Whether you’re a historian, architect, or simply someone who appreciates beautiful scenery, Egypt’s temples will dazzle you.
Can I be real with y’all? I didn’t love Egypt (and not just because I got mugged at the beginning of my trip). The country just didn’t click with me, the certain je ne sais quoi of a place that causes my heart to fill with joy while within its borders (see Chile, France, Mexico) just wasn’t there. Of course, there are more reasons, which I’ll more explicitly outline in an upcoming blog post. But Egypt didn’t snatch my heart.
Despite this, I’d have to be a fool to say that Egyptian architecture didn’t impress me. Yes, the structures are grand and imposing, the rows and rows of pillars graffiti-ed in hieroglyphics are dizzying to say the least. But even more remarkable is how old everything is. I mean, I’m nearly 31, I’m a child of the ’80s. From time to time I catch re-runs of the Cosby Show or Who’s the Boss (you Canadians and Americans know what I’m talking about!) on television and think, “Gosh, that was a long time ago!” But Bill and Tony have nothing on Egyptian temples. Because most of the ones I saw date back to 350 BC.
Let that marinate for a second. Three hundred and fifty years BEFORE Christ. Whoa.
In Egypt there are temples, tombs, and ruins galore, and figuring out which ones to spend your time and money on seeing can be daunting. The bulk of them are concentrated in Luxor, the former capital of Ancient Egypt, but we saw a few in Aswan and Cairo as well. Here are a few of the ones Liebling and I visited during our 10 days in the country (and I dare you to tell me these don’t look awesome):
Temple of Philae, Aswan
I may have the history wrong (Egyptologists, feel free to correct me), but this temple complex on the Nile was built by ancient Egyptians to commemorate the goddess Isis. The original temple, located on Philae Island was actually dismantled and rebuilt on another island in the early 1900s after being completely submerged by the water.
Luxor Temple, Luxor
Temple of Hatshepsut, Luxor
Temple of Merneptah, Luxor
Karnak Temple, Luxor
This is the largest temple complex in the world and probably the worst maintained. I remember being annoyed that it cost so much to get in (I believe it was 60 EGP or about $8.50 USD) — the structures are very badly decayed in some places. Still, the one section with pillars is fantastic and I made friends with a group of little Egyptian boys on a school field trip!
Beautiful, no? (You can pick your jaw up off of the floor now.)
Which temple do you like the best? Do you like visiting temples/ruins on your trips?