2023 | Egypt

This text refers to my visit to Egypt in January 2023 and my impressions at the time.

Do you want to ride the camel?

Egypt is a country under construction. Or so it seems. Residential buildings are not finished and it is up to each buyer to do the remaining constructions. Additionally, some buildings have collapsed and the resulting rubble is not removed. Furthermore, garbage is everywhere on the streets and in the parks as there are no bins and no collection. It seems that people live permanently in temporary conditions. In parallel, we can see military posts literally everywhere and tourists are escorted by “tourism police” all the time, especially in Cairo. We feel safe there, but we wonder at what price.

Therefore, the question is: is it worth a visit? Yes, to the archaeological sites! And it is advisable to visit them within a tourist tour. 96% of Egypt’s area is desert and people only live along the Nile River (see the night satellite photo 45762-200). Beyond that irrigated area there is nothing but desert. Unless you are an archaeological specialist, tourist tours are thought to take visitors to the most important sites and you get a good idea about the country and its past.


Saqqara – entrance

Death was omnipresent in Ancient Egypt, not because they worship death, but because they loved life. Therefore, life “on Earth” was a preparation for their afterlife: the rituals, the way of life, the architecture. The pyramids were, in fact, residences in the afterlife. The kings were buried with precious possessions, which they would use in the other world, and their body was preserved to preserve the spirit, a shell that would lead them there. As their afterlife would be longer than their terrestrial life, their tombs would have to be more magnificent and able to last for millennia. Hence, the pyramids: imposing buildings that would keep their residents in the memory of their people for centuries to come.

Saqqara 45762-200, not far from the then capital Memphis (also not far from the current capital Cairo), was chosen as the place where the first pyramids were to be built. The pyramid shape was important because it pointed to the sky, and astronomy was extremely important for the Ancient Egyptians. In fact, their buildings were designed according to the stars and the inclination of the sun throughout the day and the year. The chambers inside the pyramids are also aligned according to the stars and the sunlight. Later, with the evolution of architecture, the kings ordered the construction of the Giza pyramids 45762-200, at about 20 km from Saqqara. These were even more magnificent than the previous ones.

Saqqara Giza

The Step Pyramid of Djoser

The most famous pyramides

The Sphinx

However, these great pyramids had a great problem: thieves saw a good opportunity to make money by stealing from the dead king. After all, he was already dead, he wouldn’t mind and he wouldn’t tell, right? Well, the living noticed it, so the kings decided to be buried far away from the capital and in an inaccessible site. They found a valley in the mountains in the desert, at about 650 km from Giza. Besides being a place extremely difficult to access at that time, the mountains had the shape of pyramids, so it was a good replacement for the previous grandiose constructions. It is now called the Valley of the Kings 45762-200 and it includes 63 tombs, including the most famous tomb of Tutankhamun 45762-200, which is number 62. This was the only tomb which was found intact, a delight for the archaeologists.

Valley of the Kings

The buggy to get to the tombs

Entering into a tomb

A detail

Hatshepsut Temple

Nowadays, the Valley of Kings is accessible to the public and it is prepared for tourists visit the tombs inside. The mummies were buried inside sarcophagi that were placed deep inside the mountains. To get there, tunnels were excavated and decorated with scenes from the life of the person in question. These tombs would start being prepared as soon as the king would become king, so the tunnels are as long as the lives of their inhabitants. Some are very short and some are very long. The richness of the decorations, however, is something to awe about, regardless who is buried at the end of the tunnel. Nearby, the Hatshepsut Temple 45762-200 was a cult temple and the buried site of Queen Hatshepsut, who wanted to build a completely different tomb from the rest of the Pharaohs. She achieved her goal, but the temple was almost totally destroyed by a later king. Luckily, this king failed his intend and we can now admire its splendour.


All these tombs are not far from what was once a great city, Luxor 45762-200. Luxor was built on the ruins of Tebas, the capital of Upper Egypt. In reality, Ancient Egypt was composed by two Egypts: the Lower and the Upper. Lower Egypt was the lowest part of the Nile, in the north, whose capital was Memphis (near current Cairo). The Upper Egypt was in the south, up the Nile. This is definitely the highest point of a visit to Egypt. The two famous Temples, Karnak 45762-200 and Luxor 45762-200, were once connected by a 3km-long avenue bordered on both sides by sheep statues. Although both these temples are in ruins, you can still see its glory and wander how they could have built such tall columns back in the day.


Temple of Karnak

The “sheep” avenue

Temple of Luxor


Colossi of Memnon

Before leaving Luxor, you can also see the Colossi of Memnon 45762-200, two gigantic statues. Then, you can start the cruise up the Nile and enjoy the landscape, a mix of farmlands, desert and palm trees. It is impressive how the land is still farmed as in the time of the Pharaohs, with donkeys and arms strength.

Mid-way between Luxor and Aswan, the cruise stops at Edfu to visit its Temple 45762-200. Here you can enjoy a thrilling trip between the boat and the temple in a carriage pulled by horses. Then, back to the boat, you cruise about 65 km to visit the Kom Ombo Temple 45762-200 before continue your journey to Aswan.

Ramesses II’s Temple in Abu Temple

Aswan 45762-200 was the southern frontier of the Ancient Egypt and it is still a city with privileged commercial relations with Sudan. It’s quite different from Cairo, with many islands along the Nile, including the island of Philae, where is located a famous temple 45762-200, and an island with a Nubian village, which tourists can visit nowadays. Nubia 45762-200 was once an independent state, which extended from Aswan to the current border with Sudan, and it is now part of Egypt. The temples of Abu Simbel 45762-200 were then included in Nubia territory. One of the temples was threatened to be immersed with the construction of the Aswan dam in the 1960s. Thus, UNESCO coordinated a mega operation to relocate it, together with other monuments which were also going to be immersed. The temple was cut and replaced in exactly the same way some metres higher. Twice a year, the sun gets in through the entrance tunnel and illuminates the statues at the back.

Aswan region

Nefertari’s Temple in Abul Simbel

Boat trip

Typical Nubian houses


Alexandria 45762-200 was founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BCE, who “rescued” Egypt from the Persian invaders and gave rise to the Ptolemaic Kingdom, and Alexandria was its capital. Cleopatra VII Philopator, the famous mistress of the Roman Emperor Marcus Antonius, was the last ruler of the Ancient Egypt, Queen of the Ptolemaic Kingdom, and was born in Alexandria. After her death, the Roman Empire took over the city and then, in 642 CE, this city fell into Muslim ruling.

This town was built around a bay bathed by the Mediterranean Sea, and in the Nile delta. You can walk by the sea on a promenade that connects both sides of the bay. You can see how great this city was then, but now just looks abandoned. Its famous Lighthouse was built during the Ptolemaic period and slowly destroyed by several earthquakes. In its place, in the 15th century, was built the Citadel of Qaitbay, which is just a defensive fortress with not much to see. Other attractions like the Roman Amphitheatre and the Catacombs can also be included in tourist tours, but are unexceptional. The also famous Library, which was completely destroyed more than once, is now a very modern and huge building, definitely worth visiting.



Near the place where the Lighthouse used to be



Cairo 45762-200 is strategically located at beginning of the Nile delta and, considering its greater metropolitan area (that includes Giza and Saqqara), is home of about 22 million people. In 1979, UNESCO considered Historic Cairo (or Islamic Cairo) as a World Heritage Site. This area includes the Citadel of Saladin, built in the 12th century and housing some important mosques like the Al-Rifa’i Mosque 45762-200 and the Mosque of Muhammad Ali 45762-200, and the Souq (or Bazaar) of Khan el-Khalili 45762-200. Nearby there is a huge and ancient cemetery, where about 1 million people are buried and that now serves as living quarters for many people that are alive.

The National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC) 45762-200 opened to the public in 2017 and includes objects from prehistory until today, duly arranged chronologically. However, the main reason of this museum was to accommodate 22 mummies, which were originally buried in the Valley of the Kings, that were transported during a magnificent event called the Pharaohs’ Golden Parade 45762-200. Still waiting for a final opening date, the Grand Egyptian Museum (GEM) 45762-200 aims to complement the Egyptian Museum 45762-200 that currently accommodates the precious objects found in Tutankhamun’s tomb.


Mosque in the Citadel

One of Tutankhamun’s gems

National Museum of Egyptian Civilization (NMEC)

Here is a motion time-lapse of Egypt 45762-200. .

Novel to read when visiting Ancient Egypt:
“Death on the Nile” by Agatha Christie

On holidays in the Egypt, the famous private detective Hercule Poirot, now retired, is staying for a few days in Aswan when is asked to intervene in a love triangle matter. He refuses, but stays alert. He has a bad feeling about that story. He decides to go on a cruise up the Nile to Wadi Halfa, visiting Abu Simbel on the way. People on the boat are having fun while marvelling at the archaeological findings of the Pharaohs Era. One morning, someone is found dead. Murdered. One of the love triangle members was killed and the number one suspect is the other member… but she is cleared due to a strong alibi and many witnesses. The boat is a closed setting and one of the passengers or a crew member is the murder. But who? It seems impossible. Not for Poirot. He discovers the truth, but cannot prove it. How will the mystery be unfolded?

Agatha Christie is known as “Queen of Crime” due to the almost impossible crime solutions. She started writing novels at 18 and never stopped, not even after marring her first husband when she was 24. However, she only met success at 26 with her first detective story featuring the famous Hercule Poirot. She wrote 66 detective stories and many other short stories, novels and even a play. Mousetrap is a whodunit play that has been on stage since 1952. Later crime novels were strongly influenced by the profession of her second husband, who was an archaeologist. According to the Index Translationum 45762-200. , she is the most translated author in the world. “Death on the Nile” is one of her best-known books, having been adapted to theatre, cinema, television, and radio, and turned into a video game and a graphic novel.