Egypt is a fascinating country that is full of interesting landmarks that tell the story of its long history. From natural Egyptian landmarks that have been standing for thousands of years, to newly built architectural marvels, Egypt has plenty of amazing sights to see.
Here are 30 of the most interesting landmarks in Egypt to choose from on your next vacation to Africa.
Most Famous Landmark In Egypt
The Great Pyramids of Giza
The most famous Egyptian landmarks are, of course, the ancient pyramids. 38 pyramids have been identified in Egypt, as well as a further 80 in Sudan, which was once part of the country.
The pyramids are giant burial chambers built from limestone, some over 100 meters tall. Some of the pyramids have been destroyed by the harsh desert conditions, but there are many which have successfully preserved mummies and artifacts for thousands of years.
The biggest and most famous pyramids can be found in the city of Giza. They’re easily accessible and well worth a visit, you need to see them in person to truly appreciate these magnificent structures.
The size of it in real life makes you wonder how in the world these impressive Egyptian monuments were built in ancient times.
Cairo, Egypt Landmarks
Tahrir Square is also called Martyr Square because it has frequently been the location of public protests and political demonstrations. The large public square is at the center of Cairo’s urban area.
This famous Egyptian landmark is the place where the Egyptian Revolution started in 1919. In 2011, history repeated itself and the square hosted protests leading to the President, Hosni Mubarak, resigning.
Other significant events have been the Egyptian Bread Riots in 1977 and protests against the Iraq War in 2003. There’s a Metro stop at the square so visiting this important Egyptian landmark is easy. This is one place to feel the pulse of the city.
The Cairo Opera House
The Cairo Opera House opened in 1988 and is funded by a gift from Japan to Egypt. If you’re hoping to enjoy a show during your visit to Egypt, the downtown area of the city is the place to be.
Don’t be put off by the name if you’re not an opera fan, the venue also hosts orchestras, choirs, ballet, theatre shows, a library, a museum, and an art gallery. There’s also an open-air theatre on the grounds.
Bab Zuweilai is one of the remaining gates at the entrance to the Old City of Cairo. It dates to the 11th Century and was built into a wall surrounding Cairo, to protect the city.
When you visit, a steep flight of stairs leads up to its two tours, which would’ve been used to spot enemies approaching the city. There’s also a platform, formerly used for the executions of criminals and traitors.
The top of the tower offers beautiful views across the Old City. Bab Zuweila is just one of many magnificent architectural Egyptian landmarks.
In the heart of Cairo lies a medieval fort, built by Salah ad-Din. From the 13th Century until the 19th Century, it served as the base of the Egyptian government.
Cairo citadel was built on the Mokattam hills in central Cairo, enabling its occupiers to see any enemies approaching. The large site is well-preserved and includes several mosques and museums. It has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1976 and is one of the coolest Egyptian famous landmarks.
The Cave Church
Also known as St. Simon Monastery, The Cave Church is the biggest in the Middle East. The church is in the Zabbaleen area of Cairo. Zabbaleen translates to “garbage city” because it was home to a huge population of garbage collectors, who were forced out of other areas of Cairo and came together to create their own community in the 1970s.
Most people were of the Coptic faith and created their own church, under the cliffs of the Mokattam Mountain. This unique church is now a famous landmark in Egypt. Its rocky ceilings and intricate cliff-face carvings are fascinating.
Alexandria, Egypt Landmarks
The Bibliothecha Alexandrina
The Bibliotecha Alexandrina is a recreation of the ancient Library of Alexandria, which was destroyed in antiquity. The project to build the new library began in 1986 and was heavily supported by UNESCO. It sits on the coast, overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in Alexandria city.
This is one of the largest libraries in Egypt with over eight million books. The building also houses museums, art galleries, and a planetarium so you can immerse yourself even further in Alexandria’s city. The Bibliotecha is regarded as a site of scientific and cultural excellence.
Citadel of Qaitbay
The Citadel of Qaitbay is an incredible fortress in Alexandria which dates to the 15th Century. It has been repaired multiple times over the centuries since and is almost fully intact, making it a fascinating Egyptian landmark to explore.
The Citadel is one of the most impressive architectural structures in the city. It enjoys beautiful views across the Eastern Harbour of the Port of Alexandria. Guided tours are available and are the perfect way to learn more about Alexandria’s interesting history.
The Royal Jewelry Museum
Despite its name, the Royal Jewelry Museum is home to far more than just jewelry. It displays a large collection of jewels, art, statues, paintings, and other items from the 19th Century Muhammed Ali Dynasty.
The Muhammad Ali dynasty ruled Egypt from 1805 until 1952 when they were overthrown by the Egyptian Revolution. Muhammed Ali was a military commander and founded modern Egypt.
The museum first opened in Alexandria in 1986 and is based in the 1919 former palace of Princess Fatma Al-Zahraa. The building itself is a work of art and its walls and ceilings are extravagantly decorated.
Egypt’s main port is Alexandria. It includes two harbors: the West, which is used by container ships, and the East, which is popular with fishing boats and swimmers.
The West port handles over half of the country’s international imports and exports. The East port offers beautiful views across the harbor and has plenty of fantastic seafood restaurants to enjoy. You can take the opportunity to also try some local and traditional Egyptian food.
Alexandria Port is one of the world’s oldest, built in 1900BC. Without surprise, this is not just one of the most prominent but also economically important landmarks in Egypt. The Alexandria Shipyard was built by the Soviet Union in 1960, before being taken over by the Ministry of Defense in 2004.
Montazah Palace and Gardens
Head to East Alexandria to explore the beautiful gardens of Montazah Palace. This famous landmark in Egypt dates to the 1890s and was built by Khedive Abbas Hilmi.
The palace itself isn’t open to the public but the gardens are a lovely spot to take a quick break from busy city life. Enjoy a picnic on its pristine lawns or take a stroll through the landscaped gardens and palm-tree-lined walkways.
Giza, Egypt Landmarks
Giza Zoological Garden
The Giza Zoo covers 80 acres of green space in the city center. It opened in 1891 as a private collection and has since grown to house around 6,000 animals. If you are bringing kids, this will be a fascinating landmark in Egypt to visit for them.
Here, you’ll find a variety of endangered and rare species, including California sea lions, Scimitar-horned oryxes, black bears, Egyptian cobras, and Egyptian tortoises. The zoo is large, so dedicate a full day of your trip to spend here.
The Egyptian Museum
We have all heard our fair share of stories about ancient Egypt; this is where it comes to life, where myths are debunked and new stories told.
One of the things Egypt is famous for is the Egyptian Museum in Giza. Since 1901, the museum has displayed one of the most extensive and fascinating collections of artifacts and mummies found from Ancient Egyptian times.
There are 120,000 pieces on display, and even more in storage which are regularly rotated. If you only visit one museum during your trip to Egypt, this is by far the best place to learn about the country’s long and varied history.
Despite its name, the main campus of Cairo University is across the Nile, in Giza. It has a reputation as the top university in Egypt and is the second oldest, after Al Azhar University. It’s now an iconic Egyptian landmark on the city’s skyline. The university was established in 1908, although the Giza campus wasn’t built until 1929.
The university is ranked 392nd in the world by USNWR. It has produced two Nobel Peace Prize laureates: Mohamed ElBaradei, a diplomat, and Yasser Arafat, a former President of the Palestinian National Authority.
Luxor, Egypt Landmarks
The Karnak Temple Complex
The ancient village of Karnak dates to the New Kingdom era of Egypt. It consists of the remains of many ancient temples, chapels, and buildings, and was once a significant place of worship.
Karnak is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and visiting feels like you’re stepping back in time. The Karnak Open Air Museum displays reconstructions showing what the original buildings would’ve looked like.
The modern town of El-Karnak sits 2.5 kilometers North of Luxor and is named in tribute to the ancient village.
The Mummification Museum
There are many fascinating museums in Egypt, but if you’re especially interested in mummies, you’ll love the Mummification Museum in Luxor city center. This museum opened in 1997 and is one of Egypt’s most visited.
In Ancient Egyptian times, dead bodies were embalmed and wrapped in layers of cloth and resin to preserve them for the afterlife. The technique was very effective and there are many mummies still intact that are available to view up close in the museum. You’ll also get to see mummified animals!
Avenue of the Sphinxes
The Avenue of the Sphinxes is a famous walkway stretching 2.7 kilometers from Luxor Temple to Karnak Temple, in Luxor city. It only opened to the public in 2021 but was part of ancient Thebes and displays over 1,000 incredible statues, mostly sphinxes. It is the product of over 70 years of archaeological work.
Valley of the Kings
One of Luxor’s most famous Egyptian landmarks is the Valley of the Kings, to the West of the Nile. During the New Kingdom from 1550 – 1069 BC, pharaohs were buried in the valley, at the foot of the Al Qurn mountain. There are currently 63 tombs and burial chambers at the Valley of the Kings.
Sadly, the site has been looted and battered by the weather over the centuries. Yet, it’s open to the public and the tourist center makes an interesting visit to learn more about Egypt’s ancient rulers.
Other Famous Landmarks In Egypt
Hurghada Grand Aquarium
In the Red Sea Governorate, a three-hour drive from Luxor, is one of the biggest aquariums in Africa. The Hurghada Grand Aquarium is one of the newest Egypt landmarks, opened in 2015, but nonetheless is hugely popular with tourists.
It contains 900,000 gallons of water and 1200 animals from across 100 species. Some of the most exciting exhibits are the shark tunnel, whale fossils, stingrays, and green sea turtles. When you visit, you’ll find many native species to Africa that you won’t see in the USA or Europe.
Muizz Street is one of the busiest streets in Cairo, inside the walls of the ancient city. The street is almost as old as the city itself, dating to the 10th Century. The street stretches from the North gate to the South gate, which guards either side of the city.
Here, you’ll find an abundance of traditional street markets, called souqs, selling a variety of traditional Egyptian clothes, local delicacies, and souvenirs. This symbolic street is also home to many significant monuments and is ideal for sightseeing.
Deir el-Medina is an ancient village on the banks of the River Nile. It was once the home of workers who built the sacred tombs at the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. The settlement was originally named Set Maat, which means “Place of Truth”. It dates to the 18th Dynasty in 1550-1080 BCE.
This Egyptian landmark is of particular interest because the lives of its community members were documented in detail for a period of around 400 years.
Bernard Bruyère conducted an excavation project of the site from 1922 to 1951 and found that everything from living conditions to social interactions had been documented thoroughly. Records of transactions, ancient texts, and many objects have been found at the site.
Elephantine is a small island on the River Nile, close to Aswan city in the East of Egypt. It stretches just 1,200 meters by 400 meters and is named because it’s shaped like an elephant’s tusk. Elephantine is thousands of years old; the first recorded mention of the island was a fort that stood on it in around 1600 BC.
The island contains important archaeological sites which are protected UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The most notable area of this historic landmark is the ancient ruin of the Temple of Khnum. It’s also home to the fascinating Aswan Museum.
Kitchener’s Island & Aswan Botanical Garden
El Nabatat Island, also nicknamed Kitchener’s Island after its former owner Lord Kitchener, is a tiny island in the River Nile. It’s just 1 kilometer long and half a kilometer wide, but a lot of natural beauty is packed into this small area. The island is home entirely to the Aswan Botanical Garden.
The area is home to exotic plants, palm tree-lined walkways, and beautifully landscaped gardens. It’s also used for botanical research.
To visit this peaceful natural Egyptian landmark, you’ll need to take a short boat ride over from the city of Aswan. It’s a lovely place to spend a few hours unwinding from the bustling cities of Egypt.
Natural Landmarks In Egypt
The River Nile
The River Nile is one of the most famous rivers in the world, known for being the second longest. Only the Amazon River is longer, by just 105 kilometers. The Nile begins in Lake Victoria, which spans Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania. It flows through eleven countries before joining the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Egypt.
The river has been one of the most important landmarks in Egypt for thousands of years, with most of the country’s settlements based along its banks. It remains the main water source in Egypt.
A river cruise is hands down the best way to explore the wonders of the Nile.
The Red Sea
The Red Sea flows mostly along the border between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Its name derives from beautiful red plants which are native to its shallow shores – trichodesmium erythraeum. The Red Sea is 2250 kilometers long and 335 kilometers at its widest point.
The deepest point reaches 3040 meters from the surface and is full of over 1,000 species of diverse and interesting marine creatures. The Red Sea is famously extremely salty which makes it easy to float in.
It has been one of the most significant natural landmarks in Egypt for many years and is a major trade route for cargo ships.
Nabq Protected Area
The Nabq nature reserve was established in 1992 to create a safe environment for local wildlife and marine creatures. It is mostly left to grow and thrive naturally to allow biological diversity. It covers an area of 600 square kilometers on the South Sinai Peninsula.
The area is naturally beautiful and has some of the most vibrant coral reefs in the Red Sea. It’s also home to a variety of mangroves and endangered species, providing them with a vital natural habitat.
It’s a popular Egypt landmark with tourists due to its breathtaking natural scenery and is a lovely spot to try camel rides or enjoy traditional Egyptian meals.
One of the most beautiful Egyptian landmarks in the Red Sea is Elphinstone Reef. Take a 30-kilometer boat trip off the coast of Marsa Alam in the South-East of Egypt for a stunning dive down into the vibrant coral reef. The reef is notable for its soft coral species. If you’re lucky, you could spot an Oceanic whitetip shark or a Hawksbill turtle!
The Colored Canyon is a striking natural rock formation in the desert on the Sinai Peninsula. Its name comes from its many vibrant multicolored layers of stones.
This unbelievable natural wonder reflects the desert sunset, with bright oranges, reds, pinks, and purples. It stretches almost 800 meters across and 30 meters deep. Hike through the narrow, twisting tunnels or scramble up the cliff face for a beautiful adventure.
A great natural landmark in Egypt to visit for nature lovers and trekking enthusiasts.
The White Desert
The White Desert is a protected national park, near Qsar El Farafra. The area is a total of 3,010 square kilometers. The park is famous for its huge chalk rock formations, hence its name. They occur naturally because of the strong winds in the area, which cause sand to erode rocks.
Several endangered and rare species can be found at the park, including Rhim gazelle, jackals, and sand foxes.
Valley of the Whales
Wādī al-Ḥītān, which translates to Valley of the Whales, is a significant paleontological landmark in the Faiyum Governate, in Northern Egypt. It is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site that’s famous for having an abundance of well-preserved whale fossils. The fossils belong to an extinct ancient ancestor of modern whales, the archaeoceti.
The most fascinating part of this protected Egyptian landmark is that it shows whales were once land mammals, before evolving into ocean dwellers. The biggest whale skeleton in the valley is 21 meters long!
Discovering Famous Landmarks In Egypt
The ancient country of Egypt is one of the most exciting places in the world to visit. It has so much fascinating history, kept alive for thousands of years thanks to its amazing Egyptian landmarks.
From the ancient pyramids to the River Nile, there are so many beautiful sights to see.
These are just a handful of the many famous landmarks in Egypt. The best way to find out more about Egypt’s incredible history is to visit and explore for yourself where you’ll be sure to discover many more Egyptian landmarks.