The mention of Egypt’s capital city Cairo brings to mind the mysterious, ancient and awe-inspiring Pyramids of Giza. This bustling city is a popular travel destination due to its endless list of historical attractions. Some of these world famous historical attractions are well-preserved while some are in half dilapidated condition. However, these are all-time favourites. Listed below are some of Egypt’s pearls of the ancient world.
Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza are undoubtedly the most popular and most visited attraction in Egypt, let alone its capital Cairo. The Pyramids of Giza are a collection of three primary pyramids or mortuary monuments, which were built around 4,500 years ago. Admire the architecture of the Pyramid of Cheops, also known as the Pyramid of Khufu, which is the biggest pyramid of the three. Travellers can explore the interiors of its narrow passages, which contain a tomb chamber and a sarcophagus. The Pyramid of Chephren, popular as the Pyramid of Khefre, is the second pyramid. The Pyramid of Mycerinus, also known as the Pyramid of Menkaure, is the third and the smallest pyramid of the three.
Lying close to the Pyramids of Giza is the lion-bodied and pharaoh-faced Sphinx. Another world-famous and must-visit attraction, the Sphinx is said to be the guard of the Pyramids of Giza! Admire this ancient sculpture, which has a massive height of 66 feet and is 234 feet long. The monument is flanked by two ancient temples; one belongs to the Old Kingdom, while the other belongs to the New Kingdom.
Visit the serene Al-Azhar Mosque located in the centre of the Islamic Cairo district in Cairo. The mosque is a fine example of ancient architecture and is said to be one of the earliest surviving mosques in Cairo. Enter from the main entrance, the Gate of the Barbers, and reach the central courtyard to soak in fantastic views of the five minarets of the mosque. Walk through the courtyard to the main prayer hall, which covers a massive area of 3,000 square meters.
Another marvellous ancient site in Cairo, the Saqqara is located between Giza and Dahshur in southern Cairo. Saqqara is home to the oldest stone pyramid in Egypt, the Step Pyramid of Djoser. The archaeological site, surrounded by palm trees, houses the Step Pyramid of Djoser, Egypt’s oldest stone pyramid. The Step Pyramid is believed to have been built for pharaoh Djoser by architect Imhotep. The monument contains beautiful ancient graffiti on its walls.
Visit Cairo’s equally mystifying ancient site of the Citadel, which is located at the foot of the Mokattam Hills in Cairo. The Citadel contains many ancient monuments including the famous Mosque of Muhammad Ali, also popular as the Alabaster Mosque, the El-Nasir Mosque, and the Gawhara Terrace among others.