Historic Sites in Egypt

The Historic Sites in Egypt tell the story of a land which was home to one of the most iconic civilisations of the ancient world, the ancient Egyptians. Whether it’s the famed silhouette of the Pyramids of Giza or the allure of the Valley of the Kings, these great wonders draw tourists from around the world.

Yet, the historic sites of Egypt also reveal so much more about this nation’s past. Roman amphitheatres, Greek ports and World War II battle sites, they all number among the many historical sites in Egypt and are well worth a look.

So, if you’re looking to discover more of the historic sites in Egypt than simply Egypt's pyramids, then you can explore our interactive map above or navigate further by using the links below. You can browse our selection of historic places in Egypt, use our itinerary planner to plan out your own Egypt history tour and then print off a free pocket guidebook. Our database of Egypt's historic sites is growing constantly, but we might not have them all. Remember, if you know of other historic sites in Egypt, you can add them to Trip Historic now by visiting our upload page.

Top Destinations: Historic Sites in Alexandria |

Egypt: Site Index

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Abu Simbel

One of the many historic sites in Egypt allocated UNESCO status, Abu Simbel is an ancient Egyptian temple complex which includes two Temples of Ramesses II.

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Abu Simbel is an archaeological site in Egypt housing a series of incredible Ancient Egyptian monuments, especially a number of rock temples. The most famous sites at Abu Simbel are the two Temples of Ramesses II. The site was rediscovered in 1813.

Known as Ramesses the Great (sometimes spelt Ramses), Ramesses II is one of the most famous Egyptian pharaohs and formed part of the Nineteenth Dynasty. From 1279 BC, he built the temples at Abu Simbel as a way to immortalise himself, a feat he certainly seems to have achieved with these two vast structures and the large statues of himself which guard it.

The temples were carved directly into the sandstone outcrops located on the west bank of the Nile River, south of Aswan in the land of Nubia. These sacred temples were each dedicated to the gods as well as to Ramesses and his wife, Nefertari. The larger one, known as the Great Temple, honoured Re-Horakhti, Amon Ra and Ptah and the smaller, Hathor.

One of the most startling sights at Abu Simbel is the main hall of the Great Temple. This was also cut into the sandstone and along the hand hewn length are two rows of Osirid statues of Ramses, each one 30 feet high. Those on the north side wear the white crown of Upper Egypt, while those on the south side wear the double crown of Lower Egypt. This hall is precisely cut so that the early morning sun rays on 22nd of February and 22nd of October shine down the entire length to light up the back wall where the statues of four gods are seated.

Incredibly, the temples at Abu Simbel were once located elsewhere, but were moved – with the help of UNESCO – to their current location in order to protect them from flooding. The place they once stood is now under water.

Today, the Abu Simbel temples form part of a UNESCO World Heritage site known as the “Nubian Monuments”. This site also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Egypt.

Photo by a rancid amoeba (cc)

Abusir Pyramids

Sadly not the best preserved of historical sites in Egypt, the Abusir Pyramids are a set of Fifth Dynasty pyramids located not far from Cairo.

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The Abusir Pyramids, near Cairo in Egypt are fourteen Ancient Egyptian pyramids. These were built by the pharaohs of the Fifth Dynasty, including those of Sahure, Neferirkare and Nyuserre Ini and, like Saqqara’s pyramids, formed part of the ancient city of Memphis.

One or two of the Abusir Pyramids are relatively well preserved, notably that of Nyuserre Ini. However, overall Abusir’s pyramids are not as impressive, nor as large, as those in Giza, Saqqara and Dahshur. This is in part due to the inferior quality of the construction and stones used. Having said this, Abusir is a much quieter and less tourist-targeted site, which can be an advantage.

Photo by Argenberg (cc)

Abydos

This important ancient Egyptian site contains a wealth of tombs, temples and other significant remains including the Temple of Seti I. It is one of the historic places in Egypt reachable by tour from Luxor.

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Abydos is an important Ancient Egyptian site located about 50 miles north-west of Luxor which contains a wealth of tombs, temples and other archaeological remains.

Covering a vast area, Abydos has offered up many historical sites and much of the area still remains uncovered. It is perhaps best known for the well preserved remains of the Temple of Seti I (also known as the Great Temple of Abydos), which was built by Seti and his son Ramesses II in the late 13th century BC. This is the principle tourist attraction of the Abydos site, and in fact much of Abydos is not open to the travelling public.

The settlement itself has a rich history dating back as far as 4000BC and pre-dynastic Egypt. During the Middle Kingdom (circa 2000BC – 1600BC) Abydos became an important religious centre revolving around the worship of Osiris. This led to Abydos becoming one of the most important cities in the region and it became the burial site of many of the ruling elite.

Abydos continued to be an important city and site of pilgrimage right up to the late Roman period and ruins have been found from throughout the long history of the site.

Other notable historic sites at Abydos include the Osireion, the symbolic tomb of Osiris, the necropolis of Umm el-Qa'ab and the Temple of Ramesses II.

Many visitors will visit Abydos - along with Dendera - either by train or organised tour from Luxor. This site also features as one of our top ten tourist attractions of Egypt.

Alexandria National Museum

The Alexandria National Museum in Alexandria, Egypt houses one of the world's finest collections of Pharaonic, Ptolemaic, Coptic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic artefacts in the world.

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Opened in 2003 by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, the Alexandria National Museum sits in the middle of the city in an elegant early 20th century Italianate mansion that used to be the home to the Consulate of the United States of America.

The 3,480 square metre museum documents the rich and varied history of Alexandria - founded by Alexander the Great in April 331BC - from the age of the Pharaohs up to the 19th century and takes in the Pharaonic, Ptolemaic, Coptic, Roman, Byzantine and Islamic eras.

Chronologically spread over three floors, the 1,800 artefacts include statues, jewellery, coins, weaponry, homewares, religious iconography, sarcophagi, terracotta figurines, clothing, glassware, pottery and even mummies.

The old garage block has been converted into a lecture hall and open air theatre while visitors can take a high-tech audio-visual tour of the museum and its artefacts in the basement workshop, looking at the pieces from lots of angles. All the labels are in Arabic and English and for anyone interested in Egyptian antiquity and history, the Alexandria National Museum in Egypt is a 'must visit'.

Australian 9th Division War Memorial

Dedicated to the Australian soldiers who fought in North Africa during World War II, this is one of several commemorative historical sites in Egypt.

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The Australian 9th Division War Memorial in Egypt commemorates those Australian troops who died between July and November 1942 during the World War II North Africa Campaign, particularly the Battle of El Alamein.

Around 6,000 members of the Australian 9th Division became casualties in these battles. The Australian 9th Division War Memorial is adjacent to the El Alamein Cemetery.

Photo by leoncillo sabino (cc)

Cairo Museum of Egyptian Antiquities

Containing the most comprehensive and important collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts in the world, the Cairo Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is among the most important historic attractions in Egypt.

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The Cairo Museum of Egyptian Antiquities contains the most comprehensive and important collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts in the world. Indeed, it is said to have over 100,000 pieces in all.

From smaller objects such as coins and piece of papyrus to statues of pharaohs and the magnificence of the Royal Mummies room with its eleven mummies (although entry is subject to an additional entry fee), the Cairo Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is the place to see some of the most significant finds from this period.

Perhaps the most famous part of the Cairo Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is its Tutankhamen collection, which includes the iconic funereal mask of the boy king as well as several other objects related to this pharaoh.

The Cairo Museum of Egyptian Antiquities also contains ancient Greek and Roman pieces and, with such an array of things to see, it’s a good idea to plan your route before making your way around. Otherwise, it can be rather overwhelming. This impressive site features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Egypt.

Photo by MichaelTyler (cc)

Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa

The Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa are one of the underground historical sites in Egypt and are a collection of ancient Roman tombs in Alexandria.

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The Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa in Alexandria, Egypt, are an incredible set of subterranean Ancient Roman tombs.

Made up of three levels containing 300 bodies, the Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa represent the true sophistication of Ancient Roman engineering.

Built in around the second century AD, the Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa comprise a maze of rooms and passageways, including the triclinium, a banqueting hall for the relatives of the deceased and the main tomb. The ornate decorations inside the catacombs are an eclectic blend of Roman, Greek and Egyptian.

Whilst the bottom floor is now inaccessible due to flooding, the Catacombs of Kom ash-Shuqqafa remain a truly incredible site. This site also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Egypt.

Photo by davehighbury (cc)

Dahshur

One of the less crowded historic sites in Egypt in which to see the creations of the ancient Egyptians, Dahshur is home to the famous Bent Pyramid and the Red Pyramid of Sneferu.

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Dahshur was once home to eleven Ancient Egyptian pyramids, of which few have survived. However, for those wishing to view the Egypt’s pyramids in peace and quiet, Dahshur is the place to go.

Unlike the more popular Giza and Saqqara, Dahshur has not become a tourist hotspot, despite its ancient attractions, including the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid.

Built by the pharaoh Sneferu (reign circa 2613 BC-2589 BC), founder of the Fourth Dynasty and father of Khufu, the Red Pyramid is one of Dahshur's most famous residents and the second oldest pyramid ever built. In fact, it is thought that this was where Sneferu himself was buried.

Dahshur is also the place to find the ‘Bent Pyramid’, so called due to its unusual change of angle. Also built by Sneferu, the Bent Pyramid is atypical as it has two entrances.

Visitors to Dahshur can tour the Red Pyramid and the more recently opened Bent Pyramid as well.

Unsurprisingly, the Black Pyramid, also at Dahshur cannot be toured. In fact, this pyramid, built for the pharaoh Amenemhat III (reign circa 1831 BC-1786 BC) and originally 266 feet high, has deteriorated badly due to the unstable ground on which it sits and the mud brick used in its construction.

Photo by Argenberg (cc)

Dendera

A real gem amongst the ancient historic sites of Egypt, Dendera, near Luxor, contains the stunning Temple of Hathor. Day-trips run there from many Luxor hotels.

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The Dendera complex lies approximately 50 miles north of Luxor and contains some of the best preserved and most accessible ancient Egyptian ruins to be found in Egypt, including temples, tombs and even a Christian chapel.

The most prominent site in the Dendera complex is the Ptolemaic-era Temple of Hathor. Dating back to the first century BC, Dendera’s Temple of Hathor was continually developed throughout the Ptolemaic and Roman eras and contains references to both Egyptian rulers and Roman Emperors – including Nero, Domitian & Trajan.

However, although the Temple of Hathor is a relatively late construction by Ancient Egyptian standards, the Dendera complex as a whole dates back much further and the current temple was built upon the remains of older strutures.

As well as the Temple of Hathor, other notable areas at Dendera include both Egyptian- and Roman-era birth houses, a chapel dedicated to the Egyptian deity Isis, the gateways of Domitian and Trajan and a late-Roman Empire period Christian basilica.

Many tourists will visit Dendera on a day trip from Luxor and, given that a number of tour companies offer this option from many Luxor hotels, this can be the most practical way to explore the Dendera complex and Temple of Hathor. This site also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Egypt.

Photo by davehighbury (cc)

El Alamein Battlefield

One of the most famous battle sites of World War II and among the best known historic places in Egypt is El Alamein Battlefield, the site of a crucial Allied victory.

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El Alamein Battlefield in Egypt was the site a major victory by the Allied forces during the Second World War., known as the Second Battle of El-Alamein. Over three years, Allied and Axis forces engaged in an ongoing conflict in the North African region, with Germany’s commander, Rommel, intent on capturing Alexandria and the Suez Canal.

The First Battle of El Alamein saw the Allies stall the progress of Italian and German armies. However, it was the Second Battle of El Alamein which changed the fortunes of the Allies, forcing the Axis out of Egypt and safeguarding the vital route of the Suez Canal. Prior to the battle, the newly appointed leader of the Eighth Army, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery had spent months building up the British forces both with reinforcements and munitions. Finally, the British attacked on the night of 23 October 1942 and, by 5 November the Italian and German armies withdrew.

The victory at El Alamein Battlefield was a vital turning point for the Allies, summarised succinctly by Winston Churchill: “It may almost be said, Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat."

Today, El Alamein Battlefield is surrounded by numerous memorials, cemeteries and sites to the different Allied and Axis forces who fought there. Several 1942 battlements and bunkers can be seen from the roadside together with several plaques, including one on the Alexandria-Marsa Matruh Route which shows the furthermost position reached by German and Italian forces.

Note that it is best to stay on the roads as there are mines and other dangerous materials thought to be located on the battlefield itself. There is also a museum about the battle. This sombre site features as one of our top attractions to visit in Egypt.

El Alamein Commonwealth Cemetery

The El Alamein Commonwealth Cemetery is a British operated military cemetery and one of the historic sites in Egypt which relates to the famous Battle of El Alamein.

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The El Alamein Commonwealth Cemetery is the burial place of 7,240 Commonwealth soldiers who died in the course of the Western Desert campaign in Egypt and Libya during World War II, particularly those who were killed in the Battle of El Alamein in 1942.

Together with the beautifully organised grave site, the El Alamein Commonwealth Cemetery houses the Alamein Cremation Memorial and the El Alamein Memorial. It is located near the El Alamein Battlefield.

Photo by heatheronhertravels (cc)

El Alamein War Museum

This museum is dedicated to the Second Battle of El Alamein fought in 1942 during World War II.

DID YOU KNOW?

The El Alamein War Museum houses a series of exhibitions about the Second Battle of El Alamein, a crucial Allied victory during World War II in which the Italian and German armies were forced out of Egypt.

Housing a collection of uniforms, armed vehicles and weaponry, the El Alamein War Museum provides an insight into the 1942 battle which has since been labelled a turning point in the war. The museum is located close to the main El Alamein Battlefield.

German El Alamein Cemetery

The German El Alamein Cemetery is the burial place of those German soldiers who died in the Battle of El Alamein. It is one of a series of World War II historic sites in Egypt in this area.

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The German El Alamein Cemetery is the final resting place of 4,200 German soldiers who died in the Battle of El Alamein. This battle, part of the World War II North Africa Campaign, took place in 1942 and was a major victory for the Allies against the German and Italian forces, ending their presence in Egypt.

The German El Alamein Cemetery is quite different from the other cemeteries in the area as it is built to look like a fortress.

Photo by xiquinhosilva (cc)

Giza

The most iconic of all historic sites in Egypt, Giza draws tourists from all over the world. It is home to the Great Pyramid and the famous Sphinx as well as several other stunning sites.

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Giza or ‘Al Giza’ is a tourist hotspot and the site of some of Ancient Egypt’s most famous landmarks, including the largest pyramid on Earth.

Giza is home to the pyramids of kings Khufu, Khafra and Menkaure. The largest pyramid in Giza, and in the world, belongs to the second king of the Fourth Dynasty, Khufu or “Cheop”.

Khufu’s pyramid is Giza’s oldest and, at its great size of 145 metres, became known as “The Great Pyramid”. In fact, Khufu’s pyramid was once the tallest structure in the world as well as being one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The second largest pyramid in Giza belongs to Khufu’s son and fourth king of the Fourth Dynasty, Khafra (or Khephren). In fact, the elevation on which Khafra’s pyramid is built is deceptive, making it appear larger that his father’s.

The smallest of these three kings’ pyramids belongs to the sixth king of the Fourth Dynasty, Menkaure and is one tenth the size of Khafre’s.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Giza is also where one finds the Great Sphinx. Estimated to date back to 2528–2520 BC, some Egyptologists believe that this majestic half man, half lion is modeled on Khafra.

Several other tombs and Queens’ pyramids pepper Giza’s landscape, some of which are open to the public, most notably, the tomb of Seshem-nefer IV. This site also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Egypt.

Photo by pyramidtextsonline (cc)

Hawara Pyramid

The Hawara Pyramid was built by Amenemhat III and, whilst its mud-brick structure is quite eroded, it remains one of the ancient historic attractions in Egypt.

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The Hawara Pyramid was erected by the Twelfth Dynasty pharaoh, Amenemhat III, ruler of Ancient Egypt from around 1860 BC to 1814 BC and who also built the Black Pyramid at Dahshur.

Once a formidable structure which was known as the “Labyrinth” for its elaborate security measures, the Hawara Pyramid was not built of stone, but rather mud-brick.

Today, having been robbed and eroded by time, the Hawara Pyramid is a shadow of its former grandeur and is no longer flanked by Amenemhat III’s burial temple, but is still clearly visible. The pyramid tomb of his daughter, Neferuptah, is also found nearby, 2 km south of her father’s Hawara Pyramid.

Photo by Giorgio Montersino (cc)

Italian El Alamein Memorial

This commemorates the Italian casualties of the Battle of El Alamein.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Italian El Alamein Memorial or ‘Sacrario italiano a El Alamein’ is a white octagonal monument to the 4,800 Italian soldiers who died in the 1942 Battle of El Alamein and those approximately 38,000 missing. There is also a nearby chapel.

Photo by Tanya.K. (cc)

Karnak Temple

Once part of the city of Thebes, the Karnak Temple is not just vast but one of the most impressive historic sites in Egypt and is listed by UNESCO.

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The Karnak Temple, or rather the complex of temples of Karnak, in Luxor, Egypt is one of the most impressive of Ancient Egyptian sites and once formed part of the city of Thebes.

Sprawling over two square kilometres, the site known as the Karnak Temple was built and expanded by a succession of pharaohs, from those of the Middle Kingdom (1965-1920 BC) to the Ptolemaic dynasty (305 BC to 30 BC). The result is an incredible maze of temples, sanctuaries, sphinxes, columns and pylons amidst other ancient buildings.

One of the most important and impressive sites at the Karnak Temple complex is the Temple of Amun-Ra, with its world famous Great Hypostyle Hall. Debate still continues as to whether this looming structure with its 69 foot columns was created by Amenhotep III or Seti I, although it was completed by Ramses II.

Vast and full of fascinating sites, Karnak Temple is one of Egypt’s most visited sites. Most people take a couple of hours at the Karnak Temple, but this is only really enough to scratch the surface of this ancient complex.

Together with the Luxor Temple and the Valley of the Kings, the Karnak Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This site also features as one of our Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Egypt.

Photo by S J Pinkney (cc)

Kom Ombo Temple

Listed among the sacred Ptolemaic historic sites of Egypt, the Kom Ombo Temple is co-dedicated to the crocodile deity Sobek and to the falcon-headed Haroeris.

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The Kom Ombo Temple is a sacred Ptolemaic temple co-dedicated to the crocodile deity Sobek and to the falcon-headed Haroeris. This dual-dedication is quite atypical and is - equally unusually - reflected in the symmetrical design of the Kom Ombo Temple.

Built under Ptolemy VI of the Ptolemaic Dynasty in the second century BC, the Kom Ombo Temple was added to under the Romans.

Despite being damaged by earthquakes and other things over the centuries, the Kom Ombo Temple is still impressive and has much to see including a range of religious carvings as well as those depicting day-to-day scenes, a sacred well and many a mummified crocodile.

Leukaspis

Little known but well worth seeing amidst the many historic sites in Egypt is Leukaspis, a once a thriving Greco-Roman port and city founded in the 2nd century BC.

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Leukaspis (Locassis) was a thriving Greco-Roman port and city founded in the second century BC and which grew to a population of 15,000 residents at its peak. Also known as Antiphrae, Leukaspis was a commercial hub of the Mediterranean olive, wine and wheat industries, conducting trade both inland and overseas.

In 365AD, Leukaspis was utterly devastated by a tsunami, an after effect of an earthquake in Crete.

Unfortunately, extensive development of the area around Leukaspis has meant that much of the former port has been lost. However, parts of Leukaspis have been carefully excavated and form the Marina el-Alamein Archaeological Site. 

Amongst the ruins at the Marina el-Alamein Archaeological Site are the remains of villas, baths, a theatre, a necropolis (burial site) and an agora (town square/marketplace). One of the main buildings to be seen is a basilica, which began as a public hall and then became a church following the rise of Christianity.

Photo by astique (cc)

Luxor Temple

The Luxor Temple is a famous and beautifully preserved holy ancient Egyptian site was once part of the city of Thebes. It is among the World Heritage historic sites in Egypt.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Luxor Temple in the city of Luxor, Egypt was once a sacred temple built in honour of the deity Amun.

Constructed in the 14th century BC by Amenhotep III, the ninth pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty, the Luxor Temple was part of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes.

Today, together with the Karnak Temple and the Valley of the Kings, Luxor Temple forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of “Thebes and its Necropolis”. It is incredibly well-preserved and, with its statues of Ramesses II, it is clear that several pharaohs and other leaders added to it at later stages, including Tutankhamun and later even Alexander the Great.

From its Avenue of the Sphinxes to its looming archways and giant statues, the enormous Luxor Temple is a breathtaking site, indeed it ranks among our top ten tourist attractions to visit in Egypt.

Medinet Madi Temple

The Medinet Madi Temple is an ancient temple to the fierce crocodile deity, Sobek, and one of the historic sites in Egypt built by the 12th Dynasty.

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Medinet Madi Temple is an ancient Egyptian temple to the fierce crocodile deity, Sobek and his wife, Renenutet. At its peak, this temple would have been a place for breeding and nurturing sacred crocodiles in preparation for them to be mummified for sale to pilgrims.

Said by some to be the sole existing temple in Egypt from the times of the Middle Kingdom, Medinet Madi was the work of Amenemhat III and Amenemhat IV, both 12th Dynasty pharaohs from the mid to late 19th century BC. It would later be added to in the 4th century BC during the Ptolemaic period.

Today, the Medinet Madi Temple is open to the public. Visitors can see its rows of sphinxes and lions and crocodile pools as well as depictions of Sobek with his head of a crocodile and man’s body.

Mons Claudianus

Few tourists known about this ancient quarry in the Egyptian dessert, one of the Roman historic sites of Egypt.

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Mons Claudianus in Egypt houses an Ancient Roman quarry, the remains of which can still be seen today.

Mons Claudianus was one of a few Roman quarries used to mine for granodiorite, a type of quartz only found in Egypt and which was used in many of the empire’s most famous buildings, including the Pantheon and the Temple of Venus, both in Rome.

Established and used in the first century AD, it is thought that Mons Claudianus may also have been a penal colony.

What remains today are several fallen columns, a staircase which was to lead to an (unfinished) temple and the ruins of a fort. Evidence of the quartz for which the Romans mined can also be seen at Mons Claudianus.

Pompey’s Pillar

This third century ancient Roman column is located in Alexandria.

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Pompey’s Pillar is a solitary granite column in Alexandria, Egypt and one of the few Roman remains to have survived in the city.

Whilst called “Pompey’s Pillar”, this 25 metre tall structure was actually dedicated to the Emperor Diocletian, who ruled Rome from from 284 to 305 AD. Completed towards the end of the third century AD, it was one of the largest of its type to be built anywhere in the Empire.

Roman Amphitheatre - Alexandria

The ancient Roman amphitheatre in Alexandria is the only one of its kind of all the historical sites in Egypt.

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The Roman amphitheatre in Alexandria in Egypt is a large circular Roman theatre and the only one of its type to be found in the country. Though often referred to as an amphitheatre, the site is actually that of a small Roman theatre rather than a larger sporting arena.

Excavations at the site – initially undertaken in search of the grave of Alexander the Great – uncovered the original Roman marble seating, a number of courtyard mosaics and even graffiti relating to the rivalry of supporters of local chariot teams. As well as the theatre itself, there are also the remains of a baths complex on the site and several other chambers and living quarters.

Further research and excavations are still being carried out, with these finds shedding new light on the complex. Some of the latest theories are centred around the idea that the theatre was actually a small lecture hall, and indeed that the complex as a whole was an academic institution - perhaps even an ancient university linked to the Great Library of Alexandria.

Saqqara

Saqqara was the burial ground of the ancient Egyptian city of Memphis and houses a stunning range of pyramids and tombs. It is among the more popular historic sites in Egypt near Cairo.

DID YOU KNOW?

Saqqara was the burial place of the city of Memphis, the capital of Ancient Egypt founded in 3000 BC by Menes.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, Saqqara is home to eleven major pyramids sprawled over six miles, including the first ever pyramid, known as the Step Pyramid and funerary complex of pharaoh Djoser (or Zoser), who reigned from c. 2630 to c. 2611 BC.

Saqqara’s pyramids and tombs were built across over three thousand years of Ancient Egyptian civilization, from the tombs of Fifth Dynasty kings such as Userkaf and the pyramid of Unas, with its walls filled with magical spells, to the incredibly well preserved Pyramid of Teti I, built by the first ruler of the Sixth Dynasty. Some believe that Teti I, whose queen is also buried at Saqqara, was assassinated by his bodyguard.

Saqqara is filled with historical treasures, not least of which is the Serapeum where the Egyptians buried the sacred bulls of Apis. The Egyptians believed these bulls were reincarnations of the deity, Ptah. The bulls are perfectly mummified and contained in enormous granite coffins.

Saqqara is a massive historic site and, for those short on time the best places to see are in the north, including the Serapeum, Djoser’s funerary complex and, in between these two, the Mastaba of Akhti-Hotep and Ptah-Hotep, the son and grandson of official Ptah-Hotep.

There are numerous ways to tour Saqqara, including camel, horse and donkey tours available around the Step Pyramid.

Photo by Historvius

Temple of Amun

A famous ancient temple in the western Egyptian desert, famously visited by Alexander the Great.

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The remains of the famous Temple of Amun at Siwa represent what is left of one of the most famous oracles of the ancient world.

In the western Egyptian desert near the Libyan border, a small Egyptian settlement dated to the time of the first dynasty was located at the only natural water source for hundreds of miles, the Siwa oasis.

Many local springs were utilized by the inhabitants and at some, Roman stone work is still visible shoring up the sides of the naturally occurring springs.

After founding Alexandria, and prior to his invasion of Persia, Alexander the Great decided to travel to the Temple of Amun at Siwa. Here he visited the oracle of the Temple of Amun and was confirmed as a divine personage and the legitimate pharaoh of Egypt.

This article about The Temple of the Oracle of Amun is a stub and is in line for expansion by our editorial team. You can help expand this information by adding comments below.

Temple of Horus

Dedicated to one of the most important deities of the time, the Temple of Horus is one of the most beautifully preserved historic sites of Egypt and among the largest of its temples.

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The Temple of Horus, also known as the Edfu Temple, is an incredibly well-preserved monument to one of Ancient Egypt’s most important deities, Horus.

Worshipped as the child of Isis and Osiris, Horus was depicted with the head - and often the body - of a falcon and was the ruler of the skies and the deity of the pharaohs.

Built over the course of around 180 years, the Temple of Horus was the work of the Ptolemies, beginning in 237AD under Ptolemy III. Today, this remains one of Egypt’s best preserved temples and its second largest - after the Karnak Temple - as well as the fountain of knowledge with regard to Ancient Egyptian beliefs.

The hordes of tourists who visit the Temple of Horus each year are greeted with the fantastic site of its vast entryway, adorned with stunning reliefs of falcons. Inside, one finds an impressive set of Greco-Roman built structures, all dedicated to this ancient deity.

The Serapeum

Little remains today of this magnificent ancient temple and library complex in Alexandria, but the Serapeum is one of the most well-known historic sites in Egypt.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Serapeum in Alexandria was an ancient temple dedicated to the worship of the Greco-Egyptian deity Serapis.

Built by Ptolemy III in the third century BC, the Serapeum also housed an important library which may have served as an annex of the Great Library of Alexandria.

In late 69AD or early 70AD Vespasian visited the Serapeum to help confirm his place as the rightful Roman Emperor during the civil war he fought with Vitellius.

Ancient writers describe the Serapeum as one of the most magnificent temples of the ancient world and it was said to be made of marble with great adornments throughout.

The Serapeum was destroyed in 391AD - either by a Christian mob or by Roman soldiers on instructions from the Christian authorities of the Roman Empire.

Today there is little to see at the Serapeum site, though access to the underground library remains and is worth a visit. Other artefacts from the Serapeum can be found in the Greco-Roman Museum of Alexandria.

Underground Library of Alexandria

Found under the ruins of the Serapeum, the underground library of Alexandria once formed part of the city’s famous Great Library. Visiting it is one of the most fascinating things to do in Egypt.

DID YOU KNOW?

The underground library of Alexandria, found underneath the ruins of the Serapeum, consists of a series of subterranean tunnels and storerooms where it is believed part of the collection of the Great Library of Alexandria was stored.

The Great Library itself was constructed in the third century BC and was the most famous library of the ancient world. The date of its destruction is disputed but may have been during Julius Caesar's time in the city.

However, the underground library of Alexandria - or at least the construction itself - remained in use until the destruction of the Serapeum in 391AD and may have been used for religious purposes by worshippers of Serapis.

Today visitors can explore these underground chambers and see the niches in the walls where the documents were stored. This site also features as one of our top ten tourist attractions in Egypt.

Photo by Historvius

Valley of the Kings

The burial place of the great pharaohs, the Valley of the Kings is one of the major historical sites in Egypt and among the most popular things to see.

DID YOU KNOW?

The Valley of the Kings in Luxor in Egypt was once part of the Ancient Egyptian city of Thebes.

From the Eighteenth Dynasty to the Twentieth, the pharaohs of Egypt were buried in the Valley of the Kings. Today, visitors flock to see the myriad of ancient tombs cut into the limestone of the Valley of the Kings, mostly contained in its eastern valley.

Eighteenth Dynasty tombs include those of Amenhotep III (in the west valley), Hatshepsut, Thutmose III and Thutmose IV. Some of the most famous figures of Ancient Egypt are buried at the Valley of the Kings, including the boy king Tutankhamun, Ramses the Great, Ramesses IV and Tuthmosis III.

The Valley of the Kings has almost thirty tombs in all and, together with the other remains of Thebes, forms part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. This site also features as one of our Top ten tourist attractions in Egypt.

Photo by Pottery Fan (cc)

Zawyet el Aryan Pyramids

Zawyet el Aryan contains the remains of two Egyptian pyramids, the Layer Pyramid and the Unfinished Pyramid. It is thought they were both built around 2700-2600BC.

DID YOU KNOW?

The town of Zawyet el Aryan, near Giza in north-eastern Egypt contains the remains of two relatively obscure Egyptian pyramids – known as the Layer Pyramid and the Unfinished Pyramid. It is thought they were both built during the Third Dynasty, therefore putting construction sometime around 2700-2600BC.

The Layer Pyramid is generally attributed to the Pharaoh Khaba while the Unfinished Pyramid is more of a mystery. The Layer Pyramid itself is a step-pyramid which sits atop an underground burial chamber. The Unfinished Pyramid is just that, and contains only the base of the construction.

Not an easy place to get to, it’s well off the established tourist trail – though some bespoke tour operators may offer guided visits.