Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Aswan, Luxor, and Abu Simbel EGYPT

After years of avoiding upper Egypt, we were finally convinced by our friends Scott and Jen to "just go there!" So we did. We joined them plus two other friends, Brandon and Jeff. Ana and I later had the conversation, "Why didn't we do this sooner?" Upper Egypt should be priority for any traveler to Egypt. Sure, do the Pyramids in Cairo, but the real treasures are between Abu Simbel, Aswan, and Luxor. While we didn't see everything on the extensive list, we did catch the greatest hits with some time to relax by the pool. Not pictured in this post was our visit to Valley of the Kings. No cameras allowed and there really wasn't much to photograph in the tombs. It was more of an experience of being there, taking in the amazing colors and details on the walls.

Waiting for our late evening flight in Cairo to Aswan.
We were told that we HAD to stay at the Old Cataract in Aswan. Although pricey, totally worth it. Amazing views and service.
We had to take a boat to the Temple of Isis on the island of Philae.
Docking bay.

Detail of the top columns.

The Temple of Isis from the outer courtyard.
Looking to the outer courtyard.

It was common for the reliefs to be vandalized.
Detail on the columns.
A little late afternoon boat ride on the Nile.
On the Nile
Looking toward Aswan center.
We were shuffled across the river to a traditional Nubian village for an amazing home cooked meal in a traditional house. A bedroom view with a cool mural on the wall.
Nubian mural on the wall.
How about getting into a van at 4 am and driving three hours towards the Sudan border? Good morning Abu Simbel.
Something to think about, our guide Hend explained the process of how the complex was moved from its original location. "The complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary to prevent their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River." Source: Wikipedia And I have to ask, does your moving company do this?
A documentary on how the complex was moved: click here.

No photos please.
Interior room.
Interior walls.
Nothing says I love you like building a temple for your wife. The small temple at Abu Simbel was built by Ramesses II for his bride Nefertari.
Interior walls.
Why climb when you can walk.
In light of the current political climate...on the drive back to Aswan from Abu Simbel.
Even the Pharaohs keep Aswan clean.
We made a pit stop on the drive towards Luxor. This is the view towards the Nile. (An alternative route between Aswan and Luxor is two/three day a Nile cruise.)
Same pit stop, but looking away from the Nile.
At the entrance to the Karnak Temple Complex, you walk down the avenue of ram headed sphinxes leading to Temple of Khonsu.
Great court.
Great Temple of Amun.

Sizing up to the pillars of the Great Hypostyle Hall
Looking up at the pillars. It may be hard to see but there are full color friezes. 
Getting lost among the pillars.
Frieze in the Precinct of Amun Re.
Ruins and obelisk at the Great Temple of Amun.
Sacred Lake
Colossi of Memon
Ceiling light for the last lunch in Luxor.
The krew in Luxor.
Hend was our lovely tour guide, a friend of our school. She knows her landscape and history. Reasonably priced and highly recommended. Contact here Hend.Magdy@hotmail.com

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