This week, our magic carpet will be taking us to a place brimming with history, culture and sand. Our last visit to Dubai was splendid but this week we’ll be going to a rich nation with a long history of rulers and fantastic sights. It’s Egypt! Egypt… what does that name bring to mind? Pyramids, gods, sphinx, people walking backward, pharaohs, and everything you’ve watched or read about Egypt. And if you’ve been living under a rock and the only question on your mind is, “What’s an Egypt?” Prepare to be educated.
Egypt has the most famous graves in the world. The pyramids of Giza. One of the ancient seven wonders of the world, that still leaves experts wondering how in the world they were built. They hold the dead Pharaohs and are guarded by giant sphinx. Luckily for everyone involved, this sphinx don’t ask riddles and kill those unable to answer. You can also visit the less famous pyramids, Saqqara. These hold tombs of court administrators. Their walls are covered with frezies describing ancient daily scenes. While visiting the pyramids, do not attempt to steal any mummies, treasure, or artifacts. Trust me on this, I’ve watched enough movies to know that never ends well.
A popular tourist attraction is the Nile River. The adoption spot of Prophet Moses and longest river of the world. Probably the most famous too. If you’ve read historical documents like the Bible, you’ll see that this river has been through a lot. Take a boat or falooka and view the wonderful view of the river. I unfortunately cannot be on large bodies of water while my eyes are open. You can also enjoy the view from the shore, just saying.
Islamic Cairo district is crammed full of mosques, madrassas(Islamic schools of learning), monuments from the Fatimid to the Mameluke eras. You’ll see several artisans and coppersmiths with tiny workshops, stalls laden with ceramic textiles, spic, and perfume in the shopping souk of Khan el-Khalili. The souks are a bit reminiscent of the trader at the beginning of Disney’s “Aladdin” when he tried to sell us a lamp by telling us its story. This district is home to awesome architecture of old Islamic empires. Visit and pray in some of the most beautiful mosques of the world, Al-Azhar Mosque and the Sultan Hassan Mosque. The Al-Hussein Mosque, where the prophet Mohamed grandson is believed to be buried is also in this part of Cairo. This place is a whole experience.
On the curves of the Nile, is a quiet serene town, Aswan. It is the perfect place to unwind. Take a river ferry to Elephantine Island and stroll through the beautiful Nubian villages. You can ride a camel to St. Simeon Monastery. Drink different teas on the river boat restaurant, while enjoying the view of boats and feluccas on the water. Despite Aswan’s many tourist attraction, the favorite thing for tourists go do here is to chill and lay back, forgetting the world- because the world probably doesn’t think of you that much.
Climb Mount Sinai. This mountain is of religious significance to all three Abrahamic religions. Christians, Jews and Muslims can climb up to the mountain where Abraham almost sacrificed his son. This mountain, also known as mount Horeb or Gebel Mosa, has an amazing view for everyone interested in climbing this mountain. At the foot of Mount Sinai, one of the world’s oldest monasteries, St. Catherine’s stands. It is home to a marvelous collection of religious art, documents and so on. It is where Moses is said to have received the ten commandments. And broke them. And received them again.
Ascend to the Cairo Tower. At 187 meters tall, you get an astounding view of the whole of Cairo, largest city in the world.
If you love Egypt mythology a lot or maybe you just read the Percy Jackson series and think you do, the temple of Osiris is for you. Located in Abydos town, it only has a few visitors compared to other temples. Admire the chunky columns and walls, covered in beautiful hieroglyphics and lovely paintings in the relative silence. And there are so many other temples with so much history in them. The dream of any myth fan or historian.
Stroll through Alexandria, Egypt’s most European cities. It is one of the most historic places in the history of history. Founded by Alexander the Great, home of Cleopatra. Although many of its historic buildings are gone and the great Library of Alexandria was burnt down centuries ago, you can almost imagine the ancient city it once was as you stroll around, shopping at souks and drinking at cafes.
Egypt holds a vast treasure for tourists seeking history, religious experience or who simply love a good adventure. Whether it’s the Valley Of the kings, Karnak Temple, Abu Simpel, Egyptian Musuem, the White Desert, the Siwa Oasis, the South Sinai beach or any of the many other sites that are a must see, you’ll be left gaping in wonder and feeling like Ariel in “The Little Mermaid,” when she sang, “How many treasures can one cavern hold?
We’ll be travelling to our last Arabic destination next time.. Which Arabian dream are we headed to this time? It all depends on where the carpet chooses. We’ll all just have to wait and see, won’t we?