Study abroad in Egypt, the land of pharaohs, fast-paced car chases through the desert, treasure hunters, and myths of mummies wreaking havoc in Cairo. Truly, Egypt is a fertile and ripe land for the imagination to run rampant, and a great location to create the most amazing adventures. Study steps away from the Great Pyramids of Giza and imagine pharaohs walking along your same path. Egypt is an easy sell in terms of a study abroad program but just in case you haven’t quite made up your mind, here are five great reasons to choose it.
1. The Ancient Pyramids
At the top of the list are the 138 ancient pyramids. From the oldest, the Pyramid of Djoser, near Saqqara, to the tallest, the Pyramid of Khufu at Giza, each wondrous structure holds its own allure and tombs of stories. The Great Pyramid of Giza is perhaps the most well known. It took over 20 years to build and stands at 455 feet tall.
The three Pyramids of Giza are only about an hour from Cairo making it is an easy day trip but don’t worry if it starts to get late. They hold a sound and light show at night. Ask yourself, “what could be better than studying the only Wonder of the Ancient World still standing?” Then repeat it to someone who can help get you to the pyramids as soon as possible.
2. The Sphinx
The chance to see the Great Sphinx of Giza up close and bask in its monumental presence is something no one should pass up. It is a mythical creature with a lion's body and a human head, something you don’t usually see in your day to day life anywhere else. The Great Sphinx of Giza was built in 2500 BC during the reign of Pharaoh Khafre. The Sphinx is made of limestone and is believed to have been constructed to pay homage to the sun. The magnificent piece also pays homage to the intelligence and skills of the ancient Egyptians.
3. The Nile River
Throughout history, rivers have played a crucial role in building and maintaining civilizations. In the eastern part of the Fertile Crescent, in what is now Iraq and Iran, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers gave birth to Mesopotamian civilization, which in turn produced the Sumerian, Akkadian, Babylonian, and Assyrian empires. At the other end of the Fertile Crescent site is the world famous Nile River, which is considered the father of civilization in that area.
The Nile is the longest river in the world at over 4,132 miles long. It spans the entire eastern side of continental Africa running through ten different countries. The river has earned its reputation as the largest open air museum in the world with endless excursions and sides along its banks. There are the rock temples of Luxor and Abu Simbel, dozens of tombs in the Valley of the Kings, and the magical city of Aswan. Visitors can float along in traditional felucca boats or fly above the area to take in the sites.
4. The City of Alexandria
Founded in 331 BC and named after Alexander the Great, Alexandria is a city infused with history. It’s the second largest city in Egypt in terms of land area and population and is well known for its historic wonders like the Lighthouse of Alexandria. Also known as the Lighthouse of the Pharaohs, it was built in the third century BC and is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by an earthquake but the site can still be visited and archeologists continue to examine the area unlocking the mysteries of Egyptian society.
The Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa, is one of Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages, and is unlike any other catacomb. Legend has it that a pack mule carrying goods through the desert fell through a hole and disappeared and that is how the modern world was introduced to this site. It housed the dead for 200 years and its name means mound of shards. There were masses of broken pottery found around the site most likely from ancient visitors who brought meals. It is no wonder Alexandria, once Egypt’s capital, has become one of the most popular study abroad destinations in all of Egypt.
5. Mount Sinai
Mount Sinai rises over 8,600 feet high making it Egypt’s tallest peak. Many tours start around 1 am and hikers climb through the night to watch the sunrise from the peak. Many people make the trek to the top but visitors should not take the challenge lightly. Mount Sinai is not for the faint of heart or weak willed. But if you don't have the endurance or want to make the climb by foot, you can join a camel caravan going to the top at a rather affordable price.
A religious and biblical monument in its own right, it is believed to be the site where Moses received the ten commandments according to the Christian bible. It is still a popular pilgrimage site and home to one of the oldest monasteries in the world.