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Egypt Holiday 2014: Karanis

Karanis with the modern city in the background Karanis is the site of a large Graeco-Roman town, to the east of Lake Qarun just outside the modern northern edge of cultivated land at Faiyum. It was a pretty large town, covering around 450 acres and there are still quite a lot of mudbrick structures on the site (although not as much as there were at the beginning of the 20th Century, which I’ll come back to later in this post). My photos from our visit are up on flickr, click here for the full set. Karanis Open Air Museum We started our visit in the Open Air Museum which contains pieces of sculpture and stonework from a different nearby site – Crocodilopolis. As the modern city of Faiyum occupies the same site as Crocodilopolis the pieces that have been excavated are kept out at Karanis where they can be more… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Karanis

Egypt Holiday 2014: Qasr el Sagha

Qasr el Sagha Temple Qasr el Sagha is about 8km north of Dimai and is the site of a small Egyptian temple. We visited there after we’d been to Dimai (post) and to the petrified forest (post). My photos from this site are up on flickr, click here for the full set. The only part of the temple still standing is the innermost part – with the shrines and and their antechamber. It’s undecorated, and never did have any decoration, which makes it hard to identify when it was built. By style it is either Old Kingdom or Middle Kingdom, but there is disagreement as to which it is. The structure uses Old Kingdom building techniques with large limestone blocks cut to fit securely together without mortar. However the layout of the temple most closely matches one with inscriptions naming Amenemhat I, a Middle Kingdom Pharaoh. Inside the Temple (left)… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Qasr el Sagha

Egypt Holiday 2014: Petrified Forest and the Desert

The Desert If you look at the map we didn’t go very far into the desert when we were on holiday – we were never very far from either a real road or a bit of cultivated land. But we went just far enough to get a taste of looking at the desert. On the second day of desert sites we also stopped at a couple of places just to see the scenery rather than any Ancient Egyptian remains. This isn’t a very wordy blog post (particularly by my standards!), mostly it’s photos to look at 🙂 They are on flickr if you want to see them larger, but I decided to put them all in this post. The first of these stops was at a petrified forest, which was really cool. The Sahara hasn’t always been a desert (obviously!) and around 10,000 years ago the area where we were… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Petrified Forest and the Desert

Egypt Holiday 2014: Dimai

Dimai Temple Walls Dimai (or Dime es-Sabh) is the site of a Ptolemaic & Roman era town, on the northern shores of Lake Qahrun. Because the lake has shrunk since that time and the northern shore is no longer inhabited or cultivated the site is in a remarkably good state of preservation. It was inhabited for around 600 years from the 3rd Century BC in the reign of Ptolemy II through to its abandonment in the 3rd Century AD. My photos from this site and a few of J’s are up on flickr, click here to see the set. Screenshots from Google Maps showing position & layout of Dimai The most striking thing about the site as you arrive are the remains of the temple enclosure walls around the northern temple. These mudbrick structures are still very tall, much taller than head height, and they stand up out of the… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Dimai

Egypt Holiday 2014: Hawara

Hawara Pyramid, Looking Across the Labyrinth Site The last of the pyramids that we visited on our holiday was the one at Hawara. It’s not that far from Lahun, and was the last stop on that particular day – afterwards we just had lunch and then drove on to the hotel on the lake shore where we were staying at that night. My photos from the site are up on flickr, click here for the full set, or click on any photo to go to the photo page on flickr. Location of Hawara Pyramid This was the most recent of the pyramids we saw – built by the Middle Kingdom Pharaoh Amenemhat III. He was the grandson of Senwosret II who built the Lahun pyramid (post) and ruled for 46 years around 1850BC. This pyramid was his second pyramid, the first one we’d seen from a distance earlier in the… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Hawara

Egypt Holiday 2014: Lahun

Lahun Pyramid The Lahun pyramid, near the modern village of Illahun near Faiyum, was built for Senwosret II. He was a Middle Kingdom Pharaoh who reigned around 1880BC. He was the fourth Pharaoh of the 12th Dynasty coming between Amenemhat II and Senwosret III. The pyramid is clearly visible on the imagery on Google Maps as you can see in the screenshots below. My overall impression of the site from visiting is actually mostly about the colours – the cream of the desert and the limestone, the dark mudbrick pyramid, the red sandstone fragments and the green fertile land on the horizon beneath a blue sky with white clouds. Photos are on flickr, as always, click here for the album which has some more photos than just those in this post. Screenshots from Google Maps showing Lahun Pyramid Like other Middle Kingdom pyramids it is constructed from a mudbrick core… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Lahun

Egypt Holiday 2014: Dashur

The Bent Pyramid Dashur is a little way south of Cairo, and just south of Saqqara. It’s a site with a few pyramids and other burials, and is notable for having two of the earliest true pyramids – both of which we got to see. There are also other later pyramids in the area, but we didn’t get to go close to them. My photos from this site are now up on flickr, click here for the whole album. Where the pyramids are at Dashur On the screenshots above from Google maps I’ve marked where Dashur is and the names of the three pyramids I have photos of. The plan below I got from wikipedia (drawn by user Janmad) and I’ve labelled the same three pyramids here. Plan of Dashur drawn by Janmad The Red Pyramid and the Bent Pyramid were both built for the same Pharaoh – Sneferu. He… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Dashur

Egypt Holiday 2014: Giza Plateau

Giza Pyramids The second site of the holiday was the pyramids at Giza, where we not only saw the pyramids from the outside but also got to go into the Great Pyramid, plus an Old Kingdom royal lady’s tomb nearby. The photos in this post are a selection from the whole set which is up on flickr click here to get to it or on any photo. You aren’t allowed to take photos inside the pyramids or other tombs, so these are all of the outsides and the surrounding views. (The plan of the plateau is one I found on Wikipedia with a licence that meant I could use it, if you click on it you go to it’s own page.) Great Pyramid As you can see on the plan below the ticket office is placed so that you walk from there towards the Great Pyramid to get the full… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Giza Plateau

Egypt Holiday 2014: Cairo Museum

Our very first trip of the holiday was to the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo. There’s no photography allowed inside the museum, so I didn’t even take my big camera off the coach, but I did take a few photos outside the museum with my phone (up on flickr here). Cairo Museum Once inside the museum the group split into those who wanted to have a tour from our guide, Medhat Saad, or those who wanted to just explore themselves. We opted for the tour to make sure we saw a decent overview of the interesting pieces, rather than just seeing things we already knew were there or wandering round randomly. Medhat spent about two hours taking us around the ground floor in roughly chronological order. We started with the Narmer Palette, which seems appropriate as that’s from the start of Egypt as a unified country. Near the case… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Cairo Museum

Egypt Holiday 2014: Temples and Tombs (Overview: 21st-24th November)

Medinet Habu The last three days of the trip include two of the advertised highlights of the tour – the tomb of Seti I and the tomb of Nefertari. The photos for this overview series are up on flickr, in a set here, they are about half taken by me and half taken by J. Not all of the photos in the set are in these posts, so do go look at the rest 🙂 If you click on any photo it’ll go to its flickr page. Maps are linked to a custom Google map with all the places on, click on any map to go to it. Once there you can click on the place names in the key to the left to zoom to them or turn on & off the visibility of the layers to see particular days on their own. Hotels are green marks, sites are… Read More »Egypt Holiday 2014: Temples and Tombs (Overview: 21st-24th November)