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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
October 1, 2004
The ancient Egyptians created a civilisation that lasted for over 3,000 years. It has been calculated that during this period more than half a billion people existed on Egypt's soil.
The Egyptians developed a remarkable knowledge of astronomy, engineering, mathematics, and medicine, and had an organised taxation and legal system with a police force and courts.
Women had more legal rights than those in some countries today. They wore fine clothing and used a wide range of cosmetics and beauty products.
Tutankhamun and Ramses the Great were just two of 170 or more known pharaohs of Egypt. Pepi II was the longest reigning king in recorded history. He ruled for 94 years and lived to the age of 97!
We owe our calendar of 365 days to the ancient Egyptians. They were the first to divide the day and night into 24 hours and to use clocks.
The ancient Egyptians were truly amazing, which is why I found their history to be fascinating.
Ancient Egyptian history is conventionally divided into three main periods known as the Old Kingdom (c. 2613-2160 BC), Middle Kingdom (c. 2040-1750 C), and New Kingdom (c. 1550-1086 BC). During these epochs, the centralised power of the pharaohs was at its height, but between them came times of royal weakness, civil strife, and foreign invasions called Intermediate Periods. Later, Egyptian history was characterised by further foreign invasions by the Libyans, Assyrians, Nubians, Persians, and Greeks, whose kings often themselves became pharaohs. With the death of Cleopatra in 30 BC and the absorption of Egypt into the Roman Empire, the era of the pharaoh finally ended.
In the 3rd century BC an Egyptian priest called Manetho wrote a history of Egypt, dividing the list of kings into 30 dynasties or family lines. Scholars today use Manetho's subdivisions, sometimes adding a 31st dynasty at the end.
An itinerary for a day tour in Cairo should begin at the Egyptian Museum, which houses the largest collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts, including the famed gold mask of the boy king, Tutankhamun. You should not rush through this; you need to spend at least 4 hours there to go through some of the more momentous and monumental pieces. Then take a visit in the afternoon to the Khan al-Khalili bazaar for some lunch and shopping. In the evening book yourself on a sound and light show at the Sphinx. Read my separate entry on this spectacle for more info.
From journal Phascinating Pharoahs
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
November 19, 2000
On the first day we went to the Egyptian Museum in the morning, and then to a papyrus shop. In the afternoon, to the great pyramids, and later to a perfume shop.
One the next day, we went to Memphis and Saqqara, then to a carpet factory. In the afternoon, we visit the Citadel, Mohamed Ali's mosque and the famous Khan el-Khalili bazaar.
From journal Cairo, starting point to a travel in history