Posts Tagged With: Valley of the Kings

Egyptian archaeological discovery in the Valley of the Kings on Luxor’s West Bank.

New archaeological discovery at the Valley of the Kings - Amun Re singer Ni Hms Bastet

New archaeological discovery at the Valley of the Kings – Amun Re singer Ni Hms Bastet

The tomb of Amun Re singer Ni Hms Bastet was discovered in the Valley of the Kings on Luxor’s West Bank

A deep burial well was found during a routine cleaning carried out by a Swiss archaeological mission on the path leading to King Tuthmosis III’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings. The well leads to a burial chamber filled with a treasured collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts.

Mohamed Ibrahim, Minister of State for Antiquities, said that further inside the chamber, excavators stumbled upon a wooden sarcophagus painted black and decorated with hieroglyphic texts, and a wooden stelae engraved with the names and different titles of the deceased.

Early studies carried out by the Swiss team revealed that the tomb dates back to the 22nd Dynasty (945-712 BC) and it belongs to the daughter of Amun Re, lecture priest in Karnak temples and also the singer of the God Amun Re.

Excavations are now in full swing in order to reveal more of the tomb’s treasured collection.

Posted by : Memphis Tours Egypt
Reference : ahram.org.eg

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Categories: Discoveries in Egypt | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

The Best Seven Ancient Tourist Attractions in Egypt.

“In Upper Egypt, so many people make their living from tourism, they won’t let anything happen to a tourist. It would be like attacking themselves,” Thomas said. “Most Egyptian people are kind and generous and consider you to be their guest in their country. They feel it’s their duty to make you happy.”

Okay, but this is Cairo — 20 million-plus people squished between the Nile and the Egyptian desert — even if everyone I met here, including those seven folks I’d asked directions of during a solo walk from the Cairo Marriott to the Ramses shopping centre, Tahrir Square and Egyptian Museum were helpful.

If you’re hesitant taking that once in a lifetime trip to Egypt, don’t be. Eight months after the overthrow of former president Hosni Mubarek, life in Egypt — jewel of the Nile and spell-binding North Africa — is pretty much back to normal. There have been two deadly confrontations between protesters and the army since, but both incidents were localized and none involved visitors to the country.

Egypt is quite likely the safest country in the Middle East and Africa. Tourism also is the country’s second-most important industry (next to the Suez canal).

Five million visitors arrived in Egypt in 2010, many lured by the irresistible Red Sea resort towns of Sharm El Sheikh and Hugearta. Others, like myself, came to see the great pyramids of Giza, the temples of Luxor, Valley of the Kings, the Nile, eclectic Aswan, the Sahara desert and so much else this diverse country has to offer. While tourism suffered during the first six months following the revolution, numbers are edging up again slowly.

Egypt is the cradle of civilization — so ancient that centuries before the Greeks invented Zeus, Apollo and Aphrodite, the Pharaohs already had erected gold temples to their gods: Amun (creator), Ra (Sun god) and Isis (goddess of motherhood, magic and fertility).

And, while there are Roman catacombs in Alexandria and Greek ruins in Cairo, the ancient world of the Pharaohs exists only in Egypt.

Here’s what impressed the most:

1. EGYPTIAN MUSEUM: If museum-strolling were a sport, a visit to the Egyptian Museum in Cairo would equate withscoring a seat to the World Cup soccer final. Nearly 200,000 visitors flocked to the Art Gallery of Ontario a few years ago to view 100 artifacts belonging to the Egyptian Pharaohs. Imagine, then, the drawing power of this overwhelming collection. Built in 1902, this two-storey, 42-room museum contains 120,000 ancient artifacts, including the mummies of 27 pharaohs, their gold thrones, coffins, jewels, art — you name it — plus the massive King Tut collection. While plans are afoot to relocate the museum near the great pyramids of Giza, the move is not imminent.

2. NILE RIVER CRUISE: About 85 million people live in Egypt, most of them in cities and towns hugging the Nile. It has been this way forever, so a river cruise is easily the best and most relaxing way to see historical Egypt. Just don’t expect five-star amenities. We sailed on the Ra 2, a typical flatboat with 75 cabins, a small deck-top swimming pool, one restaurant (buffet) and three bars, with not much in the way of entertainment. But when you’re sailing down the river of the Pharaohs, Cleopatra, Alexander the Great and Napoleon — nursing an Egyptian Stella (beer) — what’s not to like?

3. VALLEY OF THE KINGS — TOMBS: There were at least 63 Pharaohs buried here, in private, multi-roomed tombs, complete with elaborate story-telling murals and hieroglyphic script dating back to 1,700 BC. While grave-robbers emptied the first 62, Tut’s tomb — buried underneath King Ramses VI — wasn’t discovered until 1922 and remained untouched and over-flowing with priceless gold, jewelry and other antiquities, most of it now on display at the Egyptian Museum.

4. ASWAN, HIGH DAM, PHILAE TEMPLE: Located near the Tropic of Cancer, this city of 300,000 is home to the Aswan Dam, an incredible feat of engineering that re-routed the Nile, but flooded Nubian villages and several historic temples, including Philae. Philae was reconstructed block by block while new homes were purchased for the Nubians, many of whom make their living designing exotic, camel-bone jewelry.

5. KARNAK AND LUXOR TEMPLES: Karnak Temple is the largest in the world, as each successive Pharaoh felt obliged to add his own rooms. Karnak was featured in the James Bond classic, The Spy Who Loved Me, and is just down the road from the equally bewitching Temple of Luxor.

6. COPTIC CAIRO DISTRICT: Here, on the banks of the Nile, is where the baby Moses was discovered by the Pharaoh’s daughter; and where Joseph, Mary and Jesus hid out for three-and-a-half years. Cairo, itself, is an acquired taste, but enchanting when lit up at night.

7. THE GREAT PYRAMIDS/SPHINX OF GIZA: Amazing! The pyramids and sphinx are Egypt’s most recognizable symbols and can’t be missed.

Reference: Torontosun

Posted byMemphis Tours Egypt

Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955

Categories: Adventure Tours, Ancient Egypt, Cairo history, Cairo Info, Cairo Tour, Classical Tours, Cultural Tourism, Egypt Latest news, Egypt News, Egypt Tours, Egypt Travel, Entertainment, Family Tours, Latest new in Egypt, Museums, Nile Cruise, Shore Excursions, Sightseeing Tours, The Egyptian Museum | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Security Problems Seen in Egypt’s Museums !

A police officer stands guard by a Paraonic statue at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

A police officer stands guard by a Paraonic statue at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

CAIRO — The Egyptian Museum houses some of the world’s prized antiquities, including the gold mask of King Tut that draws millions of tourists a year. But it also has an outdated video surveillance system that doesn’t work around the clock and guards who snooze, reading the newspaper or are seemingly too bored to pay attention.

Security for Egypt’s treasures is under scrutiny after the Aug. 21 theft of a van Gogh painting from another museum in Cairo revealed some alarming gaps, and the minister of culture told a newspaper he lies awake at night, fearing for the safety of the country’s relics.

Shortly after van Gogh’s 1887 “Poppy Flowers” was stolen from the Mahmoud Khalil Museum, officials discovered that no alarms were working, and only seven of 43 cameras were operating.

That made it very easy for whoever took the painting, said Ton Cremers, director of the Netherlands-based Museum Security Network, which keeps tabs on the protection of art around the world.

The value of the van Gogh is $40 (million) to $50 million,” Cremers told The Associated Press. “A complete security system of that museum would be $50,000, and to keep it running would cost $3,000 a year. … Need I say more?”

With the alarms out and few cameras working, the thieves took advantage of the afternoon period when security guards were busy praying during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

The thieves used a box cutter to slice the 12-inch-by-12-inch (30-centimer-by-30-centimeter) canvas from its frame and left the museum undetected.

Now, officials in Egypt’s Culture Ministry are under fire.

On Monday, the head of the ministry’s fine arts department, Mohsen Shalaan, was arrested for negligence. Shalaan, who was in charge of the Mahmoud Khalil Museum, and a number of other museum heads had asked Culture Minister Farouk Hosni for nearly $7 million to upgrade their security systems, but only $88,000 was approved.

Two days later, Hosni ordered three museums closed because security cameras weren’t functioning.

The independent newspaper Al-Shorouk reported the Tourism and Antiquities Police had warned Hosni of lax security at the Mahmoud Khalil Museum, and that 16 of the country’s nearly 50 museums have no alarms, cameras or appropriate fire safety systems.

Each year, nearly 9 million people visit Cairo’s museums and the haunting tombs of the Valley of the Kings in Luxor, and these tourists are a vital source of revenue.

Still, on a hot Tuesday afternoon at the height of the tourist season, inattentive security was easy to spot at the Egyptian Museum.

A tourism police officer guarding the entrance leaned back in his chair intently reading the Quran, the Muslim holy book, as his subordinates tried to handle the hundreds of visitors filing in.

Inside, a guard talked on his cell phone as he leaned against a stone statue of an ancient Egyptian. He ignored a Russian couple touching the carvings on a huge black sarcophagus in the middle of the room.

Control room workers said that if a security guard “senses” that an incident is about to happen, he presses the record button on a VCR.

An Egyptian Museum guard who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his job said much of the security relied not on computers but on humans, who had to constantly pay attention.

“A controller may be very alert for two or three hours of the shift, but then he’ll slip,” he said.

Asked what would happen if a worker missed something or believed that a room wasn’t worth monitoring, the security guard shrugged and said: “It doesn’t get recorded.”

He also said the equipment wasn’t able to record 24 hours a day.

In Egypt, we say, ‘It’s OK; God will take care of it.’ Then we do nothing,” he added.

Since the van Gogh theft, the Culture Ministry announced the creation of a central control room in Cairo to collect information from all museum security rooms.

Egyptian antiquities chief Zahi Hawasssought to calm fears about more thefts from sites under his control, telling the AP: “I am assuring everyone that all of my 23 museums are well-protected and have good security systems.”

But on Thursday, he shut down the Nubian Museum in Aswan, 425 miles (685 kilometers) south of Cairo, because its security system wasn’t working, the Shorouk newspaper reported.

Hosni even complained that he was overwhelmed by “incompetent employees.”

“I’m tired, I can’t sleep,” the culture minister told the Al-Masry Al-Youm daily. “I wake up in the middle of the night fearing for the artifacts and the museums.”

Derek Fincham, academic director of the Association for Research into Crimes Against Art, said the best protection is “an active, engaged security guard who isn’t dozing off.”

“It’s not an exciting job, but you need to take it seriously,” Fincham said.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Posted by : Yasmine Aladdin

Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Categories: Egypt Latest news | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Howard Carter’s House and the West bank of Luxor.

Howard Carter's house on the west bank of Luxor (Photo: Katy Dammers)

Howard Carter’s house on the west bank of Luxor (Photo: Katy Dammers)

Howard Carter’s house is located on the west bank of Luxor just before you enter the Valley of the Kings. Unfortunately, it was neglected for a long time and was not being used for anything except collecting dust. Dr. Hawass decided that this was unacceptable and that the house of Howard Carter should be returned to its former glory.

Office of Howard Carter with his original paperwork from the excavation of Tutankhamun's tomb (Photo: Katy Dammers)

Office of Howard Carter with his original paperwork from the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb (Photo: Katy Dammers)

Around the same time that the Carter House project started, he began a very important project with a foreign team to make laser scanning of three tombs in the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. The three tombs are: Seti I, Tutankhamun and Nefertari. (Go here to view short videos on how this work was carried out.) He  chose these tombs because they are unique and can never be repeated again. Currently the tombs in the Valley of the Kings and Queens are visited by thousands of tourists each year. If this situation is not changed the tombs will be irreversibly damaged and eventually completely destroyed.

Dr. Zahi Hawass’s  plan then is to finish the laser scanning and make a replica valley to the north-west of Howard Carter’s house. This replica valley will have the three tombs of Seti, Tutankhamun and Nefertari and we will be closing the original three tombs to the public (Nefertari and Seti’s tombs have been closed off to the public for several years now). Some visitors might think that this is denying them the chance to see these tombs. However, this is the only away of preserving the tombs for humanity. As of right now visitors cannot see Nefertari or Seti’s tomb at all, so in fact the replica valley will provide access to these tombs that have been closed off completely.

Because of the large number of tourists it is impossible for the guards to keep a close eye on everyone, making sure that they don’t take pictures with their cameras or scrape their bags across the fragile walls of the tombs. Therefore it is very important to break the overwhelming number of tourists into three separate, more manageable groups. This will be of great benefit to the monuments and will also provide tourists with a more enjoyable and less crowded experience.  We hope to have this in place by October 1, 2010.

Reference : drhawass.com

Posted by : Yasmine Aladdin

Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Categories: Ancient Egypt, Cultural Tourism, Sightseeing Tours | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Egypt finds evidence of unfinished secret tomb inside grave.

released by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities on Wednesday, June 30, 2010, Antiquities chief Zahi Hawass

released by the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities on Wednesday, June 30, 2010, Antiquities chief Zahi Hawass

Egypt’s antiquities department has announced the excavation of an unfinished tunnel, possibly meant to be a secret tomb, inside a 3,300-year-old pharaoh’s grave.

The 570-foot long tunnel (174 meters) stretches away from the main tomb of New Kingdom Pharaoh Seti I (1314-1304 B.C.) descending two staircases before abruptly ending.

Egyptian chief archaeologist Zahi Hawass said it has taken three years to excavate the 570-foot (174 meter) long tunnel in Pharaoh Seti Is ornate tomb in southern Egypt‘s Valley of the Kings. The pharaoah died before the project was finished.

First discovered in 1960, the tunnel has only now been completely cleared and archaeologists discovered ancient figurines, shards of pottery and instructions left by the architect for the workmen.

“Move the door jamb up and make the passage wider,” read an inscription on a decorative false door in the passage. It was written in hieratic, a simplified cursive version of hieroglyphics.

Elsewhere in the tunnel there were preliminary sketches of planned decorations, said Hawass.

Pharoah Seti I (1314-1304 B.C.) was one of the founders of the New Kingdom’s 19th Dynasty known for its military exploits and considered the peak of ancient Egyptian power. His tomb is famous for its colorful wall paintings.

Seti‘s son Ramses II built grandiose temples and statues of himself all over Egypt.

Hawass speculated that the tunnel and secret tomb were not finished because of the pharoah’s death, but may have inspired a similar strucuture in Ramses II‘s tomb.

Posted by : Yasmine Aladdin

Memphis Tours Egypt since 1955.

Categories: Ancient Egypt, Cultural Tourism, Dahabiyas in Egypt Nile, Discoveries in Egypt, Latest Discoveries in Egypt, Sightseeing Tours | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tutankhamun DNA shows family tree history

The pharaoh Tutankhamun was discovered in his tomb in Egypt in 1922, by the British archaeologist Howard Carter.

Since then his real identity has remained a mystery.

In recent years the advance in DNA profiling has given hope that the king’s family connections could be revealed.

The results of important DNA tests, carried out over the past two years in Cairo, have now been announced at the TutankhamunExhibition in Dorchester.

Although Dorset has no direct link to the pharaohs, the exhibition has been in existence for 21 years, and is internationally acclaimed.

It is also one of the few exhibits of its kind, outside of Egypt.

Tim Batty, the General Manager of the exhibition, said: “The research has helped to establish a family tree for Tutankhamun, which is something we didn’t really know before.”

The report, which is on display in the Tutankhamun Exhibition in Dorchester, traces back to the pharaoh’s great grandparents.

Tim said: “It’s firmed up some of the things we already suspected.

“It’s proved that the mummy in ‘Tomb 35’ [in the Valley of the Kings – a valley in Egypt where, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, tombs were constructed for the kings and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom] was Tutankhamun’s mother, but archeologically it hasn’t been proved who that person was yet.

“The tests have also shown that Tutankhamun’s father was buried in ‘Tomb 55’ – again it still hasn’t been proved exactly who this person was, but it has always thought to have been Akhenaten [a pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Egypt, he ruled for 17 years and died in 1336 BC or 1334 BC].”

DNA sequencing has also shown that Tutankhamun’s mother and father had a sibling relationship.

Tim said: “Ancient Egyptian relationships are fairly complicated in that there was quite a lot of intermarriage between brothers and sisters.

“Marriage was very different compared to what we know today.”

More about disease and possible causes of death have been revealed in the report too.

Tim explained: “The cause of death of Tutankhamunhas never been known.

“Originally, due to a mark on the back of his skull, it was thought that he had been hit over the head, or had fallen off his chariot and hit his head.

“However a CT scan [brain scan using x-rays] was done about two or three years ago and it was proved that the blow to the back of his head wouldn’t have been severe enough to cause death.

“Later a break on his leg was discovered and it was then put forward that septicemia [the presence of bacteria in the blood] may have caused his death, if the break hadn’t healed properly.

“That was the current theory until now – it’s now been proved through this latest report that he had malaria as well.

“So we’re getting a picture of quite a frail king, despite the fact he was young – he was only 19 when he died.

“He obviously had malaria, but whether this is what killed him is yet to be proved.

“It was quite prevalent in those days, because of the marshland near the River Nile [in Egypt], which attracted the mosquitoes – so it would have been possible to live with the disease, but not actually die from it.”

Reference : news.bbc.co.uk

Posted by : Yasmine Aladdin.

Categories: Adventure Tours, Budget Tours, Classical Tours, Combo Tours, Cultural Tourism, Dahabiyas in Egypt Nile, Events In Egypt, Family Tours, Honeymooners, Luxury Holidays (VIP), Nile Cruise, Sightseeing Tours, Special Offers in Egypt | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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