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Egypt 2012

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Egypt 2012 - Page Text Content

S: EGYPT 2012

FC: EGYPT 2 0 1 2

1: ODYSSEY OF WONDERS: Ancient & Modern Egypt March 10-21, 2012 Carleton College Alumni Adventures Bonnie Wheaton

2: "I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars." | Walt Whitman | FF45 | Forty-five Carleton College alumni, parents and friends traveled to Egypt, a land as ancient as the Pyramids and as modern as the Arab Spring revolution. The group members were inquisitive and intelligent, friendly and flexible. As we traveled through urban grid-lock and rural fields, we got a sense of this land of extremes.

3: FACES OF EGYPT | Almost all women wore head covers in public. Who wears the short skirts displayed in the shop windows?

4: CAIRThe natural BEAUTY of southern Thailand was stunning. | Cairo has 17 million people and no stoplights. Travel by car is an adventure. Below is the Nile, seen from the Cairo Marriott. Top left is Al-Azhar Park, constructed on a centuries-old garbage heap in 1984, and funded by the Aga Khan Trust.

5: TAHRIR SQUARE | The focal point of the January 2011 Revolution, Tahrir Square was occupied by 300,000 people. The Egyptian Museum is the pink building, close to the burned hulk of the headquarters of former Pres. Mubarak's political party. | The Revolution was triggered by the death of a young man while in police custody. Facebook and Twitter were instrumental in mobilizing young protesters. The Islamic Brotherhood gained ground in the first parliamentary election, and the presidential election is scheduled for late May 2012. We had the feeling that we were seeing Tahrir Square in the calm between two storms.

6: PHANG NGA BAY, PHUKET | November 7 | The 3 pyramids at Giza, close to the Nile and the ancient capital of Memphis, were built about 2500 BCE by 4th dynasty kings Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure.

7: The Pyramids and the Sphinx are very close to the city. The best view of both is reported to be from the second floor of the Kentucky Fried Chicken building.

8: The Solar Boat was discovered after World War II in a pit next to the pyramid of Khafre or Cheops. It was used to carry the king's body in funeral rituals, and was probably pulled up a causeway to the tomb. | Model of the Cheops Boat in the Museum

9: Saqqara, above, is the first known major work made of stone rather than mud brick. It is believed to have been created by Imhotep in the 3rd Dynasty. It is a Step Pyramid, and was enlarged with limestone to make it rectangular. At right is the mortuary complex of Djoser, located in the courtyard adjacent to the Saqqara pyramid.

10: Colossus of Ramses II | Museum guards smiled cheerfully, then asked for baksheesh.

11: KRABI, SOUTH END | November 9 | Memphis was the capital of Egypt for several dynasties. Although it once had huge temples and statues, all that can be seen are ruins in the open-air museum at the small village of Mit Rahina. The rest of the once-great city lies under cultivated fields and silt from millenia of Nile floods.

12: WEST KRABI COAST | November 10 | In 1838 David Roberts, a Scottish painter, captured the sand-covered monuments of Egypt. Today his works provide a marvelous contrast to the unearthed treasures.

13: We spent the day with elephants! | The Temple of Edfu, dating to 237 BCE, is the best example of Egyptian temples. It was started in the reign of Ptolemy II and was dedicated to the gods Horus and Hathor. It was surrounded by a mud brick wall, but many of the bricks were used by local farmers for fertilizer.

14: Above is part of the massive Aswan High Dam, built between 1960 and 1976 to control annual flooding of the Nile. At right is a felucca, used on the Nile since antiquity. Below right is the Aswan courthouse, build to resemble an ancient temple.

15: "I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars." Walt Whitman | The obelisk developed a crack while being quarried and was abandoned. It still bears marks of the workers' tools. If finished, it would have been one of the largest works of its kind. It probably would have been slid on mud to the Nile for transport.

16: The Temple of Philae was originally built on an island at the First Cataract of the Nile. It was flooded for a half-century by the Aswan Low Dam. With the construction of the High Dam, it was dismantled, moved to another island and reconstructed as a UNESCO project. It is dedicated to Osiris.

17: ExquiANOTHER BEAUTIFUL SUNSET OFF KRABI POINT | November 11 | The temple was used as a Christian church, and many images of gods were defaced. | This intricate Christian cross was superimposed on the earlier hieroglyphs on an interior pillar. | Philae is dedicated to Isis, daughter of Geb and Nut (Earth and Sky), sister and wife of Osiris, and mother of Horus. | Exquisite high relief carvings are from the later periods of temple construction.

18: The Kiosk of Trajan at Philae was unfinished, and gives insight into the construction process. Rough blocks were used, then chiseled smooth. Next the artisans carved scenes and text in high or low relief, where the background is chiseled away to make the figures life-like. The figures were uniform height, with limbs the same size, so that many artisans could work on a project at the same time. In the lower right, restoration still continues. At lower left, Victorian tourists left their marks.

19: LONGTAIL BOATS OFF THE COAST OF MAYA BAY | November 13 | Sacred crocodiles once basked on the banks at a bend in the Nile at Kom Ombo. The temple was dedicated to the crocodile god Sobek and the goddess Hathor. Mummified crocodiles are on display at an adjacent museum. The existing Grego-Roman temple dates to 119 BCE.

20: Kom-Ombo is a fine example of late temple construction. The vivid colors are evident throughout. Top right shows vultures against the blue sky. The colors were made from ochre, carbon, silica and other materials. The relief at center left shows birthing stools and medical implements. The lower reliefs show Cleopatra II and Cleopatra III (left) and Ptolemy being blessed by Horus and Thoth (right).

21: The steam-powered SS MISR was built in 1907 and was the yacht of the father of King Farouk. It was elegant and comfortable, and the food was superb. The Maitre d' greeted everyone with hand sanitizer at every meal. | tHE | tHE

22: The Colossi of Memnon, twin statues of Ahmenhotep III. | The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut, Egypt's longest-reigning female.

25: SWALLOW CAVES BY MAYA BAY | November 14 | The Luxor temple dates to 1500 BCE. Ramses II is usually shown holding an object. In addition to symbolizing strength, this pose allowed the statue to be carved solidly, with less chance of losing a limb or a digit.

26: Ramses wears the double crown symbolizing the uniting of upper and lower Egypt.m | BA mos | Stones were used to build local houses and are being reassembled like giant jigsaw puzzles. | Work is being done to restore the original vibrant colors to the art work. | Ram | A mosque, at right, was built over the ruins of part of the temple. A

27: "I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey work of the stars." | Walt Whitman | A 1.7 mile "Avenue of Sphinxes" stretches from the Luxor Temple to the Temple of Karnak. 1650 of the original 3500 statues have been unearthed. The Avenue was used for the most important religious ceremonies.

28: The Karnak complex is the largest ancient religious site in the world. The most-visited part is dedicated to Amun-Re.

29: At left, Ramses II is depicted holding a crook and flail, symbols of authority. The small figure at his knee height is his wife, Nefertari. Below, a line of ram-headed sphinxes (symbol of the god Amun) leads to the temple complex entrance.

30: The Dandara Temple was dedicated to the goddess Hathor. The complex is surrounded by a mud brick wall. The interior colors are being restored to a spectacular brilliance. Residents of the temple left hundreds of years of smoke residue which is being painstakingly removed.

31: The central aisle shows "before and after" restoration. On the right is a calendar with the eye of Horus. The goddess Hathor is portrayed with ears of a cow on the capitals of the columns.

32: Right: The goddess Nut gives birth the the sun each day after swallowing it at night. Cleopatra VII and her son by Julius Caesar, Caesarion. Unrestored temple ceiling. Left: staircase used by priests to ascend to the roof, with figures of kings. Carved reliefs in the Birth House, or Mamisi, dedicated to Hathor, goddess of love, beauty and motherhood.

33: AMERICAN UNIVERSITY IN CAIRO | We visited the new campus in New Cairo, springing to life in the desert. Rob Oden is a Trustee of the University, whose original campus is in Tahrir Square.

34: Evidence of Islam was everywhere, but we saw very few people stopping at the call to prayer. Women were generally covered, but seemed to be cosmopolitan in Cairo.

35: Left, the Egyptian Museum in Cairo is home to a dizzying collection of mummies, statues and treasures from the tomb of "King Tut". Right, the mosque and citadel of Muhammad Ali are visible from almost everywhere in Cairo.

36: Hot air balloon rising over the Valley of the Kings at dawn. | Connected houses along a canal on the west side of the Nile. | Children waiting to cross the Nile to get to school on the other bank. | Fisherman using a net to harvest Nile fish. | T H E N I L E

37: The Nile has always been the life-blood of Egypt. The ancients knew that it flooded every year on June 19, but they didn't know why. When they smelled lotus blossoms, they knew the flood was imminent. If the flood didn't arrive, the gods must have been angry with them or with the Pharaoh.

38: At 6 PM, the call to prayer came from every minaret in a cacophony along the river. | Smoke from burning sugar cane fields made a dawn haze. | Every village has a school, thanks to Pres. Nasser, and they all look alike. | Sunset shadows the feluccas at Luxor.

39: Hawkers were everywhere, and extra-aggressive since tourism was down 30%.

40: Reminders of the January 25 Revolution were visible throughout Egypt, but especially in Cairo.

41: Everything in Egypt looked to be under construction for three reasons: (1) a father will add another floor for his son's family when he marries, (2) people build a little more when they have the money, and (3) the house isn't taxed until it is completed. | New Cairo, rising out in the desert, has block after block of elegant new houses. Water is pumped 30 miles from the Nile. The colorful house above sits right on the river.

42: Michael, our guide, knew EVERYTHING! | At the temple of Queen Hatshepsut. | Rob Oden, (Harvard PhD and retired Carleton President) lectured while we floated down the Nile. | Check: hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, camera, Whisper headset, check. | C A R L E T O N I N E G Y P T

43: Richard and Sidney Wolff with American University students at lunch. | Briefing before tackling the pyramids at Giza. | Nancy Neumeister P '12 and Alison Wechsler '11 resting at the Solar Boat Museum | And yes, we were very well protected!

44: "The religion of one age is the literary entertainment of the next." Ralph Waldo Emerson

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