The Nile runs like a glittering thread through the centre of Egypt, stitching together the rich tapestry of landscapes and settlements that have grown up around it. Many ancient masterpieces have been built along its shores, and their awe-inspiring beauty is often best appreciated from the deck of a ship. The traditional, sail-powered wooden feluccas are surely the most romantic way to experience the Nile. For longer trips, there are also barges and cruise ships that embark on three-week-long voyages between Abu Simbel and Cairo. Here are some of the historic treasures you can explore along the way.
One of the southernmost jewels of the Nile is Ramses II’s colossal temple, Abu Simbel and the neighbouring Temple of Hathor. The former’s sheer scale and grandeur is best appreciated from the Nile, its façade decorated by four seated statues of the king. The temple demonstrates the architectural and astronomical genius of the ancient Egyptians, with sunlight streaming into the main sanctuary on two specific days of the year.
Formerly ancient Thebes, Luxor has more ancient sites within its limits than any other region in Egypt. The Temples of Karnak are one of the country’s most awe-inspiring sights with a sphinx-lined path leading to courts, temples and sanctuaries. The west bank is the site of the Valley of the Kings and Queens, where many ancient rulers and noblemen were buried in intricately decorated tombs along with their possessions and servants. The Colossi of Memnon are another west bank highlight, two 18-meter-high human statues that once guarded the entrance to a temple.
Egypt’s capital is typically the final stop on a Nile cruise. The pyramids of Giza are one of the Seven Wonders of the World and were constructed over 4000 years ago. It is the engineering of these structures that is most striking, each block individually carved and set precisely into the whole. The giant sphinx guards the Giza pyramid site and is the centrepiece of a spectacular light show in the evening.
An Egyptian Nile odyssey is on many people’s bucket list, and for the sheer amount of ancient history you can bypass in the space of a week, it’s certainly worth ticking off.
If you’re looking to fund your own Nile trip this year, you could even win some money towards it with Falcon Holiday’s Passport Challenge. A competition that could get you €500 worth of travel vouchers for any of Falcon’s destinations, you just need to answer questions about Egypt and five other countries, including Turkey, Portugal and Greece. Earn 3 or more ‘stamps’ in your online passport and you’ll be entered into the €500 draw.
So how would you spend your winnings? Would you choose to explore Egypt from the banks of the Nile?
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