Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pictures from my Egypt Trip

Our last day in Cairo we went to the Egyptian Museum. First of all I want to say that it was amazing and overwhelming. They have so much stuff in there that they just start piling stuff up on top of each other because they need room. Another thing... There is NO air conditioning! It was sweaty hot in there, after a while I couldn't even enjoy myself as much because I just wanted to go somewhere and sip on cold water. Instead of temperature controlling all the ancient artifacts they just use the hot weather air to do the job.

Above is one peice of the amazing tomb treasures of "King Tut". The tomb was found remarkably intact by Howard Carter in the Valley of the Kings in 1923. Artifacts on display include the gold funerary mask and sarcophagus, four huge gilded boxes that fit inside each other, an ancient trumpet, thrones, and even a royal toilet seat.

So the picture above is from Luxor, previously known as Thebes. It flourished from the mid-22nd to the 18th century b.c. as a royal residence and a religious center for the worship of Amen. Luxor Temple, Karnak Temple, Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, and The Colossi of Memnon are all located within or near Luxor.

Luxor was a pretty nice city... for being super... um... poor. The experience of being there was great. The people were friendly (especially the shop owners ;I ) and the sites were amazing.
Haha, here's a pic of some Fanta, Sprite, and Cola Cola in Arabic. These drinks were only about $.50 each :)
These pictures coming up are from the Karnak Temple in Luxor. This site was one of my favorite because it was huge, open and had SO much to see. It covers about 200 acres!

Little history lesson:

The temple complex of Karnak, dedicated to the Pharoah Amun, was the center of his worship and of his wife Mut and their son Khons. Each of them had a "precinct" (area) in the temple complex, the greatest and largest belonging to Amun. There was also a precinct for Montu, the falcon-headed local god.

Construction on the Karnak temple complex began in the 16th century BC and continued into the Greco-Roman period - a period of up to 1300 years of construction. Around 30 successive pharoahs added their own touches to the complex: a new temple, shrine, or pylon and carved detailed hieroglyphic inscriptions (

Karnak Temple is one of the main tourist destinations in Egypt, it comes in 2nd to the Pyramids of Giza.
We met some nice people at our hostel and walked around with them for a while. We ened up going to dinner and to see the Luxor Temple (below). Luxor Temple is a temple complex in Luxor dedicated to Amun, a creator god often fused with the sun-god Ra into Amun-Ra. What's interesting is that at the entrance there used to be (and there still were a few left) a line of sphinxes that lead all the way to the entrance of Karnak (they're about 2 kilometers apart)!
This road was known as the Sacred Way or Avenue of Sphinxes.

Egyptian tea was served everywhere and was really good! It black tea, and sometimes it was mint black tea.
Below- Still Luxor
Colossi of Memnon (below)
The original function of the Colossi was to stand guard at the entrance to Amenhotep's memorial temple (or mortuary temple): a massive cult centre built during the pharaoh's lifetime, where he was worshipped as a god-on-earth both before and after his departure from this world.

Temple of Hatshepsut (below)
Maatkare Hatshepsut or Hatchepsut (late 16th century BC – c. 1482 BC) was the fifth Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty of Ancient Egypt. She is generally regarded by modern Egyptologists as one of the most successful pharaohs, ruling longer than any female ruler of an indigenous dynasty. To legitmize her powerful position, Hatshepsut had herself depicted with a pharaoh's kilt and beard.

After Hatshepsut's death, Tuthmosis III became pharaoh. Perhaps fearing a challenge to his legitimacy as a successor, he immediately chiseled all images of Hatshepsut off temples, monuments and obelisks. This temple has been reconstructed because it was destroyed by Tuthmosis. Inside we were able to see some of the original parts of the temple.

As far as the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens goes... We were not able to take in any cameras :( This was a new law that was just created like a year before. Real bummer!
More Luxor photos...

This was the rooftop of our hostel. Very cool little area that we would go to and hang out, sip some hot tea (in 100 degree & humid weather, lol) and talk to people.
Above we are waiting for our sleeper train to arrive. The trip from Cairo to Luxor was about 8-9 hours long.
When we were in Cairo David took some sneaky shots around our hostel (from a balcony). The top one is hilarious!
Below is our Egyptian tourist Visa. When we landed we had to go to a bank window where they sold us these for 15 US dollars or Euros. Little David had dollars so he got the better deal (US dollar is worth less than Euro)!
Pyramids of GIZA!!!!!!!
Yes... We ARE standing on one of the Pyramids!
It was so hot and sunny that it made sense to get some head coverings.... At this point I didn't have one yet and it sucked!!!! I was getting so dehydrated and whoozy (even though I was chugging water).
The picture below was a complete fail. It was taken by the tourist police. :D

This Sugar Cane Juice bar was in Luxor. I was going to try to stay away from juice bars and many other things because of the easiness of getting something like Mummies Tummy... but... I couldn't miss out on the local cuisine... This juice was pretty good, it was milky and sweet. Very refreshing.
Below we are standing in a very ancient Mosque.
One of the days in Cairo we met up with an Egyptian guy (whom we met through Facebook because he's married to Blanka, who is Bara's sister) who took us to the Citadel.
In the 12th century, Saladin and his successors built an impenetrable bastion in the Citadel, using the most advanced construction techniques of the age. For the next 700 years, Egypt was ruled from this hill.
Below: The Mosque and Madrasa of Sultan Hassan in Cairo is one of the largest Islamic religious buildings in the world.
Local cafe... tea and hookah!

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