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Rachel / Egypt - Posts

24 December, 201024 December, 2010 0 comments Egypt Egypt

On our final day in Cairo, we visited portions of the old city, most notably the Saladin Citadel, Coptic Cairo, and the Egyptian Museum!

H picked us up early that morning and took us directly to the Citadel. Morning was still dawning, a perfect setting for viewing the Alabaster Mosque, which glimmered in the soft sunlight.

The oldest portions of the citadel date to the 12th c., when Saladin had them built to fortify Cairo against Crusaders. However, the mosque (and other additions) came later, during the 19th c. under the reign of Muhammed Ali Pasha, whose tomb is located within the mosque.

We walked around the fortress for a bit, and then entered the courtyard of the mosque.

Because we wished to enter the mosque, we had to remove our shoes and we women had to don a long, green robe that the workers provided over our clothing.

Travelers note: This is standard procedure for visiting mosques. Shoes are never allowed, and women generally are required to wear robes (and possibly headscarves) as provided by the staff, because Western garb typically fails to meet modesty standards for mosques. So, if you visit a mosque,

21 September, 201021 September, 2010 0 comments Egypt Egypt

On to the Great Pyramids at Giza! Although we enjoyed the other sites that we'd visited in Egypt, this was one that we'd really been anticipating! We drove to a spot that offered an amazing vista of the pyramids, and we were so entranced (and busily snapping photos) that our guide mock-chided us for not listening to him.

Sadly, our photos don't do them justice, because it was a bit hazy that day. Once he regained our attention, our guide, whom we affectionately referred to as H (not a reference to "CSI: Miami"!), offered some historical information--and there's nothing like learning about the Great Pyramids when you're standing that close to them! Before we headed down to get a close-up view of them, H suggested that we take a camel ride.

Dad was more enthusiastic about it than Mom, my sisters, and me. He opted to take the long ride, which meant that he went a bit further out into the desert. The rest of us were content with staying in the localized area.

Amusingly, our camels were named Mickey Mouse & Michael Jackson. Good times. When we finished, we moved down closer to the pyramids.

13 September, 201013 September, 2010 0 comments Egypt Egypt

Once we had finished looking through the artifacts at Memphis, we drove to Saqqara to see the famed step pyramid of King Djoser, designed by the mysterious architect Imhotep. It stands within a greater festival complex, with a large courtyard in front, on the other side of which stood ceremonial buildings. Our guide shared the most interesting theory about the site: there are a number of Egyptologists (of varying faiths, by the by) who speculate that Imhotep may well have been Joseph of the Old Testament (he of the many-coloured coat who was sold into slavery by his brothers). There's basically no information recorded about Imhotep's family, which is bizarre, given the minuteness of the Egyptian records. It's as though he appeared out of thin air. Plus, his life falls in the right time period. Although nothing in the archaeological record definitively confirms this, our guide opined that something of the sort would be found eventually.

Next to the pyramid (to the right in the above photo) stand a series of small buildings lining an avenue (well, what remains of them).

These buildings served as elaborate idol niches. During his rejuvenation festival (which the Egyptians believed restored an aging pharaoh's vitality, making him like a young man again

11 September, 201011 September, 2010 0 comments Egypt Egypt

After our wonderful day in Petra, we were worn out; luckily, the next day was leisurely, since we would be spending most of it traveling to Egypt. We rode to Amman, to the Queen Alia airport in time to board an afternoon flight to Cairo. The airport staff was so gracious that I want to make a point of noting how lovely they all were. Everyone seemed ready to bend over backward to please customers, and the place was well-ordered and quite clean. I've been in a lot of airports, and this one was quite exceptional! :)

Anyhow, we arrived in Cairo in the early evening and were met by the tour company, then driven to the hotel. Cairo traffic is pretty intense, so it took a while to arrive. We spent the rest of the evening relaxing, because we had an early and full day in store.

Our first stop on the sightseeing agend was Memphis, once the capital of Lower Egypt. I was surprised by how little remains, architecturally. There are many artifacts displayed on the grounds, but there's no sense that this area was once an important city. The highlight of the museum there is an enormous and exquisite statue of Ramses II; its twin is on display in downtown Cairo, as I understand it. It's huge, but it has to be displayed lying on its back because it would be damaged by the weight of standing upright.

Apparently, Ramses II was fond of stealing other people's statues and

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Posts: 11
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I'm sharing a few experiences from my family's trip to Israel, Jordan & Egypt.


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