If you’re interested in learning about Egypt, we highly recommend you check out our list of the largest cities in Egypt. It might surprise you to know how big Egypt cities really are. Amongst the Middle East countries, Egypt is the third largest country, spanning over 390,121 mi2.
Home to Egyptian gods, the towering pyramids, and the Nile River, Egypt rests between Libya to the west and Gaza to the northeast, with Israel to the east and Sudan to the south. Furthermore, it is the land bridge between Asia and Africa, so it’s interesting to know what major cities it holds. Below, we will summarize the largest cities in Egypt by land mass and what monuments are in their geological region.
What Are the Largest Cities in Egypt By Land Mass?
While most of Egypt is desert, some cities are modern metropolises spanning miles. Rather, you may imagine tons of pyramids, sand, and a few small buildings. However, Egypt’s modern cities are massive and are much different from their ancient counterparts. Below, we’ll provide you with the largest cities in Egypt by land mass.
1. Cairo (1,056 mi2)
Currently, Cairo is the capital and one of the largest cities in Egypt. It’s one of the biggest cities known to the Middle East and the 15th largest in the world. Not only is the city rich with history, but it also is one of the oldest cities in Egypt.
The Egyptian Museum includes an extensive collection of 120,000 priceless Egyptian artifacts ranging from mummies to statues and jewelry. Many tourists visit the museum to see Tutakhamun’s treasures, which include a gold funerary mask, mummies, and a Royal Mummy Room. The museum comprises different galleries sorted by Egyptian time period, which gives a glimpse into Egypt’s past.
Spanning over 1.5 mi2, Islamic Cairo is a historic district full of ancient architecture and modern markets. The district includes intricate buildings with colorful tiles and carvings. Tourists enjoy the bazaars and the Khan el-Khalili market, where many cultural items are for sale.
The Nile River
Everyone knows about the Nile River, but did you know it spans over 4,132 miles? It’s the longest river in the world and provides water to a handful of Middle Eastern and African countries. Two major tributaries form the river, the White Nile and the Blue Nile.
2. Alexandria (641 mi2)
One of the second largest cities in Egypt is Alexandria which spans over 641 mi2. Founded in 331 BC by Alexander the Great, the small city grew into a modern-day metropolis. Home to one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and one of the oldest libraries that houses ancient history.
The city is alongside the northern coast of Egypt and is located next to the Mediterranean Sea. The cityscape spans over 24 miles along the coastline, a tourist favorite.
Aside from that, Alexandria is home to some of the most impressive structures known to ancient history. Some include the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Great Library, and the Necropolis. We’ll explore these monuments below.
Lighthouse of Alexandria
Also known as the Pharos of Alexandria is a lighthouse built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom during 280 B.C. In addition, the monumental lighthouse towered over other buildings and was estimated to be 328 feet tall. Today, it is known as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Despite great construction, the lighthouse did become damaged due to three earthquakes and ended up in ruins. They used the remaining stones in 1480. However, even though you won’t see the lighthouse in its former glory, it left behind the Citadel, another amazing sight.
If you’ve ever learned about the ancient world in school, you know that the Great Library was one of the largest libraries of the ancient world. The Ptolemaic Dynasty built the library’s design to store a wealth of knowledge to be shared with those who sought to learn. It housed around five hundred thousand scrolls in various fields, including philosophy, mathematics, literature, and more.
As you can imagine, scholars from all over would travel long distances just to see what’s inside. Nonetheless, it was one of Egypt’s highlights and put Alexandria on the map.
Unfortunately, the library was destroyed by fires, and most scrolls were lost to time. Despite this, the Great Library is still remembered in the modern day. It is a symbol of the city’s astonishing history.
In Greek, Necropolis translates to “city of the dead,” a fitting title for the archaeological site. Alexandria has the catacombs of Kom El Shoqafa, one of the Seven Wonders of the Middle Ages. Essentially, the Necropolis is made up of tombs, statues, and the Hall of Caracalla, which houses bones of horses owned by emperor Caracalla.
3. Giza (609.9 mi2)
Giza is a stunning area due to its great pyramid complex, limestone plateaus, and the Nile Valley. Two of the most famous landmarks of Giza are the Great Pyramids and the Sphinx. Hence, travelers worldwide came to visit due to the unique desert border alongside the city. Below, we’ll provide a breakdown of one of the largest cities in Egypt.
The Giza Plateau is amazing and spans 4.2 mi2 near the city’s outskirts. The plateau is not only home to great pyramids, but it’s also a natural feat crafted from limestone.
Atop it, the Great Pyramids, Sphinx, and other tombs and pyramids surround the area. For tourists, it’s a popular area due to all the relatively close monuments. However, for archaeologists, the historical landmark is a goldmine.
If you’re into Egyptian mythology, you may have heard of The Great Sphinx. However, if you’re not familiar, The Great Sphinx is a statue of a mythical creature with a human’s head and a lion‘s body. They built the statue in the 26th century B.C. when Pharaoh Khafre ruled.
As a statue, it’s one of the largest ancient that can even put ones the Greeks built to shame. The monument is 65 feet tall and 239 feet long. Interestingly, the ancient Egyptians used one limestone block to carve the whole statue.
Great Pyramid of Giza
The Great Pyramid of Giza is the largest and oldest pyramid in the city. Originally, the Egyptians were building it for the Pharaoh Khufu. However, it’s now one of the wonders of the ancient world.
An interesting fact about the pyramid is ancient Egyptians built it out of the surrounding limestone. As an estimation, they used around 2.3 million blocks of limestone, with each block weighing 2.5 tons. For its time, the structure was the best-constructed monument beside the Lincoln Cathedral in England.
4. Port Said (521.66 mi2)
On the northern entrance of the Suez Canal is the city of Port Said. Founded in 1859, the city was in a specific location designed for international trade. The city was to act as a trading post across Mediterranean and Middle East countries.
Today, the city has a rich cultural history, such as museums, art galleries, and historical landmarks.
Port Said Military Museum
Established in 1864, this museum showcased Egypt’s military achievements. The building itself is a historic building that was once used as a military barracks to house the army. What’s interesting about the museum is that it displays ancient military artifacts such as swords, shields, axes, and spears used in battle.
Suez Canal Authority Building
They built the Suez Canal in the early 20th century and housed the Suez Canal Authority, a government agency. It’s responsible for maintaining the original Suez Canal without damaging the original structure. Locals and tourists make this a destination due to the building’s panoramic views of the canal and the surrounding cityscape.
Port Said Lighthouse
The Port Said Lighthouse was built in the late 19th century beside the Suez Canal. It overlooks the Mediterranean Sea and stands at a height of 183.7 feet. To this day, is one of the tallest lighthouses known to the world. The use of bright red and white striped paint makes it visible from over 36 miles away. Visitors can climb to the top and enjoy panoramic views of Port Said, the Suez Canal, and the surrounding Mediterranean Sea.
5. Luxor (160.6 mi2)
Luxor, previously known as the ancient city of Thebes, is the largest open-air museum. The city houses many historical monuments and archaeological sites. Despite its rich heritage, Luxor also is a hot spot for tourists as it has luxury hotels, restaurants, and an amazing shopping district.
Valley of Kings
The Valley of Kings gets its title because it’s a burial site for ancient pharaohs and the elites from 11 BCE. The tomb houses 63 tombs and includes some of the most famous rulers of ancient Egypt. Some include Tutankhamun, Ramses II, and Tuthmosis III.
Inside the tombs, the walls are lined with ancient hieroglyphics that detail the pharaoh’s rebirth into the afterlife. Intricate paintings also tell the tale of the cycle of life and death. The Valley of Kings has been robbed since its existence, but the tombs still hold their former glory.
The Karnak Temple Complex
The Karnak Temple Complex houses temples, chapels, pylons, and more in dedication to the gods. The temples were built from the era of the Middle Kingdom to the Ptolemaic period. Essentially, the temples took around 1,500 years to complete, spanning over a mile.
The Luxor Temple was built during the 14th and 19th centuries BCE as a tribute to the triad of gods Amun, Mut, and Khonsu. Today, the structure is an important landmark for celebrations and festivities. The temple includes a courtyard, pylons, and small chapels and sanctuaries.
Summary of the 5 Largest Cities in Egypt
|1||Cairo||The Egyptian Museum|
|2||Alexandria||Lighthouse of Alexandria|
|3||Giza||Great Pyramid of Giza|
|4||Port Said||Port Said Lighthouse|
|5||Luxor||Valley of Kings|
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