Egypt lies in northeast Africa and has had the world’s longest culture for over a millennia. Ancient Egypt is one of the world’s earliest civilizations in human history. The country is a haven for archaeologists and historians with various mighty pyramids, ancient tombs, temples and more that have stood the test of time. There is a wealth of historical architecture in the form of temple walls adorning hieroglyphics, tombs with intricate motifs, and sites designed to be perfectly symmetrical. We list below nine must-see architectural marvels in Egypt that have captured the awe of thousands of tourists over the years.
Architectural Marvels In Egypt – Top 9
The Great Pyramid Of Giza
On top of the list of architectural marvels in Egypt is the Great Pyramid of Giza. It is one of the Seven Wonders of The Ancient World and is the largest of all the 80 surviving Egyptian pyramids. It is noted as the tomb of Khufu, an Egyptian pharaoh. The Great Pyramid of Giza is part of a larger complex called the Giza Necropolis. The complex also includes the Pyramid of Khafre and the Pyramid of Menkaure. It is located around 5 miles west of the River Nile in Cairo.
The pyramid now stands 455 feet tall instead of the original 481 feet due to years of erosion. Its greatness lies in the fact that it was the tallest man-made structure in over 3,800 years. The pyramid of Giza constitutes of 2.3 million limestone blocks and covers an area of over 13 acres. Each stone block weighs over 2000 pounds, and it took 20,000 workers almost 20 years to build.
Timings: 8 am to 5 pm
Entrance Fees: USD 8.13
Great Sphinx of Giza
The Great Sphinx of Giza is one of Egypt’s architectural wonders. This statue is the largest and oldest in the world, with a lion’s body and a man’s head that resembles a pharaoh. It was carved out of bedrock around 2500 BC on the Giza site. According to Egyptian mythology, the Sphinx is the embodiment of royal power and the protector of temple doors. Giza’s Great Sphinx represents the sun god Ra-Horakhty.
The attraction is 241 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 66 feet high. Archaeologists claim that the eyes on the face are 6 feet tall, the ears are over 3 feet tall, and the nose would have been nearly 5 feet long before it broke. Over the last 4500 years, the Egyptian attraction has been eroding due to the weather. Nevertheless, even today, it is among the marvels in Egypt to behold!
Timings: 8 am to 5 pm
Entrance Fees: USD 9
Temple of Luxor
The large ancient temple complex is on the east bank of the Nile River in Luxor. This city was once known as Thebes, and the Temple of Luxor complex stands as a prominent architectural beauty of Egypt. The temple is in honour of the Theban Triad of Amun-Re (a form of the sun god), Mut (consort goddess), and Khonsu (son). Amenhotep III and Ramesses II built the temple as a place for festivals and rituals. The site is of sandstone blocks from Nubia dating back to 1392 BCE.
The construction of the temple displays features typical of the New Kingdom. Its primary function was to host the annual Opet festival. At the entrance, there is a 260-meter-long pylon. Surrounding it are six giant granite statues of Ramses II, each measuring 15.5 meters high. Witness the mammoth splendour of this attraction during your Egyptian holiday.
Timings: 6 am to 10 pm (daily)
Entrance Fees: USD 10
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Valley of the Kings
At first glance, the Valley of the Kings appears to be a gorge of red rock that lights up as the sun takes over the sky. However, underneath the valley lie the magnificent tombs of 63 of the most important pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. This enormous burial chamber for nearly 500 years housed the royal burials of rulers from the 18th, 19th, and 20th dynasties (1539–1075 BCE). Around 1500 BC, the Valley of kings became the common burial grounds for pharoahs instead of the pyramids.
The valley contains over 100 underground chambers and tombs, ranging in size from very small to very large. The artwork on the walls tells us about the lives of the pharaohs and other kings buried here. The tomb of Tutankhamun is a popular ancient marvel which garnered public attention in 1922 owing to Howard Carter. The tomb has King Tut’s mummy, Egyptian artefacts, a gold mask, and solid gold inner coffin. Don’t miss out on this grand tomb which is among the famous marvels in Egypt and includes the burial chamber, antechamber, treasure chamber and annexe.
Timings: 6 am to 4 pm
Entrance Fees: USD 12
Temple of Hatshepsut
The Egyptians built the Temple of Hatshepsut in the Eighteenth Dynasty during the queen’s reign. Hatshepsut (1479-1458 B.C.E.) was Egypt’s fifth pharaoh and one of the most prominent female rulers of ancient Egypt. During her 20-year rule, peace and prosperity reigned. The temple commemorates the queen’s achievements as a funerary and is a sanctuary of the god Amon-Ra. Her mortuary temple at Deir el-Bahri stands out as an awe-inspiring example of architectural marvels in Egypt.
Three massive terraces rise and overlook the Deir el Bahari cliff. Almost all of the temple consists of limestone, with some red granite and sandstone added for colour. There is a single architrave of violet sandstone from Mentuhotep II’s temple nearby. Discover the beauty of the temple on your Egypt trip.
Timings: 6 am to 5 pm
Entrance Fees: USD 5
Temple of Karnak
The Karnak Temple is a large complex to which a dozen pharaohs added their temples, and the area was in constant development between 2080 – 1640 B.C. The various architectural and linguistic details are over 1000 years old. It is a religious complex and holds importance as the Temple of Amun-Ra, his wife Mut and son Khonsu who also have temples at the site. The vast Hypostyle Hall is 54,000 square feet and features 134 columns made during the reign of Pharaoh Seti I.
This cult temple is popular as the most selected of places by ancient Egyptians and is the largest religious building ever constructed in its time. Egyptians believe that the 200 acres have been the place of the gods. This ancient temple is located on the east bank of the River Nile and is an unmissable attraction. The area that encloses Amun Temple alone is 61 acres and has been a place of pilgrimage for nearly 2000 years.
Timings: 6 am to 5.30 pm
Entrance Fees: USD 9
The beautifully adorned mausoleum in the centre of Cairo, Egypt, is spectacular. As you enter the Qalawun complex, the madrassa is on the left and the mausoleum is on the right. Each area inside the mausoleum is lavishly ornate, especially the prayer room. The complex is of great historical importance built by Sultan al-Mansur Qalawun in 1284–1285. The mausoleum is a square of fine marble and inlaid with a mother of pearl.
Vertical marble arches marks the beginning of a new architectural design. Each window takes a geometrical shape, and the front walls have inscriptions from the thuluth calligraphy. This mausoleum is among the must-see marvels in Egypt due to its stucco decoration on the piers.
The tomb of al-Mansur Qalawun and his son, al-Nasir Muhammad, lay at rest inside the mausoleum.
Timings: 9 am to 5 pm (Monday to Saturday | Sunday closed)
Entrance Fees: USD 2.11
Abu Simbel Temples
Abu Simbel Temples is a popular site in Egypt, built around 1279 -13 BCE by King Ramses II. The construction of a dam on Lake Naseer made the transportation of these historical temples convenient. The temples are admirable with four giant statues of King Ramses II at the entrance to guard the gateways at 20 metres height. The temple interiors also have colossal statues that decrease in size from the entrance to the sanctuary.
It remains a spectacular architectural feat because the morning sunlight only falls on the statues twice a year, on the king’s birthday and when he became the king on February 21st. This phenomenon is a spectacular visual delight for tourists. The famous Sun Festival celebrations spans over two days. The temple is a memorial to honour the king and his queen Nefertari.
Timings: 5 am to 6 pm
Entrance Fees: USD 10.36
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The Colossi of Memnon
Located on the west bank of Luxor are two statues, each 60 feet tall, which stand at the entrance of Amenhotep III’s mortuary temple. The colossi of Memnon is a magnificent image of pharaoh Amenhotep III and two smaller statues (one of his wife and the other of his mother) by his feet. They are famous architectural marvels in Egypt made of quartzite sandstone which archaeologists believe was transported 420 miles overland from Cairo.
The Colossi of Memnon was completed by 1350 BC during the reign of Amenhotep III. You can see it in front of a funerary temple to the pharaoh. During the earthquake in 27 BC, the Colossi of Memnon was partially destroyed and later restored by the Roman emperors. Memnon was a king of Ethiopia who was a known figure during the famous Trojan war and was popular as the Ruler of the West. The Egyptians believe that the Colossi protects the Pharaoh’s temple from evil.
Timings: 6 am to 5 pm
Entrance Fees: Free