[Egypt] Ancient Cairo
I’ve always had a passion for the Egyptian Ancient civilization and one of my desires was to see with my own eyes, in real size and shape, the remnants of this civilization. Last year, just one month before the entire world would be facing this modern pandemic, I headed for a 2 weeks business trip to Cairo.
As I had to actually work from Sunday to Thursday, I only got two days off for actually visiting. Still, I enjoyed every bit of the entire trip, as the weather was warm and nice for mid February, the food was excellent and I was in a nice company.
To make sure that we get a clear picture about Cairo and its Ancient civilization, we booked a local guide to show us around. It was an excellent decision, as Moustafa (our guide) was a walking library in terms of Ancient Egyptian Civilization. He has graduated the Faculty of Archeology as a master Egyptologist, he is also doing a PhD, he is a member of the excavations Council in Egypt and involved in all major excavations going on now in Egypt.
Moustafa gave us an amazing 2 days Egyptian history lesson, he perfectly explained the Ancient civilization and he had detailed answers for all of our questions. For us it was a revelation to see all these amazing remnants in front of our eyes, some of them as old as 6000 years and to have our guide explaining everything to us.
We had 2 full days of visiting, starting of course with the pyramids and the Sphinx, visiting ancient tombs and going to The Egyptian Museum. The Museum was an amazing experience itself. It contains many important pieces of ancient Egyptian history and it houses the world’s largest collection of Pharaonic antiquities, including tombs, jewellery, furniture and even millennia old mummies.
The Museum will move by the end of this year in a new and extended building, right next to the Pyramids. The Grand Egyptian Museum will be considered the largest archaeological museum in the world. It will house artifacts of ancient Egypt, including the complete Tutankhamun collection. Many pieces will be displayed for the first time.
The Giza Pyramid Complex, also called the Giza Necropolis, is the site on the Giza Plateau in Greater Cairo, Egypt that includes the Great Pyramid of Giza, the Pyramid of Khafre, and the Pyramid of Menkaure, along with their associated pyramid complexes and the Great Sphinx of Giza. All were built during the Fourth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt. The site also includes several cemeteries and the remains of a workers village.
The site is at the edges of the Western Desert, approximately 9 kilometers west of the Nile River in the city of Giza, and about 13 kilometers southwest of the city center of Cairo.
The Great Pyramid and the Pyramid of Khafre are the largest pyramids built in ancient Egypt, and they have historically been common as emblems of Ancient Egypt in the Western imagination. They were popularized in Hellenistic times, when the Great Pyramid was listed by Antipater of Sidon as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It is by far the oldest of the Ancient Wonders and the only one still in existence.
Saqqara, also spelled Sakkara or Saccara in English, is a vast, ancient burial ground in Egypt, serving as the necropolis for the ancient Egyptian capital, Memphis. Saqqara contains numerous pyramids, including the world-famous Step pyramid of Djoser, sometimes referred to as the Step Tomb, and a number of mastaba tombs. Located some 30 km south of modern-day Cairo, Saqqara covers an area of around 7 by 1.5 km.
At Saqqara, the oldest complete stone building complex known in history was built, the Pyramid of Djoser, built during the Third Dynasty. Another sixteen Egyptian kings built pyramids at Saqqara, which are now in various states of preservation. High officials added private funeral monuments to this necropolis during the entire Pharaonic period. It remained an important complex for non-royal burials and cult ceremonies for more than 3,000 years, well into Ptolemaic and Roman times.
The stop at a Papyrus Institute was also something that we enjoyed and found to be a very interesting experience. We had the chance to see how papyrus turns into paper and then into beautiful pieces of art.
Our weekend had also a part dedicated to the “newer” part of Cairo – the citadel, the old town and its churches and the Alabaster Mosque.
It was a short time we had available to absorb everything and we wanted to see and learn more. It just opened or appetite for exploring more, for visiting Egypt again and for discovering more about what Egypt meant as an Ancient civilization.