The Pyramids of Giza
Photograph by Jochen Schlenker/Picture Library
From any angle, Giza's Pyramids inspire awe. Memorials to Egyptian kings, the Pyramids have risen above the desert outside Cairo for more than 4,000 years. Stone—not sun-dried mud brick—gave permanence to these ancient monuments.
Camel Races, Sinai Peninsula
Photograph by Graeme Fordham, My Shot
Young Bedouin boys race camels on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. Tourism on Mount Sinai has been a boon to Bedouin, with some charging for camelback rides to the summit. Thousands of Bedouin live in the Sinai desert, where opportunities to earn cash are few.
Al-Azhar Mosque, Cairo
Photograph by Jochen Schlenker/Radius Image
The shining floor of a central courtyard reflects the symmetry of the Al-Azhar mosque’s architectural features. The thousand-year-old Cairo mosque is connected to Al-Azhar University, one of the oldest in the world and a center for Sunni Islamic learning.
Muhammad Ali Mosque, Citadel of Cairo
Photograph by Ian Cumming/Getty Images
An ornate chandelier and dome lamps illuminate the interior of the Turkish-style Muhammad Ali mosque. Built inside the Citadel, the former headquarters of Egypt’s rulers, the mosque honors the early 19th-century leader credited with bringing the nation and Cairo out of a medieval past.
Photograph by Edward Carroll, My Shot
Viewed from atop a minaret, the Cairo skyline greets visitors with a fusion of religious tradition and modern realities. With over 11 million inhabitants in its metro area, the city that knew settlements as long as 6,000 years ago is presently the largest in the Middle East and Africa.
Kasr El Nil Bridge, Cairo
Photograph by Ahmad Tawakol, My Shot
Headlights streak across the Kasr El Nil (Palace of the Nile) bridge, which crosses the Nile River in Cairo. Guarded by bronze lions, the bridge was completed in its current form in 1933 and now lies at the center of an important tourism district.
Photograph by Nour Elrefai, My Shot
A whirling dervish is framed by his colorful robes as he twirls. The traditional dance of the Sufi Muslim religious order is performed throughout the Arab world in local variations.
Bahariya Oasis Rock Formation
Photograph by Mostafa Shady, My Shot
A distinctive rock formation rises out of the desert in Bahariya Oasis. Located in Egypt’s Western Desert, Bahariya has yielded important dinosaur fossils and archaeological discoveries.
Photograph by Matt Moyer
Visitors navigate a narrow path through the Colored Canyon in the Sinai. Long both a holy land and battleground, the triangular peninsula’s historical sites and natural beauty today make Sinai a popular tourist destination.
Photograph by Jon Carlile
The granite exterior wall of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina is lined with hieroglyphs and characters from 120 different languages. The research and intellectual center, opened in 2001, is located in the Eastern Harbor of Alexandria, near the site where archaeologists believe the ancient Library of Alexandria once stood.
Photograph by Taylor S. Kennedy
Headless statues of Ramses II stand guard at the Luxor temple complex. Known to the ancients as Thebes, the city of Luxor now draws throngs of tourists to the Luxor and Karnak temples and the nearby Valley of the Kings necropolis, where Tutankhamun's tomb was found.
Nile River at Sunset
Photograph by Fikry Botros, My Shot
A heron flies low over the Nile River at sunset. The storied river and its fertile valley—with an abundance of fish and waterfowl—have been at the center of Egyptian life and culture since the first kings seized control of Nile traffic some 5,000 years ago.
Morning on the Nile
Photograph by Ed Kashi
North of Egypt’s Aswan High Dam, a boy holds the reins of his horse as it drinks from the Nile River. In the early 1970s, the dam ushered in an era of water abundance for a country almost wholly dependent on the flow of the Nile.
Photograph by Matt Moyer
Members of a Bedouin tribe gather beneath a tent on Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The desert herdsmen make up more than half of Sinai’s 360,000 or so people, yet mainland Egyptians are often at odds with the desert-dwelling tribes who have historically roamed vast territories.
Photograph by Sami Sarkis/Getty Images
A diver in the Red Sea approaches a school of juvenile barracuda. The sea’s fragile underwater ecosystem includes a thousand species of fish, coral reefs, and mangroves, and has helped to make the Sinai coast—including the popular resort city of Sharm el Sheikh—Egypt’s top tourist destination.
Photograph by Andreas Strauss
Sailboats drift past illuminated tombs in Aswan, Egypt. As the ancient gateway to Nubia, source of gold for the Egyptian monarchs, Aswan once held a key position in river commerce. Today, feluccas shuttle tourists to Aswan’s sights, just downstream from the High Dam.
Gulf of Aqaba
Photograph by Matt Moyer
The blue waters of the Gulf of Aqaba ripple between Saudi Arabia (far shore) and resorts lining the eastern coast of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. A historical site of spirituality and conflict, the wedge of desert has become a mecca for pleasure-loving travelers and profit-seeking developers.
Subscribe to Nat Geo Traveler
Available in print and for iPad®! See destinations come alive with 360-degree photos, videos, and more!