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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

Egypt Holiday 2014: The Ramesseum

Colossal Statue at the Ramesseum I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone Stand in the desert…Near them, on the sand, Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things, The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed: And on the pedestal these words appear: ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.                                                      Percy Bysshe Shelley We got to the Ramesseum a little before sunset and there was something about the quality of the light and the shapes of what’s left of the temple that meant I could… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: The Ramesseum

Egypt Holiday 2014: Theban Tombs of Nobles

I must confess, I’ve been dreading writing about the various tombs we visited while in Egypt. My memories of the New Kingdom tombs blur together much more than my memories of the various temples and pyramids. And we got less of a guided tour of any of them – sometimes Medhat pointed out some interesting features, sometimes I went through the tomb with someone who knew what they were looking at, but mostly I was looking at the spectacular art as a broad sweep rather than picking up on interesting details. So I’m grouping them into three posts main posts – non-Royal, Kings and Queens – and discussing them in brief and en masse. This post will cover the tombs of the Nobles that we visited on the West Bank of Thebes (the other non-Royal tombs we visited will be talked about along with the site to which they’re attached).… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Theban Tombs of Nobles

Egypt Holiday 2014: Temple of Mut at Karnak

Sacred Lake at the Temple of Mut, with Karnak in the background After visiting the main part of the Karnak Temple complex we returned to the coach briefly to go to the Temple of Mut. This is actually a part of the Karnak complex but it’s not possible to walk between the two sites (and it’s a different ticket). Hence the short coach ride. We were dropped off on the Avenue of Sphinxes that leads towards Luxor Temple and walked to the Temple of Mut. The goddess to whom this temple is dedicated was the consort of Amun and so one of the main three deities of the Karnak Temple complex. My photos are on flickr, click here for the full set or on any photo for the larger version of it. Plan of the Temple of MutMade by wikipedia user Markh This temple has only recently been opened to… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Temple of Mut at Karnak

Egypt Holiday 2014: Karnak Temple Complex

Sunrise Above Karnak Although it’s often referred to as “Karnak Temple” this huge site is actually composed of several temples. The primary one is dedicated to Amun-Ra and was once linked to Luxor Temple (which we visited earlier in the trip) by an avenue of sphinxes. Inside the enclosure walls are several other smaller temples, and to the south outside the walls is the Temple of Mut (which we visited afterwards & I’ll talk about in a separate post). The oldest structure that is still found on the site dates to the Middle Kingdom, but there’s archaeological evidence of occupation dating all the way back to prehistoric times. The various temples (particularly the main one) have been extended and/or rebuilt several times over the millennia that they were in use, making it not only an enormous site but also complicated. The main temple alone is the largest religious structure ever… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Karnak Temple Complex

Egypt Holiday 2014: Dendara Temple

Temple of Hathor at Dendara We visited Dendara after Abydos as it’s on the way back to Luxor. The temple here is dedicated to Hathor and is much more recent than the two at Abydos – it’s Ptolemaic and Roman era, although built on the site of older temples. One of the well known reliefs on the temple is of Cleopatra VII (ie the famous one) and her son Caesarion. We actually saw more of the surroundings of the temple than the inside – going up on the roof, under the floor and around the outside. My photos from this visit are, as always, up on flickr – click here for the full set, or on any photo to go to its flickr page. Plan of Dendara Temple ComplexMade by wikipedia user Sinuhe20 Key: A. Roman Kiosk; B. Domitian and Trajan Gate; C. Roman Birth House; D. Coptic Church; E.… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Dendara Temple

Egypt Holiday 2014: Ramesses II Temple at Abydos

Inside the Temple As well as completing his father’s much larger & more famous temple at Abydos Ramesses II also built a temple of his own. It’s much smaller, and there is less of it still standing, but there was still enough for an interesting visit. In fact, we could’ve spent quite a lot longer there – I managed to only see half the inside of it! My photos are, as always, on flickr – click here for the full set or click on any image (except the plan of the temple which isn’t mine) to see it larger on flickr. Plan of the Ramesses II Temple at Abydos, from wikimedia The only plans I found with a license that meant I could use them were labelled in German but I think it’s clear enough what’s what (at least of the bits I’ll talk about) 🙂 We approached the temple… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Ramesses II Temple at Abydos

Egypt Holiday 2014: Seti I Temple at Abydos

Temple Entrance Abydos was an important site for the Ancient Egyptians right from the beginnings of their culture. The first Pharaohs (including Narmer) were buried there, it was the capital of one of the nomes (adminstrative regions) and there were several temples built on the site over the course of the millennia. At first it was sacred to the god Khentiamentiu and during the First Intermediate Period this god began to merge with the god Osiris whose cult was rising in significance. As time went on the association of the site with Osiris grew stronger and eventually the 1st Dynasty cemetery was regarded as the site of the burial place of Osiris (with the tomb of Djer being the focal point of this belief). The best known structure in modern times is the temple begun by Seti I and finished by his son Ramesses II, known by the Egyptians as… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Seti I Temple at Abydos

Egypt Holiday 2014: Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple, First Pylon Luxor Temple is one part of a wide ranging and cohesive set of sacred buildings around the ancient city of Thebes. The oldest buildings of the temple that still exist today date to the New Kingdom, but it was almost certainly built on the site of a Middle Kingdom temple (and quite possibly an Old Kingdom temple before that). Once it was joined to the Karnak Temple complex by an Avenue of Sphinxes stretching 2.5km to the north, along which the god Amun processed in his sacred barque on festival days. And in early New Kingdom times before the avenue was built this was a canal, and the god’s barque floated between the temples. I have many pictures from this temple, more than in this post – the rest are, as always, on flickr: click here for the full set. Also click on any photo to… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Luxor Temple