As one of the great countries of the ancient world, Egypt is a popular choice with culture-hungry vacation-goers. It is, after all, the place where you can see the only remaining example of the seven wonders of the ancient world in the shape of the Great Pyramid of Giza. Everywhere you look in Egypt, from the Nile to Luxor, you’re surrounded by history and wonder – so much wonder, in fact, that you can miss out on some of it if you don’t know where to look.
There are plenty of guides available online which will walk you through how to go about seeing the Red Sea, finding the best beaches, getting a picture with the Sphinx, and gaining entry to the Pyramids when you visit Egypt. We won’t waste your time with that today – instead, we’d like to show you some of Egypt’s lesser-known delights. Like the tomb-raiders of old, we’re going to go rooting through the hidden treasures of Egypt, and we’ll hopefully find something that you’ll like the sound of!
The City Of The Dead
OK, so we admit that a giant graveyard might not be where you were expecting us to start off, but go along with us on this one. Egypt’s City of the Dead is one of the most hauntingly beautiful and eerie places you’ll ever see. If you’re picturing it as a dead, lifeless place full of dull, aging gravestones, you’re a million miles away from the reality of it. If you head to Zawiyyet el-Mayyiteen (to give the place its proper name) either at sunset or sunrise, you’ll be rewarded with truly spectacular sights. Most remarkable of all, though, is the people. The land here has been in use by both Christians and Muslims for burials for over a thousand years – some of the tombs date back to the seventh century. In more recent times, it’s been reclaimed. Half a million Egyptians now live here in and around the tombs, some of which are more akin to small houses than they are graves. It’s a place like nowhere else, and a window into a totally different way of life.
The Colored Canyon Of Nuweiba
You might have to go on something of a trek to see this visual wonder, but the colored canyon of Nuweiba is well worth the journey if you’re up to the challenge. It looks for all the world like a talented artist has taken a paintbrush to the rocks, but they haven’t. The swirling, almost-psychedelic patterns are the result of centuries of erosion and chemical reactions occurring inside the rock face, leaving bold and bright patterns of magenta, yellow, purple, red, and even blue. If you’re a hiking enthusiast you’ll love the journey out to find the canyon, which is one of the most enjoyable walking trips in Egypt. Just remember to bring lots of water – you’ll be out in the middle of the desert, and it’s thirsty work! Don’t even think about attempting this without an experienced tour guide.
Of all the legendary historical figures of Egypt, Cleopatra is the one most closely associated with wealth and riches. That’s why she’s the star of so many mobile slots games nowadays in many online casinos and sister sites. As well as there being a mobile slots game simply called ‘Cleopatra,’ if you log onto to any respectable related casinos you’ll also find slots named ‘Cleo’s Wish.’ ‘Lady of Egypt,’ and ‘Queen of Riches,’ all of which draw on her image and reputation. The mobile slots give players a chance to sample some of the delights of Cleopatra’s fabulous lifestyle, and so does a trip to Cleopatra’s Baths in Marsa Matrouh. Legend has it that the last Queen of Egypt used to visit this natural bathing area with Marc Anthony, and it’s easy to believe it. The perfectly-formed cave contains both a natural skylight, and a permanent water pool which is always warm thanks to the volcanic hillside. The surrounding scenery is almost too beautiful for words – which is why it’s so important to see it with your own eyes!
The Sannur Cave
Cleopatra’s old bathing lake isn’t the only stunning geological feature which has occurred naturally in Egypt. The Sannur Cave in Ban Sueif will also take your breath away. It’s a chamber made entirely out of limestone, and was sealed off from the world until quarrying work during the 1980s cracked it open by accident. When that happened, the first light to reach the cave in sixty million years broke through the darkness, and shone on a cave that looks like it’s come out of a child’s book of stories. They run on for over two thousand feet, and can be a little dangerous because of the sharpness of the stalactites and stalagmites. Follow your tour guide closely – or just get your pictures by standing at the edge and zooming in a little with your camera.
One of the complaints that’s made most often about visiting Egypt is that there’s a lot of hustle and bustle. The markets are very loud and busy, and the tourist-focused areas can be extremely crowded. You also sometimes feel that someone is trying to attract your attention and sell you something with every step you take through Cairo, Luxor, or even Sharm-El-Sheikh. If you want to get away from it all for a while, there’s no better place to go within Egypt’s borders than Elephantine Island. Like much of the country, it’s a place that can trace its history back over a thousand years. The island was a military port during the Roman occupation, and again when the Greeks were present in the country. It’s not a military port anymore, but it is a great place to come and relax. The island is dotted with ornate temples, museums, an almost completely-preserved Roman fort, and some beautifully tended gardens where you can be alone with your thoughts.
We don’t suggest that you go to visit all of the above sites instead of the more commonly-visited Egyptian tourist attractions – no trip to Egypt should ever be considered complete unless you’ve seen the Pyramids, or taken at least a brief boat outing on the Nile. They are, however, great additional places to visit which can give you a fuller picture of Egypt’s history, and also what life is like for the average Egyptian now. The only issue you might come up against is time. That’s the problem with Egypt – even a two-week vacation isn’t enough to see it all, and you’ll find yourself booking a return visit as soon as you get home!