EgyptThe "Mother of the World", as Egypt is known in Arab countries, was home to one of the most fascinating and inspiring civilizations in the history of mankind. Founded as a unified kingdom around 3150 BCE, the Nile Valley empire developed a unique culture that remained distinctly Egyptian for more than 3000 years.
After the so-called Early Dynastic Period, Egyptian history is commonly divided into the time of the Old Kingdom, c. 2686-2181 BCE, which includes the era of the pyramids; the Middle Kingdom, c. 2055-1650; and the New Kingdom, c. 1550-1069, which is also the time of the Karnak and Luxor temples and the Valley of the Kings in the new capital of Thebes. All this history is still very visible in the country, not only in the pyramids at the Western outskirts of metropolitan Cairo or in its Egyptian Museum at the now famous Tahrir Square. Remains of temples and statues line the Nile from Aswan to the delta. But you don't have to stop in the eras of pyramids and mummies. Mosques, churches, and synagogues point to Egypt's role for different peoples and faiths.
A simple walk through central Cairo takes you through centuries of past fame, conflicts, fortune, and culture from the Fatimids to the French architecture of this megacity's downtown. The Suez Canal was completed in 1869. It improved world trade routes and worsened Egypt's fate. Debt to European banks drove the country into enforced domination by external powers. Although Egypt declared independence in 1922, it remained under British occupation. In 1952, the Egyptian Revolution ended this and gained the country sovereignty. Don't forget that Egypt doesn't only consist of the Nile river banks. The Red Sea shores are well-known tourist destinations. The sandy seas of the Western Desert are much less frequented. Its oases provide challenging hikes and soothing relaxation.
5000 Years of World Culture: Highlights of Egypt