The only surviving wonder of the ancient world, the Pyramids of Giza are probably the most iconic images of Ancient Egypt. However, there are many more treasures hidden in the desert sands along the River Nile. From Luxor to Abu Simbel, there are countless majestic tombs and temples that beckon intrepid travellers to uncover the secrets and mysteries of this ancient civilization.
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Located in the old city of Thebes, once the capital of Ancient Egypt, this complex covers over 2 square kilometres, and houses many temples, residences, and even a large sacred pool. Don’t miss the famous Temple of Amun-Ra with its forest of towering columns, covered in colourful hieroglyphics.
The other great temple of Thebes was Luxor. Flanked by colossal statues of the famous Pharaoh Ramses II, it is dedicated to the rejuvenation of kingship, rather than a god or king. Inside, you can also find some early Christian paintings on the walls and even a precariously built mosque.
The other draw of Ancient Thebes is its great burial places. While the pyramids were the tombs of the Pharaohs of the Old Kingdom, later rulers wanted to be closer to their capital. The Valley of the Queens and the Valley of the Kings hide vast treasures within them. Among those open to the public are the tombs of Nefertari (wife of Ramses II) and Seti I (his father).
Temple of Edfu
Further up the Nile River is the Temple of Edfu. One of the few temples of Ancient Egypt to have an intact roof, it is dedicated to the god Horus. The walls also hide later Christian symbols, much like Luxor.
Temple of Isis
Perched on the island of Philae is the relatively newer Temple of Isis. It is said to be one of the burial places of the goddess Isis’ husband Osiris, and was considered holy. It survived as a place of worship even after the arrival of Christianity.
On the banks of Lake Nasser sits one of the most spectacular of the Nile temples, Abu Simbel. The twin temples were built by of Ramses II and his wife Nefertari and feature imposing statues of the couple. The temple was relocated in the 1960s to prevent being submerged by the Aswan High Dam.
Temple of Kom Ombo
The double Temple of Kom Ombo features two sanctuaries dedicated to Horus (the son of Isis and Osiris) and the crocodile god, Sobek. Sacred Nile crocodiles once prowled the temple grounds. The temple’s crocodile museum still features over 300 crocodile mummies found there!