Cairo, Giza, Cheops, Chepheren, Mycerinos, Sphinx, Saqqara, Memphis, Apis bull, Zoser, Imhotep, Amenhotep |
Tutankhamen, Egyptian Museum, Citadel, Old Kingdom, Roman Empire, Mohammed Ali |
Luxor, Thebes, Ramses II, Amun, Karnak, Nefertiti, Feluca, Tutankhamen, Seti I, Ramses I, Hatshepsut, Theban, Aknenaten, Tell al-Amarna, Tutmosis III, Memnon, Amenophis III |
Aswan, Esna, Khnum temple, Ptolemy VI, Edfu, Horus, Ptolemy X III, Seth, Kom Ombo, Sobek, Hathor |
Sunt, Syene, Elephantine, Kitchener, Ark of the Covenant, Amenophis III, Aboe Simbel, Psammetichus II, Geziret Nabatat, Ramses II, Nefertari, Ra-Harakhty, Ptah, Hathor |
Philae, Osires, Seth |
** Click Images to enlarge **
The Egyptian Museum also called Museum of Egyptian Antiquities is unique, it should not be missed. In fact, it's a good idea to visit this place at the beginning of your visit to familiarize yourself with the Egyptian ancient history. More than 100,000 relics and antiquities from almost every period of ancient Egyptian history are housed in the museum. The place is virtually bursting at the seams, and hardly the last word in modern museum techniques. The exhibits are arranged chronologically from the Old Kingdom to the Roman Empire. If you spend only one minute at each exhibit it would take more than nine months to see everything. Without doubt, the exhibit that outshines everything else in the museum is the treasure of the comparatively insignificant New Kingdom Pharaoh Tutankhamen, who ruled for only nine years during the 14th century BC. The king's decaying mummified body, the outer of three mummiform coffins, and the huge stone sarcophagus are all that remain in his tomb. The rest of his funerary treasures about 1700 items, are spread throughout 12 rooms on the 1th floor of the museum.
We used the night train to Luxor - (Thebes), and reserved a sleeper with diner and breakfast. At 8,00 o clock we arrived in Luxor dropped our luggage in the hotel and right away to the temple complex. Luxor a 4000-years old site is one of world's greatest open-air museums, a time capsule of a glorious long-gone era. At the height of its glory and opulence from 1570 to 1090 BC, the New Kingdom Pharaohs made Thebes their permanent residence; the city had a population of nearly one million and the architectural activity was astounding. Because so many kings left their marks at Thebes it can quickly become very confusing trying to keep track of who build what temple or tomb and when they did so. Fronting the entrance to the temple is the enormous 1st pylon, about 24 metres high, in front of which are some colossal statues of Ramses II and a pink granite obelisk. There were originally 2 obelisks, one is stolen by France and stands in de Place de la Concorde in Paris.
The Amun temple enclosure is the central enclosure of numerous temples that make up the enormous Karnak complex. Its ancient name was Ipet-Isut or the most perfect of places. Karnak was build, added to, dismantled, restored, enlarged and decorated over a period of nearly 1500 years. The major additions to the complex were constructed by Pharaohs of the 18th to 20th dynasties, between 1570 and 1090 BC.
You'll need to visit Karnak at least twice to fully appreciate the size and magnificence of the complex. A return visit in the evening for the sound & light show would complete the picture. The wonderful little museum of Luxor, a present of France, has a small but well-chosen collection of relics from the Theban temples and necropolis, the most interesting exhibit is the wall of Akhenaten on the 2nd floor, which is actually a set of 283 sandstone blocks found within the 9th pylon of the Karnak temple. The reliefs show the rebel Pharaoh and his queen, Nefertiti, making offerings to Aten.
If you have some time left make a round trip by a horse-drawn carriage (known as a hantour or calesh) or make a trip with a Feluca on the Nile river.
We are going by bus to Aswan. On de way the first stop is at the little but beautiful, Greco-Roman Khnum temple of Esna. Dedicated to Khnum, the ram-headed creator-god who fashioned humankind on his potters wheel, the temple was begun by Ptolemy VI and build over the ruins of earlier temples. It was excavated from the silt that had accumulated through centuries of annual Nile floods and is about nine metres below modern street level. Next stop is at Edfu. The largest and most completely preserved Pharaonic, albeit Greek-build, temple in Egypt is the extraordinary Temple of Hores. The structure dominates this west bank riverside town, 53 south of Esna. The construction of this huge complex began under Ptolemy III Euergetes I in 273 BC and was completed nearly 200 years later during the reign of Ptolemy X III ( the father of Cleopatra) in the 1st century BC. Dedicated to Hores, the falcon-headed son of Osiris, who avenged his father's murder by slaying his uncle Seth, the temple was build on the site where, according to the legend, the two gods met in deadly combat.
After the Horestemple we visit the temple of Kom Ombo, 60 km south of Edfu. Kom Ombo or, more precisely, the dual Temple of Sobek and Haroeris, stands on a promontory at a bend in the Nile, where in ancient times sacred crocodiles basked in the sun on the river bank. South of the main temple is the Roman Chapel of Hathor, dedicated to the wife of Hores, which is used to store a large collection of mummified crocodiles.
In Aswan all the hotels are filled to the last bed and they accommodate us in Hotel Tut Amon. Not so good!, in the middle of the desert, but with a nice swimming pool. In ancient times the area was known as Sunt; the Ptolemaic town of Syene stood to the south-west of the present city; and the Copt s called the place Souan, which means trade, from which the Arabic Aswan is derived. The main town and temple area of Sunt was actually on the southern end of the island called Yebu, which means elephant, and which the Greeks later renamed Elephantine Island. You have to go by a Feluca to the island Elephantine which is really nice trip on the Nile. The south side of the island is full of remains of the old city. Here are also the ruins of an old Jewish Temple, original build in the old Solomon style. They suppose that here once the "Ark of the Covenant" is hidden before it is lost somewhere in Ethiopia. The old Nilometer to measure the water level is still in use here, although it dates from Pharaonic times , and bears inscriptions and cartouches from the reigns of Amenophis III and Psammetichus II. An other island Geziret Nabatat or Kitchener island is one of the most delightful places in Aswan, it was given to Lord Kitchener in the 1890s when he was consul-general of Egypt. Indulging his passion for beautiful flowers, kitchener turned the entire island into a botanic garden. Sailing between the grotesque rocks and it fairy-like landscape is exciting.
By airplane to Abu Simbel dedicated to Ramses II en Nefertari. The Abu Simbel temples were threatened with being swallowed forever beneath the rising water and silt of Lake Nasser. Their preservation, 280 km south of Aswan, must rank as the greatest achievement of the UNESCO rescue operations. The great Temple of Ramses II was dedicated to the gods Ra-Harakhty, Amun and Ptah and, of course, to the deified Pharaoh himself; while a smaller Temple of Hathor was dedicated to the cow-headed goddess of love an build in honor of Ramses favorite wife, Nefertari.
At the island Philae are also a couple of temples rescued from the rising water. in the 1960s when the approaching completion of the high dam threatened to submerge the island completely and forever, the massive complex was disassembled and removed stone by stone from old Plilae to the new Plilae island. It was on Philae, during her search for the dismembered pieces of Osires, who had been murdered by his brother Seth, that Isis supposedly found her husband's heart; hence the island became her most sacred precinct. her cult following was so strong that she was still being worshipped long after the establishment of Christianity.
A visit to the old and new Aswan dam is always part of the program. These dam made it possible to distribute the water but disturbed the old situation in such a way that after some years a lot of temples and sculptures pass away to sand. In early days the floods of the Nile washing the minerals out of the stones. But now slowly the minerals crystallizing and the stones go to pieces.
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