There are very few countries in the world that have such a rich history, and in this post, you’ll discover the top 14 most famous historical sites in Egypt.
Related: Check out the most famous landmarks in Florence!
14 Most famous historical sites in Egypt
1. Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the biggest of all Ancient Egyptian pyramids and is located in the Giza necropolis just outside of Cairo. It is also the oldest of the 3 big pyramids that were constructed in the complex and it was built during the 4th Dynasty between 2580 and 2560 B.C.
Based on writings inside the pyramid we know that it was built by Pharaoh Khufu. With a height of 146.7 meters (481 feet), it was the tallest building in the world for a period of 3,800 years and it is one of the most famous landmarks in the entire world, ranked as one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world and included in the New 7 wonders list as well.
2. Temple of Hatshepsut
The Temple of Hatshepsut is also known as “Djeser-Djeseru” and is the mortuary temple of the female Pharaoh Hatshepsut. She ruled during the 18th dynasty and died in the year 1458 B.C. The temple is located beneath massive cliffs at Deir el-Bahari which gives it an amazing look.
One of the most remarkable facts about Hatshepsut is that very little info remains of the woman because her stepson, Thutmose III, tried to erase her from history after her death. Some reliefs that survived clearly depict the birth of a female pharaoh though which tells just part of the tale of Hatshepsut.
3. Pyramid of Djoser
The Pyramid of Djoser is a step-pyramid located in the Saqqara Necropolis, which served as the main necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian city of Memphis. It as built between 2670 and 2650 B.C. and is considered to be one of the earliest large-scale construction projects in human history, and was the predecessor of all pyramids that followed.
With a height of 62.5 meters (205 feet), it was by far the tallest building in the world upon completion, a title it held until it was surpassed by the Great Pyramid of Giza. It’s believed the pyramid was based upon the Saqqara Mastaba which dates back to around 2700 B.C.
4. Karnak Temple Complex
The Karnak Temple Complex is mostly referred to as just “Karnak” and consists of numerous buildings such as temples, chapels, pylons, and numerous sculptures. The complex is located near the city of Luxor and the area was considered to be one of the “Most Selected of Places” in Ancient Egypt.
For this reason, the complex construction started in the “Middle Kingdom,” between 1700 and 2000 B.C. and continued all the way to the Ptolemaic period, between 305 and 30 B.C. Most of the remaining structures were built during the “New Kingdom.”
5. Luxor Temple
The Luxor Temple Complex is located right within the city of Luxor, which used to be referred to as “Thebes” in Ancient Egypt. It was constructed around 1400 B.C. The temple is unique in the sense that it wasn’t dedicated to a god or to a deified Pharaoh.
Instead, it as dedicated to the “rejuvenation of kingship” and it’s most probably the place where a lot of the pharaohs in Ancient Egypt were crowned. During Roman times, the temple was used as a fortress and home of the government. A Roman Legion was stationed in the temple as well.
6. Abu Simbel
The Abu Simbel Temples are a temple complex consisting of two massive temples that were carved out of the rocks near the village of Abu Simbel in southern Egypt. They were constructed during the 19th dynasty around the year 1300 B.C. and commemorate the victory of the Pharaoh Ramesses II and his queen Nefertari during the Battle of Kadesh.
One of the most remarkable facts about the temples of Abu Simbel is that they were relocated in their entirety to make way for the construction of the Aswan High Dam on the River Nile. If not, they would have been submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the reservoir of the dam.
7. Pyramid of Khafre
The Pyramid of Khafre is the second-tallest pyramid in the Giza Necropolis just outside of Cairo. It was built as a tomb for the Pharaoh Khafre, also referred to as “Chephren,” who ruled during the 4th Dynasty between 2558 and 2532 B.C.
This pyramid isn’t that much shorter than the Great Pyramid of Giza as it originally stood 143.5 meters or 471 feet tall. Its base is quite a bit smaller though which makes this pyramid much steeper than its taller neighbor.
8. Valley of the Kings
The Valley of the Kings is also sometimes referred to as the “Valley of the Gates of the Kings” and is a valley in Egypt consisting of numerous tombs of pharaohs and other important people in Ancient Egypt. These tombs were cut out of the rocks during the New Kingdom for a period of 500 years between 1600 and 1100 B.C.
The valley is located on the west bank of the Nile right across the city of Luxor, or Thebes in Ancient Egypt. It’s located right in the middle of the Theban Necropolis. The valley contains a total of 63 tombs of which some contain numerous chambers (one tomb contains 120 chambers)!
9. Valley of the Queens
As you might have expected, the Valley of the Queens was the burial site of the wives of the pharaohs who were buried in the tombs located at the Valley of the Kings. In ancient Egypt this valley as known as “Ta-Set-Neferu,” which literally translates to “the place of beauty.”
The main area, referred to as a “Wadi,” contains a total of 91 tombs, while the additional areas add an additional 19 tombs. Tye Valley of the Queens is located near the Valley of the Kings and was used between the 17th and 20th dynasties.
10. Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza, also referred to as just the Sphinx of Giza is probably the most iconic monument that the Ancient Egyptians left behind. It’s a limestone sculpture located within the Giza Necropolis and depicts a sphinx, a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human.
The sculpture is located in the vicinity of the Pyramid of Khafre and it’s assumed that the face of the sphinx is actually that of Pharaoh Khafre. The sculpture doesn’t look that big but it’s actually 73 meters (240 feet) long in its entirety and stands about 20 meters (66 feet) tall.
11. Red Pyramid
The Red Pyramid, located in the Dahshur Necropolis near Cairo, was one of the most important structures that were built in Ancient Egypt. It was the first-ever smooth-sided pyramid that was actually successfully constructed and formed the inspiration model for all the pyramids that followed, most importantly, the Great Pyramid of Giza.
The pyramid was built by Pharaoh Sneferu, also known as “Soris,” and construction started around 2590 B.C., making it one of the oldest large-scale pyramids in Egypt. It’s named after the red glow of the limestone used to build it, even though in ancient times it as completely covered in white limestone. Sneferu was the father of Khufu who built the Great Pyramid and is considered to be the greatest builder in all of Ancient Egypt, and that means something.
12. Cairo Tower
The Cairo Tower is one of the most famous modern monuments in Egypt and is located on Gezira Island in the River Nile in the Gezira district, just near Downtown Cairo. It’s one of the most prominent landmarks in the city as it stands 187 meters (613.5 feet) tall, which doesn’t just make it the tallest structure in Egypt but all of North Africa as well.
The famous tower was constructed between 1955 and 1961 and was indirectly funded by the United States government when Kermit Roosevelt and the CIA attempted to bribe then Egyptian president Nasser. This backfired and Nasser instantly used the funds to start building the tower. The tower has an observation deck and multiple restaurants, including a revolving one, and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
13. Bent Pyramid
The Bent Pyramid was the first pyramid to be constructed at the Dahshur Necropolis south of Cairo. It was built by the founder of the 4th Dynasty in the Old Kingdom named Sneferu, who also built the Red Pyramid. It was his first attempt to build a smooth-sided pyramid as opposed to the step-pyramids which were constructed before.
Unfortunately for Sneferu, something went horribly wrong as they clearly miscalculated the angle from which the pyramid should rise. Because of this, the angle was changed before halfway, resulting in a peculiar bent. This is also how the pyramid got its modern name. It’s one of the most famous historical sites in Egypt because it’s one of the oldest, yet best-preserved pyramids in the country. A lot of the limestone casing is still present as well.
14. Colossi of Memnon
The Colossi of Memnon are two massive statues located in the Theban Necropolis, the large mortuary complex on the West Bank of the Nile River across the modern-day city of Luxor. They were originally the guards of the enormous Temple of Amenhotep, built during the reign of Amenhotep III in the 18th dynasty about 1350 B.C., which is believed to have been the largest temple ever constructed in Ancient Egypt, covering an area of about 35 hectares (86 acres).
Both statues are utterly unrecognizable today but are believed to have been depicting Amenhotep the Magnificent himself. Various earthquakes completely flattened the temple and destroyed parts of the statues as well. The northern statue has been reconstructed at the end of the 2nd century A.D. by the Romans.
This concludes our list with the most famous historical sites in Egypt, a country with arguably the richest history in the world, full of amazing landmarks!