Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Cairo - Sulydad's Citadel, main bazaar, Felucca ride

March 17 - our last day in Egypt.  We went to the Mohamed Ali Mosque.  Mohamed Ali (1769-1849) was born in Greece and was a soldier in the troops that were sent to Egypt to free the country from Napoleon's occupation.  In 1805 the Egyptians revolted and Ali took over.  The mosque was built in 1830 over the Citadel built by Sulydad in the 1500s.  The mosque is modeled after the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.

The courtyard is surrounded by four corridors with marble columns and in the center is the fountain of ablutions.

A large number of pendant glass and crystal lamps form circles of lighting in the mosque.

Since this is highest point in Cairo we had great views of the city skyline.

Views of the Mosque of Sultan Hassan - 

 We went to the old medieval  part of Cairo with its shops and hordes of people.

In the old city is the Bab Zwiyla, two old minarets that are are at the gates to the old city.

After shopping we took a felucca ride on the Nile.

A one man operation -

Our last meal in Cairo - Friday's with American food and ice cream.

Said our goodbyes to Barb and departed for USA the next morning.  Arrived in Phoenix at 10 that night.  Another get adventure!

Luxor - Karnak temple, Luxor museum, Luxor temple

March 16 - last day in Luxor.  This city is fascinating and if I ever came to Egypt again I would come to Luxor and spend a lot of time.  

Karnak temple is the largest temple in Egypt at 65 acres.  It was built by the pharaophs to honor the sun god, Amon Ra.  The temples are erected from the back to the front so the back of Karnak temple is 4000 years old and the front is 2000 years old.  Ramses II erected most of the temple.  He was Ramses the Great and he had 40 wives and 170 children.

The entrance to Karnak is lined with Sphinx.

The Hypostyle hall has 134 beautifully engraved pillars.

There were 8 Obelisks but only 2 are still standing.  This one from Queen Hatshepsut is 366 tons and 30 meters high made of one solid stone.

The temple flooded each year from the Nile until the Aswan dam was built.  I am pointing to the water line.

The walls were very high and in order to put the blocks on the top they built dirt ramps leading up the wall (in the right side of the below picture).

Surviving column of the pavilion of Taharka in back of Karnak - 

Next stop was the Luxor museum.

This was not a very big museum but the pieces were very nice.  

God Sebek,

My favorite,  Aken Aton -

Ellen with Hathor.

The last temple we saw was Luxor temple which is dedicated to Amon Ra's wife, Mut.  It was built by two rulers - Ramses II (1290 - 1224 BC) and Amenhotep III ( 1391 - 1353 BC).

There was a mosque and a Christian church built on the premises at one time.

Pictures of Christians -

The temple has three parts - a temple for Ramses II, a hall connecting the two, and a temple for Amenhotep III.

Statute of Ramses II -

Between Karnak and Luxor is the avenue of the sphinx.

We were surrounded by kids at each of the sites we went to.  They all wanted a picture of themselves with us.  They get very few female tourists.  It got to be annoying.  Here is Lynn having a hard time getting away from some young boys.

We had to say goodbye to our wonderful guides and fly back to Cairo.  Ayman, Akman, and driver.

Dendera and Abydos, Egypt

March 15 - another early morning.  Leaving for a long drive in the country to Dendera and Abydos. Before leaving Luxor we watched the balloons rise again over the Nile.

We took a very slow route to Dendera, stopping every 2 minutes for entrances to little towns and going over lots of serious speed bumps.

The Egyptians use all types of transportation:  cars, trucks, tu-tuks, motorcycles, bicycles, donkeys.

It took an hour and a half to reach our first destination, Dendera temple.  This temple was built by the Greeks to honor the Goddess Hathor, goddess of music and motherhood.  Ellen is hamming it up at the entrance.

This is the statue of the God of fun, Bess.

Goddess Hathor -

The temple was built around 280 BC and it took 300 years to build.  The Greeks wanted to be accepted by the Egyptians so they built this temple saying they were sons of Hathor.  Hathor was always portrayed as a women with ears of a cow or with horns of a cow.  Christians defaced the statues of the goddess and lite fires in the temple so the ceilings turned black with soot.  Here is a partially cleaned ceiling.

The temple has a splendid hypostyle hall of beautifully carved pillars.

There are some secret passageways that our tour guide knew about.  We walked down to the crypt where the treasure were kept.

This is the temple within the temple called the chapel of holiness.  Here the mysteries of the birth of cosmic order from the primeval chaos were celebrated.

On the outside you can see how massive the structure is.

The only hieroglyphic of Cleopratra in Egypt (32 BC), on the back wall of Dendera.

They even had a swimming pool.

Some more camels that we did not get to ride.

Market day at a local city we passed thru on the way to our next temple.

 Drove to Abydos a name given to a holy city dedicated to the cult of Osiris, the god of death.

The temple was started by Seti I and finished by his son Ramses II.  These hieroglyphics below were during the rein of Ramses II.  Notice that these were carved into the rock.

The hieroglyphics below are during the Seti I rule and the carvings are done so that the picture stands out.  Much more difficult than Ramses.

In the back is the original temple to Osiris which the Muslims made a yearly pilgrimage to and dates back 5000 years as compared to the current temple in the front which is 3200 years old.

Traveling back to Luxor - more colorful photo opportunities.

After a long day on the road the sunset is beautiful.