What Is Egypt Known For? 7 Things That Make Egypt the Country it is
When most people think about Egypt, they instantly hark back to ancient times, focusing on pharaohs, sphinxes and, of course, the Pyramids of Giza. But Egypt is much more than one site, and here we’ll talk you through a few of the things that Egypt is famous for so you know a little more about the country before you visit.
What is Egypt Known For?
Egypt is known for the 4160 miles long Nile river, Egyptian cotton, chaotic bazaars, scuba diving, and beach resort towns such as Sharm-El-Sheikh. Of course, Egypt is famous for its ancient history museums, the Pyramids of Giza, temple complexes, mummies and the Great Sphinx.
1. The Pyramids
The Pyramids of Giza are the last remaining Wonder of the Ancient World and as such are one of the most famous sites on Earth. Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, the three pyramids that are located in Giza are relics of Egypt’s ancient kingdom when pharaohs ruled the land and temples were erected for the Gods! Each pyramid temple and tomb was filled with items that were thought to guide the ruler through to the next world, including statues, jewels, art and more.
Egypt’s Great Pyramid is thought to have been completed in around 2560 B.C. taking about 20 years to build, using only manpower and basic tools. The verdict is still out about how exactly the Egyptians managed to create such a large structure without the use of machinery, a fact that is even more impressive when you consider that there are thought to be around 2.3 million stone blocks, each weighing in at somewhere between 2.5 and 15 tons!
The fact that the building process remains a mystery is one of the things that keeps both tourists and archaeologists coming back to the pyramids time and time again.
2. The Nile
The River Nile, coming in at 6,670 km (4,160 miles) in length is the longest river in Africa and in fact the whole world. The river stretches from Burundi to Egypt, passing through Uganda, Ethiopia and Sudan en route. While many of us think about the Nile as being an Egyptian destination, only around 22% of the river actually runs through Egypt itself. However, it was the Egyptians who were known to make the most of the river in ancient times, living nearby to provide themselves with food and water as well as using it as a means of transportation.
Visiting the Nile is a must for those who want to explore Egypt at a slower pace, taking in the sights of the country while still appreciating nature. You can take a river cruise that passes through verdant valleys and lively riverbanks, stopping off at sites like the Temple of Karnak and the Valley of the Kings along the way.
There are a whole host of types of river cruises that travel along the Nile, from hotel-style package holidays that take you to the main hotspots, to smaller dahabiya and felucca boat cruises that offer a more authentic experience.
Markets, or bazaars as they’re more commonly known in Egypt, are a great place to discover more about local culture and traditions of daily life. Simply people watching as you walk through the market stalls allows you much more of an insight into Egyptian life and pastimes than reading a local guidebook!
The markets throughout Egypt are filled with everything from souvenirs and spices to jewellery, perfumes and local handicrafts and are as much visited by locals as they are by tourists. The Khan El Khalili bazaar in Cairo is a particularly famous market, having been selling food and wares for hundreds of years. Visiting this open-air souk is a must if you’re exploring Cairo, and you can spend hours here scouring the goods and interacting with Egyptian people.
While Egyptian markets may seem somewhat overwhelming at first, once you’ve got into the swing of bartering or firmly saying no when you don’t want something, you’ll feel much more comfortable. As long as you keep a smile on your face while bartering, you’re sure to have an enjoyable experience where both you and the vendor walk away happy.
N.B. It’s important to keep a close eye on your possessions when walking around markets as the hustle and bustle of a bazaar is the perfect hotspot for pick-pockets!
4. Scuba Diving
If you’re interested in scuba diving then Egypt may well be on your bucket list already as it’s known for having reefs teeming with marine life and coral as well as offering reasonable prices too!
The waters around Egypt are a popular spot for divers as they provide clear, calm conditions which make it perfect for beginners, in addition to more interesting dive sites and shipwrecks for more experienced divers.
Egypt’s diving schools also provide guests the opportunity to enjoy liveaboard experiences so that you can explore more remote sites or longer trips than you would by just taking day trips from the shore.
There are many sites around the Red Sea that offer official PADI training and certification, so whatever level you’re at there is a dive course for you.
5. The Egyptian Museum
The Egyptian Museum in Cairo is another of the major tourist attractions in the country that is home to a wealth of Egyptian antiquities (around 120,000 items!), from the treasures of Tutankhamun to pottery, jewellery, mummies and more. The museum allows you to take a walk through time as you see objects from different eras and areas across Egypt; learning about history, culture and tradition along the way.
The museum is currently located in a pink-hued building in the heart of Cairo and is open daily.
This year, 2020, the opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum will see many of the artefacts moved to Giza so that visitors will be able to combine their trip to the pyramids with a visit to the museum. This new museum will have a much more modern style, in huge contrast to the ancient artefacts within.
Sharm-El-Sheikh is one of the most popular beach destinations in Egypt with thousands of travellers visiting the resort to enjoy some winter sun when North America and most of Europe is shrouded in snow and chilly temperatures!
Sharm, as it’s more colloquially known, is located on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula and is famed for its azure waters, rolling sand dunes and luxurious and sprawling all-inclusive resorts. While there’s not a lot to do in the region, besides the aforementioned markets and scuba diving, the weather alone makes it worth the trip. Most resort hotels feature a range of restaurants, swimming pools, bars and entertainment venues, with many also having strips of private beach along the Red Sea. This makes them ideal for both couples’ getaways and family holidays.
For a while, Sharm-El-Sheikh was considered unsafe due to potential terror attacks, but now business is open as usual with the majority of travellers having completely trouble-free trips.
7. Egyptian Cotton
Lastly, one of the things that Egypt is well known for is Egyptian cotton, a material with the reputation of being the ‘best cotton in the world’. Picked by hand (instead of by machine), Egyptian cotton can retain its original purity, length and strength which leads to it being top quality.
Known for its softness, strength and stress-resistance, Egyptian cotton is seen as being superior and is therefore yearned for around the world. Not only is Egyptian cotton high on quality, but it can also be found in some of the best colours too, as its ability to absorb liquid means it can take on much deeper, brighter and wash-resistant colour.
As Egyptian cotton is so famous, it has become one of the country’s biggest exports, so picking up some new towels or bedsheets while in-country can be a great way to save on price while also giving back to the local economy!
Hopefully, by now, you know much more about Egypt than when you first started reading and are even more intrigued to visit this North African country than you were before. Let us know what you learnt about Egypt and whether you want to visit in the comments below.
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