Egypt

 

Hi Everyone!!!

 

Egypt. If you are into history and big temples this is the place to be. My first thought was how I could travel to Egypt and be safe?? I was, after all, traveling alone.  I really wanted to go.  Coming from Iraq and wanting to go to Egypt and be safe might sound strange but I feel safe here in Iraq. I have a great job and don’t travel outside the wire…. Just a few rockets and mortars to deal with. Anyway, I didn’t have to go it alone.  I found All Singles Travel. So that made it easy, pay them and let them take care of the details and security.  I’m glad I did. It was a fantastic trip and the travel group couldn’t have been better.

 

I arrived in Cairo a few hours ahead of the group so I caught a taxi and arrived safely to the Conrad hotel. The hotel was nice and I decided to take a bath since I haven’t seen a tub in about a year. I latter hooked up with the rest of the group for dinner.

    

 

The next day we headed out to Giza to see the Pyramids, Sphinx and Cheops Boat Museum.

This Ancient Egyptian necropolis consists of the Pyramid of Khufu (also known as the Great Pyramid and the Pyramid of Cheops; coordinates 29°58′31.3″N, 31°07′52.7″E), the somewhat smaller Pyramid of Khafre (or Chephren; coordinates 29°58′42.6″N, 31°08′05.0″E), and the relatively modest-size Pyramid of Menkaure (or Mykerinus; coordinates 29°58′19.8″N, 31°07′43.4″E), along with a number of smaller satellite edifices, known as "queens" pyramids, causeways and valley pyramids, and most noticeably the Great Sphinx. Associated with these royal monuments are the tombs of high officials and much later burials and monuments (from the New Kingdom onwards), signifying the reverence to those buried in the necropolis.

    

 

    

 

  

 

View away from Pyramids and city.

 

These were our tour guides for the trip. Very knowledgeable and can speak like 5 languages!!!

 

After lunch we went to the forgettable Pharonic Village and some rug place. J But later that evening we went to the Pyramid Sound and Light show. A myth is that Pink Floyd played here and initiated the sound and light show but they never played in Egypt.

 

 

After the show we went back to the hotel to relax.

 

The next morning we went to the Egyptian Museum and then shopping before catching a happy flight to Luxor.

 

     

 

         

 

 

1st thing we did was visit Luxor temple.

The ancient Egyptian city of Thebes, Luxor has frequently been characterised as the "world's greatest open air museum", the ruins of the temple complexes at Karnak and Luxor standing within the modern city. Immediately opposite, across the Nile River, lie the monuments, temples and tombs on the West Bank Necropolis, which include the Valley of the Kings and Valley of the Queens.

 

 

  

 

 

 

Girls just want to have fun.

 

 

 

Luxor Temple is known in the Egyptian language as ipet resyt, or "the southern harem", the temple was dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amun, Mut, and Chons and was, during the New Kingdom, the focus of the annual Opet Festival, in which a cult statue of Amun was paraded down the Nile from nearby Karnak Temple (ipet-isut) to stay there for a while, with his consort Mut, in a celebration of fertility – whence its name

 

It’s dark now and time to check in to our boat (King Tut II) and grab some dinner.

  

 

   

 

The next morning we all get up waaaayyy to early and visit: The Colossi of Memnon, The Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, The Temple of Hatshepsut, a tourist trap for statues made from Alabaster and then the Temple of Karnack. It was a Busy day!!!!

 

You would never guess they are tired.

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Colossi of Memnon

The original function of the Colossi was to stand guard at the entrance to Amenhotep's memorial temple (or mortuary temple): a massive cult centre built during the pharaoh's lifetime, where he was worshipped as a god-on-earth both before and after his departure from this world. In its day, this temple complex was the largest and most opulent in Egypt. Covering a total of 35 ha, even later rivals such as Ramesses II's Ramesseum or Ramesses III's Medinet Habu were unable to match it in area; even the Temple of Karnak, as it stood in Amenhotep's time, was smaller.

 

 

   

 

    

 

 

 

Hatshepsut was the fifth pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty of ancient Egypt. She was believed to have been co-regent from about 1479 to 1458 BC (years 7 to 21 of Thutmose III) . She is regarded as the earliest known queen regnant in history and as the first great woman in recorded history. She was only the second known woman to assume the throne as "King of Upper and Lower Egypt" after Queen Sobekneferu of the 12th Dynasty of Egypt.

 

Hatshepsut reestablished the trade networks that had been disrupted during the Hyksos' occupation of Egypt (the Second Intermediate Period), the wealth of the 18th dynasty that has become so famous since the discovery of the burial of Tutankhamun began to be collected. She oversaw the preparations and funding for a mission to the Land of Punt. The expedition set out in her name with five ships, each measuring seventy feet long, and with several sails; each ship accommodated 210 men, including sailors and thirty rowers. Many goods were bought in Punt, notably myrrh, which is said to have been Hatshepsut's favorite fragrance. Most notably however, the Egyptians returned from the voyage bearing thirty-one live frankincense trees, whose roots were carefully kept in baskets for the duration of the voyage. This was the first ever recorded attempt to replant foreign trees. She reportedly had the trees planted in the courts of her Deir el Bahari mortuary temple. She had the expedition commemorated in relief at Deir el-Bahri, which is famous for its unflattering depiction of the Queen of Punt. Although many Egyptologists have claimed that her foreign policy was mainly peaceful, there is evidence that she led successful military campaigns in Nubia, the Levant and Syria early in her career.

 

 

    

 

KARNAK

Karnak consists of four main parts, of which only one is accessible for tourists and the general public. This is also the "main" temple part and by far the largest part. One can probably on that basis redefine the term Karnak, as to be understood as being the Precinct of Amon-Re only, as this is the only part most visitors normally see. The three other parts are closed to the public.

There are also a few smaller temples and sanctuaries located outside the enclosing walls of the four main parts, as well as several avenues of ram-headed sphinxes connecting the Precinct of Mut, the Precinct of Amon-Re and Luxor Temple.

The key difference between Karnak and most of the other temples and sites in Egypt is the length of time over which it was developed and used. Construction work began in the 16th century BC. Approximately 30 pharaohs contributed to the buildings, enabling it to reach a size, complexity and diversity not seen elsewhere. Few of the individual features of Karnak are unique, but the size and number of features is overwhelming.

   

 

  

 

 

         

 

 

 

In the courtyard at Karnack.

 

We leave Karnack for a stop at the Papyrus shop. And I spend a 100 bucks on a painting I had to have.

Goddess Hathor. Goddess of Love, Music, Beauty...and Alcohol.

    

 

In Egyptian mythology, Hathor (Egyptian for house of Horus) was originally a personification of the Milky Way, which was seen as the milk that flowed from the udders of a heavenly cow. Hathor was an ancient goddess, worshipped as a cow-deity from at least 2700 BC, during the 2nd dynasty, and possibly even by the Scorpion King. The name Hathor refers to the encirclement by her, in the form of the Milky Way, of the night sky and consequently of the god of the sky, Horus. She was originally seen as the daughter of Ra, the creator whose own cosmic birth was formalised as the Ogdoad cosmogeny.

 

Ahh!!! Back on board sailing up the nile.

 

 

Next morning Edfu

 

The town is known for the major Ptolemaic temple, built between 237 BCE to 57 BCE. Of all the temple remains in Egypt, the Temple of Horus at Edfu is the most completely preserved. Built from sandstone blocks, the huge Ptolemaic temple was constructed over the site of a smaller New Kingdom temple.

 

The Ptolemaic dynasty was a Hellenistic royal family which ruled the Ptolemaic Empire in Egypt for nearly 300 years, from 305 BC to 30 BC.

Ptolemy, a Macedonian and one of Alexander the Great's generals, was appointed satrap of Egypt after Alexander's death in 323 BC. In 305 BC, he declared himself King Ptolemy I, later known as "Soter" (saviour). The Egyptians soon accepted the Ptolemies as the successors to the pharaohs of independent Egypt. Ptolemy's family ruled Egypt until the Roman conquest of 30 BC.  All the male rulers of the dynasty took the name Ptolemy. Ptolemaic queens, some of whom were the sisters of their husbands, were usually called Cleopatra, Arsinoe or Berenice. The most famous member of the line was the last queen, Cleopatra VII, known for her role in the Roman political battles between Julius Caesar and Pompey, and later between Octavian and Mark Antony. Her suicide at the conquest by Rome marked the end of Ptolemaic rule in Egypt.

 

The first pylon at Edfu Temple

 

Horus

  

 

Isis

 

Inside the 1st Pylon

 

 

By now, we are learning to read.

 

There are numerous reliefs, including a depiction of the Feast of the Beautiful Meeting, the annual reunion between Horus and his wife Hathor. The reliefs are mostly situated on the inside of the first pylon, and spiritually connect this temple with Hathor’s Temple at the Dendera complex. During the third month of summer, the priests at the Dendera complex would place the statue of Hathor on her barque (a ceremonial barge) and would thus bring the statue to the Edfu Temple, where it was believed that Horus and Hathor shared a conjugal visit. Each night, the god and goddess would retire to the mamissi, or berthing house.

 

East Gate (Isis)

 

Inner Sanctuary (NAOS)

 

A quick ride back through town to our ship.

 

 

 

Cruising Up the Nile

     

 

 

 

 

Temple of Kom Ombo

The Temple of Kom Ombo is an unusual double temple built during the rule Ptolemaic dynasty in the Egyptian town of Kom Ombo. One side of the temple is dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek, god of fertility and creator of the world. The other side is dedicated to the falcon god Haroeris, also known as Horus the Elder. The temple was started by Ptolemy VI Philometor (180-145 BC) at the beginning of his reign and added to by other Ptolemys, most notably Ptolemy XIII (47-44 BC), who built the inner and outer hypostyle halls. Much of the temple has been destroyed by the Nile, earthquakes, and later builders who used the stones for other projects. Some of the reliefs inside were defaced by Copts who once used the temple as a church. A few of the three-hundred crocodile mummies discovered in the vicinity are displayed inside the temple.

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Back to the ship for the party.

 

 

 

 

Abu Simbel

  

 

The twin temples were carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his alleged victory at the Battle of Kadesh, and to intimidate his Nubian neighbors. The complex consists of two temples. The larger one is dedicated to Ra-Harakhty, Ptah and Amun, Egypt's three state deities of the time, and features four large statues of Ramesses II in the facade. The smaller temple is dedicated to the goddess Hathor, personified by Nefertari, Ramesses's most beloved wife (in total, the pharaoh had some 200 wives and concubines)…cool.

 

The greater Abu Simbel temple is generally considered the grandest and most beautiful of the temples commissioned during the reign of Ramesses II, and one of the most beautiful in Egypt.

The facade is 33 meters high, and 38 meters broad, and guarded by four statues, each of which is 20 meters high. They were sculptured directly from the rock in which the temple was located before it was moved. All statues represent Ramesses II, seated on a throne and wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. The statue to the left of the entrance was damaged in an earthquake, leaving only the lower part of the statue still intact.

 

   

 

Nubian Slaves

 

The Smaller Abu Simbel Temple is located north of the Greater Temple. It was carved in the rock by Ramesses II and dedicated to Hathor, the goddess of love and beauty, and also to his favorite wife, Nefertari, for "whose sake the very sun doeth shine." The façade is adorned by six statues, four of Ramesses II and two of Nefertari. Most unusually, the six are the same height, which indicates the esteem in which Nefertari was held. The entrance leads to a hall containing six pillars bearing the head of the goddess Hathor.

 

Hathor has the two horns with the sun in the middle. Nefertari has the high double crown of royalty. So it’s both Goddess Hathor and Queen Nefertari.

 

 

 

Quick trip to the Dam: I’m not sure what Temple that is but you could see they were working on it from the dam.???

 

     

 

 

After the Dam we head out for my favorite Temple.

 

Philae

"Every part of Egypt is interesting and curious,
but the only place to which the epithet beautiful can be
correctly applied is the island of Philae... "


Robert Curzon, from 'Visits to the Monasteries of the Levant', 1834

 

The island temple at Philae was constructed over a three-century period, by the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty and the Roman Principate. The principal deity of the temple complex was Isis, but other temples and shrines were dedicated to her son Horus and the goddess Hathor. In Ptolemaic times Hathor was associated with Isis, who was in turn associated with the Greek goddess Aphrodite. For centuries the temple complex was the holiest site for Isis worshippers. The temple was officially closed down in the 6th century A.D. by the Byzantine emperor Justinian. It was the last pagan temple to exist in the Mediterranean world. Philae was a seat of the Christian religion as well as of the ancient Egyptian faith. Ruins of a Christian church were still discovered, and more than one adytum bore traces of having been made to serve at different eras the purposes of a chapel of Osiris and of Christ. The Philae temple was converted into a church dedicated to the Virgin Mary, until that was closed by Muslim invaders in the 7th century.

 

Philae was saved from drowning. In 1977, a coffer dam was constructed around the temples and the water was pumped out. Then the temples were carefully dismantled with every block assigned a number and its position noted. A nearby higher island called Agilkai was modified to resemble Philae and the temples were resembled. In 1980, Philae was once again opened to the public.

The temple is really a complex of temples, the main temple being dedicated to the Goddess Isis, built by Pharaoh Ptolemy XI. Also to be seen here is the Pavilion of Nectanebo I, dedicated to Hathor, and Trajan's Pavilion, rebuilt by the emperor Trajan and with reliefs showing him offering gifts to the Egyptian Gods. The complex contains all the elements of ancient Egyptian history, with Egyptian, Greek and Roman architecture blending together.

Main Temple (Isis)

 

       

 

      

 

 

View from Island

Not really panoramic but you get the Idea

 

 

Hathors Temple

The beautiful reliefs on the temple walls depict musicians playing for the entertainment of the gods, all in accordance with the patron deity Hathor, of singing, music and dance .

              

 

 

Trajan's Kiosk

Where the sacred barge with the statue of Isis landed during it's annual precession down the river.

 

 

            

 

 

 

The Unfinished Obelisk

Much of the red/pink granite used for ancient temples and colossi came from quarries in the Aswan area. Around these quarries are many inscriptions, many of which describe successful quarrying projects. The Unfinished Obelisk located in the Northern Quarry still lies where a crack was discovered as it was being hewn from the rock. Possibly intended as a companion to the Lateran Obelisk, originally at Karnak but now in Rome, it would have weighed over 2.3 million pounds and would have been the worlds largest piece of stone ever handled. However, a crack in the stone occurred, which caused it to be abandoned. Tools left by it's builders have given us much insight into how such work was performed.

 

      

 

  

.This was me explaining to the group how the Egyptians would use Durite Stone to cut Granite. The Durite is in my hand. It’s a really hard black stone. You would smash it down on the Pink Granite to take chips out of it to cut it. That’s how they did it.

 

 

Back to the ship to relax.

 

This was the excursion to the Nubian village, I’m not on the ferry, that’s how I took this picture. I did manage to steal some pictures from my fellow travelers who were on the ferry though. So I have included them on this page. Of course I didn’t ask permission to use the pictures and if you haven’t guessed I didn’t write all of the captions on these pages either. That is not an admission of guilt for anything. I’m just being efficient when I borrow stuff from the web. You can call my lawyer in Baghdad if you have a problem. The court house is almost safe, see you there. J

 

     

 

The rest of us stayed on the boat during the Nubian Village camel trek.

    

 

          

 

 

 

 

We disembark the next morning to start out on our long trip across the desert.

 

We stop for lunch

   

 

 

After lunch it’s a convoy across the desert to Hurghada by the Red Sea.

Security in numbers.

 

Nothing out here but bandits.

 

Halfway point. Armed security surround the nearby hills.

 

“Mister Mister take my picture for a dollar”

 

 

Hurghada, Egypt

 

 

 

 

         

 

 

 

 

       

 

Out on the Town

 

 

 

 

Bandits!!!

        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saying Goodbye L

 

Well, the trip home, Iraq, funny how I call that home, anyway,  I had to spend the night in the Cairo Airport…..not a great Idea. The armed guards left me alone to sleep on a metal bench but the misquotes were bad!! I had a can of “off’ in my bag thank GAWD!!!  It really was bad and the fact that I couldn’t say goodbye to everybody at the gate made it that much worse. Security wouldn’t let me pass because my flight was 10 hours out going to Dubai. I sadly watched my fellow travelers go through security one by one. I felt my heart sink. The same way it does when I write this….Some of the best memories of my life. Thank You God and thank you to all who came with me.

 

Scott

Balad, Iraq

 

Look!!! There is a person in my drink!!!!

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