10 Breathtaking Sights and Museums You Should Have on Your Bucket List That Are NOT in Cairo
There is one thing both Egyptians and tourists should realize; Egypt is not limited to its capital. Cairo is charming, no one can ever deny that, but the heritage of this North African country is far-reaching. Now with Egypt being a major touristic hub once more; it would be considered ignorant to not celebrate the lesser-known parts of history that truly make the country a melting pot of civilizations.
From Alexandria to Nubia, and everything in between, Egypt has a myriad of museums spread across the governorates; some in places we bet you have never even heard of! So here goes our list for 10 breathtaking museums that are not located in Cairo for all the travelers out there.
Alexandria National Museum
Situated in Fouad Street, the Alexandria National Museum is a guide to the history of the famed city. The building is filled to the brim with artifacts from different eras including the Pharaonic, Ptolemaic, and Roman. It houses a collection of statues, antiquities, and artworks.
Between exhibitions, there are a number of maps that re-imagine classical Alexandria and how it would have looked like if visitors traveled back in time.
At the easternmost end of the corniche, a mighty castle stood guard over Alexandria’s harbor since 1480. In order to protect the northern Egyptian border, The Mamluk Sultan Qaitbey ordered a castle to be built on the ruins of the Pharos Lighthouse, a wonder of the ancient world that got toppled down by a violent earthquake in 1303; its rubble was used in the construction of the fort.
The Roman Amphitheater
Found in Kom Al-Dikka, or “The Mound of Rubbles” in English, this was a forgotten ruin until 1947 when excavation efforts discovered remains of an ancient Ptolemaic Temple, a small amphitheater, and the mosaic flooring of a Roman-era house now known as the “Villa of Birds”.
Al-Alamein War Memorials
To the west of Alexandria lies the city of Al-Alamein, a coastal desert city that once was the ground for the Battle of Al-Alamein, the Allied Forces’ first major victory over Germany during the events of World War II. The town is home to a war museum indicating Egypt’s role in the Second World War and the Commonwealth Cemetery, a tribute to the fallen soldiers of the war.
Recently, the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities reopened the Tanta Museum in Gharbiya Governorate after 19 years of closure. Several plans to restore and renovate the museum have been put in place throughout the years, but the opening date was always postponed. Two days ago, these goals came to fruition.
The museum is composed of five floors and is home to 8,579 artifacts dating back to several Egyptian historical eras, including the Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Coptic, and Islamic ones.
The Military Museum of Port Said
Eight years following the Egyptian victory over Israel, France, and the United Kingdom in the events of the Suez Crisis, the Military Museum of Port Said opened its doors to the public in celebration of the governorate and its people.
The museum has some of the spoils the Egyptian forces managed to gather in the aftermath of their victory in both the Tripartite aggression and the 6th of October War; for instance, it hosts a large collection of tools, equipment, Israeli tanks, canons, guns, and some parts and sections of military aircraft.
Abu Simbel Temple
Nestled beneath the Upper Egyptian sun, on the western bank of Lake Nasser, Abu Simbel Temple is a time-defying edifice of ancient Egyptian architectural ingenuity.
The museum is worldly renowned for one unique phenomenon; on the 22nd of February, the birth date of the late Egyptian pharaoh, and again on the 22nd of October, his coronation, the rays of the sun illuminate three of four statuses situated at the top of the temple’s interior, each of which is 22.5 meters in height.
Dendera Temple Complex
Discovered in the mid 19th century by French Egyptologist Auguste Mariette, the temple of Dendera is one of the most well-preserved ancient Egyptian temples. It was built mainly using sandstone and has gone through one major renovation that began under the Greek Ptolemies but was completed 185 years later during the reign of the Roman Emperor Tiberius. It is one of the most aesthetically beautiful museums in all of Egypt.
Although Greek in culture, the Ptolemies revered the ancient Egyptian lifestyle, and consecutively, their religion, to the point where many Egyptian deities were incorporated into Greek mythology. Therefore, the reason behind the Ptolemaic renovation was to honor the Egyptian Goddess Hathor.
The Monastery of Deir Abu Makar
One of the holy places located in Wadi Al-Natroun, northwest of Cairo, the Monastery is named after St. Makarios, who became the spiritual leader of the monks in the area. The monastery is awash with art in the form of paintings and frescos dating back to the 5th century A.D.
Saint Catherine Monastery
Between the golden dunes of the Sinai desert, at the foot of Mount Sinai, the Saint Catherine Monastery is one of the oldest Christian monasteries in the world still operating to this day.
Mount Sinai with its sanctity to followers of the three faiths is a UNESCO World Heritage Site for the immense historical as well as cultural relevance it has. The most renowned of the manuscripts in the monastery’s library is the “Codex Sinaiticus”, a manuscript of the Bible written in ancient Greek, which is considered to be the oldest surviving copy of the New Testament.