Great Temples and Monuments of Egypt

by Debra Corbeil

On the tip of Northern Africa lies a mystical land. Egypt, a gateway to the continent of Africa has drawn travelers for centuries. Its temples of myth and legend have intrigued explorers and its famous pyramids have baffled even the most educated of minds.

While visiting this ancient city, you can imagine being back in the time of the Pharaohs. People still dress traditionally wearing their headscarfs and bedouin wraps. Call to prayer can be heard 5 times a day. There is a strong sense of tradition in the land and you feel as if you are frozen in time. Visiting the great pyramids lets you imagine exactly what life would have been like thousands of years ago.

It is impossible to understand how the Pyramids of Giza have survived over 4000 years. The desert, looters and all of the elements that Mother Nature can throw at them will not destroy these ancient structures. To see these giants standing proud over the land, you wonder in awe how they could have possibly be built by human hands. Take a camel to see the grounds and imagine that you are an ancient Pharaoh coming across these great monuments for the first time. What would it have felt like then?

Another must see destination in Egypt is the Valley of the Kings. Located in Southern Egypt near the city of Luxor, a great valley houses 63 chambers of great kings. The most famous is King Tuts tomb, but there are many more to explore.

A good travel tip is to hide your camera when entering the grounds. Many people manage to bring their camera’s in and photos are allowed outside the temples. Do not however attempt to take a photo inside any of the temples. The flash can damage the ancient paints and you will have your camera taken away instantly. It is nice to have photo’s from outside though because the valley is massive and impressive.

Only a handful of tombs are open at any given time. King Tuts tomb is not high on the tour route as it is not an impressive tomb compared to the others. The tombs of Rameses VI, Merneptah, and Rameses IV are far more impressive. The chambers are surprisingly large and airy. They have bright paintings on their walls depicting scenes from the book of the dead, and the book of caverns among others.

They have made the afterlife pleasant for their rulers. Large airy chambers are inviting and the bright colours on the walls make you feel as if you are visiting a joyous place rather than a place of burial. Kings were buried with great treasures, but the chambers in the Valley of the Kings are empty. Bandits had robbed the tombs years ago and whatever had been saved by excavators are now safely stored at the Antiquities Museum in Cairo.

Don’t miss visiting the Hatshepsut’s Temple nearby. Another must see destination in Egypt, it is a temple made for one of Egypt’s most successful Pharaohs. What is so interesting about this temple is that it was made for a female king. It is amazing to see that Egypt was ruled by a woman for 21 years, in 1479 BC!

It is one of the most successful temples blending harmoniously with the land. Built into the side of an imposing cliff, it is thought to be one of the most dramatic temples on earth. Massive and intricate it is a sight not to be missed.

Don’t let the massacre of 1997 scare you away from seeing this great temple. Armed guards patrol the grounds and after 12 years, calm has been restored in the land. By the looks of the amount of people visiting the ruins, it has not been hurt by tourism in recent years.

Back in the town of Luxor you can find a great temple within footsteps of your hotel. Located in the heart of the city it is an impressive monument. Make sure to visit it at night for awesome photo opportunities as they are lit up for viewing. There are many shops and restaurants located across the street from the temple all with great views of the square out front where children play football.

Standing on the banks of Lake Nasser enroute to Sudan is Abu Simbel this temple was originally built on lower ground. With the creation of the Aswan Dam, an enormous undertaking was initiated in the 1960s to move the ruins to higher ground to keep them from becoming submerged under water.

Abu Simbel was built in 1265 BC. Four great images of Rameses II stand 20-metres high overlooking the great lake. It is definitely worth the over 200km trip from Luxor, or you can see it from the ferry to Wadi Halfa in the Sudan.

Egypt is a destination that everyone must make time to visit. It is one of the most ancient locations on earth. Filled with grand temples and monuments, blessed with the Nile River and alive with energy and excitement it has something for every explorer to see.