As we look back over the last 5,000 years of the history of humanity, there are very few civilisations and cultures that can match the Ancient Egyptians for their influence on modern society as we know it. We know this, in part, due to the fact that many of their most famous artefacts and ruins are still clearly visible today and as a result a huge attractions for tourism in North Africa.
Here at Classic Holidays, we know that the sheer breathtaking levels of beauty that can be experienced throughout the country are something that everyone has to see at some point in their life. Below, we illustrate the most fascinating of the lot in order to whet your appetite for a holiday that you’ll never forget.
The Great Pyramid of Giza
Where else would we start? Having been standing for 4,500 years, it is the oldest of the seven wonders of the ancient world and arguable the most stunning. Even so long after its construction, there are no stone buildings bigger left standing in the entire world – the Great Pyramid remains an iconic feature of the world’s architectural landscape.
Built for Pharaoh Khufu in 2560 BC, it covers no less than 13 acres of land and is constructed almost 2 and a half million stone blocks – many of which way over 5 tonnes. Ancient technology still permitted Khufu to ensure the pyramid was aligned with the compass and as a result has a level base. Millions of slaves are believed to have died throughout its 22-year construction period.
From the largest stone building to the largest free-standing stone sculpture, the Sphinx has been a source of intrigue and mystique for thousands of years. It’s a total of 60 metres long and 20 metres high and positioned by the Giza plateau next to the country’s two largest pyramids. Half human and half animal, nobody knows who it depicts, or who made it – factors that undoubtedly add to the cult of this fascinating work of art.
Ancient legend states the Sphinx as the key to life. Regardless of their powerful position, men have knelt at its feet for thousands of years – from the Pharaohs to the conquerors and colonisers that later flooded Africa. The tunnels inside it only add to the mystery, making it a must-visit for anyone setting foot on Egyptian soil.
The Temple of Rameses II at Abu Simbel
Perhaps Egypt’s most famous Pharaoh of all, the temple of Rameses II is yet another example of the astonishing guile and skill possessed by sculptures of the Ancient World. Many believe it still to be the finest rock-cut structure in the world (superseding the likes of Mount Rushmore, for example) and was allegedly completed by hundreds of stone masons over a prolonged period of time during his reign.
Its location is particularly poignant too – chosen both due to the sustainability of the rock face it is carved upon and its proximity to the Nile, the Temple can be seen for miles and miles. Anyone entering Egypt from the south would immediately be struck by its 69 foot presence.
The Valley of the Kings
The name itself is one that echoes throughout eternity, one that is steeped in myth and legend. The ceremony of death was certainly not a humble one for the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt – they were seen to be incarnations of the mighty Gods themselves, and as a result were treated as such once they were dead.
The burial of their kings was the most sacred of all their traditions and this can be seen in what is still to this day seen as the most honoured, respected and revered cemetery on Earth. Sixty two tombs were cut deep into the rock face and within them were buried not just the embalmed bodies of these once-great kings but with thousands of treasures from the ancient world.
Queen Hatshepsut’s Temple, Mount Sinai and the Karnak Temple Complex – if you have enough time to visit these on your stay with Classic Holidays, then make sure you do. From more ancient wonder to sheer natural beauty, these act as the icing on what is such an enriching holiday experience.
Photo Credit: kairoinfo4u