi to the Pillar. Simply ask the driver to take you to Amoud Al Sawari, which is the same as Pompey's Pillar in Arabic.

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Al-Azhar Park is a wide public green space in the city of Cairo

Al-Azhar Park

Al-Azhar Park is one of the most popular attractions in Egypt, attracting many tourists to the country. It is located on a hill surrounded by many historical sites in Cairo. The park is included as one of the world's sixty public places according to Project for Public Spaces. It was constructed by his highness Aga Khan. He decided to donate the park to the people in 1984 with the Islamic belief that everyone is a trustee to Gods creation.

The park was a way of trying to make the world a better place than it used to be. Al Azhar Park is one of the popular landmarks you must visit when you are in Cairo, Egypt. It has an amazing view for you to relax and enjoy yourself. This is one of the places you can take your family when you are in Cairo.

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Conclusion

There are many Egyptian landmarks for you to visit if you are planning to travel to the country. Most of these landmarks are ancient; allowing you to see how these in some cases, giant buildings have survived time. This itinerary lists some of the famous landmarks in Egypt for you to visit. I hope this helps you plan your visit to this wonderful country.

This article was edited by Loredana Elena.

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Written by Samuel Caesar

Caesar WRITER I am Samuel Caesar from Accra, Ghana. I am a computer engineer and freelance writer. Writing is how I escape from the real world and into my imaginations. Join me as I share my skills with the world.


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