We in Egypt Fun Tours think a lot about how to help you plan your perfect trip, we found it useful to list all the Egyptian places that can be visited by tourists with some information about each place in a very easy clear language to provide you with the background needed for your travel in such an old country.
Cairo Al-Qahira (The undefeated almighty)
Was founded at the end of the ninth century by the Fatimid’s Muslim rulers, the leader was named Gawhar Es’seqeli, while the Khalifa of all Islamic Empire was Al-Muez Ledinellah Alfatimi. Al-Qahira’s ancient downtown took place of Khan El-Khalili bazaar used to be the ancient Souq and the business center of the City.
The fortified city was surrounded by a huge enclosure wall accessed by three gates were named Bab El-Fottoh, Bab El-Naser, and Bab Zuaila, each was founded for a specific function; Bab El-Fottoh from which the Muslim army left for battles, Bab El-Naser was used to welcome the victorious army back to the city, while Bab Zuaila was special for hanging the dead enemies or their heads for everybody to see the strength of the Muslim army.
Nowadays the Term Cairo refers to the Capital city of Egypt (214 square kilometers-83 sq mi), the largest city in Africa and the Mediterranean countries with a population of over 16.8 million.
Places to see in Cairo:
- The national museum of antiquities (Cairo museum): Houses more than 120.000 pieces from ancient Egypt, Was opened in 1901, considered one of the oldest museums in the world. It also accommodates the belongings of the famous king Tutankhamen and all his gold collection including the most famous golden mask of the boy king. Cairo National museum of antiquities keeps the mummies of some of the great kings of the new kingdom; Ramses the 2nd, Queen Hatshepsut, Thutmosis, and a lot of other kings.
- The Citadel of Saladin: Was founded in century 12 by The Muslim leader Saladin was the Ruler and Sultan of Egypt for 24 years, established the citadel to defend Cairo against the crusaders that used to attack the city from time to another. It is located in the most eastern part of Cairo on Moqattam hills. A Huge high enclosure wall and tens of square and rounded shape towers are forming the fortress of Saladin. Visitors nowadays can explore the wonders of the beautiful Alabaster mosque Inside the Citadel was founded by Mohamed Ali (1820-1838), and enjoy the panoramic view of the city.
- The pyramids of Giza: Giza is located on the Western bank of the River Nile as part of Cairo, which houses the magnificent Pyramids of Egypt. In Giza Plateau you can explore the pyramids of the 4th dynasty of Egypt; the famous pyramid of King Cheops (Khnom-Kha-f-Wi), the only remaining wonder from the ancient world, the pyramid of his son King Chephren (Kha-f-Ra), the pyramid of the grandson king Mekarenus(Men-Kaw-Ra), Hundreds of ancient pharaonic tombs and temples, Six pyramids of the ladies, and the biggest statue on earth Sphinx.
- Saqqara: The largest ancient cemetery in Egypt accommodates the very first pyramid built in Egypt-the step pyramid of king Djoser the founder of the 3rd dynasty. It was the first time ever mankind used stones in construction (almost 2700 B.C). The architect, the Royal Scribe, the Vizier, the Overseer of the Royal palace, the Physician, the High priest, and the Carpenter are just some of the titles of the genius guy “Imhotep” the only and real name behind the rich and long history of the Egyptian architecture. He founded the step pyramid for his king to be burial and eternal residence for the Divine body Djoser (Nethri-get). The most visited spots in Saqqara are; the complex of King Djoser, the pyramid of king Titi where you can see The pyramids text, and the so-called Mastaba of Meri-Ruka which is one of the most fascinating tombs In Egypt with depictions of Pharaohs daily life like fishing, hunting, jewelry making, perfume making, win making, harvest, and a lot of other scenes worth seeing.
- Memphis: The very first capital city of Egypt, was founded by King Menes 3100 B.C, the name derives from the Pyramid of king Pepi first at Sakkara” Men-Nefer” (Beautiful and stable). Frankly, our concept of Memphis today is very artificial. The city had many fine temples, palaces, and gardens. But today, other than the scattered ruins, most of the city is gone or lies beneath cultivated fields, Nile silt, and local villages. What we do know of Memphis comes to us from its necropolises (Sakkara, Abu Sir, Dahshur, Abu Rawash, and Giza), text, and papyrus from other parts of Egypt and Herodotus, who visited the city. Visitors can see the little open-air museum that houses the Colossus of Ramses the 2nd, the alabaster Sphinx, and some other statues.
- Abu Sir: The site of the forgotten kings of the 5th dynasty. The site was closed for so many years for visitors, but now it is open for the public. The site contains 14 pyramids from the 5th dynasty only four are still standing. Of the four, the first encounter as you come from the main Saqqara complex is the Pyramid of Neferefre. This pyramid was never finished and is in very poor condition. However, there were some remarkable finds in the pyramid, including a royal group of statues of the Old Kingdom, and several portraits of another king or more probably Neferefre himself. In addition to pyramids, there are also various tombs in the necropolis, as well as the Sun Temples of the 5th Dynasty Kings located just to the north at Abu Ghauob.
- Dahshur: Currently Dashur is one of the best places to see large pyramids, because it has few visitors, yet is not a far drive from Cairo. Located in South Saqqara stand the pyramids of Dahshur (Dahshur). The Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid are about 2 km south of the Mastaba Faraoun. The constructor of these pyramids is thought to have been Snofru (2575 – 2551 BC), who was the first ruler of the 4th Dynasty. Snofru built these two pyramids and is thought to have built the pyramid at Maiden. His son was Cheops who continued his constructive tendencies. The Red Pyramid is thought to be older and is the only one that can be entered at this time. The Bent Pyramid was built out of limestone which was quarried locally. The casing was of polished Turah limestone. This pyramid is also known as the Southern Shining Pyramid. The casing blocks are very stable and very difficult to remove because they slope inwards. The base of the pyramid is 188.6m and is 105m high. Because of the bend in construction, the original angle would have made it 128.5m high.
- Abu Rawash: Not a touristy site, located some 8 kilometers to the North of Giza, Abu Rawash is the northernmost site of the Memphite Necropolis. It got its modern-day name from the nearby village Abu Rawash and appears to have been used as a burial site since the time of Aha, at the beginning of the 1st Dynasty. The Mortuary Complex of Djedefre. The most important monument in this mountainous region, however, is the mortuary complex of Djedefre, the successor of Cheops and the third king of the 4th Dynasty. There has been a lot of speculation about Djedefre’s motivation to build his funerary monument at Abu Rawash and not next to his father’s at Giza. A very common view is that Djedefre chose this remote place to distance himself from the despotic reign of his father, whereas his brother Khefren, returned to Giza because he held the same views as Kheops.
- Khan El-Khalili: The tourist bazaar, the main building of Khan El-Khalili used to be an agency owned by El-Khalili who built it to serve as a market for incense, Medical herbs, spices, and dry food like wheat, rice, corn, and malt. When tourism started to grow bigger in Egypt, the market was switched into a tourist bazaar with souvenirs on display like little stone statues, wooden figures, handmade accessories, leather products, handbags, handmade glass, belly dancer suits, dance belts, clothes, perfumes, spices, medical herbs, dry dates, nuts, silver, gold, precious stones, and a lot of Chinese made Egyptian motives. The main street of Khan El-Khalili area is called Sekit El-Badistan which is so narrow passageway to the right side of the main building of Khan El-Khalili ends with the Gold shops area, while to the left side of the same building is a big street called Moski was named after Ez El-din Mosk from the Fatimid period. It is so a touristy place with a wonderful Islamic atmosphere. It is recommended to visit this bazaar, however, it is not very recommended to buy from there.
- Coptic Cairo: Is called by tradition as Old Egypt, referring to it as the oldest part of Cairo, officially is called the religious complex housing the oldest Christian church “Saint Sergius” with the holy crypt where merry was hiding during the holy trip to Egypt, the oldest Synagogue ”Bn Izra”, and the very first mosque in Egypt “Amr Ibn El-Aas”. The place also hosts the Coptic museum, the Holy merry church, the so-called hanging church, and a lot of Coptic Christian buildings.
- City Stars Mall: Located in Nasr City, City Stars is the place to go for those who love to shop. If you are looking for traditional items, the mall has a great area for vendors from Khan el Khalili. It is incredibly expensive and boasts all kinds of designer wear, and a huge amount of shops and levels. Quite simply, it is massive. It also has an impressive cinema which has almost all English-speaking films (except around Ramadan) and a huge array of cafes. You want to check out Casper & Gambini’s if you want a quick lunch. The Aroma Lounge is great at nighttime in fair weather, you can sit outside and have a nice dinner if you want a fresh, young atmosphere.
- Abdeen Palace: If you are into military memorabilia, you’ll want to give this a go. This palace housed the royal family for quite some time (the last occupant being King Farouk) and now displays a huge amount of antique military memorabilia. When I went, it was nearly vacant and I received tons of personal attention and a personal tour, which I think is pretty standard. The palace is located on beautiful grounds as well.
- Ibn Tulun Mosque & Gayer Anderson Museum: The Mosque of Ahmed Ibn Tulun lies in Saliba Street nearby the Madrasa of Sarghatmish. It was erected by Ahmed Ibn Tulun, one of the greatest rulers in the Islamic history of Egypt and the founder of the Tulunid Dynasty. His father was a Turkish slave who was sent to Baghdad by the Governor of Bukhara, as a present to the Abbasid Caliph, El Mamoun. Ibn Tulun learned Arabic and studied the Quran, the science of law, and many religious books. Moreover, he took a military course at Samarra and became a very efficient and just man. In 868, Ibn Tulun was sent to Egypt as a representative of his uncle Emir Bakbak. He established the city of El-Qattai to be the capital of his independent province. This city was ruined in 905, and the mosque is the only remaining part of it.
- The Sultan Hassan Mosque & Madrasa: The Sultan Hassan Mosque and madrasa (School) is considered stylistically the most compact and unified of all Cairo monuments. The building was constructed for Sultan Hassan bin Mohammad bin Qala’oun in 1256 AD as a mosque and religious school for all sects. It was designed so that each of the four main Sunni sects (orthodox Muslim, or Sunni rites, consisting of Shafite, Malikite, Hanefte, and Hanbalite) has its own school while sharing the mosque. The cornices, the entrance, and the monumental staircase are particularly noteworthy.
- The Refa’i Mosque: After visiting the huge mosque of Sultan Hassan last week, I had to visit the other Mosque that lies right beside it, the Refa’i Mosque. Seeing these two mosques from a distance makes one think that they are one mosque split in two. This is because of the many similarities between the exterior designs of both mosques. The Refa’i Mosque was designed so that it would not look dwarfed by the huge Sultan Hassan Mosque.
- The Cemetery:
- Down Town:
- Nilometer at Roda Island:
- Islamic Art Museum:
- Cairo tower:
- Cairo Ancient Walls:
- The Mosque of El-Hakim: Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, literally, “Ruler by God’s Command”, was known to many by his eccentric dictatorial and eccentric decrees; at one point he declared himself a divine entity, unique among ruler peers over Cairo‘s medieval ages. Al-Hakim subsequently went off on a mysterious one-way ride to al-Muqattam hills and never returned.
- Sayyida Zeinab Mosque: The patron saint of Cairo is Sayyida Zeinab, granddaughter of the Prophet Mohammed (daughter of Aly Ibn Abu Taleb), and her mosque which houses her shrine is located in the As-Sayyida Zeinab Mosque built originally about the time of the Hussein Mosque.
- Hussein Mosque: The El-Hussein Mosque sits on the site of the cemetery of the Fatimid caliphs. It was entirely rebuilt under the khedive Ismail. Earlier this century the remains of the cemetery were discovered while work was being done on the mosque’s foundations. There are forty-four white marble columns that support the wood ceiling.
- The Complex of Sultan Qala’un: The complex of Sultan Qala’un was built along the Shari’ el-Muizz (street) in 1284 by Sultan el-Mansur Qala’um. It comprises a mosque, Madrasa, a mausoleum, and a Mauristan (which was replaced by a modern hospital in the 1920s). The complex is the earliest example of a new Syrian style of those times and displays typical Mameluke architecture.
- Amr Ibn El-Aas mosque: The very first mosque ever built in Egypt. Erected in 642 AD (21 AH) by the leader Amr Ibn alas, the commander of the Muslim army in Egypt, the mosque is also known as Taj al-Jawamie (Crown of Mosques, al-Jamie’al-Ateeq (the Ancient Mosque) and Masjid Ahl ar-Rayah (Mosque of Banner Holders).
Luxor (the city of the one hundred gates):
Places to see in Luxor:
- The Valley of the Kings: Was the cemetery of Luxor for the kings of the 18th dynasty to the 22nd dynasty, started by King Thutmosis I or His daughter Queen Hatshepsut. It accommodates 65 tombs. The valley is located on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor, the village around the valley is called Qurna ” the horn” named after the Theban peak that takes the shape of the horn meant to be functioning instead of a pyramid for the Pharaohs who wanted to ensure Resurrection.
- The Valley of the Queens: It is located on the west bank at Luxor, houses 78 tombs of the Queens of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties. The most famous tomb among them is the tomb of Queen Nefertari’s wife of King Ramsses II.
- Queen Hatshepsut’s temple: Queen Hatshepsut was one of the kings of ancient Egypt, who ruled over the country for almost 20 years. She held all the titles of an ancient Egyptian king (son of god Ra, King of upper and lower Egypt, the lord of the two ladies, Horus, and Golden Horus), for that reason, she made male statues for herself shown with muscles, and even in a form of a warrior. She is very famous for her campaign to the land of Punt (most probably Somalia) to bring in Incense trees, African oils, and all the African goods and slaves to Egypt.
- Medinet Habu (Temple of Ramses III): Is situated on the western bank of the Nile in Luxor, was built by King Ramses III who was one of the great warriors of Egypt. The king is represented in the traditional scene of the Pharaoh holding his enemies by his left hand, and smiting them with his mace held on his right hand.
- The Ramesseum Temple: The Ramesseum is one of the temples of the Nile’s west bank at Luxor. Visitors drive by this temple when they are going from the valley of the Kings and Hatshepsut’s temple to the colossi of Memnon. Ramses II built the Temple of the Ramesseum as a funerary Temple in 1304-1207 B.C, and it was dedicated to the God Ra. Most of the Temple is in very bad condition nowadays or in ruins.
- The Temple of Luxor: Luxor temple is one of the most beautiful temples in ancient Egypt. The temple was started by King Amenhotep III from dynasty 18. However, it is believed by some archeologists that the oldest part of the temple dates back to the time of king Mentohotep the founder of the Middle kingdom. It seems that the ancient kings followed a long-term construction plan to finish the temple in centuries, not in decades. The sanctuary, the hypostyle hall, and a colonnade were built by King Amenhotep III.
- Karnak temples: Karnak temple in Luxor is the biggest temple complex in the world; it broke the score of so many elements and sizes, each part of the temple was built by many kings from the new Egyptian kingdom. The oldest part of the temple dates back to the time of King Mentohotep NebhepetRa the founder of the middle ancient Egyptian kingdom, he was the 9th king of the dynasty he belonged to, however, he is considered the founder of a kingdom as he reunited the two lands of Egypt again into one country (2061 BC – 2010 BC).
Aswan (the market of Africa):
Places to see in Aswan:
- Kom Ombo Temple: It is situated on the banks of the Nile some 23 miles north of Aswan, and is unusual in that it is dedicated to two gods, Horus & Sobek. Sobek was the crocodile god of Nile fertility, and the bend of the river here was once home to a large number of Nile crocodiles, which were held to be sacred. Indeed, there is a small collection of mummified crocodiles in the small chapel of Hathor within the temple. The live crocodiles have long since gone, thankfully! The temple has two of everything, to accommodate the two gods, and among the reliefs on the walls – mainly from the late period and the roman time – are detailed a set of medical instruments.
- Abusimbel Temples: This is one of the most fantastic places in the world which is classified as a world heritage by the UNSECO. It was built by Ramses II who dedicated it to the national gods of Egypt: Ptah, Ra, Amun, and himself, Ramses II as a deified king, son of Ra. Besides Karnak, this is the most impressive temple in Egypt not only because of its facade with the four colossi of the pharaoh but also because of the place itself. The temple seems to be standing lonely in far Nubia, contemplating the sunrise that emerges from the waters of the lake of Nasser, surrounded by the immense desert which seems to be of another epoch and another planet.
- Edfu Temple: is a small-sized city located on the west bank of the Nile River between Esna and Aswan, with a population of approximately sixty thousand people. Edfu is the site of the Ptolemaic Temple of Horus and an ancient settlement, The town is known for the major Ptolemaic temple, built between 237 BCE and 57 BCE, into the reign of Cleopatra VII.
Alexandria (Capital of Egypt by Alexander the great):
Places to see in Alexandria:
- The fortress of Sultan Al-Ashraf Qaitbay: The Qaitbay Fort in Alexandria is considered one of the most important defensive strongholds, not only in Egypt but also along the Mediterranean seacoast. It formulated an important part of the fortification system of Alex in the 15th century A.D. About 1480 A.D, The mameluk sultan Al-Ashraf Qaitbay fortified the place as part of his coastal defensive edifices against the Turks, who were threatening Egypt at that time.
- Pompay’s Pillar: The pillar is considered the largest ancient monument in Alexandria. It is rising from the ruins of the ancient and famous Serapion (temple of Serapis). This column of red Aswan granite with a Corinthian capital, standing on a badly ruined substructure and rising to a height of almost 28m. It was set up in 292 A.D in honor of emperor Diocletian, who supplied food for the starving population after the siege of the city.
- The Amphitheatre of Kom Ed-Dekka: Over 30 years of excavation have uncovered many Roman remains including this well-preserved theater with galleries, sections of mosaic flooring, and marble seats for up to 800 spectators. In Ptolemaic times, this area was the park of pan and pleasure garden.
- El Mursi Abul Abbas Mosque: El-Mursi Abul-Abbas Mosque is a famous mosque in Alexandria, which is dedicated to the Alexandrian Sufi Emam el-Mursi Abul Abbas. Constructed in 1775 by the Algerian Sheikh Abu-El-Hassan El-Maghraby, El-Morsy Abul-Abbas Mosque was built over the tomb of the 13th-century Andalusian scholar, Ahmed Abu al-Abbas al-Mursi (Abu’l ‘Abbas) who joined and then lead, as a devout Sufi, the Shadhali brotherhood. he was born in Murcia, Spain, in 1219AD.
- Catacombs at Kom el Shoqafa: Kom esh-Shoqafa is a rocky plateau situated between the ancient villages of Karmuz and Minia el-Bassal. This is where the village and fishing port of Rhakotis, the oldest part of Alexandria that predates Alexander the Great, was located. This is now one of the most densely populated districts of Alexandria and where the first catacombs were discovered.
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