The Top 7 Ancient Wonders of Egypt That Are Worth a Visit

By Claire | Updated Nov. 10, 2021

More and more people are getting bored with traveling to Europe, America, and Asia these days and they have been planning trips to Africa. Located in North Africa, the Egyptian civilization has the longest history in the world and it has become one of the hottest destinations, being renowned for its remarkable ancient wonders. Here are some ideas for the top 7 ancient wonders in the country that are worth visiting during your stay.

1. The Giza Pyramid Complex and the Sphinx

Location: Giza, on the west bank of the Nile, nearly 5 kilometers southwest of Cairo

The Giza pyramid complex won the honor of being the greatest man-made structure for over 45 centuries. Besides, it is the last existing one of the original Seven Wonders of the World that travelers can still visit and touch today.

It comprises one large pyramid (about 480 feet tall, called the Pyramid of Khufu), two smaller pyramids, and several other ones.

About 1,200 feet away from the Pyramid of Khufu, there is a half-man, half-lion colossus (with its nose destroyed), named the Sphinx. You can simply visit these attractions on foot if you don't mind walking in the heat of the sun.

Surprisingly, the Sphinx was built from one individual stone, which means it wasn't made by piling up different stones and no stones had to be conveyed.

Standing in front of these behemoths, you can't help but imagine how they were created without modern techniques or large construction machinery.

Travel Guide

  • Entrance fee: 60 EGP
  • Open: 9:30am to 5pm
  • Visiting tips: Do not talk to any strangers there. Wear comfortable walking shoes. Be aware that an extra entrance fee will be required if you plan to visit the interior of the Pyramid of Khufu (100 EGP).

2. Islamic Cairo

Location: Cairo

The name Islamic Cairo usually means the center of the ancient city of Cairo, which was founded in 648 AD and later became the heart of the world in the Middle Ages. It is part of the modern city of Cairo and can still be visited today.

An iconic symbol of Islamic Cairo is the Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). It can be easily distinguished by its height as well as its grand and unique shape.

Built on the mountain, visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the city during the visit, which is unforgettable.

There are other attractive sites that are worth a visit as well. For example, the Citadel of Saladin, the Virgin Mary's Tree, the Hanging Church (the church with the longest history in Cairo), the Qalawun Complex, Al-Azhar Mosque, the Gayer-Anderson Museum, the Cairo Tower, and other mosques.

  • Visiting tips: Take off your shoes (or use shoe covers if allowed) when entering the mosques, follow the rules and examples of other visitors, and dress suitably to respect the local religion.

3. The Nile

As the mother river of Egypt and its ancient civilization, the Nile plays an important role in the growth of the population and cultures. From Google Earth, you can see that most Egyptian cities are located along the Nile, such as Aswan (along the Upper Nile), Luxor (in Upper Egypt), and Cairo (at the Nile Delta). The river creates a lot of oases for the country and travelers worldwide.

Being the longest river in the world (at a length of 6,670 kilometers / 4,145 miles, which is longer than the Amazon River in South America and the Yangtze River in Asia), it is also one of the top natural wonders in the world.

Have a room with a river view or book a restaurant alongside the river to enrich your experience. Be aware that there may be floods from June to September so please take care during these months.

  • Visiting tips: The flooding season is from July to September (the highest water level usually appears in August). Please be prepared.

4. The Sahara Desert

There is another natural wonder that you can find in Egypt — the Sahara Desert. It is the largest hot desert on Earth (the size is approximately the same size as the USA) and its name, Sahara, means 'the greatest desert' in the Muslim language.

About two-thirds of the land in Egypt is covered by desert. If the Nile is the mother of the Egyptian civilization, the Sahara can be the cradle where it grew up.

A desert safari would be fun — you can ride a camel, go sandboarding, and camp in the desert as well!

  • Visiting tips: Drink a lot of water if you plan to go to the desert in summer and avoid traveling at noon!

5. Alexandria

Alexandria, also called the Pearl of the Mediterranean, is a modern city in Egypt that's second to Cairo. Like New York is to the US and Shanghai is to China, it is the commercial and economic center of the country.

As an important tourist resort with a shoreline of 20 kilometers, Alexandria has served the country's rich and middle class during the summer since ancient times when the heat in most parts of Egypt makes life unbearable.!

It was once the leading cultural center of the world, gathering people of different religions due to its vast collection of books. Today, travelers still visit the Library of Alexandria, although it is a totally different building now as the old one was destroyed.

Alexandria was also notable for the Lighthouse of Alexandria, which was recorded as being one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The architecture (a mixture of Italian and Greek styles) is also another huge achievement.

  • Visiting tips: Take your camera and make sure there's enough memory space!

6. Abu Simbel

Location: Aswan

About 3 hours' drive from Aswan, the temples at Abu Simbel were built in about 1300 BC during the reign of Ramses II (the king of ancient Egypt) in order to show off to the Nubians. They were relocated between 1963 and 1968 due to the rise in the water level caused by the erection of the Aswan High Dam.

Nowadays, you can still admire the 20-meter-tall (66 feet) figures seated there as well as the smaller ones to the north of the main temple.

Travel Guide

  • Entrance fee: 175 EGP (300 EGP if you have a camera)
  • Open: 8am to 6pm
  • Visiting tips: Try to stay away from the water, wear comfortable walking shoes, and be aware that flashlights cannot be used inside the temples.

7. The Temples of Karnak and Luxor

Location: Luxor

Luxor means 'the palaces' in Arabic and it is located in Upper Egypt. It has two famous ancient temple sites — the Karnak Temple Complex and Luxor Temple.

The Karnak Temple Complex and Luxor Temple were connected by the Avenue of Sphinxes (a 3-kilometer-long avenue with hundreds of ram-headed sphinxes on both sides).

Originally built as a shrine about 3,900 years ago, the Karnak Temple Complex continued to grow for over 2,000 years and has been considered to be the largest religious building complex ever created. As a comparison, St. Peter's Basilica could be put inside it and there will still be room for a sacred lake – at a size of 120 meters (394 feet) by 77 meters (253 feet) – inside.

Inside the Karnak Temple Complex, you can find the largest standing obelisk in Egypt, a forest of columns, the largest known scarab sculpture, and the remains of halls.

Just like the Karnak Temple Complex, Luxor Temple is also located on the east bank of the Nile. In ancient times, the city we know as Luxor was called Thebes. Luxor Temple was the heart of the most important festival called Opet and was likely a good place for the festival celebrations.

Nowadays, the Luxor Temple is lit up and opened at night. It is unquestionably an epic experience for travelers and photographers!

Travel Guide

  • Entrance fee: 140 EGP (Luxor Temple); 150 EGP (the Karnak Temple Complex)
  • Open: 6am to 10pm (Luxor Temple); 6am to 5:30pm (the Karnak Temple Complex)
  • Visiting tips: Wear comfortable walking shoes, do not take pictures of strangers who offer to be your model (tipping would be required), and visit Luxor Temple at night for a fantastic experience!

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