If you are looking for a romantic, relaxing way to visit some of the best Ancient tourist sites in Egypt, then there is only one way to go about it – a luxury Nile River Cruise. Egyptians of old used to live along the banks of this iconic river, and that is why the Pharaohs built most of their tombs and temples near or on its banks, which is why the best way to see and appreciate these attractions is by cruising along the river itself.
If you are thinking of booking a cruise through Egypt Escapes, or are about to go on one, we have selected our favourite sites from this ancient world which we think you should visit before your vacation ends.
One of the best places to start your cruise is in the northern city of Cairo. However, you could also do a reverse journey, starting from the south, beginning at Aswan or Luxor. In this post, we will be following the Nile’s current and start our sightseeing at the beautiful city of Aswan, which is in ancient Egypt’s southernmost frontier. In the second post, we will be focusing on the delights to be found in Luxor, before wrapping up with some of Cairo’s most epic landmarks.
Aswan – The Jewel of the Nile
In Ancient Egypt, Aswan was its southernmost frontier and is where the River Nile is at its peak beauty as it cuts through golden deserts and flows around emerald islands. Formerly known as Swenet or Swen, Aswan was the gateway to Africa and was a vital crossroad for trade. It is also where the granite for most of the temples and monuments constructed in ancient times was quarried. Aswan is one of the top cities to visit while in Egypt, and its relaxed Nubian culture is unlike the frenetic activity you will experience in Cairo or the flurry of top tourist destinations in Luxor. There are several must-see and must-visit attractions here, and they include:
Abu Simbel: This is one ancient temple complex that is not that easy to get to but is, without a doubt, worth the effort. Created during Rameses the Second’s reign, Abu Simbel is comprised of two chambers and is guarded by four massive statutes of the Pharaoh himself. The awe-inspiring temple took 20 years to create since it was carved into a rock face. Incredibly, Abu Simbel was relocated in the ’60s to protect it from erosion as the Aswan High Dam was being constructed.
Temple of Isis, Philae: The Temple of Isis is considered the last temple to be constructed using the classical, ancient Egypt style. The temple was also relocated to another area by UNESCO right before construction of the Aswan High Dam commenced. Temple of Isis visitors can also marvel at the soaring columns and hieroglyphics at night when the Light and Sound Show starts.
Kom Ombo: Kom Ombo is an unusual double temple that was dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god, and Haroeris, the falcon god. The soaring structure features multiple chambers that were probably used as temples, courts, halls, and sanctuaries and is perfectly symmetrical. Stroll under the temple’s many colonnades and travel back in time.
Temple of Horus, Edfu: Located on the Nile’s West Bank 60 kilometres north of Aswan, this temple is one of Egypt’s best-preserved ancient monuments. This Ptolemaic Temple was dedicated to Isis and Osiris’ son and followed a classic structural design. It features courts, statues, walls adorned with ancient Egypt hieroglyphics, and houses numerous chambers. As the second-largest temple in Egypt, the Temple of Horus is one of the most popular tourist attractions and offers the most authentic experience of ancient Egypt.