Ancient Egypt continues to weave its magic for us in the 21st century, even through turbulent political times.
Its monuments, tombs, hieroglyphics, and the waters of the Nile fuel its enduring appeal, and movies like The Mummy keep it in popular culture. And of course, what book lover hasn’t pined for the loss of Alexandria’s great library?
Everything about Egypt is huge, from its past to its sheer size. At just over 1 million km2, how do you know what to visit? This guide highlights the 9 most incredible things to see for history buffs and Egypt fans alike.
It makes sense to start with the capital. The Fatimids established the city in the 10th century (then called Fustat). Cairo became an important trading center on the spice route. It was also a seat of learning during the 13th century.
Head to the Islamic district to find evidence of its medieval history among the monuments and mosques. Artisan families run workshops and sell wares in the Khan el-Khalili shopping souk. This vast market is worth a visit. Who knows what bargains you’ll find?
Make sure to leave plenty of time to get to and from places as the traffic in Cairo is crazy!
Make a trip to the Citadel of Salah el-Din. This UNESCO World Heritage Site dates to the 12th century. Saladin built the citadel for protection against Crusaders. Three mosques and four museums now lie within its walls. The 19th-century Mosque of Muhammad Ali is perhaps the most impressive. Intended to compete with Istanbul’s Hagia Sofia, it’s also called the Alabaster Mosque. The large terrace outside gives stunning views over the city.