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egypt 2014

Egypt Holiday 2014: el Tod

The last site we visited in Egypt last November was a temple dedicated to Montu, which is in the modern village of el Tod. I don’t think it gets many tourists – our bus had a bit of trouble getting through the winding streets of the village and we had to walk the last little bit. My main memory of the place is that it was very peaceful, despite being in the middle of the village. There were palm trees throughout the site and it was a little oasis of calm. Even the guardians here were pretty laid back! My photos from this site are on flickr: click here for the full set, or on any photo in this post for the larger version on flickr. When you go into the site the first thing you come to is a block storage area with loose bits of the temple that… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: el Tod

Egypt Holiday 2014: Sites at el Kab

El Kab is a couple of hours drive south of Luxor and was the furthest south we went on this trip. There are several different Ancient Egyptian sites at or near el Kab, and we visited four of them, covering a sweep of history from predynastic (and perhaps before) through to the Ptolemaic era. The site is pretty big – we were driven through it to visit the various bits and it didn’t feel silly getting back on the coach rather than walking. This is also the area of Egypt where the predynastic sites of Nekheb and Nekhen are; Renee Friedman gave a talk to the EEG about Nekhen last November just before we went on holiday. I think we saw the enclosure wall for Nekheb, but nothing inside. My photos for this site are, as usual, on flickr – click here for the full set or on any photo… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Sites at el Kab

Egypt Holiday 2014: Deir el Bahri

Hatshepsut’s Memorial Temple at Deir el Bahri is one of the sites everyone goes to on the West Bank at Luxor. Rightly so, as it’s a very impressive temple (although I perhaps don’t rate it as highly as Kent Weeks does in his Luxor guidebook which waxes lyrical about it being the most beautiful temple). It’s also unusual in immediate appearance, as it’s very cleverly designed to look from a distance as if it’s organically formed within the cliff face. The thought that stops me categorising it as “most beautiful” is that from a distance it also is reminiscent of fascist architectural style. When initially discovered by Westerners it was in a very ruined state, with a Coptic monastery built in & on the top level of the temple from which the site takes its name. As part of the restoration and excavation of the temple this monastery was removed… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Deir el Bahri

Egypt Holiday 2014: Medinet Habu

The temple at Medinet Habu is one of the best preserved temples in Egypt. It was Ramesses III’s memorial temple, known in Ancient Egypt as the Mansion of Millions of Years of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt User-Ma’at-Ra-Mery-Amun in the Estate of Amun on the West of Thebes. And typing out a name like that always makes me wonder if it was significantly shorter in Ancient Egyptian or if they had shorter names to refer to the temples by! The design of this temple is quite similar to the other mortuary temples we visited earlier in the trip – those of Seti I and Ramesses II. Possibly a standard design, although Kent Weeks in his Luxor guidebook ascribes it to being another instance of Ramesses III emulating Ramesses II (along with naming his sons the same things as Ramesses II named his and so on). My photos from… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Medinet Habu

Egypt Holiday 2014: Deir el Medina

View across the Village at Deir el Medina The ancient Egyptian village at Deir el Medina was the home of the people who worked on the tombs of the Pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings. The families who lived there were relatively high status (for common people) as they were skilled craftsmen. They were also kept isolated from the general population because they knew where tombs were and the materials they worked with were also valuable. The village also had a high literacy level, and so a lot is known about their lives from the discarded ostraca (bits & pieces of pottery & limestone) that they used to write notes. My photos from this site are up on flickr, as always, click here for the full set, and on any photo in the post for the larger version on flickr. Flickr have changed the way their embed links work… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Deir el Medina

Egypt Holiday 2014: Valley of the Queens

The top billed trip out of the whole of our Egypt holiday’s itinerary was the visit to Nefertari’s tomb in the Valley of the Queens. As with Seti I’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings (post) this tomb is not generally open to the public. Although clearly they do open it often enough to make it worth their while designing and printing tickets for it! I don’t think I’ve mentioned the tickets for sites in Egypt in my blog posts yet – they’re generally rather well done and souvenirs in their own right, and the Nefertari tomb one was no exception. Originally we weren’t visiting any of the other tombs in the Valley, but at the last minute Medhat changed some things around on the itinerary so that we could. Which was cool, because I’d not had the chance to see them before. As with the Valley of the… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Valley of the Queens

Egypt Holiday 2014: Mortuary Temple of Seti I

Mortuary Temple of Seti I Seti I’s Mortuary Temple (called The Domain of Amen in the West of Thebes by the Egyptians) was the second of the 19th and 20th Dynasty mortuary temples that we visited – and seeing all three so close together (one a day) brought home the similarities in design that I otherwise wouldn’t’ve noticed. My photos from this site are up on flickr, click here for the full set or on any picture (except the temple plan) for that photo’s page on flickr. Partial Plan of Mortuary Temple of Seti I (from Wikimedia, uploaded by Zanaq). The plan above was the best (public domain) plan I could find for the temple – but it’s only a partial plan. North is to the top right corner of the image. To the south east (bottom of the image) the plan is truncated at the Second Pylon, the remains… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Mortuary Temple of Seti I

Egypt Holiday: Colossi of Memnon

Colossi of Memnon The Colossi of Memnon are, for me, the most underwhelming site we visited in Egypt. The only bits you get a proper look at on the site are the two statues in a rather sad state, but admittedly huge. The first time we visited there in 2009 the rest of the site didn’t impinge on my consciousness at all, and this time it was only visible in tantalising glimpses of other reconstructed colossal statues. My photos from this site are on flickr here. View between the Colossi to the rest of the site This was once the vast mortuary temple of Amenhotep III, built mostly of mudbrick and within the area flooded by the annual inundation. Once his cult was abandoned and repair works ended the temple dissolved, and what stone there had been in the walls was taken by later Pharaohs to use in their own… Read More »Egypt Holiday: Colossi of Memnon

Egypt Holiday 2014: Walk from the Valley of the Kings to Deir el Medina

Walking over the Mountain After visiting the Valley of the Kings (post) we walked over the mountain to Deir el Medina. I didn’t take my camera with me as I (rightly) thought it would make the walk more difficult if I had to manage to keep the camera safe as well. J took his camera tho, and the pictures in this post and on flickr are his. View of the Valley of the Kings (left), Buildings at top of Valley (right) This walk would be how the workers who dug and decorated the tombs in the Valley got to and from work. There’s some disagreement as to whether they commuted every day or whether they overnighted at the “security post” buildings at the top of the Valley. While we were there Dylan said he didn’t think they slept there, but later on when we visited Deir el Medina Medhat said… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Walk from the Valley of the Kings to Deir el Medina

Egypt Holiday 2014: Valley of the Kings

Obviously you can’t spend any time on holiday in Luxor without a trip to the Valley of the Kings, and we went there on the 4th day of the Luxor part of our trip. This was one of the advertised highlights of the tour as we had special access to one of the tombs that isn’t generally open to the public (that of Seti I). We got to the valley around 6:30am and then had it pretty much to ourselves for a few hours. We had the standard “see three tombs” ticket, plus J & I bought an extra ticket to see the tomb of Ramesses V & VI. We didn’t go for Tutankhamun’s tomb as well – we’d seen it last time and didn’t think we’d have time to fit it in before going to the Seti I tomb. Originally there had been planned to be two trips to… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Valley of the Kings