Pyramids, archeological sites, temples, museums, markets, and the river Nile, all exist in Egypt and contribute to making this ancient middle-eastern land a perennially popular destination. In recent years, political upheavals in the country and its environs have raised concerns about Egypt travel, but these fears are unfounded, for the country is as safe as any other and is open to welcoming guests from around the globe. Listed below are five compelling reasons to chalk out an itinerary for Egypt now.
1. Be Awestruck by the Grandeur of the Pyramid complex of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza are a timeless attraction of Egypt. This complex of tombs, temples, and villages date back thousands of years to around 2520 BC when the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom ruled the land that today is Egypt.
This fascinating complex features the Great Pyramid (the largest pyramid by size and one of the Seven Wonders of the World), The Pyramids of Khafre and Menakure, and the Great Sphinx of Giza with its human-like façade.
Aside from the main pyramids, the site at Giza also includes allied pyramid complexes, temples, cemeteries, and the remains of workers villages. Visitors to the site, which lies on the outskirts of Cairo, can't help but marvel at the architectural knowledge and abilities of the ancient Egyptians who had these tombs constructed to ease the pharaoh’s journey in the after-life.
2. Hunt for Treasures at the Khan al-Khalili Market
Cairo's Khan El-Khalili market was established in the 14th century and is located in the heart of the city. This bustling market transports visitors back to medieval Cairo. The market brims with shops selling silver jewelry, stained glass lamps, enameled metal ware, gold jewelry and artifacts, spices, handmade carpets and accessories, homewares, textiles, and so much more.
The market is also home to famous cafes such as El-Fishawi café and El-Lord café; both old-world establishments offer a plethora of Egyptian eats if you need to stop and refuel during your shopping expedition.
The market is also a bastion for the Sufi faith (a mystical form of Islam), and if your visit happens to coincide with a Sufi celebration, you will be in for a cultural treat as well.
3. Marvel at the Ancient Antiquities at the Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo offers displays of more than 120,000 artifacts from Ancient Egypt, and it is one of the largest museums in the world. The current incarnation of the museum is from 1902, and it stands in the middle of Tahrir Square in Cairo.
The museum is a historical treasure trove with many must-see sights such as the solid gold funerary mask of the famous ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamen, the Narmer Palette which dates back to 31st century BC and is the 'first historical document' in the world, and the statues of Pharaohs Khufu, Khafra and Menakure.
The Mummy Rooms are also a must-see for they hold temperature-controlled cases that encompass well-preserved remains of Pharaohs like Ramses II who ruled for 67 years and fathered more than one hundred offspring.
The Grand Egyptian Museum is a long-delayed but much anticipated museum, which is scheduled to have a soft opening at the end of 2019 exhibiting the full Tutankhamen tomb collection including pieces which have never been viewed before. When completed, the museum, which is located within proximity of the Giza pyramids, will be the grandest and most extensive archeological museum in the world. The opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum will no doubt be yet another reason to visit Egypt.
4. Cruise the Nile and Take in the Incredible Sights of Aswan and Luxor
The River Nile is the lifeblood of Egypt. Take an extravagant cruise on the Nile and sail between the ancient cities of Aswan and Luxor. Your journey will meander along stretches of the Sahara desert as well as the lush Egyptian countryside as you will have a chance to observe local people going about their daily lives.
When you disembark, you will have the chance to explore beautiful ancient sites such as the Aswan High Dam, the Philae Temple, the Kom Ombo, and the Horus Temples, the Karnak and Luxor Temples, The Valley of the Kings, Abu Simbel, and much more.
Most luxury Nile cruises also offer an additional experience to patrons in the form of a Felucca ride (a traditional wooden sailboat) at sunset when you dock at either of these two ports.
5. Discover the Myriad Flavors of Egyptian Cuisine
Egyptian cuisine is similar to the cuisines of the other countries in the Middle East and even the Mediterranean. However, Egyptian fare is wholesome and flavorful, and there is enough variety to satisfy various dietary requirements.
Traditional Egyptian dishes like Ful mudammas and Ta' meya (fava bean dip and fava bean falafel), Kushari (a hearty meal of rice, lentils, pasta, chickpeas and a thick tomato gravy) Mahshi (grilled bell peppers and zucchini stuffed with flavored rice) and Shawarma (meats grilled on the pit) are on offer at every street corner.
While more elaborate dishes like Fattah (bread, rice, meat and tomato and vinegar gravy) Roz Bel Liban (Egyptian version of rice pudding) Umm Ali (bread pudding) and Konafa (shredded phyllo pastry and sweet cheese) are a staple during festive events like Eid.
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