As well as knowing their subject, they also know how to have fun and to make a trip to Egypt more than just a history lesson.
These are Egyptologists Sherien Helal (SH), Mahmoud Ramadan (MR) and Hassan Abdelrazik’s (HA) top picks of both ancient and modern Egypt.
Image credit: Dennis Bunnik
What's your favourite ancient Egyptian site?
SH: My favourite ancient Egyptian site is the Valley of the Kings. It is the greatest royal necropolis and dates back to the New Kingdom period (1500BC). It captures the glory of the ancient Egyptian religion with its rich resurrection mythology. In my opinion this site is perfect to visit all year but I think morning is the best time.
MR: My favourite site is the beautiful Philae Temple at Aswan. It is amazingly peaceful here and is in such a unique location situated upon an island in the Nile. It is very pretty and was built for the goddess Isis. Isis was the main goddess in Egyptian mythology and was linked with love, beauty and magic. Philae Temple is a relative baby among Egypt’s ancient temples, surviving from the 6th century AD and has some beautiful hieroglyphs. A morning visit in May or September is my favourite. The weather is mild and you are amongst the first to visit the site for the day. At night there is a Light Show that is also very popular and stunning to witness.
HA: For me I’d have to say the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx are my favourite ancient sites. The Great Pyramid of Cheops (circa 2,600BC) is the most famous pyramid in the world. It is one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World and is in fine condition. The nearby Sphinx, combining the head of a man and the body of a lion, is the biggest rock-cut statue in the world – it’s 57 metres of one single piece of rock! In summer I think the best time to visit is in the morning – it’s cooler and you can sometimes get ahead of the crowds. In winter I think the afternoon is nicest.
Image credit: Dennis Bunnik
Who is your favourite Pharaoh?
Image credit: TuthmosisIII.JPG: en:User:Chipdawesderivative work: Oltau, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Our expert Egypologists agreed! All three named Thutmoses III as their favourite Pharaoh.
His military prowess, as leader of no fewer than 17 campaigns, saw him create the largest empire Egypt has ever seen.
He also was a prolific builder and much of the architecture in Karnak can be attributed to his work.
What do Egypt's modern sites have to offer?
SH: Egypt isn’t just about its ancient sites. It has plenty of modern attractions to offer too. The north coast resorts are one of my favourite modern places to visit. It is one of the main attractions where we can enjoy our summer holidays.
MR: My favourite modern site is Alexandria’s New Bibliotheca which opened in 2002. It is a national treasure where arts, science and history come together working on Egypt’s future. It is also a magnificent piece of modern architecture.
HA: I have many favourite modern picks for a host of reasons. The new Suez Canal project will help improve our economy and provides a better connection between the East and West. The Grand Museum being built near the pyramids will be the biggest and best in the world. Lastly I love El-Azhar Park near the Citadel of Salah Elfin in Cairo. It has such a beautiful panorama of Cairo and the Citadel along with a nice collection of gardens and restaurants. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset.
Image credit: Moushira at meta.wikimedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Bunnik Tours offer a range of small group tours to Egypt, guided by our expert egyptologists. Click here to find out more about how you can experience Egypt for yourself.