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Tripguru Guide for Cairo

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Side Trips from Cairo

created by fodors-partner on 2017-08-10

Side Trips from Cairo

In order that the living could view the grandeur of the dead god-kings—and, in many cases, be buried alongside them—ancient Egyptians used the sites in the desert west of Memphis, one of the most enduring of ancient capitals, for their royal necropolises. These sites are filled with tombs from all periods of Egyptian history. Just beyond Cairo proper on the Nile's west bank, stand the monuments most closely identified with Egypt: the timeless Sphinx and the Pyramids of Giza. But slightly farther away lie the pyramids of Abu Sir, Saqqara, Dahshur, and the site of Memphis. Most of the visitable pharaonic sites in the environs of Cairo date from the Old Kingdom (2575–2134 BC), although these sites also contain monuments and statuary from the Middle and New Kingdoms and later.

Driving to the various Memphite cemeteries from central Cairo takes one to two hours, depending on which places you decide to visit. Part of the road to Abu Sir, Saqqara, Dahshur, and Memphis follows a canal and passes through small villages, fields, and palm orchards, which is soothing compared to the drive to Giza. Seeing Abu Sir should take a leisurely 1½ hours; Saqqara can take from four hours to an entire day. For Memphis an hour is more than enough, but allow two for Dahshur. Taking in a combination of sites in one day can be very pleasant—Giza and Saqqara; Abu Sir, Saqqara, and Memphis; Dahshur and Saqqara, and so forth. The Fayyum, Egypt's largest oasis, is farther south of Cairo, and the Wadi Natrun monasteries are northwest of Cairo; both require more travel time but can still be visited on day trips.
  • 1
    Memphis

    6 votes

    Sight

    Memphis (Arabic: مَنْف‎ Manf pronounced [mænf]; Coptic: ⲙⲉⲙϥⲓ; Greek: Μέμφις) was the ancient ca...

  • 2
    Abusir

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    City

    Abusir (Arabic: ابو صير‎ Egyptian Arabic pronunciation: [æbuˈsˤiːɾ]; Egyptian pr wsjr; Coptic: ⲃ...

  • 3
    Step Pyramid

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    Sight

    The Pyramid of Djoser (or Djeser and Zoser), or step pyramid (kbhw-ntrw in Egyptian) is an archeo...

  • 5
    Mastaba of Kagemni

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    Sight

  • 6
    Pyramid of Unas

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    Sight

    The Pyramid Complex of Unas is located in the pyramid field at Saqqara, near Cairo in Egypt. It w...

  • 7
    Imhotep Museum

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    Museum / Gallery

    The Imhotep Museum is an archaeological museum located at the foot of the Saqqara necropolis comp...

  • 8
    Pyramid of Teti

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    Sight

    The Pyramid of Teti is a smooth-sided pyramid situated in the pyramid field at Saqqara in Egypt. ...

  • 9
    Serapeum of Saqqara

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    Sight

    The Serapeum of Saqqara is a serapeum located north west of the Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara, a n...

  • 10
    Mastaba of Niankhkhnum and Khnumhotep

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    Sight

  • 11
    Mastaba of Ti

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    Sight

  • 12
    Dahshur

    4 votes

    Sight

    For a contrast to touristy Pyramids of Giza, head south to the oldest known pyramid, the Red Pyra...

  • 13
    Nazla

    0 votes

    City

  • 14
    Karanis

    0 votes

    Sight

    Karanis (Greek: Καρανίς), located in modern Kom Aushim, was an agricultural town in Graeco-Roman ...

  • 15
    Faiyum Oasis

    0 votes

    City

    The Faiyum Oasis (Arabic: واحة الفيوم‎ Waḥet El Fayyum) is a depression or basin in the desert im...

  • 16
    Monastery of Saint Pishoy

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    Sight

    The Monastery of Saint Pishoy (also spelled Bishoy, Pshoi, or Bishoi) in Wadi El Natrun, Beheira ...

  • 17
    Syrian Monastery, Egypt

    0 votes

    Sight

    The Syrian Monastery is a Coptic Orthodox monastery located in Wadi El Natrun (the Nitrian Desert...

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