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EGYPT


Location - Middle East/North Africa; Capital - Cairo; Population - 99 million; Currency - Egypt Pound MORE EGYPT

Next up was a very early 3hr bus journey from Aswan to my favourite sight, Abu Simbel, not far from the border with Sudan in the far south - January 2020.

 

egyptnoteAbu Simbel features on the 1 Pound note

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt688The first glimpse of the Temples of Abu Simbel: the Great Temple of Ramses II on the left, and the Temple of Hathor obscured on the right - Abu Simbel

 

egypt693The Great Temple of Ramses II is a superb sight, the statues rising over 20m high - Abu Simbel

 

egypt694The temple was built in the 13th century BC by the great builder himself, Ramses II, arguably the most powerful of all pharaohs - Abu Simbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt697Between and below the colossal Ramses statues are smaller statues of his family - Abu Simbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt701Following the construction of the Aswan High Dam the rising waters of Lake Nasser threatened to submerge the temple. So between 1964 and 1968 the temple was moved piece by piece to a higher level just a few metres from its original location - Abu Simbel

 

egypt711Between Ramses II stands Ra-Horakhty, a falcon-headed sun god that merged the gods Ra and Horus. The temple is dedicated to the gods Ra-Horakhty, Ptah and Amun - Abu Simbel

 

egypt71219th century graffiti etched on Ramses II's leg - Abu Simbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt713Above Ramses II are 22 baboons worshipping the rising sun - Abu Simbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt714These small statues are likely of Ramses II children and maybe his wife Nefertari. Tell me if you know - Abu Simbel

 

egypt715Captured slaves or prisoners are tied together at the neck - Abu Simbel

 

egypt702The mummified body of Ramses II can be seen in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, soon to be the Grand Egyptian Museum - Abu Simbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt705The Ramses II on the left collapsed shortly after being built, possible following an earthquake. The remains lie at its base where a tourist poses - Abu Simbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt721The first room inside the Great Temple of Ramses II is the Great Hypostyle Hall - Abu Simbel

 

egypt728The hall contains eight Osiris statues representing Ramses II - Abu Simbel

 

egypt743Reliefs show Ramses II destroying his enemies - Abu Simbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt747They cover miltary campaigns and battle scenes that took place under his rule - Abu Simbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt746One of the most famous is this relief of Ramses II in his chariot at the Battle of Kadesh. It pitted the Egyptian Empire against the Hittites at Kadesh in modern day Syria around 1,274BC - Abu Simbel

 

egypt732Walking through a second pillared hall towards the Sacred Sanctuary - Abu Simbel

 

egypt736It's amazing to think these reliefs, paintings and hieroglyphics are over 3,200 years old - Abu Simbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt733The Sacred Sanctuary houses the statues of Ptah, Ra-Horakhty, Ramses II and Amun, where twice a year the sun's rays cast light on all but Ptah - Abu Simbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt738What looks like the world's oldest porn shoot is actually a circumsion ceremony - Abu Simbel

 

egypt741Leading off the Great Hypostyle Hall are several storerooms - Abu Simbel

 

egypt740The storerooms are also adorned with reliefs, each with a story to tell - Abu Simbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt752The second temple is the Temple of Hathor, also known as the Small Temple - Abu Simbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt754The exterior features 10m statues of Ramses II and his wife Nefertari. Apparently it's unusual for a queen to be portrayed as the same height as the king - Abu Simbel

 

egypt760Inside the Hypostyle Hall - Abu Simbel

 

egypt764Reliefs show the Queen making offerings to the god Hathor, as well as representing Ramses II in battle - Abu Simbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt763A blessing of Ramses II by gods Set and Horus - Abu Simbel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt773A Movenpick cruise ship was docked at Abu Simbel, on the waters of Lake Nasser

 

egypt771The small rocky outcrop opposite is the original site of the temple, overlooking Lake Nasser, which stretches all the way south to the Sudanese border - Abu Simbel

 

egypt683We set off from Aswan around 03:30 and saw the sun rise over the desert - Abu Simbel drive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt685Apparently these stone pyramids are natural phenomenon - Abu Simbel drive

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt686On the return journey there was the occasional mirage in the desert - Abu Simbel drive

 

egypt778After returning to Aswan at lunchtime we were straight off downstream to Luxor via Esna - Aswan to Esna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt801The Esna riverside as seen from the sundeck and swimming pool of our MS Emilio boat - Esna

 

egypt803Horse-drawn carriages and tourists aren't usually too far apart - Esna

 

egypt805Tuk tuks, or rickshaws, are also commonplace - Esna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt808As there's not enough space for all cruise ships to dock, don't be surprised to open your curtains to find another boat blocking your view. It's often the case to walk through several boats to reach land - Esna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt812A short walk from the Nile is the Temple of Khnum - Esna

 

egypt816Originally constructed in the 1st/2nd century BC, the Romans built this section of the temple, the hypostyle hall, in the 3rd century AD and comprises most of what can be seen today. Roman Emperor Commodus is pictured with offerings to the god Khnum, a way for the Romans to curry favour with locals - Esna

 

egypt818Work is underway to clean the decorations, which look so bright and colourful here - Esna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt826Before reaching Luxor boats have to negotiate the Esna lock - Esna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt829Merchants take advantage of the queues to dangerously manouevre through the ships and sell their wares - Esna

 

egypt837We drop around 8m in height and continue our journey - Esna

 

egypt835Workers rest on a pile of sugar cane - Esna

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt846Riverside activity on the approach to Luxor

 

egypt848This small island next to our jetty is made the most of, with much being turned into farmland - Luxor

 

egypt849Working the land opposite our jetty, after which he'll row back home - Luxor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt177The original drive from Hurghada to Luxor made a refreshment stop en route, where women put baby goats on donkeys and ask for money. Different! And I guess it works - Hurghada to Luxor

 

After we returned to Luxor it was overnight on board, followed by the Valley of the Kings the day after, but I sandwiched the photos together on Egypt 4 for the sake of continuity. I decided to split from the tour and took a speeding taxi (in a good way!) from the Valley of the Kings via the bridge to Luxor train station, with minutes to spare. It's a 13hr day train from Luxor to Alexandria arriving around 01:45.

 

egypt861 There's some great scenery from Luxor to Alexandria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt864Countryside as seen from the train ride from Luxor to Alexandria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was taken on the bus from Hurghada to Luxor but the road follows the same route as the train between Luxor and Qena - Luxor to Alexandria

 

egypt180Trains are comfortable and pretty cheap, though buses are likely to be faster, but it's a great way to take in the rural way of life along the Nile - Luxor to Alexandria

 

egypt866I arrived in Alexandria around 01:45, bed around 02:30 then back up at 06:30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt865Alexandria is the major city along the Mediterranean coast, but attracts very few tourists

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt868Alexandria is famous as the location of the Pharos of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Pharos, or lighthouse, was built in the 3rd century BC but was destroyed in an earthquake in the 14th century. It's thought that the lighthouse ruins were used in 1480 to construct Fort Qaitbey, pictured

 

egypt885A mural of what I presume is the Pharos of Alexandria - Alexandria

 

egypt871Casual fishing on the beach, on a cool and windy morning - Alexandria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt878Colonial buildings along the seafront Corniche - Alexandria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt874The black and silver globe is a planetarium which belongs to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, a major cultural centre and library - Alexandria

 

egypt879Al Qaed Ibrahim Mosque is just off the Corniche near Midan Ramla - Alexandria

 

egypt880Interesting military street art on an electricity power box - Alexandria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt882The main square along the seafront is Midan Saad Zaghloul with Cecil Hotel behind, another historic Egyptian hotel - Alexandria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt886There was a substantial military presence in the city; I had to take small detours from the train station to my seafront hotel due to soldiers cordoning off several roads. Alexandria is seen by many as kickstarting the 2011 revolution against the Mubarak regime so may be seen as a political hotbed

 

egypt889Liverpool and Egypt football star Mohamed Salah must be the most famous Egyptian right now. That's sugar cane on the left by the way, ready for pressing into sugar cane juice, just like Mo's holding - Alexandria

 

egypt893That looks a little painful Mo. Mo Salah was born near Basyoun, in the Nile delta less than 150km from Alexandria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

egypt892Welcome to the Octopus Big Size shop - Alexandria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website and content Copyright © 2008-2020 Mark Wilkinson. All rights reserved.

 

LINKS

www.egypt.travel - Egypt tourist board

https://enr.gov.eg - Egyptian rail

https://go-bus.com - Go Bus are a reputable private bus company, bookable online

www.touregypt.net

 

I am not responsible for the content of external websites.

 

 
 
 
   
 
   
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