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Wonders of Egypt

- Updated

Egypt is one among the 10 Ancient Civilizations likes of Indus, Mesopotamia,  Egypt, Mayan, Chinese, Greek,  Persian, Roman, Aztec and Incan’s. Visit to Egypt is recommended for those who are interested in Civilization and History.

This Ancient Egypt Civilization was in existence between 3150 BC -30 BC, near Nile River and Sahara Dessert and It’s highlights are “Giza Pyramids”. It was a culturally a rich Civilization under 1st Pharoh who ruled upper and Lower Egypt. There were Egyptian settlers before 3500 BC too in Nile Valley. The kingdom’s were of Early, Middle and later bronze ages.  The Pyramids are their highlights and Mummies preserved for centuries. Ramsses was their great king and brought Nubian’s , the earliest residents of Egypt under his control.

We travelled to Cairo from India via Kuwait. It was 8 Days/7 Nights trip from 22nd December 2019 to 30th December 2019.  Egypt has a visitor’s visa for Indian’s but prior intimation is required with travel approvals from Egyptian embassy in India.

City of Cairo

City of Cairo is little dusty due to Sand Storms.

City of sand storms

Citadel of Salah El Den

It was built by Mohammed Ali who had ruled Egypt with it’s military type of architecture and the Albaster Mosque.  It was more like a fort and a Mosque.  A Wonderful architecture and interiors to see in Citadel.

Church Basilica – Hanging Church

Virgin Mary’s Coptic Church, also known as The Hanging Church, is one of the oldest churches in Egypt. The history of the church  dates to the third century. It belongs to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria, a symbolic ancient pulpit and their ancient culture.

Other places to see are Khan El Khalil Bazars. Need to be vigilant here with your belongings and also should have knack of bargaining every item you buy at 50% at least.

Alexendria

The second most important City in Egypt.

The Catacombs

The Catacombs of Kom El Shoqfa is wonders of medieval ages. It consists of several Alexandrian tombs. It was supposed to be a burial chamber of one family but it was expanded and allowed for others. The underground tunnels were built between 2nd and 4th Century AD.  The circular stair case takes you to Roman and Egyptian art. There are stone coffins, built with ancient rock cut technology, tunneled to bedrock. It is said that the Catacombs are evidence of 3 cultures, religions and art that came together on Egyptian soil.

Amphitheatre

A circular shaped theatre which was discovered in 1960. Have solid iron columns. The  Amphitheatre were in services for a long time hosting artistic, creative and musical concerns till 7th Century.

Pompey’s Pillar

A single pillar made of red Aswan granite estimated to be 285 tons. The pillar is a triumphal monument erected around 300 AD for the Roman Emperor Diocletian.

Giza Pyramids & Sphinx

The great Pyramid of Cheops, the Pyramid of Chephren and the Pyramid of Mycerinus, one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.  Nearby we can see the Sphinx, a marvelous sight carved of natural rocky outcrop, the lion’s body stretching 45 M, with paws 15 M long. Egyptologist believe that it was built 2500 BC built by lime stones and casing stones. Most accepted construction hypotheses are based on the idea that it was built by moving huge stones from a quarry, dragging and lifting them to build.  It costs to go inside 300 Egyptian Pounds for first Pyramid and 2nd Pyramid 150 EGP.  We went to see inside and we had to walk crouching 15 meters down and elevated wooden planks, stuffy, no air or oxygen and single path to go and come back. Those who have asthma, leg/knee pains or spondalities can avoid going inside, as it is a narrow path with less than 3 feet in height. Desert around Pyramids and sand storms are likely, hence covering face on a windy day is advisable.  The temperature in Egypt was around 7 degrees Celsius in the evenings to 20 Degrees Celsius during day time. The Sphinx is lime stone statue of reclining mythical creature with the body of lion and head of human on the west bank of Nile. The face is believed to be Pharaoh Khafre, carved from bedrock of the plateau. It is believed that due to prolonged and extensive rainfall and due to water erosion the statue eroded this figurine.

Egyptian Museum

Houses more than  2,00,000 antique pieces covering the whole history of ancient Egypt.  Here, You can see Mummies and mummy masks on display. It exhibits items excavated from tombs of pharaoh’s. You require minimum half a day to see each exhibits in detail. This museum is one of the richest museums in terms of cultural and historical artifacts, especially about the King Tut’s part with the master piece, “his golden mask”.

Aswan

It was a 3 day Nile Cruise at Aswan. We came from Cairo by night train and reached Aswan, it took us almost 16 hours even though the train travel was for 12 hours. The “Renaissance” Cruise was docked in the Nile River and after checking in; we went to Awan High Dam. 

Temple of Philae

We had to disembarked from Curise and take a boat to the temple  It is an island at Aswan Low Dam in the lake Nasser. The temple of Isis. Isis is a goddess in Egyptian theology. She was the sister and wife of Osiris, and they had a son named Horus. As goddess of life and magic, Isis protected women and children, and healed the sick. She was goddess of love for ancient Egyptians. Closely linked to the throne, she was one of the greatest goddesses of Ancient Egypt. We can find, Beautiful engravings and sculpting thousands of years ago. It was wonderful to see at the sunset.

Temple of Kom Ombo

The temple contains many beautiful images and decoration walls and columns including Ptolemy VIII & XII kneeling in front of the Nile deities. The Ptolemaic dynasty worked on improving the temple over the ages as a symbol of their glory.  Kom Ombo means “Hill of Gold”. The Nearby temple of Gods Sobek (Crocodile) can be seen, where Mummies of Crocodiles are preserved.

Temple of Edfu- Luxor

We had to disembark early morning to go to temple of Edfu.  This is located 60KM from Aswan but few KM from our Cruise docking station.  We had to start early at 4.30 am and outside the Cruise on land we travelled few KM’s by Horse Carriage and returned back to Cruise by horse carriage. The temple is dedicated to Horus of Behdet, Hathor, and their son, Hor-Sama-Tawy. In the old Greek documents, Edfu was known as “Apollopolis Magna” because the Greeks identified Horus with their god Apollo. Edfu Temple consists of traditional elements of Egyptian Temples of the New Kingdom, together with a few Greek significance. On various walls of the temple are many battle scenes, including the famous scene of the ritual of the Temple foundation. The outer corridor of the temple, depicts the legend of the conflict between Horus and Seth, the victory of Horus over his uncle, and his coronation to rule the world.

Karank Temple – Luxor

It is a city of temples built over 2000 years and dedicated to the Theban triad of Amun, Mut and Khonsu. It is awe inspiring temple and was a place of worship for almost 2000 years. A 134 columns pillar is a spectacular sight to see. The architraves on top of these columns are estimated to weigh 70 tons. It belongs to Egyptian Middle & New Kingodm. It is part of the monumental city of Thebes. The karnak temple is dedicated to the worship of almighty god of the New Empire “God Amun”.

Temple of Abu Simbel

Ambu Simbel is near the border of Sudan which is 200 KM from Luxor. It was constructed by Ramses II., cut into solid rock cliff, to celebrate victory of Ramses II battle of 1274 BC. The temple was dedicated to a number of ancient Egyptian gods such as Ra-Horakhty, Ptah, and Amon. It contains two main temples and number of paths as well as rooms. Main temple is dedicated to Ramses-II and smaller temple is dedicated for Egyptian Queen Nefertari, Ramses II most favorite wife. This temple was discovered in 1817. Solar alignment to this ancient temple is one of the features, the sun penetrates into the temple and lights  statues twice a year. In 1964 this temple was moved 60 Meters from the original place due to Nile high dam construction and Unesco supported the technical skills and funding to move the monument. An architectural wonder must see place.

Valley of the Kings (West Bank)

The valley of Kings, where the tomb of Tu-Ankh-Amun and other King’s tombs, for a period of nearly 500 years from the 16th to 11th century BC, rock cut tombs were excavated for the pharaohs and powerful nobles of the New Kingdom.

Der El Bahiri

This place is dedicated to funerary cult of Queen Hatshepsut and statues of memnon.

Hot Air Balloon

For this we need to leave early morning at Luxor from Cruise for an Hot Air Balloon and from top of West Bank, we can see the Valley of the Kings.

Important Trip Advise

  1. Kahlel Market in Cairo, Awan Market and Luxor Markets where you can buy souvenirs but you need to bargain to 50%.
  2. Anywhere using public toilets you need to pay 5EGP to 10 EGP pounds
  3. Water is not served in hotels/restaurants you need to buy.  Hence buying from the market 1.5 L would cost you 5 EGP
  4. Vegetarians can survive on Fruits, Vegetables which are of best quality, especially oranges. Yogurts are available in restaurants. The flat bread are called as Kufoos and this can be stuffer with vegetables and falafel a kind of fried vegetable pakoda’s.
  5. It is advisable to take some Vegetarian ready to eat items as a quick food.
  6. Non-Vegetarian food is not an issue and they can taste variety
  7. Liquor is not sold outside.  Hence it has to be in star hotel’s, Cruise or restaurants.
  8. Egyptian Cotton is famous
  9. Everywhere there is an entry ticket ranging from 30 EGP to 35 EGP. 
  10. Not much on Celopatra could be seen.

Write to Krishna@viaj.in for any trip queries

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