Egypt

Pyramids of Giza & Sphinx

Museum of Egypt

City of Cairo

Kom Ombo & Edfu Temples

Saqqara Necropolis

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Abu Simbel

Aswan & High Dam

We travelled right in the middle of Ramadan when we visited Egypt in 2002. Flying with EgyptAir resulted in the meal being distributed with the restriction not to start eating until the purser would give the signal. The cabin crew interrupted service to pray in the pantry; men on their knees, ladies sitting down with their bare feet on a newspaper and their heads covered, which was not the case during the flight.

When passing customs an extra stamp had to be obtained in Arno's passport for bringing the videocamera into the country to ensure he would take is back with him on our way home (this was not required for the computer).

Due to the Ramadan all excursions start at a very early hour and in case we want to say our prayers, every hotel room has a marking on the ceiling to ensure we have no trouble facing Mecca. Our trip will take us from Cairo via Luxor to Aswan.

Memphis & Ramses II

Champollion's discovery that foreign names as well as words from Egyptian origin were written down phonetically (as is the case with the Demotic script), were the basis for 'cracking the code'.

In the meantime more stones with bilingual or trilingual texts have been found and the Rosetta Stone is no longer one of its kind. It was unique though in how it presented the key to decipher the hieroglyphs.

The original Rosetta Stone can be admired in the British Museum in London since 1802. Replicas are available in a number of other museums, such as the National Cryptologic Museum in Annapolis Junction, Maryland.

Burial of Faraos for 2000 years

The river Nile & Cruise

Historie & Hiërogliefen / History & Hieroglyphs

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We only scarecely visit museums but in a country with such a long history the Museum of Egypt is a must; surely to learn more about the pharaohs in general and Tut-ankh-Amun in particular.

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Philea Temples

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Cairo: dirty, loud, chaotic. Luckily we are being chauffered around as you are surely a bit suicidal to decide to participate in traffic. They do have a two-directional traffic division but they decide themselves how wide their road side is. Spooky.

Most pyramids have three names. They are named after the area where they are located (Giza), after the builder (Cheops) or pointing out a specific characteristic (in this case The Big Pyramid). Pyramids have always intrigued me and my interest has only increased after visiting the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx.

Memphis served as the capital of ancient Egypt during the Old Kingdom. It was the home of many pharaohs, including Tut-ahnk-Amun en Ramses II. The city was founded before 3100 BC and abandoned in the 7th century AD. The alabaster sphinx that guards the Temple of Ptah serves as a memorial of the city's former power and prestige. Ramses II is regarded the greatest pharaoh of all times.

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The world's first pyramid is located in Saqqara, a vast, ancient burial ground, serving as the necropolis for the Ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. Excavations uncovered almost eight million animal mummies at the burial site in 2011.

Our visit to Aswan is included in our travel schedule in order to visit the Abu Simbel Temples (by plane) and Philea Temple (by boat). Those visits make it clear what massive impact the construction of the High Dam has had on its vicinity.

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Thebes

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Abu Simbel covers two temples commissioned by Ramses II. Of course both temples woreship multiple Egyptian gods but so are Ramses II himself and his wife Nefertari. The temples of Abu Simbel and the Temple of Philea are part of the 'Nubian Monuments'. All three had to be moved to a different spot when the High Dam in Aswan was constructed, to overcome the risk of all being submerged in the water of Lake Nasser.

The Ancient-Egyptian temple complex on the former island Philae close to Aswan, would disappear completely in the water of Lake Nasser which formed due to the building of the Aswan High Dam. UNESCO has prevented this from happening by moving the entire temple complex to the more elevated island Agilkia.

Part of our journey (from Aswan to Luxor) we travelled by cruise ship on the River Nile. In first instance we had trouble finding the ship we booked as they moor at the quay up to 6 rows thick. Hence, you need to climb from ship to ship to ship to locate the correct one. Ours was nr. 5.

The Temple of Kom Ombo - on the west bank of the river Nile - is a unique double temple, dedicated to two different, equally important gods. Hence the temple consists of two completely identical parts. The Temple of Edfu is located on the west bank of the River Nile too and worships the god Horus.

Thebes has been the most important city of Upper Egypt for centuries and for a considerable time as well the capital of the whole of Egypt. Its ruins are found in the comtemporary city of Luxor and include the Temples of Luxor and Karnak, the Ramesseum and both the Valley of Kings and the Valley of Queens, and the Temple of Hatshepsut.

Egypt goes back in history for a long time. Between 8000 and 7000 B.C. the first inhabitants were recorded. Egypt's nickname ('gift of the Nile') tells us the importance of the river for the country's prosperity. We focussed primarily on the history involving pharaohs which roughly runs from 3300 until 332 B.C. A period in which the hieroglyphs (predecessor of contemporary pictograms) were used by priests.

The Rosetta Stone has been found in 1799 in the vacinity of Rosetta (now El-Rashid) and measures 45 in × 28.5 in. The stone is inscribed with  a decree issued at Memphis, Egypt in 196 BC during the Ptolemaic dynasty on behalf of King Ptolemy V, in three different languages (hieroglyphs, Demotic and Ancient Greek script). In 1803 the translation from the Ancient Greek was finished; in 1822 Jean-François Champollion in Paris proclaimed to have deciphered the hieroglyphs.