Not to be mist, this captures around and hour just after 6.
In English, a narration is boomed out from speakers as you are guided around the ancient ruins at Karnak.
Coloured lights Illuminate the various columns, hieroglyphics, plus spooky music adds atmosphere to help describe what it was that made Thebes (Luxor) the great and successful beating heart of the nation.
It’s not to heavy, more honest than a BBC documentary, brings you back to the days of Carter and the good old British Empire. (Horahh for Blighty!).
After Cairo, I was pleased that this was a museum in a traditional sense, in that you might find things of interest and read the little cards they left out.
The museum was encapsulated in three levels, with an introductory video talking about the Egyptian Golden era.
The Golden Era Spanning from 3400 BC to 39AD.
During this period, Egyptians who had once lived near to the Nile were forced, by climate change, to move nearer the flood plains and formed the first communities. Initially farming, then centres of trading, particularly around Buto in the North.
The development of Writing, allowed passing of ideas or knowledge through hieroglyphics spreading the advancement of technology; Technology:- Long Bows, Chariots, Calendar, Masonry, Construction, Planning, Specialisation of Labour to mention a few..
A nation united
Through military conquest in upper Egypt, the Hyksos tribe were forced from the delta areas around Giza. Whilst in the south the Nubian tribes were defeated during the reign of Mentuhotep and Amenhotep, who, (latterly), was a particularly fierce and renowned warrior king.
Eventually two kingdoms of north and south Nile were consolidated leading to 3450 years of dominance creating a civilisation to be envied by the world.
Goes some way to explaining the customs and warfare, particularly.
Again, surprise surprise, you’re going to need a guide to gain anything from this museum. One approached me outside and offers to take me round for £15 for 1 and 1/2 hours, £10 per hour.
The thought does cross my mind, so I offer to hang around for more visitors to bring the price lower, at which point he tells me the price will not lower he’ll charge us all the same which could equate to £70-80 per hour. Another example of money-grabbing by the Egyptians, and this guy actually worked for the museum so goes some way to indicating the attitude toward tourism.
Inside the Museum
Once inside the museum is a large circular atrium surrounded by a large rectangle filled with statues and relics.
Photo’s are not allowed.
Heavy statues are on the ground floor artifacts and jewellery are on the second floor.
I spend long enough wondering round to realise you’re really going to gain nothing without a guide, most of the pieces are labelled without dates, dynasties, locations or any over-riding narrative, story-board or reason d’etre.
This is a shame. As a visitor, I feel that I really gained nothing from the experience. Apart from feeling that the Egyptians were by far the most advanced civilisation and way ahead of their time, which I felt when I walked in, this museum has been tiring and slightly pointless.
This was opposed to the Coptic Museum which was interesting and informative with over-riding structure and narrative. The aim of this museum seems to be to grab money rather than to educate.
Here’s a couple of pictures of what makes the museum famous.
Face Mask of King TUT
If you feel you should visit, you’re going to need a guide (again).
It’s worth the entrance fee but not the time. You could spend hours and learn nothing.
Called the hanging Church because it was once positioned over the gatehouse to the Coptic quarters.
The Coptic hanging church is the oldest church I have visited, dating back to the 7th century. Some parts of the church have been carbon dated, the most recent revealing first construction around 2nd century BC. It’s clear this church has been around in some form for a very long time.
The courtyard and church have a distinctly Arabic feel with intricate wooden carvings, aprons and balconies.
Unlike the Church of St. George, this one is entirely Coptic.
Inside the Church
Inside you can find 110 icons dedicated to the Christian faith most of them dating back to the 18th Century some going back as far as the 8th century, it is said this church is one of the earliest examples of Basilica style architecture.
There are continuous tour groups moving through, although this does little to spoil the over-all atmosphere which is made in the upwards direction;
Admire the wooden timber beams which have made up the construct for many centuries.
The use of the Basilica Style to bring light into the structure.
The ornately structured chandeliers.
all make for a warmth of style in keeping with Arabic, European and Christian decorations and considerations.
Now you may think this is a corny name, “Nilometer, sounds like mileometer”. But you must remember, the first Nilometer was in existence in Pharoaic times, possibly before Christ not the other way round. Duhhh.
The Nilometer in it’s current incarnation has been measuring the height of the Nile since 751 and the Arabian conquest, at which point they build a special dome and masonry housing and began measuring regularly the height of the Nile each season.
This records have been kept for 14 centuries and have spawned developments in other areas on science, notably Brownian motion for those physicists out there.
Walk on by
I arrived at the Nilometer after a hefty jaunt from the Raddison, I was greeted by the caretaker who invited me and another English family in to take pictures at which point he told us the various facts.
The Nilometer stands 10.4 meters tall and consists of a cubit, or forearms length x16 measurement units. During the year the water would flow in and out of the chamber rising and falling and being measured.
When the water was particularly high, all the surrounding land would be ruined and the government could take action. Also if the water was low and drought ensued, the government could again, lower taxes to prevent unrest.
Downstairs is a crypt dedicated entirely to St. George and his dragon slaying abilities, some coloured frescos and stone carvings, stain-glass windows or alter-fronts. Pretty much a shrine to St. George. You are invited to drop a few pennies and help the upkeep of the various George’s and Dragons around the place.
In additional to the normal paraphernalia, the church is kitted out with a 4.2m magical chain. Administered by nuns, it is said that when this chain is attached, it can be a magical cure if venerated and kissed by the patron, with great blessing from George himself.
Particularly mad people and Turks are said to benefit from this most.
Visiting is only on a Friday if you are interested in this particular ceremony.
The church dates back to the 14th Century and has passed between the Roman and Coptic monks.