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Unterwegs auf dem Nil, Bild: givaga / shutterstock

Cities on the Nile – culture and history at your fingertips

The Nile makes its way through Egypt over a length of 1,550 kilometers. As the longest and most important river in Africa, the Nile is a famous attraction for tourists from all over the world. The Nile is considered the origin of Egyptian history and culture. A visit to the cities on the Nile and the surrounding excursion destinations reveals the extraordinary architecture and culture of this region.

Cairo – lively metropolis

Cairo, Egypt
View of Cairo, Image: givaga / shutterstock

As the capital of Egypt, Cairo is one of the country’s greatest attractions. The city is full of life and exudes an immense fascination. Therefore, many tourists use Cairo as a base for exploring the Nile region.

Cairo looks back on 4,000 years of living history. A first port of call for tourists who want to familiarize themselves with the region is the Egyptian Museum. Here, numerous art treasures can be admired and visitors are provided with background information on the cultural heritage of the land of the pharaohs.

Pyramids and mosques are just as much a part of the excursion destinations as the hanging church or the bazaars, which are filled with hustle and bustle. On the largest Nile island Gezira, a well-known trendy district has been able to establish itself. In the bars and restaurants, holidaymakers can get to know the typical dishes of the country and talk to the locals.

Tourists leave the hustle and bustle of the metropolis behind on a boat tour on the Nile. A romantic atmosphere arises during a night boat trip, when the metropolis appears bathed in warm light.

Luxor – Pearl on the Nile

Nile, Luxor
The Nile divides Luxor into two parts, Image: Marcelo Alex / shutterstock

Luxor is considered the most beautiful city on the Nile. The city area is surrounded by a flourishing landscape. At the sight of the skyline, visitors feel transported to the stories of 1001 Nights.

In the heart of the city, directly on the banks of the Nile, rises the Luxor Temple, which was once built for the god Amun. Especially in the evening, the impressively illuminated temple building offers a fascinating sight.

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The Karnak Temple is considered the largest temple complex in Luxor. The building has been expanded and rebuilt many times and, together with the Luxor Temple and the Theban Necropolis, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Between Karnak and Luxor temples, the Luxor Museum opens its doors. The exhibition, which is well worth seeing, presents historical finds from the royal metropolis of Thebes.

In addition to a boat tour on the Nile, a hot air balloon ride is also one of the unforgettable experiences of a visit to Luxor.

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Aswan – History meets modernity

Aswan presents itself as modern and cosmopolitan. The city on the eastern bank of the Nile looks back on 5,500 years of history. The city centre and the waterfront promenade have been developed in a contemporary way and invite you to linger.

Only a few buildings in the old town still allow a glimpse into the past. On the Nile island of Elephantine are the ruins of the city of the same name. The architectural ensemble has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979.

On the Nile promenade, restaurants with typical dishes open their doors. The feluccas are anchored at the harbor. The two-masted sailing ships can be rented by ambitious leisure captains.

Sohag – tranquil west bank

The city of Sohag on the western bank of the Nile is hardly touched by tourism. The city is characterized by several church buildings, including the White Monastery, which got its name from the white limestone as a building material. For the Red Monastery, on the other hand, red-fired bricks were used.

In the Sohag Museum, thousands of artifacts from the long history of Sohag Governorate are on display to the public.

Asyut – a lively transport hub

Asyut is often used by tourists as a starting point for trips to the New Valley or the desert. The city on the western bank of the Nile already had a strategically favorable location in ancient times. Today, Asyut is a center of agriculture and crafts. Tourists can buy fresh dates and quinces here. The local craftsmen offer pottery or silver jewellery.

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The city has several mosques worth seeing and a picturesque bazaar district. In the Salam High School, an exhibition of exhibits from India, Egypt and Sudan can be seen.

Excursion destinations on the Nile

The cities on the Nile are a popular starting point for visiting the numerous excursion destinations in the Nile Delta. One of Egypt’s greatest attractions is the famous temples on the banks of the Nile.

Luxor and the Valley of the Kings

Karnak Temple, Luxor
The Karnak Temple in Luxor, Image: Zbigniew Guzowski / shutterstock

Luxor is a popular starting point to visit the Valley of the Kings. The World Heritage Site is home to over 60 historical tombs of the pharaohs. The entrance to the Valley of the Kings is lined with the two Colossi of Memnon. The huge rock figures were once part of the temple of Amenhoteps III and were considered a wonder of the world by the people of antiquity.

In the Valley of the Queens, the tomb of the Nefertari can be visited. The favorite wife of Pharaoh Ramses II was buried in a richly decorated tomb with expressive murals.

The temple of Hatshepsut cannot be overlooked. The imposing temple complex was laid out in terraces and carved directly into the rock. The building is surprisingly well preserved. The view from the steps of the temple complex extends far over the Nile Valley.

Pyramids of Giza

Front view of the Sphinx, Giza
Front view of the Sphinx, Image: AlexAnton / shutterstock

The attraction of every city trip to Egypt are the Pyramids of Giza. The three mighty buildings seem to be guarded by the mysterious Sphinx. The age of the pyramids is estimated to be about 4,500 years. The buildings are considered the only surviving wonder of the ancient world to this day.

The Great Pyramid of Khufu has gigantic dimensions with a side length of 230 meters and a height of almost 140 meters. There are many myths and legends surrounding the construction of the pyramids. It is believed that about 10,000 workers or slaves were involved in its construction.