Travel Letters

At Home at Gezira El Bairat

Gezira El Bairat, Al Ramla 

Luxor, Egypt

March 9, 2020

Hello,

Here in the town of Gezira El Bairat, on the west bank of the Nile, the modest El Masala Hotel provides a simple and comfortable guest room with a balcony overlooking the Nile.  The staff is friendly and accommodating.  Breakfast is served at the open-air rooftop restaurant with a sweeping view of the river and the river traffic. 

Kareem, the owner of the hotel, is determined that my week’s stay in Luxor will be both active and restful.   He drives me around town.   He helps me to book drivers for my tours.   Kareem invites me to his home for lunch where I meet his wife and children.

The Temple at Edfu

Edfu

Aswan Governorate

Egypt

March 2, 2020

 

Halfway betweem Luxor and Aswan, on the west bank of the Nile, lies the Temple of Edfu.  The temple is dedicated to the falcon-headed god Horus and his wife, the goddess Hathor.

Here is the story of Horus:

Horus, the falcon-headed god, is a familiar ancient Egyptian god. He has become one of the most used symbols of Egypt, seen on Egyptian airplanes, and on hotels and restaurants throughout the land.

Horus is the sone of Osiris and Isis, the divine child of the holy family triad.  He is one of the many gods associated with the falcon.  His name mans "he who is above" and "he who is distant."

Amenhotep. Deir El-Medina. Ramesses

West Bank of the Nile

Luxor

Luxor Governorate

Arab Republic of Egypt

March 2, 2020

 

Hello,

It’s a busy day for me on the West Bank of the Nile in Luxor.

My first stop is at the Colossi of Memnon: two colossal seated statues of Amenhotep III, 14th Century BCE.  Adjacent to his legs are carvings of his mother and his wife.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colossi_of_Memnon

 

The second stop requires a decision: Do I visit the Valley of the Kings or the Valley of the Queens?  My proclivity has always been towards the “working man” so I chose the Valley of the Artisans - the Necropolis of Deir El-Medina. 

Al Bagawat Christian Necropolis

Kharga Oasis

New Valley Governorate

The Western Desert

Egypt

February 27, 2020

I have the good fortune and the time to visit and explore the Al Bagawat Necropolis.

 

Al Bagawat / Al Bajawat / El Bagawat Necropolis *

The ancient necropolis of Al Bagawat (midway between Kharga and Dakhla) is one of the oldest Christian cemeteries in the world containing 360 Coptic tombs and dating from between the 4th-7th Centuries CE.

Early Christians supported the Fifth Century Bishop Nestorius who fled Roman persecution to settle in the Western Desert in Bagawat.   (The Romans ruled in Egypt from 30 BCE to 640 CE.)

Khentika Tomb and Hibis Temple

Kharga Oasis

New Valley Governorate

The Western Desert

Egypt

February 28, 2020

 

I had the good fortune to visit two important Ancient Egyptian sites in the Western Desert.

The Mastaba of Khentika

The Mastaba (Tomb) of Khentika, is located in the center of the necropolis of the 6th Dynasty (2323 -2150 BCE), Egypt’s Old Kingdom.   

Khentika was the governor of the Dakhla Oasis under the reign of Pharaoh Pepi II, (2284 – c. 2216 BCE).

A Mastaba (“bench” in Arabic or Per-djet "house of eternity" in Ancient Egyptian) is a type of ancient Egyptian tomb in the form of a flat-roofed, rectangular structure with inward sloping sides, constructed out of mudbricks or stone.  A deep shaft descends to the underground burial chamber.

 

The Temple of Hibis*

The Temple of Hibis in the Western Desert is the epitome of Egypt’s function through the ages: a melting pot of cultural influences.

Medieval Islamic Town

Town of Mut

Dakhla Oasis

New Valley Governate

Western Desert

Egypt

February 28, 2020

Everyone is so friendly here: the boy and his father who are my guides, the gift shop manager and other inhabitants of this  eight hundred year old Islamic fortress town..

The mud construction is supported by the trunks of date palms

The mosque and madrassa are still in use.

 

Qasr Dakhla

Qasr Dakhla, situated to the north-west of Mut, is one of the fortified Medieval Islamic towns often seen in the oases and said to be the oldest continuously inhabited and the best-preserved settlement of its type in Dakhla. It rests on the Sioh Ridge, nestled beneath the pink limestone escarpment which marks the northern limit of the oasis.

Pages