Egypt, a country linking northeast Africa with the Middle East, dates to the time of the pharaohs.

Millennia-old monuments sit along the fertile Nile River Valley, including Giza’s colossal Pyramids and Great Sphinx as well as Luxor’s hieroglyph-lined Karnak Temple and Valley of the Kings tombs.

The capital, Cairo, is home to Ottoman landmarks like Muhammad Ali Mosque and the Egyptian Museum, a trove of antiquities.

The Mediterranean port of Alexandria is the site of Greco-Roman remains such as Pompey’s Pillar and the rock-cut Catacombs of Kom el Shoqafa.

On the Sinai Peninsula lie biblical Mt. Sinai and Red Sea beach resorts such as Sharm el-Sheikh, known for Ras Mohammed National Park’s coral reefs. Far to the south in Nubia are the temples at Abu Simbel, built for Pharaoh Ramesses II and Nefertari, and moved to save them from the rising waters of the Nile.

Still, much of Egypt is uninhabited Sahara desert and dunes, which can be reached on safari by camel or jeep.

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When to visit

Egypt has a hot desert climate, with some scorching days May–Sep. The rest of the year is cooler. Winter (Dec–Feb) is generally mild, with cold nights in the desert. Sham el-Nessim (Apr/May) is a spring festival with feasts, following the Coptic Easter. The Bibliotheca Alexandrina Summer Festival (Aug) features concerts, films and theatrical performances. The Cairo International Film Festival (Nov/Dec) focuses on Arab productions. Islamic celebrations include Eid al-Fitr (dates vary), with feasting to end Ramadan.