10 Splendid Holy Places in Egypt You Should Visit

holy places

Updated On: November 08, 2023 by   Miranne KhaledMiranne Khaled

Egypt is home to a unique culture and rich history that isn’t elsewhere to be found. This fascinating land has always been of great significance throughout time. It’s the land where great pharaohs walked, and mind-blowing monuments were erected, standing proudly to speak of glorious history. 

Besides all the places and sites that tell of Egypt’s unprecedented ancient civilisation, there are the holy places that tell us about divinity. Egypt is known to be a religious country with a great majority of Muslims and Christians co-existing in harmony and peace. It was also home to the largest Jewish community for thousands of centuries. 

The co-existing of multiple religions in Egypt has paved the way for significant holy places to be extant. Not only has this enriched the country’s heritage, but it also presented the world with a diverse history. Although modern Egypt is now deemed an Islamic country, it still keeps its ancient divine sites intact and well-preserved. 

Here’s a fascinating list of all the holy places in Egypt you can visit to take a glance into a divergent culture that respects and accepts all:

1. Temple of Medinet Habu

10 Splendid Holy Places in Egypt You Should Visit

Medinet Habu translates to the City of Habu, and it was a prominent structure erected in the period of the New Kingdom. This site is deemed an archaeological locality and a holy place on the West Bank of the River Nile, situated right across Luxor city. Although the site holds several prevalent structures, the Temple of Habu remains the most prominent. 

Ramses III was the one responsible for building this temple. He made it in honour of the God Amun; moreover, it’s said that it was dedicated to more deities, including the God Osiris, the God of the afterlife, and Goddess Sekhmet, the Goddess of War. Not only is it among the most famous holy places in Egypt, but it’s also known as the Holy of Holies.

Although Egyptians of modern times have different beliefs and no longer worship ancient gods, they still preserve this site as one of Egypt’s holy places. Its significance in history keeps it a sacred area that people from all over the world visit it.

2. The Hanging Church (El Muallaqa) 

10 Splendid Holy Places in Egypt You Should Visit

Needless to say, churches are holy places in almost every culture, and it’s no different in Egypt. Although various churches are scattered around the country, the Hanging Church remains one of the most famous Egyptian holy places. Not only is it a place of worship, but it holds a prevalent symbol in history and culture. 

It was formerly known as Saint Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church; however, it got its name from being built above the Babylon Fortress gate. Egyptians call it El Muallaqa, which means hanging from a higher position. Besides being a great tourist destination and an ancient holy place, it was the first Basilica-styled church in Egypt.

The beautiful structure lies in Old Cairo, an ancient district that witnessed long years of history. It’s a fascinating touristic destination and embraces various holy places, including other churches and mosques. The church is open to the public and free to visit, yet, like any holy place, you should stick to a proper dress code that shows respect for the sacred site.

3. Al Azhar Mosque

10 Splendid Holy Places in Egypt You Should Visit

Mosques are holy places in all Islamic countries, for they’re places of worshipping and praying. Egypt is home to hundreds of mosques in its cities, yet Al Azhar Mosque remains a prevalent historic site in Cairo. It’s located in the El Darb El Ahmar area, a historic neighbourhood that is centuries old and has become part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Al Azhar is an important mosque for praying and holds great significance in Egypt’s history and the Muslim World. Jawhar Al Siqilli was a Fatimid commander who built the mosque during the establishment of Cairo under the orders of Caliph El Muizz li-Din Allah, the ruler at that time. 

Besides being among Egypt’s famous holy places, the word Al Azhar became associated with a substantial Islamic institution and one of Cairo’s oldest universities. Visiting the mosque is permitted for all walks of life. You must remove your shoes and observe the beautiful designs and peace-inducing interiors.

4. St. Catherine’s Monastery

10 Splendid Holy Places in Egypt You Should Visit

South Sinai is a fascinating city in a highly strategic location in Egypt, with vast desert landscapes and thousands of historical monuments. It also embraces most of Egypt’s famous mountains, among which some are deemed holy places. One of the most prominent holy places in the history of Egypt is St. Catherine Monastery. 

This sacred monastery sits on the slopes of Mount Sinai, another holy place that all divine religions believe in its holiness. It’s supposed to be the mountain on which God spoke to Moses and revealed to him the Ten Commandments. This notion is rooted in all three faiths, the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic, which adds a prevalent connotation to the holy place. 

Byzantine emperor Justinian I founded this holy monastery, building it back in 527. It’s deemed the oldest Christian monastery in Egypt, still operating for the same function. Besides the rich history this place holds, several mountains surround this area, with St. Catherine Mount being the highest mountain in Egypt. You can enjoy climbing and hiking it along with Mount Moses for a great adventure at Egypt’s holy places with rewarding scenes.

5. Mount Sinai

10 Splendid Holy Places in Egypt You Should Visit

The Sinai Peninsula is a vast desert land in Egypt and one of the top tourist destinations that attract people from all over Egypt and the world. This city is home to various mountains that hold great significance in the history and culture of Egypt. Moreover, it embraces and beyond holy places, including some sacred mountains.

As previously mentioned, Mount Sinai is one of the most prevalent holy places in Egypt that has great significance in all three divine religions. It’s usually referred to as Jabal Moussa, which means the mountain of Moses in Arabic. That’s because people believe this is the location where God appeared and talked to his prophet, Moussa or Moses. 

The mountain isn’t just one of the prominent holy places, but it’s also among the highest mountains in Egypt. It reaches around 2,285 metres. Despite its great height, people are prompted to trek the mountain and hike to its peak. Besides, the mountain sits close to two of Egypt’s most famous tourist cities, Sharm El Sheikh and Dahab. You can visit them and get the perfect escapade away from the bustles of the city.

6. Synagogue Ben Ezra

10 Splendid Holy Places in Egypt You Should Visit

Egypt was once the embracing land of a significant Jewish community long before being forced out of the country for political conflicts. Although there aren’t as many synagogues in Egypt, it’s home to one of the oldest ones ever, Synagogue Ben Ezra. It’s yet another holy place with religious significance. It lies in Old Cairo District in the El Fustat part and is commonly referred to as El Geniza Synagogue.

Geniza is a Hebrew word that means “storage room.” The building got this name after discovering in the 19th century some Hebrew and Jewish manuscripts hidden inside the synagogue. This synagogue goes back to the 9th century, named after a Jewish scholar, Abraham Ibn Ezra. 

The sacred temple isn’t just a historical site in Egypt, but it’s among the holy places with a magnitude in Coptic, Islamic, and Jewish faiths. Different stories are associated with the site, yet its exalted position isn’t altered. Ben Ezra Synagogue is said to be the location where the Pharaoh’s daughter found Moses as a baby. It’s also said that the Virgin Mary washed Jesus at this site.

7. Wadi El Natrun (The Valley of Salt)

Wadi El Natrun is a vast desert city in the northeast of Al Buhaira Governorate. It’s one of the holy places in Egypt that hold great significance in Christian history and ancient times. It sits about 100 kilometres from Cairo, making it a one-hour drive from the capital city. 

Wadi El Natrun is also known as the Valley of Salt, given the large alkaline lakes around the region. These lakes were of great importance to the Pharaohs, for they were rich in different minerals and salt deposits, all of which were used in mummification. The ancient Egyptians also used those minerals in artworks to paint the interiors of their tombs.

Besides the site’s significance in ancient Egypt, it’s one of the holy places for being a sanctuary for Christianity upon the arrival of Saint Anthony the Great, who established Christian monasticism in this region. St. Macarius, one of his great students, took refuge in Wadi El Natrun, and people have now associated this holy place with his name, Anba Maqar.

8. Temple of the Oracle of Amun

10 Splendid Holy Places in Egypt You Should Visit

Siwa is a vast desert with many attractions to visit. It’s a slice of paradise on the Egyptian lands that you don’t want to miss. The urban oasis sits about 560 kilometres away from the capital city of Cairo. Despite its secluded location, it remains one of the top tourist attractions in Egypt. Not only does it embrace hot springs and great dunes, but it also houses several historical landmarks and holy places.

One of those holy places is the Siwa Temple of the Oracle of Amun, dedicated to one of the most prevalent deities in ancient Egypt. Amun was the God of the air and evolved to become the King of deities. That divine figure was significant to ancient Egyptians, who had to build temples dedicated to worshipping him.

The temple was also referred to as the temple of Alexander the Great. According to history, the respected figure had travelled to Egypt in 331 BC for the first time, and this temple was his first destination. Some even believe Alexander was announced as a son of God, Amun, in the Temple of the Oracle. Besides being a holy place, this temple is also one of the oldest ever worldwide, built in the 6th century BC.

9. Temple of Mut

Luxor is one of Egypt’s most fascinating cities, with lots of history to unravel the secrets of ancient Egypt. Like its peer city of Aswan, Luxor is home to temples and historical landmarks that have held their ground for thousands of centuries. In fact, Luxor alone embraces around one-third of the ancient monuments around the world.

The Temple of Mut is among the great temples and holy places you can visit in Luxor. It lies within the complex of the Karnak Temples, which is a few metres away from the Amon Temple. The Temple of Mut was dedicated to Goddess Mut, a mother Goddess worshipped in ancient Egypt and Sudan.

This temple unravels the secrets of the Pharaohs and takes you back to an era long gone. Several kings contributed to constructing this sacred temple, starting with King Amenemhat I, who founded it. Consequently, statues of all those kings can be found within the temple’s walls. There are also several stone paintings to enjoy observing and deciphering the secrets engraved within.

10. Temple of Philae

10 Splendid Holy Places in Egypt You Should Visit

The wonders of Egypt lie in the existence of several historical and cultural elements all in one place, depicting one of the most influential civilisations in the ancient world. Ancient Egyptians were religious, so it is no surprise that they built many sacred monuments and holy places around Egypt. 

The Philae Temple is one of the most prominent holy places in ancient Egypt that still stands firm to this very day. It lies in southern Egypt on Agilkia Island, overlooking the renowned River Nile and Lake Nasser, one of the world’s biggest artificial lakes. This combination gives you a lot to do and see around this site. 

The temple was built to honour Isis, the Goddess of healing and magic. Upon the arrival of Christianity, lots of those ancient temples were swept, yet this one stood sturdy. One of the obelisks of the temple travelled all the way to England, where researchers studied and deciphered its secret messages. The significance of this monument is not one to underestimate, primarily because it served various religions, including Christianity and Egyptian paganism.

If you think that holy places are no more than sites to worship gods and perform religious rituals, think again. These places hold secrets and heavy layers of history that add to their sacredness. You can’t help but feel their holiness in the breeze within their walls. 

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