- Ancient Egypt, known for its magnificent pyramids and rich culture, dominated the Mediterranean continent for nearly 3,000 years.
- The must-see sites in Egypt include the Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, the Pyramid of Saqqara, Karnak Temple, and the Valleys of the Kings and Queens.
- Ancient Egyptians were advanced in astronomy, mathematics, and writing, leaving behind a lasting legacy of knowledge and innovation.
Egypt, a country in North Africa bordering the Mediterranean Sea, is the cradle of one of the planet’s oldest civilizations. The Greek word Aegyptos, which was the Ancient Egyptian name for Memphis at first, is where the term Egypt originates.
Egypt’s contemporary culture is influenced by its rich past. Many activities in the country will stimulate every sense, including the busy streets full of food trucks, the colorful and varied nightlife, and the grand ancient sites. A hike to the summit of Mount Sinai, scuba diving in the Red Sea, or venturing out into the arid desert to see the oasis are among the top activities and experiences that will entertain tourists.
However, the must-see list for many travelers to Egypt includes discovering Ancient Egypt from a Nile cruise to the Pyramids of Giza. Some of the most magnificent and ancient sites on earth may be found there. Learn the basics of what to know about Ancient Egypt, one of the world’s oldest civilizations — and what to see while visiting the area today.
What Is Ancient Egypt Known For?
The Tomb of Paheri at El Kab, an overlooked ancient Egyptian site
From its unification in 3100 B.C. to Alexander the Great’s invasion of Egypt in 332 B.C., Ancient Egypt dominated the Mediterranean continent for almost thirty years.
Egypt’s magnificence has always fascinated archaeologists and historians, from the magnificent pyramids of the Old Kingdom to the military victories of the New Kingdom, and it has given rise to a thriving area of study of its own: Egyptology.
The numerous monuments, items, and artifacts that have been retrieved from archeological sites and coated with hieroglyphics that have just recently been decoded serve as the primary sources of knowledge about Ancient Egypt.
What their study shows is a society unparalleled in the splendor of its artistic creations, mastery of its architectural design, or depth of its religious customs.
Facts About Ancient Egypt
More than 2,000 gods and goddesses were revered by the ancient Egyptians. The final pharaoh of Egypt, Cleopatra, lived more recently than the Pyramids were constructed at Giza.
The native place of Ancient Egyptians was known as Kemet or black land. It alludes to the rich, black soil that remains after the Nile River floods.
Top Ancient Egypt Sites To See Today
It is difficult to see every one of the hundreds of amazing Ancient Egyptian monuments scattered around present-day Egypt, which date back thousands and thousands of years. Here are the highlights of what to see in Egypt today.
The Sphinx And Pyramids Of Giza
The wonderful Pyramids and the Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx, the workers’ hamlet (contrary to myth, hired workers built the pyramids), multiple graves, the three Pyramids of Giza (Khafre, Khufu, and Menkaure), and their related pyramid complexes are located on this desert plateau outside of Cairo, which is also referred to as the Giza necropolis.
The Great Pyramid of Khufu and the Pyramid of Khafre are the two greatest pyramids in Egypt; Khufu’s pyramid is the last surviving ancient wonder of the world. The Pyramids of Giza were constructed during the 4th Dynasty of the Old Kingdom.
- Entrance fee: $7.76 (240 EGP)
The Pyramid Of Saqqara
The Step Pyramid of Djoser, the earliest pyramid in Egypt, is located in the necropolis at Saqqara. It is also the location of the pyramids of Teti and Unas, the only two in Egypt that have Pyramid Texts carved into their interior walls, as well as the graves of palace servants and government officials.
Before the construction of the pyramids, pharaohs and other members of the Egyptian monarchy and dignitaries were buried in rectangular, flat-roofed tombs known as mastabas.
Imhotep, the vizier of Djoser and the founding father of Egyptian pyramid architecture, designed the Step Pyramid, which is regarded as the first model for the subsequent smooth-sided pyramids.
The design consists of six mastabas stacked on top of one another, each decreasing in size.
- Entrance fee: $5.82 (180 EGP)
Karnak Temple in Egypt on a sunny day
Built over 2,000 years ago, the Karnak temple complex is the greatest religious structure ever created. Beginning in the Old Kingdom, work on the project was constantly expanded upon until the Ptolemaic period, with contributions from about thirty different pharaohs.
After the Giza Pyramids, the Karnak temple complex is the second most popular tourist destination in Egypt.
- Entrance fee: $7.11 (220 EGP)
The Open Air Karnak Museum is located there as well; tourists can visit this location for additional significant Egyptian museums.
Valleys Of The Kings And Queens
The notorious Valley of the Kings is located near Thebes, the historic capital of Ancient Egypt; now it is Luxor in Upper Egypt. Pharaohs were interred for 500 years in the Theban Hills, concealed from public view, in rock-cut tombs throughout the New Kingdom’s existence (1550 BC–1069 BC).
The most well-known of the 62 tombs that have been unearthed up to this point is that of King Tut. The wives of the pharaohs were buried in the Valley of the Queens, which lies close to the Valley of the Kings.
The 91 tombs in the main valley that have been found so far are typically smaller than the ones in the Valley of the Kings.
- Other Ancient Egypt sites: Luxor Temple, Deir El Bahri, Philae Temple, Deir El Medina, National Museum of Egyptian Civilization
- Entrance fee to the Valley of the Kings: $8.41 (260 EGP)
- Entrance fee to the Valley of the Queens: $3.23 (100 EGP)
Importance Of Ancient Egypt Today
The tombs of the pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Ancient Egypt
Nowadays, the pyramids, temples, and tombs in Egypt draw millions of tourists every year to discover one of the oldest civilizations in the world. However, this ancient society left behind more than just these structures.
It is believed that the astronomers of Ancient Egypt were the first to measure a year using 365 days, having developed a calendar modeled after our own, which was based on the revolution of the sun.
Ancient Egyptians were also math prodigies; historians believe that it was them who invented division and multiplication. This culture was also among the first to write words using a technique known as hieroglyphic writing, in which words or sounds are represented by symbols rather than letters. These people even used a plant called papyrus to make writing sheets.
Most temples and tombs have hieroglyphs carved onto them that record names and dates, depict events like wars, and provide directions on how to pass on to the afterlife. Ancient Egypt had a rich culture, religion, and language all its own — and researchers are discovering more of its secrets every day.