The Seven Wonders of Egypt

Great Pyramids at Giza

Great Pyramids and Sphinx
The very fist list of wonders created by Herodotus in the 5th Century BC had the pyramids on the list. In 2,500 years, not much has changed. The Great Pyramids and the Giza Complex are still one of the most impressive sights in the world. The pyramids are from the Upper Kingdom of Egypt and are older than most of the temples you will find in Egypt, which dates after the unification of the Upper and Lower Kingdoms. As such, there is little in the way of hieroglyphs and other Egyptian artwork which can be seen at the site. The pyramids were the tombs of In addition to the pyramids themselves, you can also see the funeral boat of Khufu. The biggest downside to visiting the pyramids are the very aggressive men who try to get you to buy camel rides.

Gardens of St. Catherines Monastery

St. Catherine’s Monastery
Egypt isn’t all temples and ruins which date back to the time of the Pharaohs. There is a great deal of history in Egypt from the Greek, Roman, and Byzantine periods as well. The St. Catherine monastery is located in the middle of the Sinai Peninsula. St. Catherine is believed to be the oldest working Christian monastery in the world, dating its founding to 527 and 565. It was created on orders of the Emperor Justinian at the spot where it is believed Moses saw the burning bush and received the Ten Commandments. The monastery is run by the Greek Orthodox Church and contains about 120 of the oldest Eastern Orthodox icons in the world.

Mohamed Ali Mosque, Cairo.

Islamic Cairo
Despite its location near the pyramids, Cairo was essentially founded as a Muslim city in the 10th Century. Many of the oldest mosques and madrasas in the world can be found in Cairo. The highlight of old Cairo is the Cairo Citadel and the Mohamed Ali Mosque. The mosque is one of the largest of the old Muslim world and the design inside rivals many of the largest cathedrals of Europe. From the Citadel, you can look out to the Giza plateau and see the pyramids on a day where smog is limited. This is the section of town with the souqs (markets) and attractions many of the tourists who visit the city. Old Cairo was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979.

Faluccas on the Nile near Aswan.

Nile River
I suppose you could say that the Nile River shouldn’t be considered a Wonder of Egypt because in many respects the Nile IS Egypt. If it wasn’t for the Nile, Egypt wouldn’t exist, neither in its modern or ancient form. Other than the strip of green on either side of the river, most of Egypt is nothing by barren desert. It is the Nile which gave rise to Egyptian culture and made it the breadbasket of the Roman Empire. If you are in Egypt you need to at least take a felucca trip on the river, and if possible take an overnight cruise from Luxor to Aswan. Taking a cruise will not only let you see how average Egyptian farmers work the land, but it will also give you a chance to see some temples you would not get to see in Luxor or Aswan: Edfu and Komombo Temples.

Roman Theater, Alexandria.

Alexandria is a city with an amazing amount of history. It was founded by Alexander the Great. It was where Julius Caesar came ashore in search of Pompey in the Roman Civil War. It was here the great Library of Alexandria was created and later destroyed. It was home to one of the original seven wonders of the world: the Pharos Lighthouse. Anthony and Cleopatra killed themselves here. Despite all this history, almost all of the great structures have been destroyed. There are many smaller structures still to be found in Alexandria, however: Pompey’s Pillar, the Roman Theater, and the Greco-Roman museum. One of the highlights is nine meters below the surface where you can dive and see the ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse. It is also home to the new Biblioteca Alexandria, which hearkens back to the old library.

The head of Ramesses II. Abu Simbel.

Abu Simbel
Abu Simbel consists of two temples created by Ramesses II (aka the Pharoah played by Yul Brenner in the Ten Commandments) to celebrate a victory over the Nubians who lived south of Egypt on the Nile in what is now Sudan. By its own right, Abu Simbel is an impressive place to visit. What makes it really impressive, and the thing that really makes it a Wonder of Egypt is that the entire complex was moved in the 60’s to preserve it from the rising waters of the Aswan High Dam. The entire temple and sculptures carved into the mountain were carved up and moved 60m up and 200m back from the former location of the river. They did such a good job that if it wasn’t for the pile of dirt covering the temples, you’d almost never know that everything had been moved. If you ever visit, pay close attention to the graffiti carved into the stone by British vandals in the 19th Century.

Pillars at Karnak Temple

Karnak and Luxor
Karnak and Luxor are technically separate temples connected by a road known as the Avenue of the Sphinxes, but because they are  close together I’ve decided to list them as a single entry. Luxor and Karnak are both in the middle of urban Luxor City. Luxor Temple is of similar design to other Egyptian temples like Eduf and is best known for its intact obelisk at the front of the temple. Karnak is by far the largest temple in Egypt. It has almost an acre of stone pillars which gives you an idea of just how massive the original temple must have been. You can walk from one temple to the other, but it is probably easier to hire a horse drawn carriage. Don’t worry, the carriage drivers will find you. Collectively these ruins are in the Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Other articles in Gary’s Wonders of the World series:
Seven Wonders of the Philippines | Seven Wonders of Australia | Seven Wonders of New Zealand | Seven Wonders of Japan | Seven Wonders of Egypt | Seven Wonders of Spain

29 thoughts on “The Seven Wonders of Egypt”

  1. Very good and interesting blog about seven wonder of Egypt. Egypt is a very nice and beautiful place.

  2. Interesting but I feel compelled to point out the errors in the section on the pyramids.

    First only the pyramid of Kufu is one of the ancient wonders of the world.

    Second the pyramids were built in the old kingdom not the upper kingdom, Upper and Lower Egypt had been united for at least 200 years before the construction began.

    Sorry but I felt that you and your readers could benefit from the corrections.

  3. Wow… nice pictures. Great Pyramids and Sphinx, yes, definitely should top the Seven Wonders of Egypt, and the world. Nice article! Love Egypt..

  4. All of these attractions are wonderful, but the best attraction in Egypt is underwater world in Red Sea!

  5. im telling u that my country egypt is the most beautiful country i went to

  6. How did you find Luxor City? I’ve heard mixed reviews about staying in the city itself… great photos though.

  7. This is a great list – thank you so much for sharing! I’ve wanted to visit Egypt for a long time and in fact blogged about it today, including your post as a link! :) Check it out, and thanks again!

    -Kathryn @Travelfusion

  8. Egypt is one of the greatest places on earth. So many travelers only see a glimpse of Egypt….and although the Pyramids are truly a wonder of the world, they only tell part of the story.

    I would love to see more travelers venture into more off the beaten path destinations like “Raas Shiitaan”, Siwa, Abu Galoom….the list goes on and on!

  9. It’s Egypt that I want to explore. I want to see how great the pyramids are(how high and how wide it is). I really love to go there. If only I have the chance to go to other place…that would be Egypt.

  10. Thanks for sharing this post.Egypt is a beautiful place. Egypt is Gifted With 7 Wonders- St. Catherine’s Monastery,Islamic Cairo, Nile River, Alexandria, Abu Simbel, Karnak and Luxor. I really admire Nile River, Alexandria, Karnak and Luxor. Nile river is the only source of water for the Egyptians. It is Nile through which people are able to make their food. Karnak and Luxor
    are most beautiful and largest temple in Egypt. For more detail refer Wonders Of Egypt

  11. Hello!!
    Very amazing views of Egypt!! I hope next year viajes a Egipto is the next target of our group travel destination. Do you have an idea about reservation of hotels in Egypt like reservation offered in hoteles en Valencia in Spain every summer.
    Thank for the information about Egypt..

  12. Egypt is a nice place…

    Guys, If you want to know other great travel destinations, feel free to view Travel Blog and see great, wonderful and some historical places that will amazed and would loved you to go and explore.

  13. one suggestion-maybe you could also document your gastronomic experience on every country that you visit.It is interesting to know what people from the other side of the planet eats.just a suggestion

  14. If you do a Nile Cruise, you can see the Edfu and Komombo Temples. In Luxor you can see the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens. There are lesser pyramids and Memphis near Cairo. Phiale Temple is also near Aswan.

  15. Been following your blog quite some time and its very exciting as you’re always on the move.You are doing something that i crave to do all my life.Keep on posting and keep on travellin’

  16. I’d have to echo everyone else and say that these pictures are amazing. Reminds me of Turkey, only…drier. :p

  17. what a great idea, for each country have their own wonders! interesting post, egypt is sooooooo on top of my gotta go there list.
    The Travel Expert(a) and an Expat with a Twist

  18. Your entry got cut off, homes.

    Did you do the dive at Pharos? I searched for info on it – that sounds f’in amazing – but found very little. I’d love to hear more about that.

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