Ancient Egypt was one of the world's first known civilizations. Some of its most iconic landmarks, the Pyramids of Giza, are 4,500 years old. Egyptian culture has thrived as part of the Hellenistic Empire, the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the British Empire, and present-day Egypt. While Egypt has since changed its dominant religion twice (first to Christianity then to Islam) and its language once (to Arabic), Ancient Egyptian heritage still plays a major role in the self image of the country, as does the Nile, about which the oldest poems and songs still known to man were written.
The banks of the Nile River have been inhabited since time immemorial. Written records started to appear around 3000 BC, with the Early Dynastic Period, and one of the world's first known monarchies. Ancient Egyptian history is usually divided between the Old Kingdom (2686–2181 BC), the Middle Kingdom (2134–1690 BC) and the New Kingdom (1549–1069 BC), each of them surviving five hundred years, still preceding any known civilizations in Europe. To give an idea of the timespans involved: the pyramids were older to Julius Caesar than he is to us, and he was still dealing with an independent Egyptian state claiming - despite its Greek descendant rulers - to be the same state that built the pyramids.
Egypt is described in the Pentateuch of the Old Testament, the myths of origin of Judaism. The Exodus of Moses from Egypt to the Holy Land is dated to around 1300 BC, but is not supported by archaeology or other sources. In any case, the Old Testament has shaped the afterworld's image of ancient Egypt.
The Egyptian kingdoms had some exchange with Ancient Mesopotamia, and it is unknown whether inventions such as writing, numeracy or the calendar were developed independently in Egypt, or imported from Mesopotamia.
- 1 Abu Simbel. Moved for the Aswan Dam.
- 2 Abusir.
- 3 Abydos.
- 4 Alexandria.
- 5 Dendera.
- 6 Fayum. Nearby Meidum is the site of one of the oldest pyramids, of the step type, built by the ancient Egyptians.
- 7 Giza. Famous for its pyramids and actually surprisingly close to the urban sprawl of modern Cairo
- 8 Luxor.
- 9 Memphis.
- 10 Aswan.
- 11 Saqqara.
- 12 Valley of the Kings.