It is the place chosen by Akhenaton on the eastern bank of the Nile to build the capital of his kingdom called Akht Aton (Horizon of Aton) for the worship of Aton which is represented by the Sun disk emitting rays which end with human hands bestowing life on the universe. This area still has monuments of the temple and places where Akhenaton and his wife Nefertiti lived, and also the royal tombs of which the most important are Huya and Mery Ra II tomb and the tomb of the high priest Mery Ra 1st. The story of the site outshines the site itself. There is really little to see of Akhenaten’s capital of the 14th century BCE (1374-1360), both due to effective demolition of his enemies but also because large areas are still unexcavated. Of some unknown reason or inspiration, did Akhenaten declare the worship of the formerly inferior sun-god Aten, as the only accepted cult. Aten was declared as the only god. In cases where a new god was made the leading god, priests would declare all other gods as his subjects. But not this time. They were declared powerless, they were stripped of their divine powers. Akhenaten would head the first known monotheistic religion in world history. The move to Akhetaten, “Horizon of Aten” can be explained in several ways. Most important appears the need to distance himself from Thebes, the leading cult center of Egypt and also the capital for centuries. The position, in the middle of his dominion, may also have served practical needs. The fact that at this place, the sun rises between two mountains forming a wide “V” may also have created an idea that ft was a holy place. But the move had made priests and princes unemployed and in some cases ruined. At no time would Thebes accept the new religion and capital. How the Akhetaten period ended is unclear. There are no good records on when and how, and even if, Akhenaten died. A mummy has never been found. He was succeeded by Smenkhkare, a person we know nothing about. He is by some suggested to have been Akhenaten’s wife Nefertiti ruling in the disguise of a man. Others suggest that Smenkhkare was Akhenaten gay lover, while Nefertiti had been placed in house arrest in her palace.
Monthly Archives: March 2009
Antiquities of all sorts are getting new and refurbished homes
In Some ways, Egypt is like a living museum, what with the still-very-active historic districts and new archaeology discoveries being reported every month. In an effort to keep up with history, the Supreme Council of Antiquities and other government offices have been renovating and building new museums across the country.
National Police Museum
Artifacts in the police museum, located in the Citadel, have been restored and are once again ready for viewing. Besides displaying odd fingerprints, the museum also tells the story of some of Egypt’s most notorious and beloved historical figures. The most famous of the infamous are Raya and Sekina, the female serial killers of Alexandria who killed 24 women for their gold jewelry, burying their victims beneath the killers’ house. The two women were hanged in 1922.
The museum also honors the police role in the struggle of the police against the British, with a maquette of the battle of Ismailia, in which 50 Egyptian policemen were killed. There is also a room dedicated to the national hero Adham el Sharkawy, who blew up a train carrying weapons to the British army. You can also see police uniforms and weapons dating from the Fatimid, Ayyubid, Mamluk and Ottoman periods. The museum even shows the cell where Sadat was imprisoned before he became president. Later on, Sadat imprisoned Sheikh Kishk, one of the most outspoken sheikhs of his .time, in this same cell. Open daily 9am-4:30pm.
The Imhotep Museum
Located in Saqqara, this museum honors dedicated to Imhotep, the famed architect of Djoser’s Step Pyramid and the first to have used stone in pyramid construction. He was also an astronomer and doctor. Inaugurated in 2006, this museum contains statues, pottery and mummies mostly dating to the third dynasty.Open daily 8am-4pm.
The Coptic Museum
Reopened in 2006, this museum in Old Cairo houses an impressive collection of icons, manuscripts, textiles and monastic art and sculpture from the nation’s 600-year Christian era. Among the most important items is an icon showing the holy family fleeing to Egypt and scrolls from Naga Hamadi dating to the second or third century. The collection is displayed in nineteenth-century villa that is a work of art in itself. Open daily from 9am-Spm.
Gayer Anderson Museum
Adjacent to the mosque of Ibn Tulun .Cairo’s Sayyeda Zeinab district, this museum is also known as Beyt el Krediya (the House of the Cretan Woman). It actually comprises two houses, both fine examples of Islamic architecture from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, complete with a sabil, or drinking fountain, a well (called Bir al watwait) and many well-furnished rooms overflowing with the eclectic collection of British Major RG. Gayer-Anderson. Not only is the house itself interesting, but almost every part of it holds a supernatural story at a legend of people who lived in it before. Open daily 9am-5pm.
Here are some of the best exhibitions of Egyptian carving, the pieces nicely displayed and well lit. A wing called “The Glory of the Empire” celebrates military conquests during the New Kingdom; here two noted Pharaohs — Ramses I and Ahmose I — lie in state. The wing also houses a Pharaonic war chariot. Corniche El-Nil, Luxor. Open daily 9am-5pm.
According to officials at the Supreme Council of Antiquities and at the museums themselves, 2008 will see a number of openings. While many of the museums have already posted phone numbers and work hours, specific inauguration dates were not available, as these events are typical dependent on presidential or ministerial schedules. Among the new additions:
The Rosetta Museum
This museum is located in the Ottoman-era house of Hussein Arab Killy, the governor of Rosetta during the latter part of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. It contains a collection of arms, such as guns, swords and rifles, dating to the Ottoman period. It also contains two important documents: the first outlining the withdrawal of the English from Egypt and the second registering the famous marriage of General Minou, who converted to Islam and married Zebayda, a woman from a wealthy Rosetta family. Their story is often told in Egyptian folklore. It also contains a cast of the Rosetta stone given to the Egyptians by the British Museum in London. Rosetta, Behira. Open 9am-4pm.
El Arish Museum
As El Arish was the Western gate of Egypt, the museum is designed to take visitors into the world of the Sinai. It celebrates the military history of Ancient Egypt, in particular campaigns from Qantara to Rafah. The museum opened in March as part of the Sinai Liberation celebrations. Open 9am-4pm in winter, until 5pm in summer.
Crocodile Museum (Kom Ombo)
This museum is co-located with the temple of Kom Ombo, about 50 kilometers north of Aswan. Once the center of the cult of the crocodile-headed god Sobek, Kom Ombo has an unusual Ptolemaic-era double temple dedicated both Sobek and the Hawk-headed Horus the Elder.
Taken from Egypt Today
BY Ayat Ahmed http://www.memphistours.com
ALTHOUGH TODAY’S Downtown Cairo Is a modern bustle of people, cars, banks, and theaters, underneath all that is a tribute to some of Egypt’s earliest and most prominent nationalist leaders. From Midan Saad Zaghloul at the Qasr El-Nil Bridge to Mohammed Farid’s statue at Ezbekiah Gardens, we gives you a list of historical statues to follow through Downtown Cairo, commemorating the men who challenged the British Empire in the early twentieth century.
JULY 1859 – AUGUST 1927 Prime Minister and founder of the Wafd Party; leader of the nationalist movement. Arrested and jailed several times for fomenting protests against the British Protectorate, Zaghloul and several others were exiled to Malta in March 1919. In events now known as the 1919 Revolution, an outraged populace rioted against his exile, forcing the British to let him return. He continued to lead protests and was deported once more in 1921, but the nationalists had gained momentum and the protectorate officially ended in 1922. Zaghloul was elected prime minister in 1924, but held the post for just 11 months, resigning in protest of British demands on the government.
Statue: The government contracted sculptor Mahmoud Mokhtar (1891 – March 1934) in 1930 to construct two statues of Saad Zaghloul, one in Alexandria and the other in front of Cairo’s Opera House Complex at the end of Qasr El-Nil Bridge.
Talaat Harb Pasha
NOVEMBER 25, 1867 – AUGUST 23, 1941
Economist, nationalist, lawyer, and founder of Banque Misr (The Bank of Egypt) and its group of companies.
an ardent nationalist, Harb called for economic freedom from colonial investments and was a major force behind the nation’s industrialization in the twentieth-century, writing extensively on the issue of economic reform. His brainchild was Banque Misr, created to foster Egyptian economic independence, which by the 1952 Revolution had grown to be one of the leading financial establishments. In 1980, then-President Anwar Sadat celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of Banque Misr by awarding Talaat Harb a posthumous Nile Collar – the highest Egyptian civilian decoration.
Statue: The five-meter bronze statue in Midan Talaat Harb, on the street of the same name, was sculpted by Fathi Mahmoud and erected in March 1964.
Nationalist leader, writer, and lawyer.
Farid first worked as a lawyer for the Egyptian government but was dismissed after backing Sheikh Ali Yusuf, a popular newspaper editor who was tried for publishing secret telegrams taken from the War Ministry. Farid was the main political and financial supporter of Mustafa Kamil, and after a falling out with Yusuf, Farid used his own funds to launch Kamil’s newspaper, Al-Liwa. After Kamil’s death in 1908, Farid became head of the Nationalist Party despite opposition from Kamil’s family; his popularity dwindled with his attacks on the Copts and his support for Turkey. The 1910 assassination of the Coptic Prime Minister Boutros Ghali by Nationalist Party member Ibrahim Wardani turned the public against the party; in 1912, Farid left the country after being sentenced to six months imprisonment for ‘publishing seditious material. His support of the Axis cause during World War I was not a popular stance, and when Saad Zaghloul revived the nationalist cause with the Wafd Party in 1918, Farid was deliberately uninvited. He died in exile in Berlin the following year.
Statue: Located in Ezbekiah Garden, the statue of Mohammed Farid Pasha was sculpted by Mansour Farag.
AUGUST 14, 1874 – February 10, 1908
Journalist and leader of the modern national alist movement. Kamil was the most charismatic nationalist figure until Saad Zghloul’s rise post-World War One. Anti-British from the start, Kamil was originally pro-palace working closely with Khedive Abbas and Ali Yusuf, editor of the newspaper Al-Muayyad (The Supported One). Relations turned sour and Kamil founded his own paper, Al-Liwa (The Standard) with Mohamed Farid.Kamil also founded the Nationalist party in December 1907, two months before his death.
Statue: Sculpted by Leopold Savine with atelier Rene Fulda, the 2.8 meter tall bronze statue of Mustafa Kamil was first displayed at the May 1910 Paris exhibition of fine Arts. It wasn’t unveiled in Egypt until May 1940, after professors at Cairo and Al_Azhar universities rallied the government. King Farouk himself unveiled the statue, which now stands in Mustafa Kamil Square off of Qasr El-Nil and Mohammed Farid Street
Nile CRUISE BOATS of every shape, size and type cluster along Luxor‘s busy Corniche. Under a golden dawn, date palms and minarets create dark silhouettes. A muezzin’s call drifts through the still-air as we cross to the West bank of this legendary river to visit tombs among desert hills in the Valleys of the Kings and Queens.
Walking down the long, rock-hewn passageway of Pharaoh Ramses IV’s tomb, under a curved-blue roof dotted with golden stars, the intricacy of the decoration, the attention to detail, the bright colors and the craftsmanship of the painters, sculptors and stone carvers leave us mesmerized.
Returning to the boat for a well-earned lunch, we’re welcomed with cold towels and a refreshing lemon drink. Back in the cabin, we find our towels carefully arranged in the shape of a lotus flower. On each day of this cruise, we will be surprised and, delighted by the imaginative artistry of our steward!
It is peaceful and relaxing sailing along the river from Luxor to Aswan, lazily watching life go by on its banks. Lush fields of sharp green are fringed with date palms; square buildings define towns and mud-walled villages. There are glimpses of black-swathed women and white-robed men, and giggling youngsters swimming in the shallows. Pink Sandstone Mountains bleach into a white-blue sky.
Approaching Edfu, the long bridge crossing the Nile is heavy with traffic. Our transport to the splendid Temple of Horus is horse-drawn. The powerful double-faced pylon (entrance) leads to halls of great columns, chambers and antechambers,- polished black granite and massive reliefs of life-sized figures.
At Aswan, seeing the amazing 133ft-long unfinished obelisk, which has lain in a red granite quarry for 3,000 years, brings home the extraordinary feats of an ancient culture. The city’s setting is beautiful Blue Nile, green islands and amber desert.
We fly to Abu Simbel on an optional tour that is certainly worth every cent. Arguably the grandest, most glorious example of ancient Egyptian architecture, the temples and giant statues there were carved from a sandstone mountain around 1290BC as a powerful statement by Pharaoh Ramses II (he of the 20 wives and 150 children) to honor himself and his favourite wife Nefertari. They simply take your breath away.
Our Nile cruise was memorable in so many ways, not least for the insight the Egyptologist guides gave us into the culture, religions and beliefs of the Ancient Egyptians. They brought history to life
THE STORY OF Egypt goes back 5,000 years and tells of dynasties of Pharaohs (kings) who ruled over an advanced civilization and rich culture. They left a legacy of temples and treasure for us to discover and marvel at today.
Cairo is a big, chaotic city, ancient yet modern. It has international hotels downtown, but clients should consider opting for one of the upscale properties in nearby Giza. There’s nothing to beat waking up to a view of the 3,000-year-old Pyramids.
Luxor combines hotels with important archaeological sites. A hot air balloon ride to watch dawn break over the Valleys of the Kings and Queens is unforgettable.
Aswan is picture-book Egypt. Here, the blue waters of the Nile are dotted with tropical-green islands and the white sails of traditional feluccas against a backdrop of amber-colored desert cliffs that glow red in the sunsets.
Its rich and diverse history, hospitable people and some of the greatest sights on earth, make Egypt a unique experience.
more about Egypt sightseeing visit: www.memphistours.com
This Bedouin village on the Gulf of Aqaba has grown from being a haven for backpackers, desert trekkers, grifters, divers hippies to a cleaned-up, laidback, less glitzy and less expensive alternative to Sharm El-Sheikh. There are now a number of high and midrange hotels in Dahab city, including the Coralia club Dahab, Ganet Sinai, Helton Dahab. Each has all the standard amenities and share a great cove and beach, but budget travelers can just as easily enjoy the communal atmosphere of the many camps and hostel-style hotels such as penguin and fighting kangaroo camps that line the seaside Assalah, the main tourist village.
Much of the attraction of Dahab is its relaxed atmosphere. Many vacationers spend hours sitting in Bedouin-style seaside restaurants, sipping juices and enjoying mezzeh. Most of the restaurants serve the same fare of western-style seafood and other dishes.
For those who want more excitement you can enjoy a safari tour in the desert by camel, horse, jeep or all-terrain vehicle, with the stunning Colored Canyon, various oases and St. Catherine’s Monastery all within a few hours drive or ride, Dahab is well situated as a starting point into the peninsula’s interior.
The lighthouse and the Eel Garden are just a short walk north of Assalah. Of all the dive sites in Dahab area, the blue Hole is particularly stunning: A 25 minute drive north of Assalah puts you at a long strip of Bedouin-style café/ restaurants lining the beach. A huge semicircular reef keeps the current at a minimum, so the fish can leisurely bob about in mute awe. A bridge stretches over the reef, allowing scuba divers, snorkelers and regular old swimmers to plunge right into the cove and its dazzling collection of exotic fish and corals.
The water sport in Dahab are not limited to the divers, kayaks, peddle boats, wind surfing and kite surfing are all popular pastimes. Heading north from the Blue Hole you can reach the Ras Abu Ghallum protectorate by camel or four-wheel drive. Ras Abu Ghallum has a wonderful beach and friendly Bedouin village. Dahab is 8-10 hour drive or bus ride from Cairo, but just two hours from Sharm.
Hundreds upon hundreds of pharaonic temples dot the entire country, whatever in the desert oases or in the Nile Valley. However, only one temple is found in Sinai: Sarabit El- Khadim, one of ancient Egypt’s most peculiar ruins.
The mining complex of Sarabit El-Khadim is located on a small plateau north of south Sinai governrate’s capital city El-Tur, with the small coastal town of Abu Zeneima the nearest urban center at 40 kilometers east. Its story dates back some 8,000 years to when man first inhabited Sinai. Drawn by the riches hidden in the earth, the peninsula’s early settlers were soon mining the depth of the dirt. It was 3,500 BC by the time they discovered the “mother vein” of turquoise the biggest deposit in the area. Turquoise was mined at Sarabit El-Khadim for almost 2,000 years.
Sarabit El-Khadim actually acquired its name from the Bedouin word Sarbot, singular for Sarabit, meaning “erected column” referring to the number of the temple’s columns are still standing the test of time. El-Khadim on the other hand means the servant a local reference to Hathor, the ancient goddess of copper and turquoise miners.
Today, though the 12 Dynasty temple cannot be compared to lavishness of Karnak, or any other of the Nile Valley’s colossal temples, it still clings to the charming beauty of ancient Egypt not to mention the thrilling adventure in exploring it. Located in the middle of the desert a top of a plateau some 1,100 meters above sea level, Sarabit El-Khadim is becoming easier to reach, with a tarmac road connecting the plateau to the coastal highway being constructed. It is not finished yet though, so a for-wheel drive vehicle is necessary to cover this 40 kilometers ride. Once you make it to the foot of the plateau, another adventure begins: the hike to the temple.
Don’t even think about tackling Sarabit El-Khadim during the Summer time. Though the altitude means some breeze, the temple is located in the middle of the desert, and the scorching heat can easily become unbearable. Go for autumn or early spring; though be warned that the cold desert night can be also a challenge. Spending the night at the foot of the plateau and hiking at dawn is the best option, as you will avoid the morning soon and enjoy the spectacular scenery with the first rays of the light a dream for any avid photographer.
The mummy of Hatshepsut, one of ancient Egypt’s most famous female pharaohs, has been positively identified. Hatshepsut was the daughter of Tuthmose I and Princes Ahmose, both of royal origin; she was the favourite of their three children. When her two brothers died, she was in the unique position to gain the throne upon the death of her father.
To have a female pharaoh was unprecedented and probably most definitely unheard of as well. When Tuthmose I passed away, his son by a minor wife (Mwt Nofret), Tuthmose II, technically ascended the throne. For the few years of his reign, however, Hatshepsut seems to have held the reign.
From markings on his mummy, archaeologists believe Tuthmose II had a skin disease, and he died after ruling only three or four years. Hatshepsut, his half sister and wife, just gave birth to 3 daughters, but he had a son from a minor wife Isis. This son, Tuthmose III, was supposed to ascend the throne, but due to his age Hatshepsut was allowed to reign as a co-regent.
Hatshepsut was not one to sit back and wait for her nephew to age enough to take her place. As a favourite daughter of a popular pharaoh, and as a charismatic and beautiful lady in her own right, she was able to command enough of a following to actually take control as pharaoh. She ruled for about 15 years, until her death in 1458 BC, and left behind more monuments and works of art than any Egyptian queen to come.
Hatshepsut was a master politician and an elegant stateswoman as she claimed to have been handpicked by her father, above her two brothers and her half-brother. In her temple are written the story of her divine birth.
This propaganda worked well to cement Hatshepsut’s position. But as Tuthmose III grew, her sovereignty grew tenuous. He not only resented his lack of authority, but no doubt harboured only ill will towards his step-mother’s consort Senmut.
Researchers claim to have identified an Egyptian mummy exhibit in Britain as a son of the powerful Pharaoh Ramsses II.
Using CT scanning, they solved the mystery of the 3,000-year-old mummy kept on display at Bolton Museum for 80 years, which was earlier thought to be that of a female temple dancer.
According to the researchers, the CT scan results showed the mummy’s features reminiscent of the Egyptian royal family. It is one of the 110 children Ramsses is thought to have fathered, they concluded.
In fact, test results revealed that the mummy had a pronounced over-bite and misaligned eyes, akin to members of the 19th Dynasty, and his facial measurements were found to be almost identical to those of Ramsses himself.
Even chemical analysis showed that the body had been embalmed using expensive materials, including pistachio resin and thyme, the preserve of priests and royalty, the research team said.
They estimated that the mummified man died in his thirties between 1295 and 1186 BC of a wasting disease, likely to be cancer.
The great temple of Abu Simbel, dedicated to the glory of King Ramsses II. Though the temple is officially dedicated to the triad Amon-Ra, Ptah and Ra-Harakhte, its front is dominated by four gigantic statues of the great pharaoh himself. Because of their remote location near the Sudanese border in southern Egypt, the temples were unknown until their rediscovery in 1813. They were first explored in 1817 by the Egyptologist Giovanni Battista Belzoni.
He had this temple built in this otherwise desolate area on the actual site of a much older shrine of a local personification of the god Horus. The facade is one 119 feet wide and 100 feet high, while the colossal statues are 67 feet in height wearing the characteristic nemes head cloth and the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt.
The king is accompanied by some of his wives, sons and daughters who appear in much smaller size beside his legs. Right above the entrance stands a figure of the god Re-Harakhte in a small niche. The top of the facade is crowned by a row of baboons.
The central entrance leads into a large hall with massive pillars fronted by Osiris figures of the king. The most striking feature of the site is that the axis of the temple is specially tilted in such a way so that twice every year, on 22 February and 22 October, the first rays of the morning sun shine down the entire length of the temple-cave to illuminate the back wall of the innermost shrine and the statues of the four Gods seated there. With the construction of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s, the temples were threatened with submersion under the rising waters of the reservoir (Lake Nasser). Between 1964 and 1966, a project sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Egyptian government disassembled both temples and reconstructed them on top of the cliff 200 feet above the original site.