By Almas Akhtar, TMO
It was almost 3 years ago when we landed at Cairo Airport on a cold, breezy December night. I will never forget looking at the Great Sphinx the next morning from our window. Egypt is the most popular country in Africa and Middle East most of the people live near the banks of Nile River. Cairo and Alexandria are the two largest cities. Egyptians are proud of their glorified history and the beautiful archeology spread across the Valley of Kings outside Luxor, along the ancient ruins of Karnack and Thebes.
Egyptâ€™s unified kingdom was founded by King Menes in 3150 BC, leading to a series of dynasties which ruled Egypt for a long time. Many pyramids were constructed during the rule of these dynasties. The 18th kingdom, commonly known as the new dynasty, expanded the Egyptian Empire across Africa up to Namibia. This period had many popular Pharaohs, namely Thutmose 3, Akhenaton, Neferiti and perhaps the most notable Egyptian pharaohs Hatshepsut. She was very successful and the longest serving female pharaoh. Hatshepsut mostly ruled dressed up as a man as it was uncommon to have a female pharaohs. Two other female pharaohs came after Hatshepsut namely Nefertiti and Cleopatra.
It was the year 332 BC when Alexander the Great conquered Egypt which started the rule of the Ptolemaic Dynasty. Cleopatra was the last queen of this dynasty after that Egypt became a part of the Roman Empire. It was in the 7th century Egypt was captured by the Muslims who ruled it for up to the 15th century when it became a part of the Ottoman Empire. The British ruled the country after them it became an independent state.
Valley of Kings is located near Luxor and tombs of the Nobelâ€™s are together with the Pyramids of Giza the most visited sites in Egypt. The great Pyramids of Giza are believed to be the last surviving Ancient Wonder of the World. This pyramid was built in the year 2580 BC. The city of Karnack and Luxor near the banks of River Nile are also popular touristâ€™s sites. Most of the buildings have long columns made of mostly limestone, paintings of birds and people are painted on the walls of these temples. Egyptians invented the process of â€œmummificationâ€ which is to preserve a human body. There is a special room for the preserved mummies in Cairo Museum.
Alexandria and Saqqarra are two other towns visited by tourists every year. The tourism industry generates over $11million every year since 2010. Nile Cruises are very popular among tourists which are 3,4 or 6 days long which are accompanied with lavish feasts, Arabic music and belly dancing. â€œFeluccasâ€ are called hanging hotels are colorful decorated boats on which one can enjoy a boat ride across the River Nile with beautiful scenery and delicious food cooked on the boat.
A trip to Egypt is incomplete without a quick trip to â€œKhana Kaliliâ€ the beautiful bazaar located inside the city of Cairo popular for antiques, papyrus paper and small tea cafes located within the bazaar. Cairo is also famous for its Islamic Architecture it is called the city of â€œ1000 Minaretsâ€ .The famous Al -Azhar University and the Hanging Coptic Church is also located here.