A historical tour of Egypt is filled with excursions to pyramids, temples, and tombs. All of these structures help illuminate the country's history through revealing the lives of ancient Egyptians and how they worshipped. The sheer number of Egyptian temples across the country makes them a popular attraction for visitors. Each city in Egypt had a temple built for the god of that city, and in that temple, people could communicate with their gods through prayers and offerings. The temples of Egypt were a place to appease the gods and persuade them to provide help or assistance.
The Luxor Temple is one of the most famous temple tourist attractions in Egypt. Located on the bank of the Nile River, this large temple complex was built during the stable New Kingdom period, in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries BC. The Luxor Temple is known specifically for its stone carvings, including multiple pharaohs. Built in 1400 BC, the temple is incredibly well preserved for its age. This has resulted in the Luxor Temple finding its way into popular culture through film; for instance, this Egyptian temple appears in both Death on the Nile and the James Bond Film The Spy Who Loved Me.
Tours centered on ancient customs aren’t complete without a trip to an Egyptian tomb. Some tombs are in the form of large pyramids, such as those at Giza or Saqqara, while other tombs were dug into rock. Tombs in Egypt were the burial places for pharaohs and other important political figures. They often contained very valuable jewels and pieces of art. For this reason, they sometimes were robbed, as is the case with the most famous Egyptian tomb, of King Tut. It is believed that his tomb was robbed twice in the time immediately following his burial, though afterward it survived relatively undisturbed until its discovery in 1922.
Egyptian temples had different chambers for different members of society. The outer chamber was available to anyone, while the inner chambers of the temple were reserved for the high priests and pharaoh only. Even these high members of religious society only entered the inner chamber of Egyptian temples at certain times of the day, according to ceremony. Worshippers brought offerings to the gods to the outer chamber and were never allowed to go beyond to the center of the temple. Abu Simbel is a popular temple to visit during an Egypt vacation and displays sculptures of the Pharaoh cut into rock around 1300 BC.
Visiting an Egyptian tomb reveals much about the civilization's attitudes toward the afterlife. Egyptians believed that some part of the deceased lived on, and therefore food and offerings were left in the tomb. This is the thought behind mummification as well, to preserve the body. Each artifact found in tombs has revealed much about the Egyptian way of life. If you’re interested in these artifacts, make sure to tour the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, which has the largest display of Egyptian artifacts anywhere in the world.