Moustafa is an Egyptian tour guide on rent-a-guide and offers private guided tours in Cairo, Luxor and the rest of Egypt. Today he tells us his personal top 5 attractions he thinks you must see when travelling to Egypt:
1. The Great Pyramid of Giza and The Sphinx
Giza is a Plateau, lying on the west bank of the River Nile opposite Cairo; its main attractions are the three Pyramids. The Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt is the largest of the original Seven Wonders of the World that is basically still intact. This pyramid is an architectural feat that cannot be duplicated with our modern technology and advanced knowledge. Many, including the Japanese, have tried to build a smaller pyramid to scale, but have not been successful.
2. The Egyptian Museum
The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities or The Egyptian Museum, located in Cairo, hosts about 120,000 pieces and is considered one of the oldest museums in the world. It is a place of true discovery and, even after many visits, you continue to make new and delightful discoveries every time you venture into its many galleries. There is a Collection of Egyptian mummies, coffins, treasures of King Tutankhamen and ancient Egyptian artefacts.
3. Sultan Hassan Madrassa and Masjid
This is one of the extraordinarily wonderful Islamic Monuments in the Islamic World. If Ancient Egypt is proud of the Pyramids of Giza, Islamic Egypt has to be proud of the Sultan Hassan Madrassa. The founder of this gigantic monument is the Sultan Hassan, son of the great Mamluke Sultan Al-Nasser Mohamed Ibn Qalawoun. Sultan Hassan ruled twice, the first time in 1347, when he was 13 years old, only to be dethroned by the other Mamluke princes and generals. The second time was in 1356 A.D. The Madrassa-Mosque contains 4 Madrassas or religious schools and is 7,906 square metres in size. It has 4 façades, the most important being the 2 main façades, including the remarkable northeast one. It is 145m long and 38m tall!
4. Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings was the royal cemetery for 62 Pharaohs, and is located on the west bank at Luxor. The only entrance to this place was a long narrow winding path. This was a secret place, where sentries were placed at the entrance of the Valley, as well as along the top of the hills, in the hopes of discouraging tomb robbers, who had in the past plundered all royal tombs, including the treasures of the Pyramids! Some of the thefts were probably carefully planned, but others were spur of the moment, as when an earlier tomb was accidentally discovered while cutting a new one and workmen took advantage of the opportunity.
5. Abu Simbel
In 1257 BCE, Pharaoh Ramses II (1279-13 BCE) had two temples carved out of solid rock at a site on the west bank of the Nile south of Aswan in the land of Nubia and known today as Abu Simbel. Long before Ramses II, the site had been sacred to Hathor of Absek. Because of their remote location near the Sudanese border in southern Egypt, the temples were unknown until their rediscovery in 1813.The sacred area, marked out as a forecourt and bounded on the north and south sides by brick walls, occupied a place between the sandstone cliffs and the river. Ramses’ temple was cut into the face of the cliff, before which is a rock-cut terrace. The temple is approached across this terrace up a flight of steps with an inclined plane in the middle, and enclosed on either side by a balustrade behind which stands a row of hawks and statues of Ramses in various forms.