Cairo Journals

Pyramids, Popes and Parallel Worlds

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A November 2007 trip to Cairo by Liam Hetherington

Giza Pyramids and The Sphinx Photo, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt More Photos
Quote: Some of Cairo's most intriguing sights are out on its fringes. Fields of pyramids stretch along the edge of the desert from Giza. South of the centre lies the religious 'Coptic Cairo' in the old Roman fort. In Cairo the ancient and the modern coexist in parallel.

Giza Pyramids and The Sphinx

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Attraction | "The Great Pyramids of Giza - Sleeping with the Pharoahs"

Giza Pyramids and The Sphinx Photo, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Quote:
"From the summit of these monuments, forty centuries look upon you!" stated Napoleon. Two centuries ago. The Great Pyramids of Giza defy age. They stand unbowed, piercing the skies, axes around which the rest of human history revolves. These were already ancient mysteries when Herodotus named them among the Seven Wonders of the World in the fifth century BC. Indeed, the Pyramids of Giza were already as ancient to Herodotus as the Colisseum in Rome is to us today.‘Awe-inspiring’ is too banal a word to describe these monsters. It seems silly, but I just did not expect the Pyramids to be as big as they actually are! The smallest of the three (that of Menkaure / Mycerinus) is the size that I p...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 5, 2008

Giza Pyramids and The Sphinx
Giza Plateau
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

Giza Pyramids and The Sphinx

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Attraction | "The Riddle of the Sphinx"

Giza Pyramids and The Sphinx Photo, Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Quote:
And so. Abu Hol. The Father of Terror. The Sphinx. Included in the same LE50 ticket for the Pyramids, this mysterious apparition is part of the funerary complex of the Pharoah Khafre. Its exact provenance is still the subject of fierce conjecture and debate. What is not in question though is the almost hypnotic attraction it exerts. In many ways it is quite rough and eroded, its later head disjointed from the rock that makes up its body. Yet this does not detract from its appeal.To gain audience with the mysterious sphinx you navigate through Khafre...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 5, 2008

Giza Pyramids and The Sphinx
Giza Plateau
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

Egyptian Museum

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Attraction | "The Museum of Egyptian Antiquities - Ancient History"

Egyptian Museum Photo, Cairo, Egypt
Quote:
Egypt and its incredible history deserves better than the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities in Cairo. This Museum has been the repository for many of the relics of the Pharoanic period for 150 years now, and its treasures are legion: statues and sphinxes, murals and mummies, ornaments both religious and practical in nature, and of course the treasures of King Tutankhamun. Yet, maybe do to the sheer bulk of its collection (some 136,000 pieces), it does not seem to have been extensively reorganised since the 1920s. Exhibits are crammed in, poorly labelled, many open to be pawed by every passing visitor. In general it is a crowded, poorly-labelled jumble of relics, with only some pretence at order. T...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 5, 2008

Egyptian Museum
Tahrir Square
Cairo, Egypt
+20 (2) 579 6974

Hilton Nile

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Attraction | "Nile Hilton - Perfect for a Sundowner!"

Hilton Nile Photo, Cairo, Egypt
Quote:
I never thought I’d be reviewing a Hilton hotel. By nature one of life’s budget travellers, this is the sort of place I never usually step inside. However, I was recommended the Nile Hilton for one special reason, and I will recommend it to you for that self-same reason. The Nile Hilton’s rooftop bar (called, I think, ‘El Mojito’ – very Egyptian!) has one of the views in Cairo. This is the place to come for a sundowner. It is open from noon until 2.30, but you really want to time your visit for dusk. Sat with a drink, watching the sun blazingly sink down across the mighty Nile and behind the skyscrapers, all conversation dies. Thirty-six hours previously I had been in the wilderness...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 5, 2008

Hilton Nile
TAHRIR SQUARE
Cairo, Egypt
2025780444

Coptic Cairo Sights & Attractions

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Attraction | "Coptic Cairo - History and Faith"

Coptic Cairo Sights & Attractions Photo, Cairo, Egypt
Quote:
One interesting half-day in Cairo can be taken up by a visit south of the modern core of the city to ‘Coptic Cairo’. Here, sequestered inside the walls of the old Roman fort is a remarkable huddle of religious establishments. Almost ghetto-like, this is the heart of the Coptic Christian faith. The Bible was translated into Coptic a century before it was translated to Latin, and the early primates of Egypt rejected the version of the life of Christ and his teachings that was put forward by the early Catholic church. Likewise it kept its distance from the Byzantine, Greek and Russian Orthodox churches. Even after the Islamic conquest the Copts preserved their faith and identity, and even to...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 5, 2008

Coptic Cairo Sights & Attractions
Throughout Old Cairo
Cairo, Egypt

Coptic Museum

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Attraction | "The Coptic Museum - Egyptian Christianity and Egyptian Christians"

Coptic Museum Photo, Cairo, Egypt
Quote:
Another day, another museum to put the Egyptian Museum to shame. For the last century this institution has sought to preserve the relics of both Egyptian Christianity and Egyptian Christians. This hence means that domestic utensils and childrens’ games share space with Gnostic gospel scrolls and monastic murals. And the museum in no way suffers from it. In many ways, it takes up the story told in the later rooms of Aswan’s Nubian Museum and continues up into the second...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 5, 2008

Coptic Museum
Mar Girgis Street
Cairo, Egypt
+20 2 362 8766

Step Pyramid of Saqqara

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Attraction | "Saqqara, and the First Pyramid"

Step Pyramid of Saqqara Photo, Cairo, Egypt
Quote:
This is where it begins. Saqqara is a place of death, yes, but also of birth. The birth of architecture, of pyramids, and of the timeless legends that have entranced for millenia.The pyramids of Giza are world famous, but I wanted to see where the story began, and see the first prototypes of these awe-inspiring tombs. For that you have to head south of Giza on the west bank of the Nile, where the desert still abuts Cairo and its outlying villages. Courtesy of George, the concierge at my hotel, I arranged a taxi for eight the next morning. For LE180 I would be transported to Saqqara, Dahshur, and Memphis. A cooling breeze ruffled the tree tops as I stepped out to meet my ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 5, 2008

Step Pyramid of Saqqara
North Saqqara
Cairo, Egypt
No phone available

Dahshur Pyramids

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Attraction | "Dahshur - Red Pyramid, Bent Pyramid"

Dahshur Pyramids Photo, Cairo, Egypt
Quote:
Constructed later than Zoser’s step pyramid at Saqqara, but earlier than those at Giza, Dahshur’s history reveals the adjustments that were made to refine the art of pyramid construction. The two most iconic pyramids here, the ‘Bent Pyramid’ and ‘Red Pyramid’, were built for the same pharoah, Snefru, father of the more famous Khufu (Cheops). In fact - according to the theory of Kurt Mendelssohn - these two were actually versions 2.0 and 3.0 along the learning curve. The argument is that the first attempt at a tomb for Snefru occurred much further south at Meidum – the...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 5, 2008

Dahshur Pyramids
Dahashur Pyramid Field
Cairo, Egypt

Memphis

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Attraction | "Memphis - the King is Dead"

Memphis Photo, Cairo, Egypt
Quote:
Predating Thebes / Luxor, Memphis was capital of Lower Egypt, and once was situated at the very apex of the Nile delta. Yet Memphis is no Luxor. Nothing remains of this, the world’s first imperial city. Its glories have been buried beneath century after century of Nile sediment. Some tresures have been unearthed and carted off to museums. Some statues remain in situ in the fenced off and tree-shaded area that comprises the ‘archaeological site’. For LE30 the trip is not worth it.Memphis is located in the village of Mit-Rahina, on the Nile side of the irrigation canal...Read More

Member Rating 1 out of 5 on October 5, 2008

Memphis
24 kilometres south of Cairo
Cairo, Egypt
No phone available