The Nile River has been the lifeblood of Egypt for thousands of years. The narrow fertile strip on either side of the river lies in stark contrast to the desert wasteland beyond. The annual flooding of the Nile, and the resultant deposit of silt on its banks, has left layers of archaeological remains from previous settlements that have been discovered underneath almost every town and village in the valley. Excavations have revealed thousands of tombs, temples and monuments along the banks of the river, and the best places to explore some of these relics are the historic towns of Luxor and Aswan.
Cruises along the mighty Nile River are very popular and allow tourists the chance to visit the numerous ancient attractions along the banks as well as view rural Egyptian life slowly passing them by. The sunsets on the river are legendary. Popular sightseeing stops include the magnificent Abu Simbel temples, built by Ramses II, the Temple of Karnak - still the largest temple complex in the world - and the West Bank, which includes the famous Valley of the Kings. Visitors who aren't keen on a river cruise can easily travel on their own steam to all these incredible places.
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