For over 30 centuries ancient Egyptian Mythology was the cornerstone of the civilization’s belief structures. Egyptian gods went in and out of fashion, either gaining or losing importance as the years went on. Their form was normally an animal head on a human body and most symbolized one aspect of the world. Ra represented the sun and Nut was the goddess of the sky.
Demons represented malevolent supernatural forces. They were more powerful than humans but weaker than gods. They were immortal and could be in many places at once. Ammut, the devourer of the dead, was a mix of crocodile, lion, and hippopotamus.
Thanks to the craftsmanship of the ancient Egyptians, many of the most important structures of the ancient world are still standing. With cheap air tickets and the simple Egyptian Visa Application, it has never been easier to get there. Here are some of the best sights to see to experience the wonder of ancient Egyptian Mythology.
Check Out These Places to Explore Ancient Egyptian Mythology
Karnak Temple Complex
The Egyptian temples were wealthy political powerhouses. They maintained cultural continuity and upheld authority. The high priests wielded enough power to rival the Pharaohs. The largest temple to be constructed was Karnak, it is so big that you could fit St Peter’s Basilica and Notre Dame inside.
The temple was dedicated to the Gods Amun (the ‘King of the Gods), Mut (‘Mother of the Gods’), and Khonsu (‘God of the Moon’). Karnak was the most important place of worship during the ancient era and today it serves as an awe-inspiring open-air museum. The whole area covers around 200 acres and was constructed over a period of 2,000 years.
The Valley of the Kings
The Egyptians believed in an afterlife where all of life’s pleasures could be enjoyed without any suffering. To enter the afterlife you had to live a good, honourable life by obeying superiors, respecting the gods, and helping the poor. Your body had to be preserved through mummification and most people were, only the worst criminals’ bodies were not mummified.
The Valley of the Kings was the burial of the Pharaohs and powerful nobles for a period of 500 years (16th to 11th centuries BC). The most famous discovery there was the tomb of Tutankhamun which led the mysterious deaths of the archaeologists and the subsequent rumors of the Curse of the Pharaohs. In total there are 63 tombs to see though no one knows how many remain undiscovered.
The Pyramids of Giza
The Pyramids of Giza are shrouded in mystery. There are numerous theories on how they were built but one thing is for certain, they were a remarkably impressive achievement. The Great Pyramid, the largest of the group, is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and the only one largely intact. It was the tallest man-made structure in the world for over 3,800 years.
The Egyptians believed that the sky was the gateway to the afterlife. One theory says the pyramids were designed to protect the pharaoh’s soul into the heavens. There is a narrow shaft which extends from the main burial chamber to the very top, pointing at the sky. The oldest structure at Giza is the Great Sphinx, which sits in front of the Great Pyramid.
The Egyptian Museum
The museum’s collection of over 100,000 ancient Egyptian artifacts makes it the largest in the world. The story of ancient Egypt is told through impressive displays. The most iconic item on display is 11 kg solid gold mask of Tutankhamun.
The first floor contains artifacts from the last two dynasties of Egypt, including relics taken from the Valley of the Kings. You can see items from the tombs Thutmosis III, Thutmosis IV, Amenophis II, Hatshepsut as well as the entire, intact tombs of Tutankhamun and Psusennes I. There are also two special mummy rooms.
Abu Simbel Temple Complex
The two huge, jaw-dropping temples were carved out of rock during the reign of Ramesses II. One of its most interesting parts is the inner sanctum which contains statues of Ra, Amun, and Ptah (the god of craftsmen and architects). Twice a year, on February 21st and October 22nd, the suns rays enter the sanctum directly and illuminate all three statues.
The iconic temples are located near the Sudanese border. In the 1960s their existence came under threat and they were relocated in their entirety by UNESCO. The site remains a protected world heritage site.
Egypt is a fascinating place. If you’re planning a trip there to explore Egyptian Mythology, these places are a must for your list. You will surely return home with some extraordinary stories and will be forever changed by them as well.