Egypt “A treasure trove of ancient civilizations”.
When it comes to architectural wealth Egypt boasts an embarrassment of riches, the legacy of a history created by ancient Greeks, Romans, and Christian and Arab dynasties. The country is a living monument to ancient civilizations, pharaohs and pyramids thousands of years old. Add to this a magnificent landscape including the Nile River, golden deserts and wonders like the Red Sea, with its underwater shipwrecks, vibrantly colored fish and coral.
Like the country as a whole, Egypt’s towns are also a dazzling contrast where buildings made out of mud sit next to glittering new skyscrapers, and modern shopping malls next to bustling bazaars. Egypt is a vibrant, exhilarating and welcoming country and if you spend enough time there you are sure to take something beautiful home with you even if it is just a special memory.
Home of the ancient Pharaohs, Egypt is a dazzling destination of temples and tombs that wow all who visit. It’s not all historic treasures, though. With vast tracts of desert, superb scuba diving, and the famed Nile River, there’s something for everyone here.
Beach lovers head to the Sinai to soak up the sun, while archaeology fans will have a field day in Luxor. Cairo is the megalopolis that can’t be beaten for city slickers, while Siwa oasis and the southern town of Aswan offer a slice of the slow pace of the countryside.
History of Tourism in Egypt :
The phenomenon of tourism in Egypt developed during ancient times, the ancient Egyptians practiced many recreational activities, attached themselves to sports tourism in its various forms. Intellectuals and clerics were interested in cultural tourism, Nile tourism spread throughout the country, many delegation came to Egypt from a large numbers of foreign regions with the aim of medical tourism, as well as the development of travel and tourism was active between the various regions of Egypt. The ancient historical books recorded international relations between Egypt in one hand and ancient Syria on the other hand, during which they exchanged visits that had all the characteristics of tourism in its modern meaning.
During the Middle Ages, Egypt witnessed the brightest periods of tourism as a result of nomadic activity and the expansion of the circle of Arab trips following the emergence and spread of Islam, the expansion of the Islamic State between the Indian subcontinent, North Africa and southern Europe.
Cairo was one of the most important civilization and cultural centers in the Islamic state as one of the most wealthy, similar to several Islamic capitals for its palaces, gardens and libraries were, among all attractions that attracted large numbers of tourists, during the economic boom, security and desire for knowledge contributed to the popularity of tourism and the activity of trips, their multiplicity in Egypt during that period.
The tourism importance in Egypt increased since the end of the eighteenth century till the nineteenth century, this was due to several factors, including the French campaign that restored contact between the Egyptians and its ancient civilization through the accompanying scholars who studied the Egyptian civilization and unveiled many antiquities of value, introduced Egypt to the West through historical works that are talk about it, such as the book which Describes Egypt, led to its popularity and directed attention of European countries to it.
With the arrival of Muhammad Ali to the rule to Egypt, interest in the tourism movement returned back.
In 1845 Muhammad Ali established the Traffic Authority to supervise the road to India and the movement of tourists, mail and goods. The city of Cairo and the cities of Suez and Alexandria have set up telegraphic towers to report the arrival and establishment of cruise ships and groups, as well as hotels equipped for the overnight stays and accommodations of tourists.
Abbas (1) witnessed a special interest in tourism and provided the necessary facilities for the development of tourism, so the Cairo / Suez road was paved with stones, and the first special regulation to regulate the stay of foreigners and tourists in Egypt was drawn up in May 1849.
Saeed Pasha also followed the path of his predecessors, so in March 1857 he issued the Said Regulations that organized all matters related to tourists from their arrival in Egypt, during their stay and until their departure.
The influx of foreigners to Egypt during the rule of Khedive Ismail – whether for work or tourism – helped the flow of tourism to Egypt during this period, its participation in international exhibitions, and the occasion of opening of the Suez Canal for international navigation to promote Egypt as a tourism destination.
Similar to what was mentioned above and throughout the ages, eras and years, the rulers of Egypt paid attention to tourism from all sides until Egypt became in line with and comparable to the largest tourist countries in terms of everything related to tourism.
Where to go in Egypt ?
Egypt has so much for travelers to see and do, it’s the perfect country for a mix of activities combining culture, adventure, and relaxation. Find the best places to visit with our list of the top tourist attractions in Egypt.
Highlights of a tour trip in Egypt:
Sightseeing Pyramids, wrecked underwater ships, museums, temples, mummies, Culture and entertainment Shopping, light and sound shows, traditional Bazaars.
Activities and sports Glass-boat rides, kayaking, parasailing, windsurfing, banana boat rides, diving, swimming, hiking, hot air balloon rides, cruises, golfing.
Major events Downtown Contemporary Art Festival
(April), Shem Al-Nessim (May), Cairo
International Film Festival (November)
At A Glance
Time Zone GMT + 2
Currency Egyptian Pound
Best touristic destinations in Egypt:
Pyramids of Giza:
The last surviving of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Pyramids of Giza are one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks. Built as tombs for the mighty Pharaohs and guarded by the enigmatic Sphinx, Giza’s pyramid complex has awed travelers down through the ages and had archaeologists (and a fair few conspiracy theorists) scratching their heads over how they were built for centuries.
Today, these megalithic memorials to dead kings are still as wondrous a sight as they ever were. An undeniable highlight of any Egypt trip, Giza’s pyramids should not be missed.
Luxor’s Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings:
Famed for the Valley of the Kings, Karnak Temple, and the Memorial Temple of Hatshepsut, the Nile-side town of Luxor in Upper Egypt has a glut of tourist attractions. This is ancient Thebes, power base of the New Kingdom pharaohs, and home to more sights than most can see on one visit.
While the East Bank brims with vibrant souk action, the quieter West Bank is home to a bundle of tombs and temples that has been called the biggest open-air museum in the world. Spend a few days here exploring the colorful wall art of the tombs and gazing in awe at the colossal columns in the temples, and you’ll see why Luxor continues to fascinate historians and archaeologists.
The atmospheric, narrow lanes of the capital’s Islamic Cairo district are crammed full of mosques, madrassas (Islamic schools of learning), and monuments dating from the Fatimid through to the Mameluke eras. This is where you’ll find the
labyrinth shopping souk of Khan el-Khalili, where coppersmiths and artisans still have their tiny workshops, and stalls are laden with ceramics, textiles, spice, and perfume.
Surrounding the market is a muddle of roads, home to some of the most beautiful preserved architecture of the old Islamic empires. There is a wealth of history here to explore. Visit Al-Azhar Mosque and the dazzling Sultan Hassan Mosque, and make sure you climb to the roof of the ancient medieval gate of Bab Zuweila for the best minaret-speckled panoramas across the district.
Egypt’s most tranquil town is Aswan, set upon the winding curves of the Nile. Backed by orange-hued dunes, this is the perfect place to stop and unwind for a few days and soak up the chilled-out atmosphere. Take the river ferry across to Elephantine Island and stroll the colorful streets of the Nubian villages. Ride a camel to the desert monastery of St. Simeon on the East Bank. Or just drink endless cups of tea on one of the riverboat restaurants, while watching the lateen-sailed feluccas drift past.
There are plenty of historic sites here and numerous temples nearby, but one of Aswan’s most popular things to do is simply kicking back and watching the river life go by.
Even in a country festooned with temples, Abu Simbel is something special. This is Ramses II’s great temple, adorned with colossal statuary standing guard outside, and with an interior sumptuously decorated with wall paintings. Justly famous for its megalithic proportions, Abu Simbel is also known for the incredible feat, which saw the entire temple moved from its original setting — set to disappear under the water because of the Aswan dam — during the 1960s in a massive UNESCO operation that took four years.
The Egyptian Museum:
A treasure trove of the Pharaonic world, Cairo’s Egyptian Museum is one of the world’s great museum collections. The faded pink mansion is home to a dazzling amount of exhibits. It’s a higgledy-piggledy place with little labeling on offer and not much chronological order, but that’s half of its old-school charm.
Upstairs is the golden glory of King Tutankhamen and the fascinating royal mummies exhibits, but really every corner you turn here is home to some wonderful piece of ancient art or statuary that would form a highlight of any other museum.
Egypt’s kookiest natural wonder is the White Desert, where surreally shaped chalk mountains have created what looks like a snowy wonderland in the middle of the arid sand. The landscapes here look like something out of a science fiction
movie, with blindingly white boulders and iceberg-like pinnacles. For desert fans and adventurers, this is the ultimate weird playground, while anybody who’s had their fill of temples and tombs will enjoy this spectacular natural scenery.
Way out west, Siwa is the tranquil tonic to the hustle of Egypt’s cities. This gorgeous little oasis, surrounded by date palm plantations and numerous fresh water springs, is one of the Western Desert’s most picturesque spots. The town is centered
around the ruins of a vast mud-brick citadel that dominates the view. This is a top spot to wind down and go slow for a few days, as well as being an excellent base from which to plan adventures into the surrounding desert.
St. Catherine’s Monastery:
One of the oldest monasteries in the world, St. Catherine’s stands at the foot of Mount Sinai, where Moses is said to have received the Ten Commandments. This desert monastery is home to an incredible collection of religious iconography, art, and manuscripts (some of which can be seen in the on-site museum), as well as the burning bush. For most visitors here, a trip to St. Catherine’s also involves a hike up Mount Sinai to see sunrise or sunset. Take the camel path for the easy route or climb the famous Steps of Repentance if you want better views.
Thistlegorm Dive Site
Below the Red Sea’s surface is another world as fascinating as the temples and tombs on land. Among the many coral reefs off the coast there’s also a glut of shipwrecks that have sunk in the Red Sea’s Gulf of Gubal and Gulf of Aqaba. Of all the wrecks, the most famous is the Thistlegorm, an English WWII cargo ship that was on its way to resupply British troops when it was bombed by the Germans in 1941.
Today the site is regarded by divers as one of the top five wreck dives in the world due to the vast cargo of cars, motorbikes, and WWII memorabilia that can be seen both scattered on the sea bed around the wreck and inside the ship itself. Dive boat trips to the wreck are organized from both Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada.
Egypt is defined by the Nile. For many visitors a multi-day cruise upon this famed waterway that saw the rise of the Pharaonic era is a highlight of their Egypt trip. Cruising the Nile is also the most relaxing way to see the temples that stud the banks of the river on the route between Luxor and Aswan, plus sunrise and sunset over the date-palm-studded river banks, backed by sand dunes, is one of Egypt’s most tranquil vistas.
The two famous sights on a Nile Cruise are the Temple of Kom Ombo and Edfu’s Temple of Horus, where all the big cruise boats stop. If you’d prefer a less crowded and slower experience though, and don’t mind “roughing it” a bit, you can also cruise the Nile by felucca (Egypt’s traditional lateen-sailed wooden boats), which also allows you to create your own itinerary. Cruise boats depart from both Luxor and Aswan, but feluccas can only be chartered for multi-day trips from Aswan.
The most European of Egypt’s cities, Alexandria has a history that not many others can match. Founded by Alexander the Great, home of Cleopatra, and razzmatazz renegade city of the Mediterranean for much of its life, this seaside city has an appealing days-gone-by atmosphere that can’t be beaten. Although today, there are few historic remnants of its illustrious past — feted in songs and books — this is a place made for aimless strolling along the seashore Corniche, café-hopping, and souk shopping.
Best Destinations in Egypt for Photography:
Pyramids of Giza
Abu Simbel Temples.
Valley of the kings.
Fayoum’s Magic Lake.
Siwa Salt Lakes.
Red Sea Coast.
Great Sphinx of Giza.
Ras Mohammed National Park
High Rated Beaches in Egypt:
Naama Bay Sharm El Sheikh.
Ras Um Sid .
Nuweiba – Taba Coastline.
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