Friday, May 13, 2016. Luxor.
Posted online from the same room I had last week, with double bed, private bath, a/c, cable tv w/ CNN for $15.00 a night. Ran errands with Abdoul today, getting the oil changed in his car, to the ATM, picking up his Rx at the pharmacy. We then went to his apartment and had lunch. Spicey egplant, a beef dish (cow killed yesterday) bread, and several other didhes.
I played with his 2 young children, Yousef, 3 and Rhakma, 6. Rhakma and I again practiced her english using her picture book- dog, cat, bike, whale, house, apple, bananna, etc. She is adorable.
The Sarah docked at Luxor last night, after dark, and I slept aboard. The cruise was much more enjoyable returning downstream to Luxor. I was familiar with my surroundings. I knew the routine. There were only about 20 people aboard vs 90 on the upriver leg.
There was a stiff breeze yesterday and it was delightful sitting on the top deck in the shade. We stoppped at the two temples – Kom Ombo and the Temple of Edfu, where I saw the Pencil Girl on the upriver leg four days ago. Unfortunately for both of us, she was not there at the landing yesterday. I planned to be very gracious to her and make her touting very worthwhile and write more about her. I wanted to meet her.
The Edfu Temple was spectacular. I enjoyed it more than the Karna Temple, the second largest religious temple in the world behind Angkor Wat. After spending 5 days walking around the complex at Angkor 2 year ago, I must say that Angkor is much more expansive and more impressive. The pyramids are another kettle of fish. The Great Pyramid is 3800 years older than Angkor Wat and it is a really, really big pile of rock. It is mind bogling.
I planned to return to Karnak today at 4 PM for pictures in the evening light, but it is just too hot. 103 F right now, at 3:30 PM. Monday, when I fly back to Cairo from Luxor, the forcast says 116 F.
Edfu was remarkably intact and I read that it is the best preserved temple in all of Egypt.
Took great pics, but until I download and learn how to use an app on my ipad to compress my high resolution photos, I will not upload pics. Takes forever and burns up my data. Wordpress does not give me an option to compress file size like Apple does in their native iOS apps for iPad and IPhone. I will try to work on this over the next two days, as time allows.
Upon our arrival at Edfu, I approached Phil, the Aussie at my dinner table and asked him if I could tag along with him and his prepaid, package tour guide. We asked the guide if he would mind and he replied of course not, as my baksheesh payment would be nothing but gravy and any money would be only for him with no middleman taking a cut.
We climbed into a caleche for the ride through town to the temple. Phil, younger than me but not as agile, gave everyone a show as he laborously climbed aboard the caleche, flashing the lingering crowd of touts that surrounded the caleche with a big white Aussie plumber’s ass crack about 8″long as he attempted to climb board. Midway into his second attempt, I was forced to look the other way as I chuckled to myself.
I gave the caleche driver 20 pounds and the guide 50 pounds or $5.00. A guide would have charged about $25.00 or $30.00, so it was a great deal for a guided tour of the temple.
Google and Wiki have some great images of Edfu that you should browse.
Wiki says :
Deity Horus (primary), Hathor, Harsomtus
Period Graeco-Roman Period
Dynasty Ptolemaic Dynasty
Construction start date August 23, 237 BCE
Completion date 57 BCE
Construction material Sandstone
Height 36 meters
The Temple of Edfu is an ancient Egyptian temple, located on the west bank of the Nile in Edfu, Upper Egypt. The city was known in Greco-Roman times as Apollonopolis Magna, after the chief god Horus-Apollo. It is one of the best preserved shrines in Egypt. The temple, dedicated to the falcon god Horus, was built in the Ptolemaic period between 237 and 57 BC. The inscriptions on its walls provide important information on language, myth and religion during the Greco-Roman period in ancient Egypt. In particular, the Temple’s inscribed building texts “provide details [both] of its construction, and also preserve information about the mythical interpretation of this and all other temples as the Island of Creation.” There are also “important scenes and inscriptions of the Sacred Drama which related the age-old conflict between Horus and Seth.” They are translated by the German Edfu-Project.
Influence on British architecture
Edfu was one of several temples built during the Ptolemaic period, including Dendera, Esna, Kom Ombo and Philae. Its size reflects the relative prosperity of the time. The present temple, which was begun “on 23 August 237 BC, initially consisted of a pillared hall, two transverse halls, and a barque sanctuary surrounded by chapels.” The building was started during the reign of Ptolemy III and completed in 57 BC under Ptolemy XII. It was built on the site of an earlier, smaller temple also dedicated to Horus, although the previous structure was oriented east-west rather than north-south as in the present site. A ruined pylon lies just to the east of the current temple; inscriptional evidence has been found indicating a building program under the New Kingdom rulers Ramesses I, Seti I and Ramesses II.
A naos of Nectanebo II, a relic from an earlier building, is preserved in the inner sanctuary, which stands alone while the temple’s barque sanctuary is surrounded by nine chapels.
The temple of Edfu fell into disuse as a religious monument following Theodosius I’s edict banning non-Christian worship within the Roman Empire in 391. As elsewhere, many of the temple’s carved reliefs were razed by followers of the Christian faith which came to dominate Egypt. The blackened ceiling of the hypostyle hall, visible today, is believed to be the result of arson intended to destroy religious imagery that was then considered pagan.
Over the centuries, the temple became buried to a depth of 12 metres (39 ft) beneath drifting desert sand and layers of river silt deposited by the Nile. Local inhabitants built homes directly over the former temple grounds. Only the upper reaches of the temple pylons were visible by 1798, when the temple was identified by a French expedition. In 1860 Auguste Mariette, a French Egyptologist, began the work of freeing Edfu temple from the sands.
The Temple of Edfu is nearly intact and a very good example of an ancient Egyptian temple. The Temple of Edfu’s archaeological significance and high state of preservation has made it a centre for tourism in Egypt and a frequent stop for the many riverboats that cruise the Nile. In 2005, access to the temple was revamped with the addition of a visitor center and paved carpark. A sophisticated lighting system was added in late 2006 to allow night visits.
I am heading to the Red Sea tomorrow at 5 AM. It is a three and a half hour drive due west through the desert. Have a cab through Abdoul for 1000 pounds, about $87 USD. It works out to about $10.00 USD per hour for the cab. Will investigate further and keep you posted. Will be going to Hurghada to eat some fresh seafood and spend the night at a resort.
The city of Hurghada was founded in the early 20th century, and until a few years ago it was a small fishing village. But since the 1980s, it has been continually enlarged by Egyptian and foreign investors to become the leading coastal resort on the Red Sea. Holiday villages and hotels provide aquatic sport facilities for sailboarders, yachtsmen, scuba divers and snorkelers. Hurghada is known for its watersports activities, nightlife and warm weather. Daily temperature hovers round 30 °C (86 °F) most of the year. Numerous Europeans spend their Christmas and New Year holidays in the city, mainly Germans, Russians and Italians.
Hurghada stretches for about 36 kilometres (22 mi) along the seashore, and it does not reach far into the surrounding desert. The resort is a destination for Egyptian tourists from Cairo, the Delta and Upper Egypt, as well as package holiday tourists from Europe, notably Italians and Germans. Today Hurghada counts 248,000 inhabitants and is divided into three parts.