Historical Places

     

     The most historical places of Egypt and and see an exhibition of photographs showing the different historical places.

      

    1- Abu Simble temple                                   2- Hatshepsuit temple

    3- Colossi of Memnon                                 4- Edfu

    5- Esna                                                         6- Temple of Karnak

    7- Philae temple                                          8- Valley of the Queens

    9- High Dam                                              10- Temple of Dandara

    11-Temple of Kom Ombo                         12- temple of Luxor

    13- The Egyptian museum                        14- The citadel

    15- The unfinished obelisk 16- Valley of the Kings

     

     

     

    Abu Simbel
    (The Temple of Ramesses II)
    (The Temple of Nefertari dedicated to Hathor)

    abu-simble

    Not only are the two temples at Abu Simbel among the most magnificent monuments in the world but their removal and reconstruction was an historic event in itself. When the temples (280 km from Aswan) were threatened by submersion in Lake Nasser, due to the construction of the High Dam, the Egyptian Government secured the support of UNESCO and launched a world wide appeal. During the salvage operation which began in 1964 and continued until 1968, the two temples were dismantled and raised over 60 meters up the sandstone cliff where they had been built more than 3,000 years before. Here they were reassembled, in the exact same relationship to each other and the sun, and covered with an artificial mountain. Most of the joins in the stone have now been filled by antiquity experts, but inside the temples it is still possible to see where the blocks were cut. You can also go inside the man made dome and see an exhibition of photographs showing the different stages of the massive removal project.

    Abu Simbel was first reported by J. L. Burckhardt in 1813, when he came over the mountain and only saw the facade of the great temple as he was preparing to leave that area via the Nile. The two temples, that of Ramesses II primarily dedicated to Re-Harakhte, and that of his wife, Nefertari dedicated to Hathor, became a must see for Victorians visiting Egypt, even though it required a trip up the Nile, and often they were covered deeply in sand, as they were when Burckhardt found them.

     

    Colossi of Memnon

    memnon

    Amenhotep III (18th Dyn) built a mortuary temple in Thebes that was guarded by two gigantic statues on the outer gates. All that remains now are the 19.5m statues of Amenhotep. Though damaged by nature and ancient tourists, the statues are still impressive.

     

    Esna

    esna-temple

    Isna is located about 33 miles south of Luxor. The town's Greek name was Latopolis and here fish (lates) where thought to embody the goddess Neith, who was sacred to the area.  Isna was increasingly important during the 18th dynasty due to Egypt 's developing relationship with the Sudan.  There was a route established between Isna and Derr. Later, the city slowly declined until it received renewed interest during the 26th Dynasty.  Later, under the Greeks and Romans, it became the capital of the Third Nome of Upper Egypt .

    We also know of an Isna about a hundred years ago from Flaubert, who later wrote Madame Bovary, was propositioned by a 'almeh' while aboard his boat. He went with her to the house of Kuchuk Hanem, where she danced (not so virtuously) the Bee.  In other words, wild times could be found here. Mohammed Ali had band almeh (meaning learned women) from Cairo, so they had gathered to make their living in Qena, Isna and Aswan.

    But today, Isna is a somewhat sleepy if busy merchant and farming town, with a weaving industry, on the west bank of the Nile where the entertainment more resides in the Saturday animal market. On the covered market street, one may purchase fabric, or have the fabrics made into clothing.  There are some fine old houses about with fine brickwork and mashrbiyya screens.  There is also a barrage just outside of town which was built in 1906. About 4 miles southwest of town is the Deir Manaos Wa al-Shuhada (Monastery of the Three Thousand Six Hundred Martyrs), who's 10th century church is said to be one of the most beautiful in Upper Egypt. Perhaps this monastery is a lasting commemorative to Emperor Decius (249-51 AD) who degreed that all Christians would suffer death if they did not sacrifice to the pagan gods.  His cartouche was the last to be carved on the walls of the Temple of Khnum in Isna.

     

    Philae Temple

    philae-temple

    Philae templ was dismantled and reassembled (on Agilika Island about 550 meters from its original home on Philae Island) in the wake of the High Dam. The temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis, is in a beautiful setting which has been landscaped to match its original site. It's various shrines and sanctuaries, which include The Vestibule of Nectanebos I which is used as the entrance to the island, the Temple of the Emperor Hadrian, a Temple of Hathor, Trajan's Kiosk (Pharaohs Bed), a birth house and two pylons celebrate all the deities involved in the Isis and Osiris myth. The Victorian world fell in love with the romance of the Temple. But at night you can also visit the Sound and Light Show, a magical experience as floodlit buildings are silhouetted against the volcanic rocks and water surrounding them. So today, Philae is more fun then every before. 

    Although antiquities on the island date between the 26th Dynasty and the Roman Period, most of the work is from that of the Roman. This was a time of immense popularity of the Goddess Isis, and this was her island, where pilgrims would come from all over the Mediterranean. Construction on the island took place over an 800 year span, and it was one of the last strongholds of Ancient Egyptian Religion which continued to flourish here into the 6th Century. When the Temples where finally closed by Justinian in A.D 550, it ended 4,000 years of worship of the pagan gods.

    Philae temple complex, prior to its removal and restoration, set alongside Biga Island. To the ancient Egyptian , Biga was the sacred mound, the first ground created from Nun out of Chaos. This was the legendary burial place of Osiris. The earth was considered to be part of his body so that only priests and temple servants were permitted to live there. 

     

    High Dam

    Located near Aswan, the world famous High Dam was an engineering miracle when it was built in the 1960s. It contains 18 times the material used in the Great Pyramid of Cheops.  The Dam is 11,811 feet long, 3215 feet thick at the base and and 364 feet tall. Today it provides irrigation and electricity for the whole of Egypt and, together with the old Aswan Dam built by the British between 1898 and 1902`, 6km down river, wonderful views for visitors. From the top of the two Mile long High Dam you can gaze across Lake Nassar, the huge reservoir created when it was built, to Kalabsha temple in the south and the huge power station to the north.

    The High Dam created a 30% increase in the cultivatable land in Egypt , and raised the water table for the Shara as far away as Algeria.  The electricity producing capability of the Dam doubled Egypt's available supply.

    The High Dam added a whole new aspect to Egypt and a new environment as well.  The lake is some 500 miles long and at the time it was built, if not now, was the world's largest artificial lake.

     

    Temple of Kom-ombo

    Kom-Ombo-Temple

    Locates in the town of Kom Ombo, about 28 miles north of Aswan, the Temple, dating to the Ptolemies, is built on a high dune overlooking the Nile. The actual temple was started by Ptolemy VI Philometor in the early second century BC.  Ptolemy XIII built the outer and inner hypostyle halls. The outer enclosure wall and part of the court were built by Augustus sometime after 30 BC, and are mostly gone.  There are also tombs from the Old Kingdom in the vicinity of Kom Ombo village.

    The Temple known as Kom Ombo is actually two temples consisting of a Temple to Sobek and a Temple of Haroeris.  In ancient times, sacred crocodiles basked in the sun on the river bank near here. The Temple has scant remains, due first to the changing Nile, then the Copts who once used it as a church, and finally by builders who used the stones for new buildings.

    Everything is duplicated along the main axis.  There are two entrances, two courts, two colonades, two hypostyle halls and two sanctuaries.  There were probably even two sets of priests. The left or northern side is dedicated to Haroeris (sometimes called Harer, Horus the Elder) who was the falcon headed sky god and the right to Sobek (the corcodile headed god).  The two gods are accompanied by their families.  They include Haroeris' wife named Tesentnefert, meaning the good sister and his son, Panebtawy.  Sobeck likewise is accompanied by his consort, Hathor and son, Khonsu.

     

     

    Temple of Luxor

    temple-of-luxor-luxor-

    The Temple of Luxor was the center of the most important one, the festival of Opet. Built largely by Amenhotep III and Ramesses II, it appears that the temple's purpose was for a suitable setting for the rituals of the festival. The festival itself was to reconcile the human aspect of the ruler with the divine office. During the 18th Dynasty the festival lasted eleven Days, but had grown to twenty-seven Days by the reign of Ramesses III in the 20th Dynasty. At that time the festival included the distribution of over 11,000 loaves of bread, 85 cakes and 385 jars of beer. The procession of images of the current royal family began at Karnak and ended at the Temple of Luxor. By the late 18th Dynasty the journey was being made by barge, on the Nile River. Each god or goddess was carried in a separate barge that was towed by smaller boats. Large crowds consisting of soldiers, dancers, musicians and high ranking officials accompanied the barge by walking along the banks of the river. During the festival the people were allowed to ask favors of the statues of the kings or to the images of the gods that were on the barges. Once at the temple, the king and his priests entered the back chambers. There, the king and his ka (the divine essence of each king, created at his birth) were merged, the king being transformed into a divine being. The crowd outside, anxiously awaiting the transformed king, would cheer wildly at his re-emergence. This solidified the ritual and made the king a god. The festival was the backbone of the pharaoh's government. In this way could a usurper or one not of the same bloodline become ruler over Egypt.

    The Egyptian museum

    EgyptianMuseum

    The Egyptian museum was first built in Boulak. In 1891, it was moved to Giza Palace of "Ismail Pasha" which housed the antiquities that were later moved to the present building. The Egyptian museum is situated at Tahrir square in Cairo. It was built during the reign of Khedive Abbass Helmi II in 1897, and opened on November 15, 1902.  It has 107 halls. At the ground floor there are the huge statues. The upper floor houses small statues, jewels, Tutankhamen treasures and the mummies.

    The Museum also comprises a photography section and a large library. The Egyptian museum comprises many sections arranged in chronological order

    1. The first section houses Tutankhamen's treasures.
    2. The second section houses the pre-dynasty and the Old Kingdom monuments.
    3. The third section houses the first intermediate period and the Middle Kingdom monuments.
    4. The forth section houses the monuments of the Modern Kingdom.
    5. The fifth section houses the monuments of the late period and the Greek and Roman periods.
    6. The sixth section houses coins and papyrus.
    7. The seventh section houses sarcophagi and scarabs.

    A hall for the royal mummies was opened at the museum, housing eleven kings and queens.

    More than a million and half tourists visit the museum annually, in addition to half a million Egyptians

     

    The Unfinished Obelisk

    unfinished-belisk

    Much of the red granite used for ancient temples and colossi came from quarries in the Aswan area. Around these quarries are many inscriptions, many of which describe successful quarrying projects. The Unfinished Obelisk located in the Northern Quarry still lies where a crack was discovered as it was being hewn from the rock. Possibly intended as a companion to the Lateran Obelisk, originally at Karnak but now in Rome, it would have weighed over 2.3 million pounds and would have been the worlds largest piece of stone ever handled. However, a crack in the stone occurred, which caused it to be abandoned. Tools left by it's builders have given us much insight into how such work was performed. The site has recently been renovated and equipped with tourist facilities. Nearby is the Fatimid Cemetery

     

     

    Hatshepsuit temple

    hatshepsuit-temple

    The focal point of the Deir el-Bahri complex is the Djeser-Djeseru meaning "the Holy of Holies", the Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut. It is a colonnaded structure, which was designed and implemented by Senemut, royal steward and architect of Hatshepsut (and believed by some to be her lover), to serve for her posthumous worship and to honor the glory of Amun.

    Djeser-Djeseru sits atop a series of colonnaded terraces, reached by long ramps that once were graced with gardens. It is built into a cliff face that rises sharply above it, and is largely considered to be one of the "incomparable monuments of ancient Egypt".[1] It is 97 feet (30 m) tall.

    The unusual form of Hatshepsut's temple is explained by the choice of location, in the valley basin of Deir el-Bahri, surrounded by steep cliffs. It was here, in about 2050 BC that Mentuhotep II, the founder of the Middle Kingdom, laid out his sloping, terrace-shaped mortuary temple. The pillared galleries at either side of the central ramp of the Djeser Djeseru correspond to the pillar positions on two successive levels of the Temple of Mentuhotep.

    Today the terraces of Deir el-Bahri only convey a faint impression of the original intentions of Senenmut. Most of the statue ornaments are missing - the statues of Osiris in front of the pillars of the upper colonnade, the sphinx avenues in front of the court, and the standing, sitting, and kneeling figures of Hatshepsut; these were destroyed in a posthumous condemnation of this pharaoh. The architecture of the temple has been considerably altered as a result of misguided reconstruction in the early twentieth century A.D.

     

    Edfu

    Edfu-Temple

    Edfu was the Greek city of Apollinopolis Magna, and is a religious and commercial center. Located about 33 miles south of Isna and 65 miles north of Aswan, this is a friendly town which produces surgar and pottery. It is also a hub of a road network.  It was the capital of the second nome (Horus) of Upper Egypt. The main attraction here is the Temple of Horus, which is considered by most to be the best preserved cult temple in Egypt, but there is a mound of rubble to the west of the Temple which is probably the original old city of Djeba.  The town was known as Tbot by the early Egyptians, by the Greeks as Apollinopolis Magna and by Atbo during Coptic times. It was the capital of the second nome (Horus) of Upper Egypt.French and Polish teams have excavated some of the ancient city, finding Old Kingdom mastabas and Byzantine house

     

     

     

    Temple of Karnak

    Karnak-Temple

      

    Karnak  describes a vast conglomerate of ruined temples, chapels and other buildings of various dates. The name Karnak comes from the nearby village of el-Karnak. Whereas Luxor to the south was Ipet-rsyt, Karnak was ancient Ipet-isut, perhaps the most select of Places. Theban kings and the god Amun came to prominence at the beginning of the Middle Kingdom. From that time, the temples of Karnak were built, enlarged, torn down, added to, and restored for more than 2000 years.

    The ancient Egyptians considered Ipet-Isut as the place of the majestic rising of the first time, where Amun-Ra made the first mound of earth rise from Nun. At Karnak, the high priests recognized a king as the beloved son of Amun, king of all the gods. The coronation and jubilees were also held here. Staffed by more than 80,000 people under Ramesses III, the temple was also the administrative center of enormous holdings of agricultural land

    Pylon I, the entrance to the temple complex, is preceded by a quay, probably reconstructed during the 25th Dynasty and an avenue of ram-headed sphinxes, most of which bear the name of the high priest of Amun, Pnudjem of the 21st Dynasty. This pylon, which is unfinished, was probably built in the 30th Dynasty by Nectanebo I, though an earlier pylon may have stood here. South of the avenue are several smaller structures, including a barque shrine of Psammuthis and Hakoris, and parapets of the 25-26th Dynasties.

    The court which opens behind this pylon contains a triple barque shrine of Seti II made of granite and sandstone, consisting of three contiguous chapels dedicated to Amun, Mut and Khonsu. In the center of the forecourt there are remains of a colonnaded entrance of Taharqa, one of the columns of which has been re-erected. A small temple or barque station, of Ramesses III faces into the forecourt from the south. This temple was a miniature version of the mortuary temple at Medinet Habu.

    The doorway on the north side of this court leads to an open-air museum, where a number of small monuments have been reconstructed, including the limestone barque chapel of Senwosret I and Hatshepsut’s Chapelle Rouge.

    Pylon II, probably a work of Horemheb, is preceded by two colossal statues of Ramesses II. Only the feet of one remains. A third statue of the king includes Princess Bentanta standing between his feet. Behind the pylon, the now lost roof of the Great Hypostyle Hall, the most impressive part of the whole temple complex, was borne by 134 papyrus columns. The relief decoration of the hypostyle hall is the work of Seti I and Ramesses II. The exterior walls depict military campaigns of these kings in Palestine and Syria, including the Qadesh battle against the Hittites

    Pylon III was built by Amenhotep III, but the porch in front of it was decorated by Seti I, and Ramesses II. Numerous blocks from earlier buildings were found reused in the pylon : a sed-festival waystation of Senwosret I, the White Chapel, shrines of Amenhotep I and II, Hatshepsut, the Red Chapel, and Tutmosis IV, and a pillared portico of the same king. The four obelisks which stood behind the pylon were erected by Tutmosis I and III to mark the entrance to the original temple, but only one obelisk of Tutmosis I is still standing

     

    Valley of the Queens

    valley-of-the-queens

    There are between 75 and 80 tombs in the Valley of the Queens, or Biban al-Harim.  These belong to Queens of the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties.  These include The Tomb of Khaemwese (Tomb 44): Scenes in Khaemwese's tomb show him being presented to the guardians of the gates to the afterlife along with his father.  He is making an offering in the scene, and is dressed in a robe, wearing a necklace and the sidelocks of youth. The Tomb of Queent Titi (Tomb 52): She is probably the queen of a 20th Dynasty.  She is depicted with the sidelocks common to the Egyptian young of the period and in the presence of Nefertari of the gods Thoth, Atum, Isis and Nephthys.  In the next chamber the queen is shown making offerings to Hator the cow, and in the last chamber the gods Neith, Osiris, Selquit, Nephthys and Thoth. The Tomb of Amenhikhopeshef (Tomb 55): Amenhikhopeshef was a son of Ramses III and scenes show him with his father and the gods Thoth, Ptah and others. He was probably about nine years old when he died.  Scenes show him being presented to various gods, including Anubis, the Jackal-headed god of the dead, by his father, Ramses III. A premature baby was also found in to tomb. This belonged to this mother, who aborted upon learning of Amenhikhopeshef's death. The Tomb of Nefertari (Tomb 66): One of five wives of Ramses II, Nefertari was his favorite and the tomb here has been is said to be one of the most beautiful in Egypt.  The tomb is completely painted with scenes though out.  In most of these, Nefertari, known as 'the most beautiful of them', is accompanied by gods.  She is usually wearing a golden crown with two feathers extended from the back of a vulture and clothed in a white, gossamer gown. Be sure not to miss the side room where one scene depicts the queen worshipping the mummified body of Osiris.  Near the stairs to the burial chamber is another wonderful scene with Nefertarti offering milk to the goddess Hathor

     

    Temple of Dendera

    dendera-temple

    The approach path to the temple is between two Roman fountains that end at the massive entry gate. The enclosure walls are mud-brick and date to the Roman era. Within the walls are the temple, two birth houses, a Coptic Basilica, a sanitorium, a sacred lake, and a temple to Isis. The temple has a long history. There is evidence that Pepi I (Old Kingdom) rebuilt the temple while other texts refer to reconditioning by Thutmose III, Amenhotep III and Ramesses II and III (of the New Kingdom). Additions were made during the Greek, Roman and Ptolemy periods.

    The Citadel

    citadel

    One of Cairo 's most popular tourist attractions is The Citadel, located on a spur of limestone that had been detached from its parent Moqattam Hills by quarrying. The Citadel began its life not as a great military base of operations, but as the "Dome of the Wind", a pavilion created in 810 by Hatim Ibn Hartama, who was then governor. These early governors, not realizing it strategic importance, simply used the pavilion for its view of Cairo . In 1176, Salah ad-Din fortified the area to protect it against attacks by the Crusaders, and since then, it has never been without a military garrison. In 1218 Sultan al-Kamil, Salah ad-Din's nephew moved his residence to The Citadel, and until the consturction of the Abdin Palace in the mid-19th century, it was the seat of government for the Country of Egypt

    Valley of the Kings

    valley-of-the-kings

    The Egyptian belief that "To speak the name of the dead is to make him live again" is certainly carried out in the building of the tombs. The king's formal names and titles are inscribed in his tomb along with his images and statues. Beginning with the 18th Dynasty and ending with the 20th, the kings abandoned the Memphis area and built their tombs in Thebes. Also abandoned were the pyramid style tombs. Most of the tombs were cut into the limestone following a similar pattern: three corridors, an antechamber and a sunken sarcophagus chamber. These catacombs were harder to rob and were more easily concealed. Construction usually lasted six years, beginning with the new reign. The text in the tombs are from the Book of the Dead, the Book of the Gates and the Book of the Underworld.

    Ramesses IV
    three white corridors descend to the sarcophagus chamber. The chambers ceilings depict the goddess Nut. The lid of the pink granite sarcophagus is decorated with Isis and Nephthys, which were meant to serve as guardians over the body. Their duties fell short, however, as the tomb was robbed in ancient times. Originally the priests placed the sarcophagus in Amenhotep II II's tomb in order to hide the body, which was a common practice

    Ramesses IX
    Two sets of steps lead down to the tomb door that is decorated with the Pharaoh worshipping the solar disc. Isis and Nephthys stand behind him on either side. Three corridors lead into an antechamber that opens into a pillared hall. The passage beyond that leads to the sarcophagus chamber.

    Tutankhamen
    though small and unimpressive, Tutankhamun's Tomb is probably the most famous, due to its late discovery. Howard Carter's description upon opening the tomb in 1922 was, "At first I could see nothing, the hot air escaping from the chamber causing the candle flames to flicker, but presently, as my eyes grew accustomed to the light, details of the room within emerged slowly from the mist, strange animals, statues and gold - everywhere the glint of gold. For the moment - an eternity it must have seemed to the others standing by - I was dumb with amazement, and when Lord Carnarvon, unable to stand the suspense any longer, inquired anxiously, 'Can you see anything?' it was all I could do to get out the words, "Yes, wonderful things."' The royal seal on the door was found intact. The first three chambers were unadorned, with evidence of early entrance through one of the outside walls. The next chamber contained most of the funerary objects. The sarcophagus was four guilded wooden shrines, one inside the other, within which lay the stone sarcophagus, three mummiform coffins, the inner one being solid gold, and then the mummy. Haste can be seen in the relieves and the sarcophagus, due to the fact that Tutankhamun died at only 19 years of age following a brief reign. Though extremely impressive to the modern world, the treasures of Tutankhamun must have paled when compared to the tombs

    Tuthmosis III
    The approach to this unusual tomb is an ascent up wooden steps, crossing over a pit, and then a steep descent down into the tomb. The pit was probably dug as a deterrent to tomb robbers. Two small chambers, decorated with stars and a larger vestibule are in front of the sarcophagus chamber, which is uniquely rounded and decorated with only red and black.

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