Cradle of the most important civilisation of antiquity, with imposing pyramids dating back more than 4,000 years, colossal statues and finely decorated underground tombs, Egypt has always known how to charm travellers, whether sitting in the shade of a colourful Nubian house sipping karkadè, ploughing the calm waters of the River Nile, following the ancient caravan routes between oasis and desert, or relaxing on the splendid beaches of the Red Sea, a snorkelling paradise.
“Man fears time, but time fears the pyramids”, says an old Arabian saying. The only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still standing today, the pyramids of Cheops, Chephren and Mycerinus, which tower over the Giza plateau next to the enigmatic Sphinx, are still one of the most majestic sights to be seen. Further south, up the River Nile, the cradle of Egyptian civilisation, we arrive at Luxor, ancient Thebes, which with its numerous temples, including those of Karnak and Hatshepsut, and its finely decorated tombs in the Valley of the Kings and Queens, is one of the most visited destinations on the continent. Further south, passing the sites of Edfu and Kom Ombo on the way, and touching the border with Sudan, we come across the temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel, impressive for the solemnity and awe that this symbol of pharaonic power still inspires today.
Between Abu Simbel and Aswan, in the heart of Nubia, stretches Lake Nasser, formed as a result of the construction of the Great Dam, dotted with masterpieces from the Ptolemaic era saved by UNESCO in the 1970s, which can be visited on a cruise in a dahabeya, a characteristic and elegant local wooden boat. The Nubian region will also fascinate travellers with its unique culture, small villages of colourful mud-brick houses with domed ceilings, and the hospitality of its inhabitants, who are always ready to welcome visitors with a glass of chai.
The Sahara is, with the Nile, the country’s other great protagonist: From the sands of Sudan and Libya to the shores of the Mediterranean coast, the Western Desert fascinates with its sea of golden dunes, its rocky formations that preserve ancient paintings and rock engravings, its deep black volcanic hills and the bizarre rock formations of Sahara el Beyda (“white desert”), but above all with its luxuriant oases, where Berber and Bedouin culture is interwoven with the country’s rich history. One need only mention the mythical Siwa, where Alexander the Great was crowned king of Egypt after consulting the Oracle, or Kharga, dotted with ancient Roman fortresses on the Limes, or Bahariya, the hub of trans-Saharan caravan traffic between Gilf el-Kebir and the coast.
But the Mediterranean is not the only sea that laps the country. To the east, along the Sinai Peninsula, a natural bridge between Africa and the Middle East, it is washed by the waters of the Red Sea, home to some of the most beautiful seabeds in the world, known as “the gardens of Allah”. And still in Sinai, you can venture inland and up its sacred mountains to the spot where Moses received the tablets from God, according to tradition.
Whether you are a lover of history or archaeology, whether you want to meet different and fascinating cultures, whether you want a journey of adventure or mysticism, Egypt will satisfy your every desire!