Favourite Places, 7: Temples and Tombs of Egypt

I have Harrison Ford’s Indiana Jones and Liz Taylor’s Cleopatra to thank for my fascination with Egypt. One for adventure through science, and the other for the BC period antics of Egyptian royals.

As I grew older, I turned to NatGeo for facts. Then I realised that Indy was in Petra, not Egypt. !!! Anyhow, one thing led to another and we ended up travelling to Egypt when I got even older.

It took my breath away.  If ancient ruins can ever be considered spectacular, this place would be it. They are so old, yet so incredibly majestic. They are all the colour of sand, but their tales are multi-faceted and awe-inspiring. They are huge structures, but were constructed with such care and attention to the smallest details.

Pharaonic Egypt, though rife with rivalry and war, was an amazing civilisation of mighty rulers, capable administrators and skilled crafters. Their army could have been built better, but the incursion of the Nubians, Assyrians, and Persians proved too much to handle in their decline.

Post 96. Egypt 1

The second Pyramid in Giza, with a guy strolling past. This is also the one visitors can shuffle along a claustrophobic tunnel that leads to a royal (empty) tomb. Contents are in Cairo Museum. Limited number of tickets per day.

Post 96. Egypt 2

The magnificent Abu Simbel built by the mightiest of the Pharaohs, Ramses II. All four figures adorning the facade are of him. Narcissism. A short flight from Aswan will get you there.

Post 96. Egypt 3

The Great Hypostyle Hall at Karnak Temple, past the second pylon. A temple of the Pharaohs, it has 134 massive columns, each 15 metres high, except the centre 12 which are 21 metres; It takes about 6 adults to form a ring round a column’s girth. These columns were all brightly painted in their prime with natural dyes, and had large statues of Pharaohs between the columns that were either meant to look forbidding or impress the robes off the priests or royal retinue.