Egypt, with its collections of ancient pyramids, temples, and tombs is a fascinating place to visit.
The Sphinx and Pyramids
Our Great Trip to Egypt
As far back as I can remember learning about various interesting places around the world, mainly in school, I wanted to visit them—all of them—no matter where they were. When I began to be successful financially as an adult, I began traveling to Europe by leading educational tours and saving enough money so that when I retired, I would be able to travel wherever l might want to go. The picture above shows the positive results of my financial planning.
I feel that my travels have enriched my life immensely, both "small" places and "huge" ones. The picture above was taken a few years ago now, during the second week of a two-week tour, the first week in Israel and the second in Egypt. Both of these weeks were incredibly interesting for me. The first is because, being a Christian, I enjoyed being in the Holy Land where Jesus lived and taught, the second being in Egypt with its rich early history along the Nile.
In Egypt, we visited places like the Karnak Temple Complex and the nearby Valley of the Kings with its tombs where various Pharaohs were buried. We also saw Giza, where the Great Pyramids are located, and then Cairo, across the Nile River from Giza, where the fabulous old Cairo Museum houses King Tut's magnificent tomb articles and countless other artifacts from Egyptian antiquity. We also toured the notable sights around the city.
One of the disappointments of our time in Egypt can be seen in the picture above. When we visited the Sphinx, it was fenced in with construction, leading to no really good way of getting close to it or even getting a close look at all of it. But all things considered, the week in Israel and the week in Egypt were both wonderful beyond my high expectations.
Our Nile River Cruise
There were a number of river cruise ships on the Nile when we were there, with obvious differences in the grandeur of the ships, making the same stops along the Nile. By far, the most important to me were Karnak and the Valley of the Kings.
The photo above shows the entrance to the most sacred part of the Karnak Temple complex, with great statues at the entrance, and with various areas and rooms dedicated to the worship of Egyptian gods inside the area. As the photo indicates, this, even in a semi-ruined state, this was a magnificently impressive site, almost beyond belief for having been built beginning about 18 centuries ago. (Important scenes from the Agatha Christie movie, Death on the Nile, were filmed in this area.)
While in the Karnak, area we also went to the nearby Valley of the Kings, an area where from about 16th to 11th centuries B.C.E., various Pharaohs were buried. The most famous of the tombs there was King Tutankhamen's, because of its gloriously beautiful gold death mask and other items that were buried with King Tut. These objects had not been removed by grave robbers, as had happened to many other tombs in the area. The tomb that I entered on this excursion was of Ramses III, son of Ramses II, the latter being one of the very most important Pharaohs of all time in Egypt, and perhaps the Pharaoh with whom Moses dealt in Exodus in the Old Testament.
Time in Cairo
We enjoyed two great activities in Cairo. The first was a visit to the three Great Pyramids of Giza, where we took a short camel ride. The gigantic size of the largest pyramid was almost unbelievable, especially when trying to imagine how it could have been built without modern machines and technology. It is believed that the Great Pyramid was built around 2560 B.C.E.
I once had a great dream of climbing up one of the pyramids. However, when I visited them, I found out it was illegal to climb. This seemed most reasonable from a safety standpoint since the building stones were much larger than I had ever imagined, and climbing very high was, I realized, at my age, was impossible. I was allowed to go up several feet on the biggest of the three Giza pyramids, and I enjoyed this immensely.
The second wonderful place that we visited was the quite old, but magnificent, Egyptian antiquities museum with an almost endless supply of artifacts, especially those taken from King Tutankhamen's unrobbed tomb—including his most magnificent death mask.
The museum is located in downtown Cairo in a maze of crowded streets, and it was quite an adventure just getting to the museum and tour bus. Established in 1902, the museum is a large red building sitting on the east side of the Nile, which flows from south to north through Cairo. The Museum has an almost unimaginable complexity of items.
New Egyptian Archeological Museum
Since this article was originally published, the Egyptian government has begun building a great new archeological museum in Giza where the Great Pyramids are located at the cost of $795,000,000. It will house a great number of artifacts, including the Tutankhamun collection.
- Information for this article was taken from articles from Wikipedia and my visit to Egypt, including comments from our excellent tour guide.
- All photos are mine, either taken by me or by someone else with my camera.