Egypt

Egypt has one of the oldest civilisations on earth dating back thousands of years.  During recent times (in comparison to Egypt’s history)  the British colonised Egypt in the early 1900’s.  Travellers flood to this country to absorb the riches of the Great Pyramids of Giza, Cairo’s souks and mosques, the catacombs of Alexandria on the Mediterranean coast, the Valley of the Kings in Luxor and river Nile cruise’s. 

Egyptian Sphynx 


The River Nile, the longest river in the world and Egypt’s lifeblood flows from its source from the Sudanese border to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Egypt’s culture is diverse due to its history spanning several millennia. It is a sense of permanence and timelessness that is buttressed by religion, which pervades every aspect of life. Although the pagan cults of ancient Egypt are as moribund as its legacy of mummies and temples, their ancient fertility rites and processions of boats still hold their place in the celebrations of Islam and Christianity.

From The UK flight times are approximately 5 hours and you can fly with several airlines from most airports.  Egypt’s currency is the Egyptian Pound (EGP)

Pyramids of Giza  by My Passport to Shangrila


What can Egypt Offer?

Cairo and Luxor

The Pyramid’s at Giza were built at the very beginning of recorded human history, and for nearly five millennia they have stood on the edge of the desert in magnificent communion with the sky.

Today they sit on the edge of the city.  The Great Pyramid, contains the tomb of Cheops, the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh who ruled Egypt during the Old Kingdom.  This is the oldest of the group, built around 2570 BC, and the largest – in fact it’s the biggest single monument on the face of the Earth. The others, built by Cheops’ son Chephren and his grandson Mycerinus, stand in descending order of age and size. When built they were probably aligned precisely with the North Star, with their entrance corridors pointing straight at it.

Sphynx of Giza

You enter the Great Pyramid through a hole hacked into the pyramid’s North facing side.  Crouching along narrow passages you arrive at the Great Gallery, which ascends through the heart of the pyramid to Chephren’s burial chamber.  Chances are you will have the chamber to yourself (like i did), as claustrophobia and inadequate oxygen mean that few people venture this far.  

Pyramids of Giza

The overwhelming impression made by the pyramids is due not only to the magnitude of their age and size but also to their elemental form, their simple but compelling triangular silhouettes against the sky.  

The best way to enjoy this is to hire a camel and ride about the desert, observing them from different angles, close up and looming, or far off and standing lonely but defiantly on the open sands.

Seen at prime times – dawn, sunset and night – they form as much a part of the natural order as the sun, the moon and the stars.  Of course it is one of the most visited sites in the World so there are crowds of tourists.   Of an night time the pyramids are a spectacle to observe as they are illuminated with coloured lighting giving new character.

Pyramids of Giza by night

Memphis

Memphis, was Egypt’s first capital, Located in the North of the country and founded by Narmer, the first pharaoh of Egypt.   Memphis was during its 3000 years of history an important political and religious centre, headquarters of the great temple of the god Ptah and place of coronation of the pharaohs.

Hieroglyphic’s on an Egyptian Tomb

Sphinx of Hatsepshut

In 1912, the British Egyptologist Flinders Petrie found this statue in Memphis. It is believed that it was inside the precincts of the Ptah temple and that it represents Hatshepsut, the queen of the 18th dynasty.

Guard at Hatepshut

The Workers of Memphis

This relief from the tomb of Ti in Saqqara shows some workers who work in the construction of a ship. Ti was supervisor of the pyramids of Niuserre, Pharaoh of the 5th dynasty.

The Statue of Ramesses II

is a 3,200 year old figure of Ramesses II, depicting him standing, that was discovered in 1820 by Giovanni Battista Caviglia at the Great Temple of Ptah near Memphis. It is made from red granite.

Statue of Ramesses II


Luxor

Luxor, has been a tourist mecca ever since Nile steamers began calling in the nineteenth century to view the remains of Thebes, Ancient Egypt’s New Kingdom capital.  The name Luxor derives from the Arabic El-Uqsur – meaning “the palaces” or “the castles” – a name which may have referred to a Roman castrum or the town’s appearance in medieval times, when it squatted amid the ruins of Thebes.

Luxor Temple stands aloof in the heart of town, ennobling the view from the waterfront and Midan el-Haggag with its grand colonnades and pylons. Though best explored by day – which takes an hour or so – you could come back after dark to imbibe its atmosphere and drama with fewer people around.



The temple gateway is flanked by massive pylons and enthroned colossi, with a single obelisk reaching 25m high. Carved with reliefs and originally tipped with electrum, this was one of a pair until its partner was removed in 1835, taken to France and re-erected on the Place de la Concorde. Behind loom three of the six colossi of Ramses II that originally fronted the pylon (four seated, two standing).