Egypt has millennia-old monuments sitting along the fertile Nile River Valley, including Giza’s colossal Pyramids and Great Sphinx as well as Luxor’s hieroglyph-lined Karnak Temple and Valley of the King’s tombs.
The capital, Cairo, is home to Ottoman landmarks like Muhammad Ali Mosque and the Egyptian Museum, a trove of antiquities. We would be exploring some of Egypt’s greatest monuments in this article.
1. Pyramids of Giza
The pyramids of Giza were royal tombs built for three different pharaohs. The northernmost and oldest pyramid of the group was built for Khufu the second king of the 4th dynasty. Called the Great Pyramid, it is the largest of the three. They were built with mainly limestone, mortar, and some granite. They were built in 2600 by slaves and is have a resounding height of 146.6 m with their overall volume being 2.6 million cubic meters.
The Karnak Temple Complex, commonly known as Karnak, comprises a vast mix of decayed temples, chapels, pylons, and other buildings near Luxor, in Egypt. This is a cult temple dedicated to Amun, Mut, and Khonsu and it is the largest religious building ever constructed. The temple of Karnak was known as Ipet-isu or “most select of places” by the ancient Egyptians. The great temple at the heart of Karnak is so big that St Peter’s, Milan, and Notre Dame Cathedrals would fit within its walls.
3. Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel is a village in the Egyptian part of Nubia, about 240 km southwest of Aswan and near the border with Sudan. As of 2012, it has about 2600 inhabitants. It is best known as the site of the Abu Simbel temples, which were built by King Ramses II. Ramses built the Temple at Abu Simbel in Egypt to intimidate his enemies and seat himself amongst the gods. As we speak, Abu Simbel is the most visited ancient site in Egypt after the Pyramids of Giza and even has its own airport to support the thousands of tourists who arrive at the site each year.
4. Red Pyramid
The Red Pyramid which is also called the North Pyramid is the largest of the pyramids located at the Dahshur necropolis in Cairo, Egypt. It was named for the rusty reddish hue of its red limestone stones and it is also the third-largest Egyptian pyramid, after those of Khufu and Khafre at Giza. It is also believed to be Egypt’s first successful attempt at constructing a “true” smooth-sided pyramid.
Local residents refer to the Red Pyramid as el-heram el-watwaat, meaning the Bat Pyramid. However, the Red Pyramid was not always red. It used to be cased with white Tura limestone, but only a few of these stones now remain at the pyramid’s base, at the corner and during the Middle Ages, much of the white Tura limestone was taken for buildings in Cairo, revealing the red limestone beneath.
5. Great Sphinx
The Great Sphinx of Giza, commonly referred to as the Sphinx of Giza or just the Sphinx, is a limestone statue of a reclining sphinx, a mythical creature. Facing directly from West to East, it stands on the Giza Plateau on the west bank of the Nile in Giza, Egypt. Its dimensions are 20 m (height) x 19 m (width) x 73 m (length).