The great pyramids at Giza, EgyptElephants crossing the Zambezi river in Mana Pools National Park world heritage site, ZimbabweThe great mosque in the Old Towns of Djenne world heritage site, MaliBlack and white ruffed lemur, Rainforests of the Atsinanana world heritage site, Madagascar

Ancient civilisations of the Nile

Map showing the locations of the five UNESCO world heritage sites featuring the ancient civilisations of the Nile

The ancient civilisations of the lower Nile hardly need any introduction as they include some of the best known world heritage sites in the world.  In this category we include all the sites of ancient Egypt and Sudan between present-day Cairo and Khartoum.  There are five recognised world heritage sites, each one comprising a number of quite distinct monuments, grouped together as a ‘serial property’.  These include three Egyptian properties -  Memphis and the pyramid fields around Cairo; the main monuments at Luxor, (Ancient Thebes, home of the mighty Karnak Temple as well as the mysterious hidden underground tombs of Tutankhamun and the other Pharaonic Kings and Queens); and Abu Simbel and the other Nubian monuments that were saved from the rising waters of Lake Nasser. Across the border in Sudan the less well-known pyramids and temples that flank the Nile further south are no less impressive and include a group of monuments in the Napatan Region, centred on Gebel Barkal; and a second set of sites around the Island of Meroe with its nearby groups of pyramids.

Other key places:  Egypt, and the lower Nile region stretching into Sudan, has such a wealth of ancient Pharaonic monuments that it is difficult to see how any of them could be excluded from the world heritage list.  But in reality many fabulous temples, pyramids and other monuments dating back thousands of years are not yet listed.  This includes all the monuments that flank the Nile between Dahshur (near Cairo) and Luxor – a stretch of some 500 km; as well as those that are located between Luxor and Aswan, a further 200 km stretch that is the principal route of most Nile Cruises and includes numerous notable temples such as those at Esna and Edfu.

To read more about each of the world heritage sites featuring monuments from the ancient Pharaonic civilisations of the lower Nile, and see a slideshow of each place, follow these links:

Pyramids at the ‘Archaeological Sites of the Island of Meroe’ UNESCO world heritage site (Sudan), one of five places featured in the ‘Ancient Civilisations of the Nile’ categoryThe Sun Temple of Ramses II at Abu Simbel is probably the best known of the Nubian monuments (Egypt) designated as a UNESCO world heritage site, one of five places featured in the ‘Ancient Civilisations of the Nile’ categoryThe Great Pyramids of Giza are the best-known of the Egyptian monuments designated as the UNESCO world heritage site ‘Memphis and its Necropolis, the pyramid fields from Giza to Dahsur’ (one of five places featured in the ‘Ancient Civilisations of the Nile’ website category)  The Great Hypostyle Hall of Karnak Temple (Luxor, Egypt) is one of the great monuments designated as part of the UNESCO world heritage site ‘Ancient Thebes with its Necropolis’ (one of five places featured in the ‘Ancient Civilisations of the Nile’ website category)



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