Egypt Tourism Rose in 2012

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Egypt saw a decline in its tourism industry after the February 2011 revolt that overthrew President Hosni Mubarak. (In BT's "To Go or Not to Go 2013," we gave Egypt a cautious "go.") But 2012 brought good news—11.5 million visitors came to the history- and art-rich nation, up 17 percent from the previous year. (In 2010, the last calendar year preceding the revolt, 14.7 million tourists paid Egypt a visit.) The resurgence was led by Western Europeans, followed by travelers from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. Thinking of joining the crowds? Here are some Egyptian must-sees:

Egyptian Museum. Located in Cairo, this world-class museum holds King Tut's chariots, iconic gold mask, and countless other masterpieces of Egypt's millennia-long history.

Giza. This pyramid 16 miles from Cairo includes the Great Pyramid (admission to its burial chamber is limited to 300 visitors per day in high season, September through March) and the Great Sphinx.

Nile River Cruise. Leave from Luxor and drink in views of temples, tombs, and ancient ruins along one of the world's most historic rivers.

Sharm El Sheikh. This Red Sea resort area is in the foothills of Mount Sinai and includes the powdery white sands of White Knight Beach.

Saqqara. This necropolis 14 miles south of Cairo offers 11 pyramids (including the famous Step Pyramid) and the Imhotep Museum. Mummies, sarcophagi, and significant tombs continue to be discovered at this archeological site.

Dahshur. Less than 30 miles south of Cairo, Dahshur is home to the Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid (its unusual angle creates the illusion that the structure is bending).

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