Best art, architecture and museums in Egypt

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In Cairo
(Cairo; tel. 02/575-2448 or 578-2452): The world's largest collection of Ancient Egyptian artifacts, with over 120,000 pieces on display. It's impossible to see everything in one visit, but make sure you catch the Tutankhamun exhibit, with its famous gold mask and sarcophagus.

Saqqara: A fine collection of pyramids and tombs on the outskirts of Cairo, in an area that was once the cemetery for the ancient city of Memphis. Best known for its Step Pyramid, said to be the prototype for the larger and more sophisticated Pyramids at Giza.

Islamic Cairo: A whole district of ancient alleys, squares and mosques, including the magnificent Mosque of Ibn Tulun. Check out the nearby Gayer Anderson Museum, a restored Ottoman home that was featured in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. Spend a day or more strolling around, and visit the Citadel and the Museum of Islamic Arts.

Hanging Church: Built over a 2nd century Roman gate, this church dedicated to the Virgin Mary was started as early as the 3rd century and has been a work in progress ever since. It is said to be the oldest church in Egypt. Highlights include wonderfully preserved icons, an ancient marble pulpit, and friendly volunteer guides from the local church group.

The Most Unforgettable Travel Experiences in Egypt
See the Pyramids: No experience in Egypt will quite match the awe of seeing the Pyramids of Giza up close -- one is instantly gripped with how enormous they really are. The largest one, Cheops, is made of 2.3 million stones weighing an average 2.5 tons each, and until the Eiffel Tower was built in 1889 it was the tallest man-made structure in the world. Picture what it must have looked liked 4,500 years ago when it was new, completely encased in a smooth shell of shining limestone.

Snorkel or dive in the Red Sea: Crystal-clear water, spotless skies, and an amazingly diverse maritime wildlife makes the Red Sea one of the best places in the world to scuba dive and snorkel. Whether you're on the mainland coast or the Sinai peninsula, you'll be wowed by bustling coral reefs and flashy tropical fish.

Shop in Khan El Khalili: A 600-year old labyrinthine souk that sells everything from mummified lizards to rose essence, this is a shopping treat not to be missed. Take your time and explore the winding alleys, where you can haggle for silver and gold, precious stones, rugs, arabesque woodwork and Pharaonic knock-offs. Stop for tea at the Naguib Mahfouz cafe or Feshawi's.

Sail a Felucca: Venice has its gondolas, China its dragon boats, and Egyptians love a felucca on the Nile. Cheap and relaxing, these rickety sail boats let you explore your surroundings without the usual hassles of sightseeing. On hot days, take the felucca at night and gaze at the stars.

Witness the sunrise from Mount Sinai: Watching the day break from the peak of Mount Sinai will give you goose bumps, and thousands of travelers have made that nighttime hike up the mountain for those few moments of bliss. Just think: this is where Moses was said to have received the Ten Commandments from God.

Splurge on a Nile cruise: The cushiest way to see the splendid monuments of Upper Egypt, these five-star boats transport you to the temples at Luxor, Aswan and the surrounding towns in style. After a long day of sightseeing, dip into the on-deck swimming pools and delectable buffets as you glide past the Egyptian countryside.

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