Have you heard of pharaohs, mummies, or sphinx? Or watched “The Mummy” before? If you did, you will relate all this to one word: Egypt. Egypt is one of the oldest civilizations in the whole world. And as a matter of fact, lots of its mysteries are still uncovered and unexplained.
So, what is Egypt famous for? Egypt is famous for the Pyramids, Sahara Desert, and Nile River. It’s known for its ruins, historical places, and sites of world wonders. It is also famous for its mesmerizing beaches, coral reefs, and sea cruises.
On top of that, Egypt is also known for its people’s humorous spirit. I dare you not to smile or giggle while talking to an Egyptian in a good mood! Egyptians are also known for their hospitality and generosity. You can enjoy the country’s oriental Arabic culture with its belly dancers and hookahs in Cairo and beyond.
Let’s discover all the things that Egypt is famous for:
1. Giza Pyramids and the Sphinx
Of the world’s seven wonders, the three Giza Pyramids (Khufu, Khafre, and Menkaure) still among the most fascinating. They were originally built as tombs for ancient Egypt’s great kings and to keep their treasures safe from robbers.
The Great Sphinx of Giza is a statue with a human face and the body of a lion. It faces the rising sun “God of Ra” and was believed to be the pyramids’ protector.
You can venture to the Pyramids which are accessible by foot. Once you’re there, don’t miss a camel or a horse ride and make sure you reach the highest overlook point as the view is stunning!
2. Khan Al Khalili
A visit to Khan Al Khalili will take you back in time. It is a famous bazaar and souq in the historic center of Cairo. The bazaar has always been an attraction for tourists and Egyptians alike.
You can walk in this colorful open-air bazaar with your eyes dazzling around at the unique and exotic items from spices and perfumes to jewelry and souvenirs. You’ll hear the sellers yelling “tfadal ya fandem”, or “please come, sir”. Here’s one tip you will thank me for – bargain, and bargain hard!.
Once you’re done with your tour at the bazaar, do not miss a cup of coffee and perhaps a hookah at the famous Al Feshawe Café.
3. The Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian museum houses more than 120,000 items of the world’s most important collections of ancient artifacts. Opened in 1902 and located at the heart of Cairo with its pinkish two-floor building, it grows rapidly with the ongoing archeologists’ discoveries of Egypt’s wonders. It showcases tombs’ contents, coffins, mummies, jewelry, food, and bowls of ancient Egyptians. It also contains a special room of pharaohs kings’ and queens’ mummies such as the famous Ramsees II and Queen Hatchepsut. Pharaohs kings used to bury all their belongings and servants together with them when they die, as they believed they will need them in their second life.
Located in upper Egypt, Luxor has always been known as an open-air museum with its intact ancient Egyptian temples that goes back to around 4,000 years ago. Luxor alone has one-third of the world’s ancient monuments.
I recommend a hot air balloon ride at sunrise to enjoy the spectacular view from above.
Luxor is also famous for the Valley of the Kings. This valley became a royal burial ground for pharaohs such as Tutankhamun, Seti I, and Ramses II, as well as queens, high priests, and other elites of the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties.
Once you finished exploring this one-of-its-kind city, you will love a Nile Cruise to head to your next destination, which I recommend to be Aswan or Nubia!
Aswan, a city on the south of Egypt on the Nile River, has been Egypt’s strategic and commercial gateway since antiquity. It contains significant archaeological sites like the Philae temple complex. Aswan is also famous for the Aswan High Dam; it is the world’s largest embankment dam built across the Nile.
Aswan is one of the sunniest places on Earth. It receives nearly 4,000 hours of annual sunshine so make sure you pack a hat and sunscreen.
Nubia is called the City of Gold in Egypt. It consists of many inhabited islands each with its unique charm. Nubia is believed to seat of one of the earliest civilizations of ancient Africa. Nubians are the most warm-hearted people you will ever meet. They are so gregarious that they keep their doors open to welcome tourists. They are so attached to their traditions and they will love to share with you their ancestors’ secrets.
One thing you will fail to miss at Nubia: its people fondness of crocodiles! They raise them as human-friendly pets at their homes. After a crocodile dies, they hang the skin on their walls as they believe it has superpowers to dismiss evil.
Their language that the locals of Nubia speak is totally different from Arabic, Egypt’s official language. But its people can fluently speak English, French, Italian and of course, Arabic.
7. Kushari, Fool Medammes and Ta’meya
These are typical Egyptian dishes that no matter how hard you try copying recipes, at Egypt they taste the best.
The Koshari or Kushari is an unusual combination. It comprises lentils, macaroni noodles, and rice in a single dish and it’s then topped with a spicy tomato sauce that uses a special Middle Eastern spice blend, garbanzo beans, and fried onions. It is a dish that is served in virtually every Egyptian restaurant, in every Egyptian home, and on every Egyptian street corner. Only by mentioning it, my mouth started watering.
Fool and Ta’meya are typical Egyptian breakfasts. The Fool is kind of like a Middle Eastern bean burrito, and Ta’meya is Egypt’s version of falafel made with broad beans instead of chickpeas.
8. The White Desert National Park
Just a few hours from the bustling metropolis of Cairo lies this wondrous desert formed by centuries of erosion and sandstorms.
This is a scene from Alice in Wonderland. A spacious space of white-chalk rock formations that looks like alien crafts melted with some pink and dreamy orange. This can be your lifetime Safari and camping spot. You cannot tell when it looks better, blended with moonlight or sunlight!
You can also look for quartz crystal rocks around you there, and the famous Crystal Mountain. Plan a stargazing night event; you will see the sky dressed at its best!
9. The Nile River
The Nile River is the pumping heart of Egypt since ancient days. It is the longest river in Africa and one of the longest in the world.
You will definitely want to explore this waterway. You can experience it as the locals do by a traditional slow boat felucca. Or perhaps you want to pamper yourself with a deluxe Nile Cruise that will get you to Egyptian cities and villages while enjoying buffets and belly dancers’ performances.
The Nile River is also known for its diverse selection of wildlife. If you are lucky, you will spot the last Nile crocodiles or African softshell turtles. The dozens of birds’ species will dazzle you, especially at the Delta where a whole world of rare fish species swims around.
Alexandria’s name comes after the man who built it and ruled the world thousands of years ago: Alexander the Great. Alexandria is a vital modern economic center sitting along the Mediterranean Sea.
If you are not a beach person, don’t worry you still have dozens of things to do at Alexandria. You can visit the architectural masterpiece library. Bibliotheca Alexandrina has some of the rarest books and scripts in the world. You can also visit the Lighthouse of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Alexandria is also famous for its Qaitbay Castle, Ras el-Tin Palace, and Saint Catherine Cathedral, among many other historical sites. It’s also famous for its waterfront promenade corniche where you can enjoy a walk by the Mediterranean and buy seeds and corn.
11. The Red Sea
Stretching for over 1,200 kilometers down Egypt’s east coast, the Red Sea is considered as a nature reserve for millions of sea life species and coral reefs. With its crystal clear waters, it’s easy to see why it deserves to be the best diving place in the world.
You can soak up the sun in a number of its tourist cities such as Sharm al-sheik, Dahab, Hurdaga, Ras Shetan, Sahl Hasheesh, and El Gouna, among many others. Each has its own magic, beauty, and activities. You can learn scuba diving or try snorkeling to see the brightly colored corals and shimmering shoals of fish. From windsurfing to parasailing and kayaking to banana boating, there’s plenty of options to choose from.
12. The Egyptian Cotton
Egyptians grow crops such as wheat, barley, figs, vegetables, melons, and vines. They also grow flax which is made into linen. The most important crop since Ancient Egypt is the grain. You could see scripts of grain symbols all along the Egyptian temples.
Since 1821 when the finest cotton seeds were found and planted in Egypt, Egypt has been well-known and famous for the best cotton in the world. It earned the name of Egypt’s White Gold as its demand grew higher every day.
Egypt’s unique climate and the fertile soil of the River Nile has always been ideal for growing cotton. Egyptian cotton has become a synonym with high-class sophistication and elegance.
13. Religious Sites in Egypt
The influence of various religious beliefs, from the birth of Egypt and throughout the eras, culminates in a rich and varied set of religious sites in Egypt.
There are ancient temples that are continually being discovered throughout Egypt where ancient gods were worshiped. This includes Ra, the creator god and the Temple of Heliopolis, Sobek god of the Nile and the Temple of Kom Ombo, Bastet the cat goddess and the City of Bubastis, and the list goes on and on.
The history of Egyptian Christianity dates to the Roman era. It left Egypt rich with some unique collection of churches such as Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church, also known as the Hanging Church. Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church, also known as Abu Serga, in Coptic Cairo. Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral is a Coptic church in Alexandria. Saint Catherine’s Monastery, officially is an Eastern Orthodox monastery located on the Sinai Peninsula. St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral is a Coptic church located in the Abbassia District in Cairo, among many, many others.
Finally, there was the Islamic era. Its strong influence lasted until the current date and affected Egyptians in all aspects of life. Some of the most beautiful mosques can be seen all around Egypt such as Al-Azhar Mosque, known simply in Egypt as Al-Azhar. The Great Mosque of Muhammad Ali Pasha or Alabaster Mosque is a mosque situated in the Citadel of Cairo in Egypt and was commissioned by Muhammad Ali Pasha between 1830 and 1848. The Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan is a monumental mosque and madrassa located in the historic district of Cairo, Egypt. Mosque of Ibn Tulun is located in Cairo, Egypt. And really this list never ends.
14. The Pharaonic Village
Do you want to go to a place a few miles away from the center of Cairo? Where Egypt’s entire history comes alive!
Perhaps the Pharaonic Village is a great choice if you have kids. It’s a fun learning experience going through the various rituals of ancient Egyptian life. Live actors demonstrate as you go enjoy your boat ride through the Nile River. Watch and listen to the history of the pharaohs and see how they crafted items. Once out of the boat, you can see a scale model of how the nobleman lived and how the servants lived.
The village contains different museums, you can see some examples of the occupations were hold for the people at the pharaonic time like the producing perfumes, burdi, and fishing. A beautiful photo session can be offered, as you dress in Pharaonic costumes and shooting in the very same temples. You can have some Pharaonic makeup on too, for more simulation!
15. Traditional Egyptian Sufi Dance
The Tanoura or Sufi Dance is an old religious ritual that goes back to 1517 when Egypt was a part of the Ottoman Empire. It was first derivatized from a mystic Islamic order called the Sufi or Daraweesh but later on, flourished to become a part of the Egyptian heritage. In this dance, you see a man wearing a very big colorful stunning skirt whirling around to music while maintaining balance and moving the skirt up and down all over his body and arms. It is believed that the dancer enters some sort of meditation with God while whirling. The Egyptians make sure to pass down this dance to their children to keep it alive to the new generations.
There is a dervish theater located near Khan el-Khalili where you can online book a ticket, but nightclubs, dinner boats, restaurants, cafés, and hotels usually include a Sufi Dance as a part of their entertainment.
Cairo is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab World. The Arabs like to call Cairo “um el-donya”, translated to the mother of the world. Cairo is also known as “the city of thousands of minarets” for its preponderance of Islamic architecture.
This city is associated with ancient Egypt as it was a focal point for trade due to its location just upstream from the Nile Delta. The Giza Pyramids, the City of Memphis, Coptic Cairo, and the Citedal are some of the historical places located in this area.
It is not only the city of monuments that is Cairo known for; modern Cairo is equally famous for its vibrant nightlife. Locals really know how to enjoy themselves. It has many nightclubs, restaurants, bars, malls, and fancy hotels. It also makes a good destination for shoppers. Shopping destinations include local markets, street shops and malls such as the Cairo festival Mall, Arab Mall, and City Stars Mall.
Is there anything else that Egypt is famous for? Add on to this list in the comments section below!