Just over a year ago our grandson Gabriel, aged 10 at the time, shared his dream with me. “When I grow up, Ouma (Grandma), I am going to take you to Egypt! “That’s cool, Gabriel. What will we do in Egypt?” ‘I’ll take you to the pyramids, we’ll find pharaoh’s tomb and we can get some of the treasure.” “Oh? Then what will we do with the treasure?” “We’ll go to Italy!” ‘Italy? I’d love to see Italy. What’s your plan for Italy?” “To buy a Ferrari and drive it all the way to Argentina, that’s what.” Gabriel is a Formula One racing fan and like his Oupa, he backs the Ferrari Team. “Wow Gabriel! I can’t wait!”
Well it turned out I couldn’t wait and am feeling a little bad about getting to Egypt before Gabriel.
This is by far the most famous Pyramid in Egypt, the biggest, tallest, and most intact. After its construction it became one of the “Seven Wonders Of The World”.
Built entirely of limestone, an architectural masterpiece. It contains around 1,300,000 blocks ranging in weight from 2.5 tons to 15 tons and is built on a square base with sides measuring about 230m (755ft), covering 13 acres! Its four sides face the four cardinal points precisely and it has an angle of 52 degrees. The original height of the Pyramid was 146.5m (488ft), but today it limestone covering, or casing stones, by the Ottoman Turks in the 15 Century A.D, to build houses and Mosques in Cairo.
Imagine breaking down the pyramid for building material!
The sheer immensity of the pyramids and building blocks can be realized only when you stand beside them. They fit so tight, you cannot slip a credit card between them. How were they built? There are various theories, much of it remains a secret.
From the main entrance of the Pyramid there is a long narrow corridor with low roof that descends for more than 100m (330ft), which takes you to a chamber, located about 24m (79ft) below ground level, which is an unfinished burial chamber with very little fresh air inside, and is inaccessible today.
Though we found no treasure in the tomb, Rod had this picture taken for Gabriel. “Keep dreaming Gabriel, it’s good to dream!”
NB Waiver. Please note that the antics of Rodney during this trip cannot be blamed on our gracious hosts, Ashraf and Josephine, as they were not with us on this particular day.
We were glad to get out into the open air.
Note the missing nose and missing beard of the Sphinx.
There is a story that the nose was shot off by Napoleon’s troops as an insult to Egypt. The added insult to injury when they built the Eiffel Tower higher than the pyramid which until that time was the highest edifice on earth. The beard is in a British museum today. Egypt has suffered many centuries of tyranny and insults under the rule of invader upon invader.
Loved watching the people. The women greeted us in very friendly manner when we politely approached them. They allowed Rod to interact with their children and lit up with huge smiles when he stooped down to say hello and touch their little hands.
There was one Mama in full burka riding a camel that was running very fast…she was laughing so much she almost fell off. Ah, I loved watching that and felt such a kindred spirit with a woman of another tribe, religion and culture, I bet we could be best friends if we had the chance!
This was an amazing performance. We sat on flat on the ground at the front, mesmerised. These Sufi Dancers, also known as the Whirling Dervishes twirled for 30 miuntes at a time, really fast, then stopped on a coin and walked off normal without dizziness.
While they spun they took off layers and layers of skirts, folded them up and handed them on to an assistant. The musicians with a variety of instruments we’ve never seen before, were fascinating to watch. You can watch it on YouTube ‘Ai-Tannoura Egyptian Heritage Dance.’
We could not skip seeing this famous city. It is still majestic and packed with history. Alexander the Great built this city, one of the most beautiful in the world.
Ever watched the movie ‘Alexander the Great’ starring Richard Burton? The story is an epic that is as daring and ambitious as the relentless conqueror who by the age of 32 had amassed the greatest empire the world had ever seen. Richard Burton cries as there are ‘No more world’s to conquer’. Funny, seeing he conquered Egypt in 332 BC.
Unless you were born in the 1950’s you may not have seen this movie ;o). I saw it in the small town of Chipinga, Rhodesia where I was born. We had big screen movies on Friday nights at the School Hall, as the town never had a movie house. It was the event of the week in those days and everyone came to the movies.
In 2004 Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie starred in ‘Alexander’. I have yet to see that one.
A major restoration project of the site of Pompey’s Pillar in Alexandria was recently completed It is now an impressive open museum Pompey’s Pillar itself stands at the top of a hill in the oldest part of the city of Alexandria.
THE GREAT LIBRARY OF ALEXANDRIA
The original Library of Alexandria was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. It was of course burned, thus resulting in the loss of many scrolls and books, it has become a symbol of “knowledge and culture destroyed.”
We visited the greatest modern library of the world. It is worth looking up on the internet.
Search for ‘Egyptian Alexandria library.’ The images are incredible; being there is person is overwhelming. The magnitude and scientific modernity of it is mind blowing. There is no other library even a fraction like it in any part of the world.
There is no end to discovering Egypt, it cannot be done in a life time. When we were in Europe we thought the buildings were ancient. One cannot begin to understand what ancient means until one has been to Egypt which comes third in the list of the 10 most ancient civilisations of the world.
We saw so little, really. However…much more to share in Part Three. Watch for it and continue to journey with us!