Egypt Overview

Image Gallery

Egypt is a land of huge ancient monuments and Islamic influences that will be in your face from the get go but leave you contemplating more. Egypt has arguably the longest history of any country on the planet with evidence of continued habitation since 10,000 BC. Massive stone pyramids, monuments and temples built by Egypt's ancient civilization have no equal on earth and continue to defy modern science in how such "primitive" early humans built these amazing structures. Bordered by Israel, Libya, Sudan, the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea, flying in to Egypt is the easiest method but you can also travel overland from certain countries. Transport domestically depends on where you are going, you will need a police escort in some areas and recently the authorities prefer the use of tours for foreign travelers to a number of areas within the country. Officially known as the Arab Republic of Egypt, this country provides experiences that will last a lifetime and they will be both positive, negative and extreme. Ensure you sail the Nile, explore temples near Luxor and pyramids in and around Cairo, view the vast expanse of the Sahara and keep your patient shoes on because you will be tested. If you can only focus on a couple places go to Cairo with the pyramids and Luxor with its temples and option to sail the Nile. Travel through Egypt is slow but rewarding, don't try to rush this country if you can spare the time. Egypt is a must see country and it will leave its mark on you.

Abu Simbel
Alexandria
Aswan
Cairo
Deir el-Bahari
Edfu
The Pyramids of Giza
Karnak
Luxor
Medinet Habu
Nile River
Philae
Sahara Desert
Saqqara and Dashur
Valley of the Kings

Image Gallery

Photography by Eric Starling, Footside, Mike Minckler, Sara and Mike Waters

Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Egyptian Museum, Cairo
The Great Pyramid, Giza, Egypt
The Great Pyramid, Giza
The Nile River and Aswan, Egypt
The Nile River and Aswan
The Great Temple at Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple at Abu Simbel
El-Mursi Abul-Abbas Mosque, Alexandria, Egypt
El-Mursi Abul-Abbas Mosque, Alexandria
The Hyposyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
The Hyposyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor
Edfu Temple, Egypt
Edfu Temple
Mohammed Ali Mosque, Cairo, Egypt
Mohammed Ali Mosque, Cairo
Djoser Step Pyramid, Saqqara, Egypt
Djoser Step Pyramid, Saqqara
Tomb of Seti II, Valley of the Kings, Egypt
Tomb of Seti II, Valley of the Kings
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari
The Nile River and Luxor, Egypt
The Nile River and Luxor
Mask of Tutankhamun, Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Mask of Tutankhamun, Egyptian Museum, Cairo
Medinet Habu Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Medinet Habu Temple, Luxor
Cairo Tower, Egypt
Cairo Tower
White Desert, Egypt
White Desert
Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Egypt
Pyramid of Khafre, Giza
Aswan Sunset, Egypt
Aswan Sunset
Cairo, Egypt
Cairo
Pyramid of Menkaure, Giza, Egypt
Pyramid of Menkaure, Giza
Karnak Temple Backflip, Egypt
Karnak Temple Backflip
Egyptian Museum Backflip, Egypt
Egyptian Museum Backflip
Great Pyramid Backflip, Egypt
Great Pyramid Backflip
Karnak Temple Backflip, Egypt
Karnak Temple Backflip
Luxor Temple at Night, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple at Night, Luxor
Panoramic View of Modern Aswan from the West Bank, Aswan, Egypt
Panoramic View of Modern Aswan from the West Bank, Aswan
The Pyramids of the Giza Plateau, from right to left, The Great Pyramid, The Pyramid of Khafre, The Pyramid of Menkaure, Cairo, Egypt
The Pyramids of the Giza Plateau, from right to left, The Great Pyramid, The Pyramid of Khafre, The Pyramid of Menkaure, Cairo
Dakhla Oasis Desert Sunset, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Dakhla Oasis Desert Sunset, Sahara Desert
The Nile River, Egypt
The Nile River
Philae Temple, near Aswan, Egypt
Philae Temple, near Aswan
Mohammed Ali Mosque, Cairo, Egypt
Mohammed Ali Mosque, Cairo
Tomb in Saqqara, Egypt
Tomb in Saqqara
The Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple, Abu Simbel
Tomb of the Nobles, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles, Luxor
Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, Alexandria, Egypt
Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, Alexandria
Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Karnak Temple, Luxor
Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan, Cairo, Egypt
Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan, Cairo
Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Karnak Temple, Luxor
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari
Alexandria, Egypt
Alexandria
Tomb of the Nobles, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles, Luxor
Interior of Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Egypt
Interior of Pyramid of Khafre, Giza
The Great Gallery, Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Egypt
The Great Gallery, Pyramid of Khufu, Giza
Tomb, Valley of the Kings, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb, Valley of the Kings, Luxor
The Bent Pyramid, Saqqara, Egypt
The Bent Pyramid, Saqqara
The Sphinx and Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Egypt
The Sphinx and Pyramid of Khafre, Giza
The Sphinx, Giza, Egypt
The Sphinx, Giza
The Pyramids of Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Pyramids of Giza, Cairo
Abu Simbel Backflip, Egypt
Abu Simbel Backflip
Step Pyramid Backflip, Egypt
Step Pyramid Backflip
Pyramids of Giza Backflip, Egypt
Pyramids of Giza Backflip
Cairo Backflip, Egypt
Cairo Backflip
View of the temples at Abu Simbel, on the left is The Great Temple dedicated to Ramses the Great and on the right is The Small Temple dedicated to Nefertari, Egypt
View of the temples at Abu Simbel, on the left is The Great Temple dedicated to Ramses the Great and on the right is The Small Temple dedicated to Nefertari
The courtyard of the Mohammed Ali Mosque in the Citadel, Cairo, Egypt
The courtyard of the Mohammed Ali Mosque in the Citadel, Cairo
Edfu Temple, Edfu, Egypt
Edfu Temple, Edfu
The Pyramid of Khafre and The Pyramid of Menkaure, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Pyramid of Khafre and The Pyramid of Menkaure, Giza, Cairo
First Pylon and Avenue of Rams at Entrance Gate to Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
First Pylon and Avenue of Rams at Entrance Gate to Karnak Temple, Luxor
View of Cairo and the Nile from the Cairo Tower in 2006 on a clear sunny day, a rare day with no pollution, Cairo, Egypt
View of Cairo and the Nile from the Cairo Tower in 2006 on a clear sunny day, a rare day with no pollution, Cairo
White Desert, Sahara Desert, Egypt
White Desert, Sahara Desert
Medinet Habu Temple, West Bank, Luxor, Egypt
Medinet Habu Temple, West Bank, Luxor

Pyramids of Giza

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Footside, Mike Minckler, Sara and Mike Waters

Pyramids of Giza Backflip, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramids of Giza Backflip
Giza Plateau Pyramids, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Giza Plateau Pyramids
Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramid of Khafre
The Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu
The Sphinx and Great Pyramid, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Sphinx and Great Pyramid
Pyramid of Menkaure overlooking Cairo, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramid of Menkaure overlooking Cairo

The Pyramids of Giza have been a traveller's destination for over 3000 years. From the early Greek travellers to the modern day package tourist, the Pyramids at the Giza Plateau are the top site for any trip to Egypt. On the outskirts of modern day Cairo stands the only remaining Wonder of the Ancient World, the Great Pyramid. The three pyramids at Giza are giants of architecture and offer a humbling experience for anyone who stands at their base and ponders how they were built. Consider the amazing fact that the Great Pyramid was the tallest structure on Earth for around 3800 years before some of the church towers of the Medieval era pipped this ancient monument. Even with all the science and technology that defines our society today, there is still no definitive information available on when and how these pyramids were built. Estimates from mainstream Egyptologists are that the Great Pyramid was constructed roughly between 2560 BC to 2540 BC by the pharaoh Khufu. The slightly smaller pyramid of Khafre was built in the reign after Khufu before the pharoah Khafre's death, estimated to be around 2532 BC. Finally the smallest Pyramid of Menkaure is estimated to have been completed by his death in 2503 BC. The enigmatic Sphinx, that looks to front the pyramid of Khafre, is also at Giza and although most scholars attribute the Sphinx to this pharaoh, there are still many debates about its true origin, who it was linked to, and its estimated age. Many theories abound of when and how the Great Pyramid and Sphinx were created. The debate among scholars varies widely, from the accepted preset dates of the Egyptian Old Kingdom, to more extreme theories of aliens, or a civilized society around 10,000 BC. A unique and timeless experience of any trip to Egypt includes crawling through the humid, narrow shafts of these huge structures, all the way up to where the ancient pharaohs' tombs were located. Inside all three pyramids, the huge blocks, some weighing up to 15 tons, are so expertly fit together you cannot fit a knife blade between them. A tip for getting inside the Great Pyramid is to check the two opening times each day and show up early. They admit just over 100 people inside at these two set times daily and you will not want to miss out if you can handle claustrophobic spaces. The other two pyramids rotate yearly between being open and closed in an effort to preserve the insides, so there will always be one pyramid to enter at all times on your trip to the Giza Plateau. For anyone with even the slightest interest in the mystery and history of ancient Egypt, visiting the Pyramids at Giza is a must. Exploring these colossal ancient monuments is something that sticks with you and becomes the bench mark for futures sites you will see on your travels.

The Pyramids of the Giza Plateau, left to right, The Great Pyramid of Khufu, The Pyramid of Khafre, The Pyramid of Menkaure, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Pyramids of the Giza Plateau, left to right, The Great Pyramid of Khufu, The Pyramid of Khafre, The Pyramid of Menkaure
The Pyramids of the Giza Plateau, from right to left, The Great Pyramid, The Pyramid of Khafre, The Pyramid of Menkaure, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Pyramids of the Giza Plateau, from right to left, The Great Pyramid, The Pyramid of Khafre, The Pyramid of Menkaure
The Pyramids from the site entrance with the Sphinx in the foreground, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Pyramids from the site entrance with the Sphinx in the foreground
Sphinx and Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Sphinx and Pyramid of Khafre
Pyramids Backflip, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramids Backflip
Camels and The Great Pyramid, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Camels and The Great Pyramid
Great Pyramid Backflip, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Great Pyramid Backflip
The Grand Gallery inside the Great Pyramid, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Grand Gallery inside the Great Pyramid
The Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu
Pyramid of Khafre Backflip, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramid of Khafre Backflip
Inside the Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Inside the Pyramid of Khafre
Sphinx and Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Sphinx and Pyramid of Khafre
The Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu
The Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Pyramid of Khafre
The Pyramid of Menkaure, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Pyramid of Menkaure
The Sphinx, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Sphinx
The Sphinx, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Sphinx
The Sphinx and Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Sphinx and Pyramid of Khafre
Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramid of Khafre
Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu
Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu
Giza Plateau Pyramids, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Giza Plateau Pyramids
Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu
The Spinx, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Spinx
Great Pyramid Backflip, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Great Pyramid Backflip
Deserts surround the Pyramids, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Deserts surround the Pyramids
Pyramid of Khafre Backflip, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramid of Khafre Backflip
The Pyramid of Khafre and The Pyramid of Menkaure, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Pyramid of Khafre and The Pyramid of Menkaure
The Pyramids of the Giza Plateau, right to left, The Great Pyramid of Khufu, The Pyramid of Khafre, The Pyramid of Menkaure, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Pyramids of the Giza Plateau, right to left, The Great Pyramid of Khufu, The Pyramid of Khafre, The Pyramid of Menkaure
The Pyramid of Menkaure and the deserts that surround the Giza Plateau, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Pyramid of Menkaure and the deserts that surround the Giza Plateau
Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramid of Khafre
Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu
Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramid of Khafre
Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu
View from Pyramids of Giza, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
View from Pyramids of Giza
Pyramid of Khufu and Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramid of Khufu and Pyramid of Khafre
The Sphinx, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Sphinx
The Sphinx, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Sphinx
The Sphinx, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Sphinx
Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramid of Khafre
Giza Plateau Pyramids, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Giza Plateau Pyramids
Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramid of Khafre
Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramid of Khafre
Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Great Pyramid, Pyramid of Khufu
Pyramid of Khafre, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramid of Khafre
Pyramid of Khafre and Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramid of Khafre and Pyramid of Khufu
View of Pyramids from the Cairo Tower, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
View of Pyramids from the Cairo Tower
Giza Plateau Pyramids, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Giza Plateau Pyramids
The Sphinx, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Sphinx
The Sphinx, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Sphinx
The Sphinx, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Sphinx
The Sphinx, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Sphinx
Pyramids Backflip, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Pyramids Backflip
The Sphinx, Giza, Cairo, Egypt
The Sphinx

Karnak

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Footside and Mike Minckler

Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Hatshepsut Obelisk, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsut Obelisk
Hypostyle Hall Backflip, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall Backflip
Eighth Pylon, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Eighth Pylon
Precinct of Amun-Re Gate, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Precinct of Amun-Re Gate
Sacred Lake of Precinct of Amun-Re, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Sacred Lake of Precinct of Amun-Re

Karnak is arguably Egypt's most impressive site and it is also the largest temple complex/religious site ever built by humans. Karnak was the focal point of the ancient Egyptian religious centre of Thebes. When Thebes was the capital of a united Egypt the temple flourished, however, when the capital was moved elsewhere its fortunes were tied to the city and its importance declined. This sprawling, open-air museum was created sometime in the Middle Kingdom, or roughly after 2000 BC, and construction continued into the Ptolemaic period, roughly around 300 BC. Even when the Roman emperor Constantine banned pagan worship in 323 AD, the complex was still used for housing early Christian churches. Approximately 30 pharaohs contributed to the building of this massive religious site over its extended history. Visitors today can only view one section that was built and dedicated to the all important god Amun. The other three remaining sections are off-limits to tourists and not excavated. There are large temple sanctuaries, stunning obelisks, towering rainforest-like hieroglyph inscribed pillars, expertly carved granite statues and thats just scratching the surface. The blockbuster and most memorable aspect of Karnak is the Hypostyle Hall. Measuring roughly 5000 square metres, the hall boasts 134 massive columns arranged in 16 rows. 122 of these columns are 10 metres tall, and the other 12 are 21 metres tall with a diameter of over three metres. After all the bus tours are gone, walking through the giant pillars in the Hypostyle Hall in the late afternoon, as the sun beams in from the west, is a timeless experience not to be missed. A whole day could easily be spent exploring and examining the many aspects and details of Karnak, starting with the Hypostyle Hall and working your way outwards. Most bus tours funnel large tour groups in and out in the early morning and just after lunch, all within one to two hours, which is nowhere near enough time. If you can visit in between these peak times you will have whole sections of this amazing temple complex to yourself. Even if you're not the biggest fan of ancient Egyptian history, Karnak should be second on your list only to the Pyramids of Giza when visiting Egypt. It is the temple of temples; it is that good.

Hypostyle Hall Backflip, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall Backflip
Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Procession of Rams at Entrance, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Procession of Rams at Entrance
Entrance to Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Entrance to Hypostyle Hall
Statues of Ramses, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Statues of Ramses
Lesser Temple, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Lesser Temple
Lesser Temple, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Lesser Temple
Southern Gate, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Southern Gate
Karnak Backflip, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Karnak Backflip
Karnak Backflip, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Karnak Backflip
Karnak Backflip, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Karnak Backflip
Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
View of Karnak site, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
View of Karnak site
Karnak Pylon, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Karnak Pylon
Entrance to Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Entrance to Hypostyle Hall
First Pylon and Avenue of Rams at Entrance Gate to Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
First Pylon and Avenue of Rams at Entrance Gate to Karnak Temple
Overview of Precinct of Amun-Re at Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Overview of Precinct of Amun-Re at Karnak Temple
Karnak Gate, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Karnak Gate
Obelisks, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Obelisks
Entrance to Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Entrance to Hypostyle Hall
Reliefs in Precinct of Amun-Re, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Reliefs in Precinct of Amun-Re
Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
View of Precinct of Amun-Re, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
View of Precinct of Amun-Re
Large Pillars in Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Large Pillars in Hypostyle Hall
Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Entrance to Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Entrance to Hypostyle Hall
Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Hatshepsut Obelisk, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsut Obelisk
Entrance to Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Entrance to Hypostyle Hall
Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Lesser Temple, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Lesser Temple
Obelisks, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Obelisks
Beyond the Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Beyond the Hypostyle Hall
Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Hypostyle Hall, Karnak Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall

Cairo

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Footside, Mike Minckler, Sara and Mike Waters

Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan, Cairo, Egypt
Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan
Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Egyptian Museum
Mohammed Ali Mosque, Cairo, Egypt
Mohammed Ali Mosque
View from the Cairo Tower out towards the Citadel, Cairo, Egypt
View from the Cairo Tower out towards the Citadel
View from the Cairo Tower looking South, Cairo, Egypt
View from the Cairo Tower looking South
View from the Cairo Tower of the 6th October Bridge, Cairo, Egypt
View from the Cairo Tower of the 6th October Bridge

Cairo is the capital of Egypt, its largest city, and a slap-in-the-face culture shock experience from the moment you arrive until the moment you leave. Cairo is a dirty, congested, polluted, loud, exotic, historical city that can be offensive, intriguing and amazing all at the same time. This is the largest metropolis in Africa and the Middle East and also boasts one of the highest population densities in the world. Compared to the rest of Egypt, Cairo is relatively new having only been founded in 969 AD. With the ancient Egyptian cities of Memphis and the Pyramids of Giza nearby, the city did not become the powerhouse it is today until it was founded during the spread of Islam, created by the Fatimid dynasty. Any trip to Egypt will include Cairo since it is the transport hub of the country; you have no choice but to suffer the constant hassle for "baksheesh", the thick air pollution, the packed and smelly public transport just to name a few of the nuances of this massive city. As much as Cairo can offend, it can also captivate you. The pyramids of Giza are on the outskirts of the city, there is the old Islamic area with the centuries-old markets, the citadel and the amazing mosques that characterize the skyline. Unlike other middle eastern cities where "foreigners" are not allowed into mosques, Cairo allows everyone into their mosques and entry is free. The Egyptian museum is also in Cairo, right off the famous Tahir Square, and offers hours of wandering throughout this huge building, looking at the items the Egyptians were able to keep for themselves rather than lose to other countries' main museums. Cairo is one of those places that instantly makes you feel like you are somewhere foreign, exotic and different. It may wear you down with all the noise and pollution but after a few days of dealing with all this city can throw at you, there shouldn't be anything you cannot handle during the rest of your travels throughout Egypt.

Mohammed Ali Mosque, The Citadel, Cairo, Egypt
Mohammed Ali Mosque, The Citadel
Cairo Tower, Cairo, Egypt
Cairo Tower
The Hanging Church, Coptic Cairo, Egypt
The Hanging Church, Coptic Cairo
Islamic Cairo Markets, Cairo, Egypt
Islamic Cairo Markets
Mask of Tutankhamun, Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Mask of Tutankhamun, Egyptian Museum
Al Azhar Mosque, Islamic Cairo, Egypt
Al Azhar Mosque, Islamic Cairo
The Nile, Cairo, Egypt
The Nile
Tahir Square, Cairo, Egypt
Tahir Square
Sunset on the Nile, Cairo, Egypt
Sunset on the Nile
View of Cairo and the Nile from the Cairo Tower in 2006 on a clear sunny day, a rare day with no pollution, Cairo, Egypt
View of Cairo and the Nile from the Cairo Tower in 2006 on a clear sunny day, a rare day with no pollution
View of the skyline of Islamic Cairo from the Al-Hakim Mosque, Cairo, Egypt
View of the skyline of Islamic Cairo from the Al-Hakim Mosque
The courtyard of the Mohammed Ali Mosque in the Citadel, Cairo, Egypt
The courtyard of the Mohammed Ali Mosque in the Citadel
Train Station, Cairo, Egypt
Train Station
Tutankhamun Sarcophagus, Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Tutankhamun Sarcophagus, Egyptian Museum
Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan Backflip, Cairo, Egypt
Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan Backflip
Mohammed Ali Mosque, Cairo, Egypt
Mohammed Ali Mosque
Tutankhamun Mask, Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Tutankhamun Mask, Egyptian Museum
Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Egyptian Museum
The Nile, Cairo, Egypt
The Nile
Islamic Cairo Backflip, Cairo, Egypt
Islamic Cairo Backflip
Downtown Cairo, Egypt
Downtown Cairo
Mohammed Ali Mosque, Cairo, Egypt
Mohammed Ali Mosque
Islamic Cairo, Egypt
Islamic Cairo
Convent of Saint George, Cairo, Egypt
Convent of Saint George
View from Cairo Tower looking North, Cairo, Egypt
View from Cairo Tower looking North
Mohammed Ali Mosque, Cairo, Egypt
Mohammed Ali Mosque
Cairo Skyline from Giza, Cairo, Egypt
Cairo Skyline from Giza
View of Cairo and the Nile from the Cairo Tower in 2006 on a clear sunny day, a rare day with no pollution, Cairo, Egypt
View of Cairo and the Nile from the Cairo Tower in 2006 on a clear sunny day, a rare day with no pollution
View of Cairo and the Nile from the Cairo Tower in 2004 on a regular day of pollution, Cairo, Egypt
View of Cairo and the Nile from the Cairo Tower in 2004 on a regular day of pollution
Inside the Al-Hakim Mosque in Islamic Cairo, Egypt
Inside the Al-Hakim Mosque in Islamic Cairo
The Nile, Cairo, Egypt
The Nile
View from Cairo Tower looking South to Saqqara, Cairo, Egypt
View from Cairo Tower looking South to Saqqara
Cairo at Night, Egypt
Cairo at Night
Islamic Cairo, Egypt
Islamic Cairo
Traffic Chaos, Cairo, Egypt
Traffic Chaos
Islamic Cairo Markets, Cairo, Egypt
Islamic Cairo Markets
Convent of Saint George, Cairo, Egypt
Convent of Saint George
War Museum, The Citadel, Cairo, Egypt
War Museum, The Citadel
Inside the Mohammed Ali Mosque, Cairo, Egypt
Inside the Mohammed Ali Mosque
Nile Sunset, Cairo, Egypt
Nile Sunset
Tutankhamun Sarcophagus, Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Tutankhamun Sarcophagus, Egyptian Museum
Tutankhamun Artifact, Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Tutankhamun Artifact, Egyptian Museum
Egyptian Museum, Cairo, Egypt
Egyptian Museum
Downtown Cairo, Egypt
Downtown Cairo
Egyptian Museum Backflip, Cairo, Egypt
Egyptian Museum Backflip
View of Cairo and the Nile from the Cairo Tower on a day without pollution where you can see the Pyramids top right, Cairo, Egypt
View of Cairo and the Nile from the Cairo Tower on a day without pollution where you can see the Pyramids top right
View of Cairo and the Nile from the Cairo Tower on a day without pollution, Cairo, Egypt
View of Cairo and the Nile from the Cairo Tower on a day without pollution

Abu Simbel

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Footside and Mike Minckler

The Great Temple dedicated to Ramses, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple dedicated to Ramses
The Small Temple dedicated to Nefertari, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Small Temple dedicated to Nefertari
The Great Temple Statues of Ramses, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple Statues of Ramses
Inside The Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Inside The Great Temple
The Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple
Battle Scene Inside The Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Battle Scene Inside The Great Temple

Abu Simbel is an impressive site in southern Egypt comprising of two massive rock cut temples and is located on the western bank of Lake Nasser, about 290 km southwest of Aswan and roughly 50 km north of the border with Sudan. The temples were originally carved out of a mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II, or Ramses the Great, as a lasting monument to himself and his favourite queen Nefertari. Built between 1264 BC and 1244 BC, their purpose was to intimidate Egypt's southern neighbours, the Nubians. The main temple has four 20 metre tall statues of Ramses the Great sitting down, projecting the power of Egypt at the time, as they stare out over the desert guarding the route north into ancient Egypt. This main temple is dedicated to Ramses himself and three other gods Amun, Ra-Horakhty and Ptah. Over time, the temple and statues were covered in sand; it must have been the thrill of a lifetime for early European explorers to stumble upon the half submerged giant heads in the shifting sands of the Sahara. The smaller temple is dedicated to Nefertari and the god Hathor. Although not on the grand scale of Ramses' temple, it still boasts impressive statues and fantastically-well preserved carvings throughout the structure. The main temple, dedicated to Ramses, was intentionally and precisely cut by the ancient Egyptian architects in such a way that twice a year, on days in October and February, the rays of the sun would penetrate deep into the dark sanctuary and illuminate the holy sculptures. In 1959, the government of Egypt decided to dam the Nile river and create the Aswan High Dam. The resulting dam would create Lake Nasser and submerge Abu Simbel. The solution to save the site was to move these two huge temples in their entirety out of the danger area created by damming the river Nile. Between 1964 and 1968, the entire site was carefully cut into large blocks, dismantled, lifted and reassembled in a new location 65 metres higher and 200 metres back from the river. Although it is a long day trip by bus (unless you pay extra to fly) from Aswan to Abu Simbel, it is worth your time to see how Egypt's most powerful Pharoah Ramses the Great displayed his power in the ancient world.

View of the temples at Abu Simbel, on the left is The Great Temple dedicated to Ramses the Great and on the right is The Small Temple dedicated to Nefertari, Abu Simbel, Egypt
View of the temples at Abu Simbel, on the left is The Great Temple dedicated to Ramses the Great and on the right is The Small Temple dedicated to Nefertari
The Small Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Small Temple
Carving of Nefertari in the Small Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Carving of Nefertari in the Small Temple
The Small Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Small Temple
Statues of Ramses at the Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Statues of Ramses at the Great Temple
The Small Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Small Temple
Statues of Ramses at the Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Statues of Ramses at the Great Temple
The Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple
Abu Simbel Backflip, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Abu Simbel Backflip
The Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple
Entrance to the Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Entrance to the Great Temple
Inside the Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Inside the Great Temple
Battle scene of Ramses, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Battle scene of Ramses
The Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple
Inside the Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Inside the Great Temple
The Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple
Abu Simbel Backflip, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Abu Simbel Backflip
Inside the Small Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Inside the Small Temple
The Small Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Small Temple
Colossus of Ramses Statues, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Colossus of Ramses Statues
Entrance to Abu Simbel, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Entrance to Abu Simbel
The Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple
The Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple
The Small Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Small Temple
The Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple
The Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple
Inside the Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
Inside the Great Temple
The Great Temple, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple
The Great Temple at Abu Simbel with the colossal statues of Ramses the Great, Abu Simbel, Egypt
The Great Temple at Abu Simbel with the colossal statues of Ramses the Great

Nile River

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Footside and Mike Minckler

Near Aswan, Nile River, Egypt
Near Aswan
Aswan, Nile River, Egypt
Aswan
Near Edfu, Nile River, Egypt
Near Edfu
Cairo, Nile River, Egypt
Cairo
Sunrise, Nile River, Egypt
Sunrise
Luxor Temple, Nile River, Egypt
Luxor Temple

The Nile River is the longest river in the world at 6650 km and runs through ten different countries in North East Africa. From Sudan, the Nile flows almost entirely through desert terrain before emptying into the the Mediterranean Sea and has been the lifeblood of Egypt and its people for their entire history. Almost all major Egyptian cities are located along the banks of the Nile, as well as the majority of the cultural and historical sites of ancient Egypt. To say the Nile is important to Egypt then and now would be a gross understatement; the Nile River is Egypt. In modern times, the river is controlled, dammed and exploited to support the massive population of Egypt. In ancient times, the river was equally as important as it is today but it was much more unpredictable during its annual flooding. The river played a crucial role in the development of Egyptian civilization. Due to the river overflowing its banks each year, silt deposits made the surrounding land fertile grounds for growing crops. Ancient Egyptians grew wheat, flax and the old world equivalent of paper, papyrus. These staples ensured Egypt always had diplomatic clout in the region. The Nile also provided a convenient and efficient means of transportation for people and goods. Any trip to Egypt must include at least an afternoon or evening floating on the Nile no matter where you are in the country, however, taking a two day trip on a felucca from Aswan in the South to Edfu further up river is a must, if you have the time. You can get a sense of the way the ancients traveled this important waterway. The moments at sunrise when the flowing water is like glass and the stillness is all encompassing is something you will remember and appreciate for the rest of your life.

Aswan, Nile River, Egypt
Aswan
Near Kom Ombo, Nile River, Egypt
Near Kom Ombo
Cairo, Nile River, Egypt
Cairo
Near Aswan, Nile River, Egypt
Near Aswan
Luxor, Nile River, Egypt
Luxor
Nile River Backflip, Egypt
Nile River Backflip
Nile Cruise Ships, Nile River, Egypt
Nile Cruise Ships
Nile Sunrise, Nile River, Egypt
Nile Sunrise
Feluccas near Aswan, Nile River, Egypt
Feluccas near Aswan
Nile River at the Southern Egyptian City of Aswan
Nile River at the Southern Egyptian City of Aswan
Nile River at the Capital of Egypt Cairo
Nile River at the Capital of Egypt Cairo
Felucca Boat, Nile River, Egypt
Felucca Boat
Near Kom Ombo, Nile River, Egypt
Near Kom Ombo
Felucca Boat, Nile River, Egypt
Felucca Boat
Nile in Cairo, Nile River, Egypt
Nile in Cairo
Nile in Cairo, Nile River, Egypt
Nile in Cairo
Nile in Cairo, Nile River, Egypt
Nile in Cairo
Nile Sunrise, Nile River, Egypt
Nile Sunrise
Near Aswan, Nile River, Egypt
Near Aswan
Near Aswan, Nile River, Egypt
Near Aswan
Elephantine Island, Nile River, Egypt
Elephantine Island
Elephantine Island, Nile River, Egypt
Elephantine Island
Near Luxor, Nile River, Egypt
Near Luxor
Felucca, Nile River, Egypt
Felucca
Near Edfu, Nile River, Egypt
Near Edfu
Elephantine Island, Nile River, Egypt
Elephantine Island
Nile Sunrise, Nile River, Egypt
Nile Sunrise
Luxor, Nile River, Egypt
Luxor
Ferry boat in Luxor, Nile River, Egypt
Ferry boat in Luxor

Medinet Habu

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Footside and Mike Minckler

First Pylon, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
First Pylon
The Temple Complex, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
The Temple Complex
Hypostyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Peristyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall
First Courtyard, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
First Courtyard
First Pylon and Relief of Ramses III, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
First Pylon and Relief of Ramses III

Medinet Habu is the mortuary temple built by the pharaoh Ramses III during his reign between 1186 BC and 1155 BC. Unlike the big temples of Karnak and Luxor, it does not typically get the bus tours that funnel hoards of tourists through the site, giving you an extensively detailed Egyptian temple to explore in peace. Medinet Habu is also one of the finest preserved temples in all of Egypt. It boasts hieroglyphs cut in to the walls as deep as the length of your hand and many areas where the once magnificent colour and painting that adorned all temples in Egypt survives over 3100 years after it was built. The Peristyle Hall is the most impressive, with colour still visible on almost all of the pillars and all along the roof of this section. The temple structure is 150 metres long and is designed in a standard orthodox manner used by Ramses the Great, Ramses the III's father. There is a massive pylon, or monumental gateway, that fronts the entrance to the temple depicting scenes of Ramses III beating down his enemies. These scenes are common throughout temples in Egypt, however, what is not common is the fact that the actual heads of defeated foreigners were found placed in the temple possibly to symbolize the power of the pharaoh. Medinet Habu is a quick detour off the road to the Valley of the Kings and Deir el-Bahri and rarely gets large crowds, which is surprising considering how detailed and well preserved it is. After Karnak, Medinet Habu is the temple in Egypt you should ensure you don't miss.

Peristyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall
Medinet Habu Backflip, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Medinet Habu Backflip
Peristyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall
First Pylon, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
First Pylon
View from outside the temple, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
View from outside the temple
Hypostyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Cartouche of Rameses III, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Cartouche of Rameses III
Main Gate, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Main Gate
Peristyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall
View of the Medinet Habu Temple Complex, Luxor, Egypt
View of the Medinet Habu Temple Complex
View of the Peristyle Hall and Second Courtyard, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
View of the Peristyle Hall and Second Courtyard
Peristyle Hall Relief, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall Relief
Gates between Courtyards, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Gates between Courtyards
Peristyle Hall Relief, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall Relief
Peristyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall
View from outside the main entrance, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
View from outside the main entrance
Hypostyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Peristyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall
Peristyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall
Peristyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall
Peristyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall
Hypostyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
View of First Pylon, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
View of First Pylon
First Pylon of Medinet Habu Temple, note the beat downs on enemies carved into both sides, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
First Pylon of Medinet Habu Temple, note the beat downs on enemies carved into both sides
The First Courtyard, on the right were statues of Ramses III, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
The First Courtyard, on the right were statues of Ramses III
Migdol Tower Entrance, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Migdol Tower Entrance
Peristyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall
Ramses smoting his enemies, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Ramses smoting his enemies
First Courtyard, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
First Courtyard
Second Courtyard, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Second Courtyard
Peristyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall
Migdol Tower Entrance, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Migdol Tower Entrance
Hypostyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Peristyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall
Peristyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Peristyle Hall
First Pylon, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
First Pylon
Hypostyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Gate from First to Second Courtyard, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Gate from First to Second Courtyard
Hypostyle Hall, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Hypostyle Hall
Migdol Tower Entrance, Medinet Habu, Luxor, Egypt
Migdol Tower Entrance

Valley of the Kings

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling and Footside

Valley of the Kings from above, Egypt
Valley of the Kings from above
Tomb, Egypt
Tomb
Valley of the Kings, Egypt
Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings is a barren, sun-baked desert valley that is part of the West Bank Necropolis monuments near the ancient city of Thebes and modern day Luxor. During a period of nearly 500 years, the mighty Pharaohs and powerful nobles of ancient Egypt cut tombs out of living rock in this valley and constructed their final resting place. Dating from the 16th to 11th century BC, the Valley of the Kings contains at least 63 known tombs. This inhospitable desert landscape continues to provide information on how death and the afterlife was so pivotal to ancient Egyptian culture. Pretty much all the tombs in the valley were robbed during antiquity, with the exception of the famous tomb of Tutankhamun, opened by Howard Carter in 1922. The amazing treasure, furniture and personal items of this minor pharaoh that came out of this small tomb are breathtaking, and give a small glimpse into how unbelievably lavish these tombs would have been before being looted. Descending into the humid rock-cut tombs to view the strange, colourful, Egyptian funerary scenes is a rare look back in time at how the ancient Egyptians dealt with death. Although you can view many scenes of Egyptian mythology throughout the temples of Egypt, the Valley of the Kings is the only place where the magnificent colour used to decorate the tombs and temples still survives. The amazing detail in each tomb is intricate, detailed and stunning, and then you realize that these pictures and scenes were painted well over 3000 years ago! Visiting the Valley of the Kings is a must, you get access to three tombs with your entry ticket. It is recommended to purchase another three, at least, at the gate so you don't have to go all the way back when you realize you just have to see more.

Valley of the Kings from the hills above, Egypt
Valley of the Kings from the hills above
Valley of the Kings near the Tomb of Tutankhamun, Egypt
Valley of the Kings near the Tomb of Tutankhamun
Tomb of Seti II, Valley of the Kings, Egypt
Tomb of Seti II
Valley of the Kings from above, Egypt
Valley of the Kings from above
Tomb, Valley of the Kings, Egypt
Tomb
Valley of the Kings Backflip, Egypt
Valley of the Kings Backflip
Inside Valley of the Kings, Egypt
Inside Valley of the Kings
Valley of the Kings from above, Egypt
Valley of the Kings from above
Tomb, Valley of the Kings, Egypt
Tomb
Valley of the Kings from above, Egypt
Valley of the Kings from above
Valley of the Kings from above, Egypt
Valley of the Kings from above

Luxor

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Footside and Mike Minckler

Luxor Temple at Night, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple at Night
Luxor, Egypt
Luxor
Luxor Temple Entrance, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple Entrance
Avenue of Sphinxs, Luxor, Egypt
Avenue of Sphinxs
Luxor Temple over the Nile, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple over the Nile
Luxor Temple Entrance, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple Entrance

Luxor is a medium-sized city on the banks of the Nile with a long and diverse history as the ancient Egyptian capital of Thebes. Luxor and its surrounding area, on both banks of the Nile, is widely considered to be the largest open air museum in the world. The massive Temple of Karnak and the Temple of Luxor are located within the city limits itself. Across the river is the West Bank Necropolis which includes The Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, the temples of Medinet Habu, Deir el-Bahri and the Ramesseum, along with a number of other tombs and ruined monuments. Weeks could be spent exploring just the above mentioned sites, yet, Luxor can also be used as a base for cruising the Nile, exploring further temples up river or accessing the Sahara desert and its many desert oasis locations. Within the city centre, and a key focal point of the city, stands the fascinating Luxor Temple. Built around 1400 BC, it is smaller than its big brother Karnak, but more prominent when lit up at night. It has been a multi-purpose venue for many occupants within the city for thousands of years. Luxor temple is impressive right from the start, when you walk up the avenue of sphinxs, to its massive Pylon gate that is flanked by two large sitting statues of Ramses the Great and a towering obelisk. Inside the temple are a number of large halls, a procession of pillars, well preserved granite statues, a 14th century mosque and graffiti from the many occupants who used the temple as a base for the local area. Roman writing can be seen in the rear temple, evidence of their use of the temple as a key fortress and administrative centre during their reign of Egypt. At night, the splendor of Luxor temple is impressively lit up throughout the entire complex, adding a further dimension to an already stunning site. Relaxing on the banks of the Nile, or a felucca on the Nile, while sipping strong tea and overlooking the city and its beaming temple is a another timeless moment you cannot get anywhere else.

The Peristyle Court built by Amenhotep III, Luxor, Egypt
The Peristyle Court built by Amenhotep III
The city of Luxor at sunset, Luxor, Egypt
The city of Luxor at sunset
Luxor Temple at Night, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple at Night
The West Bank at Night, Luxor, Egypt
The West Bank at Night
The West Bank and the Nile River, Luxor, Egypt
The West Bank and the Nile River
Luxor Temple at Night, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple at Night
Luxor Temple Entrance, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple Entrance
Luxor, Egypt
Luxor
Colonnaded Section of Luxor Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Colonnaded Section of Luxor Temple
Luxor Temple Entrance, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple Entrance
Boats on the Nile, Luxor, Egypt
Boats on the Nile
Luxor Temple and Abu el-Haggag mosque, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple and Abu el-Haggag mosque
Luxor Temple Entrance, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple Entrance
Luxor Sunset, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Sunset
Luxor Temple Entrance, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple Entrance
Luxor Temple Backflip, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple Backflip
Ramses II Statue, Luxor Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Ramses II Statue, Luxor Temple
Luxor Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple
The Nile River, Luxor, Egypt
The Nile River
Luxor Temple Entrance, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple Entrance
Avenue of Sphinxs, Luxor, Egypt
Avenue of Sphinxs
Luxor Temple Entrance, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple Entrance
Luxor Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple
Avenue of Sphinxs, Luxor, Egypt
Avenue of Sphinxs
Luxor, Egypt
Luxor
Luxor Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple
Luxor Temple, Luxor, Egypt
Luxor Temple

Saqqara and Dashur

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling and Footside

The Bent Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
The Bent Pyramid
Djoser Step Pyramid, Saqqara, Egypt
Djoser Step Pyramid
The Red Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
The Red Pyramid
Saqqara Tomb, Saqqara, Egypt
Saqqara Tomb
Burial Chamber in Pyramid of Unas, Saqqara, Egypt
Burial Chamber in Pyramid of Unas
Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid in the distance, Dashur, Egypt
Bent Pyramid and Red Pyramid in the distance

Saqqara is a vast, ancient burial ground south of Cairo, boasting the world's oldest stone-built pyramid, the Step Pyramid of the Djoser. Saqqara served as a necropolis for the ancient Egyptian capital of Memphis. The site covers an area almost 7 km long with numerous tombs and more than ten different pyramids, or mastabas, in different states of ruin. The Pyramid of Djoser is the dominating feature of Saqqara, constructed between 2667 BC - 2648 BC, it is the first properly built stone pyramid and was the inspiration for all major pyramid building in the area thereafter. Saqqara is deep in the desert and, thus, over the centuries was covered by layer upon layer of sand. This has helped in preserving these ancient tombs as well as concealing them. Archeologists continue to excavate this area and you can often see digs in progress when exploring the open air site. New finds continue to this day, from small one room tombs, to massive multi room temples with intricate carvings.
Further south along the west bank of the Nile are the pyramids of Dashur. Considered to be another necropolis for the pharaohs, there are two main pyramids here worth your time. Both the Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid were built by the Pharaoh Sneferu, the father of Khufu, who built the Great Pyramid at Giza. It is estimated these pyramids were built between 2613 BC - 2589 BC and they are two of the three pyramids commission by Sneferu. The Bent Pyramid is a unique example of a building project gone wrong. It is believed that due to the steepness of the original angle of the pyramid that signs of instability appeared during construction. The engineers then changed the angle of inclination from 54 degrees to a shallower 43 degrees to correct this, accounting for its appearance and inspiration for its name. Sneferu, obviously unhappy with this defect, proceeded to build his master piece, the Red Pyramid. The Red Pyramid is the third largest in Egypt behind only the two bigger pyramids at Giza. It is the first example of a true smooth sided pyramid and has an excellent interior you can explore. The entrance is high up on the north side of the pyramid, with an entry shaft  1 metre tall by 1.2 metres wide and sloping steeply down 61 metres, leading to two 12 metre high corbel vaulted chambers.
Saqqara and Dashur can be done as an easy day trip from Cairo in a taxi. Both sites receive a fraction of the visitors that you will deal with at Giza, giving you a rare opportunity to explore tombs and pyramids almost by yourself.

Djoser Step Pyramid, Saqqara, Egypt
Djoser Step Pyramid
Saqqara Tomb Carvings, Saqqara, Egypt
Saqqara Tomb Carvings
Step Pyramid Temple, Saqqara, Egypt
Step Pyramid Temple
Bent Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Bent Pyramid
Inside the Red Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Inside the Red Pyramid
Red Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Red Pyramid
Saqqara Tomb Carvings, Saqqara, Egypt
Saqqara Tomb Carvings
View of Dashur Pyramids from Saqqara, Egypt
View of Dashur Pyramids from Saqqara
Saqqara Tomb Carvings, Saqqara, Egypt
Saqqara Tomb Carvings
Red Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Red Pyramid
Bent Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Bent Pyramid
Step Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Step Pyramid
Bent Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Bent Pyramid
Bent Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Bent Pyramid
Bent Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Bent Pyramid
Djoser Step Pyramid, Saqqara, Egypt
Djoser Step Pyramid
Bent Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Bent Pyramid
Red Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Red Pyramid
Pyramid of Unas, Saqqara, Egypt
Pyramid of Unas
Saqqara Tomb Carvings, Saqqara, Egypt
Saqqara Tomb Carvings
View of Saqqara Pyramids from Dashur, Egypt
View of Saqqara Pyramids from Dashur
The Pyramids of Dashur, on the right is the Red Pyramid, on the left is the Bent Pyramid, Egypt
The Pyramids of Dashur, on the right is the Red Pyramid, on the left is the Bent Pyramid
The Bent Pyramid of Dashur, Egypt
The Bent Pyramid of Dashur
Djoser Step Pyramid Temple Complex, Saqqara, Egypt
Djoser Step Pyramid Temple Complex
Saqqara Tomb Carvings, Saqqara, Egypt
Saqqara Tomb Carvings
Djoser Step Pyramid Temple Complex, Saqqara, Egypt
Djoser Step Pyramid Temple Complex
View of Saqqara from Dashur, Saqqara, Egypt
View of Saqqara from Dashur
Bent Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Bent Pyramid
Oil Refinery next to Dashur, Egypt
Oil Refinery next to Dashur
Entrance to Djoser Step Pyramid, Saqqara, Egypt
Entrance to Djoser Step Pyramid
Red Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Red Pyramid
Saqqara Tomb Carvings, Saqqara, Egypt
Saqqara Tomb Carvings
Inside the Red Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Inside the Red Pyramid
Red Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Red Pyramid
Inside the Red Pyramid, Dashur, Egypt
Inside the Red Pyramid

Aswan

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Footside, Eric Starling and Mike Minckler

Aswan from the West Bank, Egypt
Aswan from the West Bank
Aswan Sunset, Egypt
Aswan Sunset
Modern City of Aswan, Egypt
Modern City of Aswan
Monastery of St. Simeon, Aswan, Egypt
Monastery of St. Simeon
Nile Cruise Ship, Egypt
Nile Cruise Ship
Monastery of St. Simeon, Aswan, Egypt
Monastery of St. Simeon

Aswan is Egypt's southernmost city on the Nile and a busy market and tourist centre not far from the Aswan Dam. During ancient times, Aswan acted as Egypt's frontier town in the south and was known as Swenet. The city itself has expanded drastically in the last decade and is now spread over both banks of the Nile. Most trips to Egypt stop in Aswan to use it as a base for the spectacular temple of Abu Simbel, built in the very south of the country near the border with Sudan. There is much to do around Aswan itself, for example, the Temple of Philae, which is on an island floating in the Nile; rock cut tombs and massive quarries where much of the stone that built Egypts monuments and obelisks came from. Aswan is also one of the best places in Egypt to get on the Nile and take part in the timeless experience of cruising the river on a felucca, the traditional Egyptian sailboat. No trip to Egypt is complete without a couple of days floating up the Nile and the stretch between Aswan and Edfu Temple just happens to be one of the only spots without dams or obstructions. Even if you don't have the time to travel the whole way, it is worth lounging on a felucca in the middle of the Nile gazing at the harsh desert shores that run straight off the river, while a breeze washes over you. Most trips or tours to Egypt will include an overnight train to Aswan from Cairo and then you work your way North. Aswan has the feel of a provincial town after the chaos of Cairo and relaxing on its shores or islands in the Nile is a great start to experience Egypt outside the capital.

Panoramic View of Modern Aswan from the West Bank, Egypt
Panoramic View of Modern Aswan from the West Bank
Panoramic View of the city of Aswan and the Nile, Egypt
Panoramic View of the city of Aswan and the Nile
Monastery of St. Simeon, Aswan, Egypt
Monastery of St. Simeon
El-Tabia Mosque, Aswan, Egypt
El-Tabia Mosque
Nubian Village, Aswan, Egypt
Nubian Village
Monastery of St. Simeon, Aswan, Egypt
Monastery of St. Simeon
Tomb of the Nobles, Aswan, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
West Bank of the Nile, Aswan, Egypt
West Bank of the Nile
Monastery of St. Simeon, Aswan, Egypt
Monastery of St. Simeon
Monastery of St. Simeon, Aswan, Egypt
Monastery of St. Simeon
Monastery of St. Simeon, Aswan, Egypt
Monastery of St. Simeon
Tomb of the Nobles, Aswan, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Tomb of the Nobles, Aswan, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Tomb of the Nobles, Aswan, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Nile from the West Bank, Aswan, Egypt
Nile from the West Bank
Nile from the West Bank, Aswan, Egypt
Nile from the West Bank
Nile from the West Bank, Aswan, Egypt
Nile from the West Bank
The West Bank, Aswan, Egypt
The West Bank
Nile from the West Bank, Aswan, Egypt
Nile from the West Bank
Monastery of St. Simeon, Aswan, Egypt
Monastery of St. Simeon
Trail to the Monastery of St. Simeon, Aswan, Egypt
Trail to the Monastery of St. Simeon
Elephantine Island Backflip, Aswan, Egypt
Elephantine Island Backflip
Monastery of St. Simeon, Aswan, Egypt
Monastery of St. Simeon

Deir el-Bahari

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Footside, Eric Starling and Mike Minckler

Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Near Deir el-Bahari, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Near Deir el-Bahari
Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles

Deir el-Bahari, translated as the Northern Monastery, is a complex of mortuary temples for three pharaohs on the West Bank of the Nile, not far from the Valley of Kings and Medinet Habu Temple. Although there are the remains of three temples at the base of a massive desert cliff, the best preserved and most prominent belongs to the female pharaoh Hatshepsut. Posing as pharaoh while her infant son grew up, she was a woman of great ambition and obviously immense power considering all her accomplishments in the male dominated society of ancient Egypt. Her remaining temple is a triple-tiered complex with a sloping ramp connecting each level. There are some statues that remain unmolested and you can still see some of the colour in the sheltered areas that was surely brilliant in its day. The temple is fairly simple compared to others in the area, yet, its location at the base of a massive cliff can't help but impress visitors. The cliffs and dunes surrounding this area are riddled with tombs, caves and other sanctuaries where ancient Egyptians buried their dead. While the Valley of the Kings, which is just over the hill from Deir el-Bahri, restricts photography, the equally impressive Tomb of Nobles near to Hatshepsuts Temple is free reign and much less crowded. Upon first glance, the hills and cliffs in this area look barren, desolate and worthless but looks can be deceiving. It's not until you look much closer, brave the heat, and take the time to explore whats under the surface that you realize how spectacular these lesser tombs really are.

Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Near the Ramesseum, Luxor, Egypt
Near the Ramesseum
Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Deir el-Bahari Backflip, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Deir el-Bahari Backflip
Near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Near Deir el-Bahari
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Deir el-Bahari
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Entrance to the Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Entrance to the Tomb of the Nobles
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Tomb of the Nobles Tunnel Entrance, near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles Tunnel Entrance
Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Deserts near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Deserts near Deir el-Bahari
Near the Ramesseum, Luxor, Egypt
Near the Ramesseum
Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Panorama view from the cliffs above Deir el-Bahari looking towards the Nile, Luxor, Egypt
Panorama view from the cliffs above Deir el-Bahari looking towards the Nile
Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el- Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el- Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el- Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Tomb Riddles Hills near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb Riddles Hills near Deir el-Bahari
Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el- Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el- Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el- Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Tomb of the Nobles, near Deir el- Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Tomb of the Nobles
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el- Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el- Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el- Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple
Hatshepsuts Temple, Deir el- Bahari, Luxor, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple

Philae Temple

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Footside and Mike Minckler

Philae Temple Inner Courtyard
Philae Temple Inner Courtyard
Main Pylon
Main Pylon
Philae Temple on Agilkia Island, near Aswan, Egypt
Philae Temple on Agilkia Island
Carved Egyptian God scenes, Philae Temple, near Aswan, Egypt
Carved Egyptian God scenes
Main Pylon, Philae Temple, near Aswan, Egypt
Main Pylon
Inside Philae Temple, near Aswan, Egypt
Inside Philae Temple

Philae Temple is one of the more unique and picturesque sites of ancient Egypt because it is situated on an island in the middle of the Nile (technically Lake Nasser) and is the only surviving temple with such a dramatic location. The original Philae Temple was located further down river and had become threatened by the building of the Aswan dam that created Lake Nasser. Like the amazing Statues and Temples at Abu Simbel further south the international community had to step in and save these amazing monuments of ancient Egypt or risk losing them forever. The project to save Philae started in 1960 and the entire site was documented, dismantled into 40,000 pieces, transported to the nearby island of Agilkia and reassembled to what you see today. The Philae temple you see today was a structure built during the Ptolemaic period and was almost as renowned as the Pyramids in the classical Greek world. Positive writings by a number of famous Greek travellers including Strabo and Pliny the Elder spread the word of its importance. Philae Temple is a must do day trip from the southern city of Aswan, taking a boat out to the island is the only way to access the temple. If you can time it right to avoid the tour groups you can get that 'secluded on an ancient temple island' feeling that you won't find anywhere else.

Main Pylon of Philae Temple, Egypt
Main Pylon of Philae Temple
Colonnaded Street, Philae Temple, Egypt
Colonnaded Street
View of Philae Temple from the edge of the island, Egypt
View of Philae Temple from the edge of the island
Trajans Kiosk, Philae Temple, Egypt
Trajans Kiosk
Hieroglyphs at Philae Temple, Egypt
Hieroglyphs at Philae Temple
Side view of main pylon, Philae Temple, Egypt
Side view of main pylon
Inside Philae Temple, Egypt
Inside Philae Temple
Philae Temple from the water, Egypt
Philae Temple from the water
Philae Temple from the water, Egypt
Philae Temple from the water
Main Pylon, Philae Temple, Egypt
Main Pylon
Philae Temple Backflip, Egypt
Philae Temple Backflip
Inside Philae Temple, Egypt
Inside Philae Temple
Panoramic View of the interior of Philae Temple, near Aswan, Egypt
Panoramic View of the interior of Philae Temple
Panoramic View of Philae Temple from the east side of the temple, near Aswan, Egypt
Panoramic View of Philae Temple from the east side of the temple
Philae Temple from the water, Egypt
Philae Temple from the water
Trajans Kiosk, Philae Temple, Egypt
Trajans Kiosk
Colonnaded Street, Philae Temple, Egypt
Colonnaded Street
Carved scenes on Philae Temple, Egypt
Carved scenes on Philae Temple
Inside Philae Temple, Egypt
Inside Philae Temple
Side view of main pylon, Philae Temple, Egypt
Side view of main pylon
Main Pylon, Philae Temple, Egypt
Main Pylon
Hieroglyphs at Philae Temple, Egypt
Hieroglyphs at Philae Temple
Main Courtyard, Philae Temple, Egypt
Main Courtyard
Inside Philae Temple, Egypt
Inside Philae Temple
Main Courtyard, Philae Temple, Egypt
Main Courtyard
Philae Temple Backflip, Egypt
Philae Temple Backflip

Sahara Desert

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Footside and Mike Minckler

Dakhla Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Dakhla Oasis
Monastery of St. Simeon, near Aswan, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Monastery of St. Simeon, near Aswan
Near Farafra Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Near Farafra Oasis
White Desert, Farafra Depression, Sahara Desert, Egypt
White Desert, Farafra Depression
Near Bahariya Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Near Bahariya Oasis
Al Qasr, Dakhla Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Al Qasr, Dakhla Oasis

Egypt is a country made up almost entirely of the Sahara Desert, the only break in the shifting sands is the green belt of vegetation on the banks of the Nile River. Looking at Egypt from a plane you have a birds eye view of the vast stretch of desert that goes as far as the eye can see. Once you leave the banks of the Nile the harshness of what makes up most of Egypt becomes immediately apparent. The heat is oppressive, sandstorms can whip up and become blinding and dehydration is a factor very quickly. Swinging out West from Luxor into the vast expanse of the Sahara is a different take on what life in Egypt is like away from the Nile. Communities live their entire lives out in the rare oasis locations in the Sahara, where water is a precious and valued commodity. There is a surprisingly large amount of life and vegetation in these depressions in the desert which allow for plants and animals to eek out an existence. One of the largest desert oasis areas is the Dakhla Oasis, it is like a frontier town stretching through a valley of palm trees and breeze block buildings. On the outskirts of the settlements in the Dakhla Oasis is the abandoned town of Al Qasr. Built in the 12th century on the remains of a Roman settlement this town was inhabited until the early part of the 20th century before villagers moved into the current town location. Walking the streets is an eerie feeling, most buildings are still intact and the only sounds are of the wind whistling through the streets. Continuing further north a major highlight is the White Desert which is a national park for Egypt in the Farafra Depression. It contains chalk formations that have been weathered by the wind and sand sculpting some unusual shapes. Further along the road heading to Cairo past the Bahariya Oasis the desert turns into a flat expanse of sand and rock reminiscent of a Star Wars planet. The Sahara desert is a harsh place with little water and not much to see and do, yet it is worth experiencing one of the more inhospitable places on earth to see how people survive out here and thrive in such brutal conditions.

Al Qasr, Dakhla Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Al Qasr, Dakhla Oasis
Near Cairo, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Near Cairo
Hatshepsuts Temple, near Luxor, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Hatshepsuts Temple, near Luxor
White Desert, Farafra Depression, Sahara Desert, Egypt
White Desert, Farafra Depression
Pyramids of Giza, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Pyramids of Giza
Al Qasr, Dakhla Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Al Qasr, Dakhla Oasis
Dakhla Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Dakhla Oasis
Al Qasr, Dakhla Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Al Qasr, Dakhla Oasis
Near Luxor, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Near Luxor
Near Aswan, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Near Aswan
Near Farafra Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Near Farafra Oasis
Near Bahariya Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Near Bahariya Oasis
Dakhla Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Dakhla Oasis
The Great Pyramid and Giza Plateau on the edge of Cairo, Sahara Desert, Egypt
The Great Pyramid and Giza Plateau on the edge of Cairo
Near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Near Deir el-Bahari, Luxor
Dakhla Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Dakhla Oasis
Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Valley of the Kings, near Luxor
Near Valley of the Kings, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Near Valley of the Kings
Al Qasr, Dakhla Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Al Qasr, Dakhla Oasis
Sahara Desert Backflip, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Sahara Desert Backflip
White Desert, Farafra Depression, Sahara Desert, Egypt
White Desert, Farafra Depression
White Desert, Farafra Depression, Sahara Desert, Egypt
White Desert, Farafra Depression
Giza Pyramids Backflip, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Giza Pyramids Backflip
Monastery of St. Simeon, near Aswan, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Monastery of St. Simeon, near Aswan
Pyramids, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Pyramids
Bahariya Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Bahariya Oasis
Dakhla Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Dakhla Oasis
Dakhla Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Dakhla Oasis
Pyramids of Giza, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Pyramids of Giza
Near Bahariya Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Near Bahariya Oasis
Near Deir el-Bahari, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Near Deir el-Bahari
Near Bahariya Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Near Bahariya Oasis
Dakhla Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Dakhla Oasis
Near Farafra Oasis, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Near Farafra Oasis
Sahara Desert Backflip, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Sahara Desert Backflip
The Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza, Sahara Desert, Egypt
The Sphinx and Pyramids of Giza
Near Deir el-Bahari, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Near Deir el-Bahari
Tomb riddled hills near Luxor, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Tomb riddled hills near Luxor
White Desert, Farafra Depression, Sahara Desert, Egypt
White Desert, Farafra Depression
Dashur Pyramids, Sahara Desert, Egypt
Dashur Pyramids

Edfu Temple

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling, Footside and Mike Minckler

Inside Edfu Temple, Egypt
Inside Edfu Temple
First Pylon of Edfu Temple, Egypt
First Pylon of Edfu Temple
The Sanctuary inside Edfu Temple, Egypt
The Sanctuary inside Edfu Temple

Edfu Temple is one of the finest preserved temples in ancient Egypt and is located on the west bank of the Nile River just over 100 km south of modern day Luxor. Constructed during the Ptolemaic era this temple is particularly important because of the detailed inscriptions that describe how the temple was built along with the language and religion that was prominent in Egypt from 200 BC onwards. The first pylon is a massive facade that dominates the surrounding area and its hard to believe that over the centuries this temple was buried by sand up to 10 metres below ground by the early 1800's. Due to the fact the temple was buried for centuries by the shifting sands it was preserved exceptionally well and was able to survive being robbed for building materials unlike many other ancient Egyptian monuments. Edfu Temple is a key stopping point for riverboat and felucca cruises that go up and down the Nile to Aswan, so any thorough trip of Egypt should incorporate this fantastic temple and you won't have to go off the beaten track very far to get there.

The rear side of Edfu Temple viewed from the main entrance, Egypt
The rear side of Edfu Temple viewed from the main entrance
Stairway to the roof, Edfu Temple, Egypt
Stairway to the roof
Edfu Temple Backflip, Egypt
Edfu Temple Backflip
Inside Edfu Temple, Egypt
Inside Edfu Temple
First Pylon at Edfu Temple, Egypt
First Pylon at Edfu Temple
First Pylon at Edfu Temple, Egypt
First Pylon at Edfu Temple
Side Aerial at Edfu Temple, Egypt
Side Aerial at Edfu Temple
Pillars in Edfu Temple, Egypt
Pillars in Edfu Temple
Statue of Horus, Edfu Temple, Egypt
Statue of Horus
First Pylon at Edfu Temple, Egypt
First Pylon at Edfu Temple
Rear of Edfu Temple, Egypt
Rear of Edfu Temple
View of the First Pylon at Edfu Temple, Egypt
View of the First Pylon at Edfu Temple
Hieroglyphs at Edfu Temple, Egypt
Hieroglyphs at Edfu Temple

Alexandria

Text by Eric Starling; Photography by Eric Starling and Footside

Fort Qaitbey, Alexandria, Egypt
Fort Qaitbey
Fishing Boats, Alexandria, Egypt
Fishing Boats
El-Mursi Abul-Abbas Mosque, Alexandria, Egypt
El-Mursi Abul-Abbas Mosque

Alexandria is Egypt's second largest city, its largest seaport and was the capital of Egypt from the time it was founded, by Alexander the Great in 331 BC, until the Islamic conquest of Egypt in 641 AD. Today, it is a sprawling metropolis along the Mediterranean coast with only traces of the former glory it once had in the ancient world. Due to its location at the mouth of the Nile, providing access to Egypt's interior, Alexandria has been fought for and suffered the consequences of war continuously over its roughly 2300 year history. It's importance for conquering armies has meant the city has been destroyed many times over by conflict, and the occasional earthquake, and the splendor that once characterized the ancient city is only a memory. At one time, Alexandria was home to the famous lighthouse, one of the seven ancient wonders of the world, before it was destroyed by an earthquake. It was also, arguably, the main centre of learning in the ancient world with its famous library. The library was burned down once by Julius Cesar and then utterly destroyed by successive armies during the Muslim conquests. The city still has much to offer with it being located on the Med Coast. The walk along the harbour is fantastic on a sunny day and the city boasts some impressive museums and preserved Roman tombs. Alexandria is a great place to escape the inland deserts of Egypt and enjoy a distinctive coastal experience. It is easily accessible from Cairo as a day trip and can feel worlds away from the chaos of Cairo when your relaxing on the seawall next to Fort Qaitbey, where the ancient lighthouse once stood, pondering the city's prior greatness.

Panorama view of the Bay of Alexandria, Egypt
Panorama view of the Bay of Alexandria
Fishing Boats, Alexandria, Egypt
Fishing Boats
Fort Qaitbey, Alexandria, Egypt
Fort Qaitbey
Fort Qaitbey, Alexandria, Egypt
Fort Qaitbey
El-Mursi Abul-Abbas Mosque, Alexandria, Egypt
El-Mursi Abul-Abbas Mosque
Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, Alexandria, Egypt
Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa