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Published: March 1st 2020
I did not have wifi on the train, and the wifi at our hotel in Aswan is terrible, so the photos will not be labeled because I'm using someone's hot spot.
Today our leader Khaled (aka “Elvis”) brought us to the Egyptian Museum and gave us a whirlwind tour of the highlights of the museum. This museum houses a spectacular collection of Pharoanic antiquities. There are more than 120,000 pieces on display from statues to sarcophagus, to jewelry, to boats, to ancient papyrus, with the most spectacular the items from King Tut’s tomb.
King Tut only served as King 7 or 8 years and died when he was 19 or 20. He was not the most significant king in Ancient Egypt, but his tomb was intact and not raided so all of the items were there undisturbed. So this is the best show of what a tomb holds.
The museum houses pieces from 3100 B.C. to 2 A.D. There are pieces that represent the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, and New Kingdom. The Tutankamun Galleries display 1700 of the 5000 items found in his tomb. The embalmed, linen wrapped body is placed in a wooden coffin that is decorated
and that coffin is placed in a solid gold coffin, and this is placed in a sarcophagus. Also in the King Tut collection are chair, beds, thrones.
From here we went to “take away” lunch, an inexpensive place near the Pyramids to have lunch. I had chicken schwarma and rice pudding for dessert. We watched a guy argue with the police because he had illegally parked his car and it was booted and they were going to tow it. I don’t know the outcome of this argument but I think the guy lost.
We went to the Pyramids complex which includes the 3 large Pyramids: one for Khufu (also called Cheops), his son Kahfre, and Menkaure..
The Giza pyramid complex
, also called the Giza Necropolis
, is the site on the Giza Plateau
in Greater Cairo
that includes the Great Pyramid of Giza
, the Pyramid of Khafre
, and the Pyramid of Menkaure
, along with their associated pyramid complexes and the Great Sphinx of Giza
. All were built during the Fourth Dynasty
of the Old Kingdom
of Ancient Egypt
. The site also includes several cemeteries and the remains of a workers' village.
The site is at the edges of the Western Desert
, approximately 9 km (5 mi) west of the Nile River
in the city of Giza
, and about 13 km (8 mi) southwest of the city centre of Cairo
The Great Pyramid and the Pyramid of Khafre are the largest pyramids built in ancient Egypt
, and they have historically been common as emblems of ancient Egypt in the Western imagination
They were popularised in Hellenistic
times, when the Great Pyramid was listed by Antipater of Sidon
as one of the Seven Wonders of the World
. It is by far the oldest of the ancient Wonders and the only one still in existence.
The pyramids of Giza and others are thought to have been constructed to house the remains of the deceased pharaohs
who ruled over Ancient Egypt
A portion of the pharaoh's spirit called his ka
was believed to remain with his corpse. Proper care of the remains was necessary in order for the "former Pharaoh to perform his new duties as king of the dead." It's theorized the pyramid not only served as a tomb for the pharaoh, but also as a storage pit for various items he would need in the afterlife. "The people of Ancient Egypt believed that death on Earth was the start of a journey to the next world." The embalmed body of the
King was entombed underneath or within the pyramid to protect it and allow his transformation and ascension to the afterlife.
There are 6 smaller pyramids which are for other family members, and the Sphinx. These Pyramids are huge and steep. They are the place for the Pharoah to be after they die to assure that they will pass into the afterlife. Unfortunately all of these Pyramids were raided and there is nothing in the tomb rooms. We looked at the largest one, then went to the panoramic area where we took silly pictures.Dominque (from Ottawa area in Canada) went for a camel ride and some of us took pictures with the camel. The one I took a picture with slobbered on my pants.
We went to the 2nd
largest Pyramid, Kahfre’s, and for a fee (about 7 dollars) we could walk through the passage to the tomb room. First we walked down, then back up to the room. It’s just a big room with a sarcophagus.
From here we went to the Sphinx, and once again took silly pictures.
Current consensus among Egyptologists is that the head of the Great
Sphinx is that of Khafre
. Along with these major monuments are a number of smaller satellite edifices, known as "queens" pyramids, causeways and valley pyramids.
The Sphinx was built to guard the Pyramids. It was covered with sand with only the head showing when the French found it. They pushed away the sand and found the rest of the lion’s body.
The Egyptian’s didn’t really care about preserving the antiquities, so many items have ended up in museums in Britain and France. It’s only been within the last 40 years or so that the Egyptians want to preserve the history and display it in Cairo. So unfortunately many significant items are spread around the world in other museums.
We went to a Papyrus place so we could learn about Papyrus. This place had nice pieces of papyrus for sale that were cheaper than the ones I bought 2 days before. Oh well, how are you supposed to know what are good prices.
We did a few errands (ATM, beer, snacks) and headed to the train station for our overnight trip to Aswan. The sleeper cars are cozy (small) but we do the best we
can. Two people to a sleeper car in a bunk arrangement. They served us a nice chicken/rice/vegetable dinner and we all talked for awhile and then went to bed. Tomorrow morning we will arrive in Aswan about 9 a.m.
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