Ancient Egypt is one of the world's greatest civilizations. In 3150BC, a unified kingdom arose in which a series of dynasties ruled Egypt for the next three millennia. During this time, the ancient Egyptians produced some of the most magnificent monuments in the world, which have surprisingly survived through the ages. This short travelogue takes you through some of the most amazing Pharaonic sights of Egypt, and just beneath the video, be sure to read through each of the stunning and historic places mentioned.
The Ancient Sites of Egypt: An Overview
The Pyramids of Giza
These magnificent pyramids were built over the span of three generations by Khufu, his second reigning son Khafre and Menkaure. The Great Pyramid of Khufu is the oldest and one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Over 2 million blocks of stone were used to construct the pyramid during a 20 year period, concluding in 2560 BC. The pyramid stands tall at 139 meters (455 feet).
Serving as a burial ground for more than 3500 years, Saqqara is Egypt's largest archaeological site. It is the final resting place for deceased pharaohs and their families, administrators, generals and sacred animals.
Located about 10km south of Saqqara lies a 3.5km long field of 4th and 12th dynasty pyramids. These pyramids are just as impressive as the ones found in Giza, though more peaceful. The Bent pyramid is in a militarized zone and can only be admired from a distance.
Temple of Hatshepsut
Situated beneath the cliffs at Deir el Bahari on the west bank of the Nile, this temple was designed and implemented by Senemut, the royal architect of Hatshepsut. Its purpose was to serve for her posthumous worship and to honor the glory of Amun (one of the most powerful gods in Ancient Egypt). The temple is built into a cliff and consists of three layered terraces reaching 30m (97ft) in height. The terraces are connected by long ramps which were once surrounded by gardens.
The Colossi of Memnon
For 3400 years, two massive stone statues of Pharaoh Amenhotep III have sat in the Theban necropolis, across the river Nile from the city of Luxor. Their original function was to stand guard at the entrance to Amenhotep's memorial temple: a massive cult center that was built during the pharaoh's lifetime, where he was worshipped as a god on earth. Today, aside from the Colossi, little remains of the temple.
Also known as the Mortuary Temple of Ramses III, Merdinet Habu is a huge complex second only to Karnac in size - though it is better preserved. The great Pharaohs of ancient Egypt were buried in the Valley of the Kings. However, they often built great mortuary temples such as this one, to honor their memory. Farmers today often report that the site is believed to have magical powers.
Dendera was the place for worship of Hathor, the patroness of earthly love, the goddess of healing and the great feminine source of all nourishment. The temple had several functions: it was a place of pilgrimage where miraculous cures were performed by the goddess and it also served as a hospital where various physiological, psychological and magical therapies were practiced.
Most of this site is unfortunately ruined, however, few places in Egypt are as impressive as Karnak. It is the largest religious site in the world, and most of the work was done by the pharaohs of the New Kingdom (1570-1100BC). Karnak is divided into three main temples, smaller enclosed temples and several outer temples located 2.5km north of Luxor. Perhaps its most famous structure is the Hypostyle Hall, spread over 5000 square meters, with 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows.