The monuments of Egypt are scattered far and wide throughout this vast and beautiful country. Although most hug the banks of the Nile, many more are dispersed deep in the sands of the desert. From oases that were a source of life for the Bedouin people to the great monuments left from the time of the Pharaohs, Egypt is brimming with sights that celebrate their fascinating history.
It is no surprise that Giza is the most popular tourist site in Egypt due to its iconic monuments and close proximity to Cairo, the gateway to Egypt. Giza has the highest confluence of ancient Egyptian monuments in the country, and the most well-known. The three great pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Menkaure create one of the most recognizable skylines in the world, and they harbor the world famous Sphinx in their shadows. Thousands of smaller grave sites in addition to the Great Pyramids has gained the monument the name "The Giza Necropolis." The pyramid complex at Giza is the sole remainder of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
The Siwa Oasis is a historical, cultural and natural monument near the Egyptian border with Libya. As one of the most isolated settlements in Egypt, Siwa has not changed much with the rest of the rapidly developing country. The town is nestled in the vast oasis and is distinct in architecture and in the mud-brick construction of its houses. Apart from the beauty of the oasis and the fascinating culture of the Berber people who inhabit the town, the area is known for several ancient ruins including the oracle temple of Amun, which Alexander the Great consulted before beginning his campaign into Persia and Gebel al Mawta, a Roman era necropolis of cut-rock tombs. Also, the area is known for its many hot springs, such as Cleopatra's Bath, a spring reputed to have healing properties.
The Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa
The Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa is a little-known monument in Alexandria. Although little is known about its origins, carbon testing has shown that these burial places hewn into the bedrock of the mountains date from the second century BC. Burial artifacts found in the catacombs show an interesting mix of Roman, Greek and Egyptian style. This three-story structure stores over 300 bodies and includes a banquet hall for celebrating the lives of those who were to be interred. One of the most fascinating and disturbing parts of the catacombs is the Hall of Caracalla. According to scholars, the hall was actually a mass burial chamber for the humans and animals sacrificed at the death of Emperor Caracalla.
Article Written By Michael Degnan
Michael Degnan is a Central California-based writer with a passion for all forms of human technology, from food production to the newest gadgetry. He spent three years writing tech reviews for CNET, as well as having written articles for several nonprofit organizations dealing with indigenous rights. He holds degrees in cinema studies and cultural anthropology from San Francisco State University.