Overview: From iconic pyramids that rise from ancient sands and bustling medieval bazaars full of color, to the endless desert dotted with oases of palm trees, busy cities and modern coastal holiday resorts offering some of the best diving in the world, Egypt

Egypt is famously the land of the pharaohs. There’s Tutankhamun, the young boy who became a pharaoh of the 18th dynasty, and whose solid gold death mask is one of the most famous ancient artefacts ever found. Or Nefertiti, the wife of Pharaoh Akhenaton, who is believed to have ruled in her own right and whose beauty is the stuff of legend. Both have given unparalleled romance to the country’s history.

Most of the country’s astonishing monuments that can be visited today were built during the time of the pharaohs. The Pyramids of Giza (the sole survivors of the Seven Ancient Wonders of the World), the mighty Sphinx with its body of a lion and a human head, the lotus-columned temples of Luxor and Karnak, the nearby Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens, and Hatshepsut’s temple, the Deir el Bahri, have thrilled visitors to Egypt for centuries.

Further south along the Nile, past Aswan, are the temples of Abu Simbel. Built to honor the pharaoh Ramses II and his wife Nefertiti, the temples are adorned with statues some 20m high carved with unbelievable detail into the sheer rock face and gaze out over a huge stretch of water, the Nasser Lake. The temples are an incredible sight.

Observing the call to prayer at sunset and the influx of worshipers and visitors of El-Sayeda Zainab Mosque will give a glimpse of a country full of character, color and fortitude.

At a glance:

  • Population: approximately 97.55 million
  • Capital city: Cairo (population 9.5 million)
  • Area: 1,010,408 square kilometers
  • Currency: Egyptian Pound (EGP)
  • Time zone: UTC + 2 (summer daylight saving not observed)
  • Religion: Islam / Muslim.

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