Archive | Middle East RSS feed for this section
September 6, 2011

POTD: The Valley of the Queens

Situated on the west bank of the Nile across from Thebes (modern day Luxor), the Valley of the Queens is the final resting place for the wives of Egypt’s Pharaohs (who themselves are buried in the nearby Valley of the Kings). The Valley of the Queens contains over seventy tombs from the 18th, 19th and 20th Dynasties, including that of Queen Nefertari, wife of Ramesses the Great. In addition to the queens, various princes, princesses and members of the nobility were also laid to rest in the Valley of the Queens. Unfortunately, when we visited, hardly any of the tombs were open to the public, so most of what we saw was exactly what is displayed in the above photo. Many of the tombs have also been ransacked by robbers, so some contain hardly anything.

I visited Egypt in 2005, when I was living in London and it was much easier to travel to the Middle East. I would like to return to the Middle East someday, perhaps to Jordan (Petra looks amazing), Lebanon (I hear Beirut is a fun city), or the United Arab Emirates (Dubai trips are quite inexpensive, especially if you live in Europe). I would probably choose to go in the winter, though, when the temperatures are milder.

May 10, 2011

POTD: A boy and his camel

camel in egypt

camel in egypt

Depending on your destination, you may be forced to join a police escorted convoy when traveling around Egypt. We were required to join one when we drove from Luxor to Safaga, a port on the Red Sea. Every few hours, the convoys stop at restaurants and gift shops that were specifically built to sell extremely high priced food, drinks, and knick-knacks to tourists (the average Egyptian is not allowed to stop here, but then again, why would they want to pay $3 for a Snickers bar?). This is one of the kids who worked at the rest stop, charging tourists a few bucks to pose with the camel he was leading around the parking lot. In Egypt, if there is an area where large groups of tourists congregate, there is bound to be a boy and his camel also there.

I would like to return to the Middle East someday, perhaps to Jordan (Petra looks amazing), Lebanon (I hear Beirut is a fun city), or the United Arab Emirates (Dubai holidays are quite inexpensive, especially if you live in Europe).

February 20, 2011

POTD: Mubarak propaganda

Trying to get back into the swing of things as far as posting daily and figured this would be a good photo to highlight due to the recent situation in Egypt. The above photo was taken in April 2005 at a police checkpoint outside Dendara, Egypt. The giant poster is of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was recently ousted. I imagine that these posters and other assorted cult of personality items are long gone by now.

January 21, 2011

POTD: Safaga beach, Egypt

It’s not quite the beaches of Southern California or the Outer Banks, but the Red Sea isn’t bad. Safaga is a sleepy port on the Red Sea, lacking the excitement of its northern cousin, Sharm-El-Sheikh. Still, there are plenty of options for tourists in this small town, especially if you enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving. We visited Safaga on a whim, after booking cheap flights to Luxor from London, arriving there, and deciding we wanted to see something different after several days of touring Ancient Egyptian sites. Safaga is approximately a three hour drive from Luxor and includes your very own police convoy.

January 2, 2011

POTD: Old school vandalism in Egypt

These reliefs in the Dendera Temple complex were destroyed by early Egyptian Christians. The Christians considered the Egyptian gods to be pagan, and thus tried to suppress the worship of these gods.

December 16, 2010

POTD: Colossi of Memnon

Colossi of Memnon

Colossi of Memnon

Located across the River Nile from the modern city of Luxor, the Colossi of Memnon were erected nearly 3,400 years ago in 1350 BC. They were carved from large blocks of quartzite sandstone that were transported (by slaves, no doubt) 420 miles overland from the quarry site to their present location. They originally stood guard at the entrance to Amenhotep’s memorial temple, of which little remains today. If you have an interest in ancient Egyptian history, there are many cheap holidays to Egypt that are available, especially if you are based in Western Europe.

November 17, 2010

POTD: Cleopatra and Caesarion at the Dendera Temple Complex

cleopatra and caesarion

cleopatra and caesarion

The above relief is from the Hathor temple near Dendera, Egypt. It depicts Cleopatra with Caesarion (little Caesar), her son by Julius Caesar

November 8, 2010

POTD: Nile Transportation

My friend and I rented this boat for a few bucks when we were staying in Luxor, Egypt. Technically, there was a captain, too, but he did let us take turns driving the boat up and down the river. I think the tourists aboard the large Nile cruises were a bit shocked to see us driving past them, waving wildly, as our boat captain busied himself with making tea (luckily, we did not hit any other boats).

October 28, 2010

POTD: Ronald McDonald in Luxor, Egypt

egyptian mcdonalds

egyptian mcdonalds

Don’t worry, you can still get your Big Mac fix during your Egypt holidays. This is the police officer assigned to guard the McDonald’s in Luxor, Egypt.

October 12, 2010

POTD: The Sphinx

sphinx

sphinx

The Great Sphinx of Giza, built c. 2500 BC.