The long glorious past casts a pale shadow over the evolving distinct present on the mysterious land that is Egypt. The Gift of the Nile, Egypt, is mysterious, in more ways than one. Sand-covered tombs, unyielding pyramids and towering Pharaohs define a land that has over the years charmed and intrigued the travelers alike.
From the Valley of the Kings in Luxor to the magnificent Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt has all the ingredients to mesmerize, surprise and captivate you. Let’s embark on a thrilling expedition into the unknown and satiate your curious soul by unraveling the mysteries of the land that is popularly referred to as ‘The Land of Pyramids’.
Temple of Ramses II
Massive and astonishing, this UNESCO World Heritage site houses an incredible array of ancient Egyptian monuments and is perhaps the most breathtaking temple of ancient Egypt. Its colossal rock-cut facade and immense Sun Temple of King Ramses II is a delight to behold. Two temples are carved into a mountainside, of which the larger one contains four colossal statues of Ramses II, guarding the entrance of the temple.
The Great Sphinx
The Gift of the Nile
The massive statue and the first colossal illustrious sculpture in Egypt, the Great Sphinx is a national symbol of Egypt alongwith Nile River, running through its heart. Carved from a single piece of the Giza plateau, the Great Sphinx is a mysterious marvel from the times of ancient Egypt. A mythical creature with a human headed lion’s body, the Great Sphinx symbolizes strength and wisdom. Many legends have been related over years about the mysteries of the Sphinx. Some people believe that there are hidden rooms underneath the Great Sphinx!
Karnak and Luxor Temple
Most Sacred Monument
Luxor, the city of temples, was considered to be the residence of the Gods and the temple complex of Karnak, devoted to the Pharoah Amun. Despite the fact that it is badly ruined, the Luxor temple is the most impressive sight in Egypt. The Luxor temple, known to be ‘The World Largest Outdoor Museum’, is one of the best preserved ancient monuments, and houses several blessed holy sites and sanctuaries making it one of the most striking attractions of Egypt.
Surreal Desert Landscape
The Egyptian deserts are a mystery unlike any other. Siwa Oasis is the stuff of which dreams are made of. Vast, extending beyond the horizons, Siwa’s distinct landscape and cultural heritage sets it apart from the mainstream Egyptian culture. The city is brimming with thick palm forest, walled greenhouses and olive groves, with plenty of salt lakes and freshwater springs. Remote and surreal, the Western Desert around the oasis forms an unusual moon-like landscape. The oasis itself has local villages with ancient streets and houses built by mud brick that used to shelter locals and nomads of yesteryears.
The Keeper of Egyptian treasures
Filled with epic statues, the Egyptian Museum is a treasure trove. With more than 1, 20,000 items of antiquated Egyptian relics of the Pharaonic and Greco-Roman periods, the museum houses an unbelievable exhibit depicting ancient Egypt’s glorious side. The most comprehensive collection of Papyrus and coins used by the ancient Egyptians, mummies, sarcophagi, ceramics, ornaments and of course King Tutankhamen’s treasures; the museum gives an overwhelming feeling of discovery and mystery.
Temple of Hatshepsut
Valley of the Kings
The Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut is the centerpiece attraction of the Deir el-Bahri complex of mortuary temples and tombs located on the west bank of the Nile. A rare female Pharaoh, the temple of Hatshepsut was known as Djeser-Djeseru (“Splendor of Splendors “). It is one of the most distinctive temples in country, as it is built of limestone, not sandstone like most of the other funerary temples. A 100-foot causeway leads to the temple, which consists of three terraced courtyards covered in sculptural reliefs.
Pyramid of Djoser
Step Pyramid at Saqqara
The Egyptian believed in a soul that lived on after death, and they also believed that the afterlife is very similar to this life, so they ensured that their possessions were buried with them. These beliefs led to the creation of elaborate burial places. In ancient times, graves were designed like a fully-functional room made of mud, bricks and stone, so that people could enter to pay respects to the dead. But this changed during the third dynasty of the king Djoser, who built enormous Mastaba of stones (eternal house) on top of the other which led to the creation of ‘Step Pyramids’. The surface of these were made in smooth white limestone and reflects sunlight.
Kom Ombo Temple
The Hill of Gold
“Kom” in Arabic means the small hill and the word “Ombo”, in the ancient Egyptian language implies gold, hence the word Kom Ombo, means “The Hill of the Gold”. The only temple from the ancient era that is the replica of another. This two identical temples were built in honour of two distinct Gods, the crocodile headed – Sobek and the falcon headed – Horus. Hence, these temples are also known as “House of the Crocodile” and “Castle of the Falcon”.
The Pyramids of Giza
The Only Survivor of the Ancient Wonders
Some mysteries go unexplained, and the mother of all these ancient stories, the Pyramids of Giza, is something really special. We still don’t know how the Egyptians managed to build the largest pyramid of them all. With a history spanning over 5,000 years, this 40-storey building covers an area big enough to fit 10 football fields in it. It is now the only survivor of the original seven wonders of the ancient world.
Sacred lake, Karnak
Egypt’s Largest Holy Lake
Each Egyptian temple had a holy lake, and the one at Karnak is the biggest of them all. Nestled on the south side of the Karnak temple, this Sacred Lake symbolizes the waters of the pristine ocean and its enclosing walls have stones carved out in a wavy design. Used daily by the priests for purification of the souls, the sacred lake was also used as part of festivals.