Crystalline Rainbow

Archive for the ‘Egypt’ Category

Thursday, September 29, 2016 Review of a Gratitude Journey through Egypt along the Nile.

Thursday, September 29 – Review of a Gratitude Journey through Egypt along the Nile


We were all called at 3 a.m. this morning with a breakfast package to travel in a convoy of busses to Abu Simbel Temple.


Abu Simbel Temple

Location: Shores of Lake Nasser 280 km south of Aswan

Above is a link presentation of the Temple.

While the pyramids of Giza are perhaps the most recognizable artifacts of the ancient Egyptian world, following closely behind are the Abu Simbel temples in Southern Egypt, commissioned over 3,000 years ago by Pharaoh Ramses II.


The Temples at Abu Simbel are located in Southern Egypt, at the second cataract of the Nile, close to the Sudanese border. Ramses II chose the site because it was already sacred to Hathor, goddess of motherhood, joy and love. This act strengthened his divinity in the eyes of the ancient Egyptians. It encouraged them to believe that he, too, was a god.



The history of the Abu Simbel temples begins with the twenty-year effort to build these impressive structures, along with four other rock temples built in Nubia during the reign of Ramses II. The construction of Abu Simbel started around 1244 BC and was finished around 1224 BC.

Many scholars believe that the two temples of Abu Simbel were an act of ego, pride and love on the side of Ramses II. He ordered these temples built to:

  • Commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh. To represent the battle, the base of the temple was carved with figures of bound captives.
  • Intimidate Egypt’s neighbors, the Nubians. It was Ramses’ way of trying to make an impression upon Egypt’s neighbors, as well as to force Egypt’s religion upon these neighbors.
  • Honor Nefertari: The Small Temple is a monument to his most beloved queen (out of his many wives), Nefretari. It is also dedicated to the ancient Egyptian goddess Hathor.
  • Honor himself: The Great Temple Ramses had built to honor himself, dedicating it to the god Re-Horakhty.

The Great Temple

In ancient times, the Great Temple was known as “The Temple of Ramesses-Meryamun,” which means Ramses, beloved by Amun. It stands 30m (98ft) tall and 35 (115ft) long. The facade of this structure, the Great Temple of Abu Simbel, is 35 meters (115 feet) long and a full 30 meters (98 feet) high.


The entrance to the large temple of Abu Simbel is crowned by a carving of Ramses worshiping the falcon-headed god Re-Horakhty, usually referred to simply as Ra. Flanking the entrance are four seated colossal figures, each a towering 20 meters (65 feet) tall. Each of these large figures is a depiction of Ramses II, seated on his thrown, wearing his double crown. Around the figure’s knees there are small carvings of some of his wives and children. Beneath the colossi there are smaller figures that depict Ramses II and his conquered enemies including the Libyans, the Nubians and the Hittites. There are other statues that represent Ramses II’s family members as well as gods of protection.

Inside, the temple has a triangular layout, with rooms decreasing in size as one progresses into the temple; the rooms are filled with engravings of Ramses II and his beloved wife, Nefertari, paying homage to the gods.



The interior begins with an atrium consisting of eight pillars. One these pillars, Ramses II is depicted in disguise as the god Osiris. Hieroglyphs and images in this atrium depict in grand detail the king’s victory at the Battle of Kadesh.


abu-simbel-small-temple-reliefBeyond the first atrium, a second atrium opens with four pillars decorated with images showing Ramses II embracing various gods. Beyond the second atrium is the inner sanctuary where statues of Ra, Amun, Ptah and Ramses II are all seated.


The Great Temple was constructed keeping in mind the position of the sun on February 22 and October 22. On these days, sunlight penetrates 55 meters (180 feet) into the inner sanctuary to illuminate the statues along the back wall. Only Ptah, the god of the Underworld, remains in darkness all year round. Why those specific dates were chosen remains a mystery and some believe they might represent Ramses II’s birthday or his coronation.

The Small Temple

The Small Temple, built for Queen Nefertari, marks the second time a ruler dedicated a temple to his wife (the first was built by Akenaten for Nefertiti). It was also the first time that the statue of the wife, Nefertari in this case, was carved the same size as the image of the Pharaoh himself, which is significant in revealing how Ramses II felt about his beloved queen. Usually, the wives’ statues never measured higher than the Pharaoh’s knees, but Nefertari’s statues was a full 10 meters (32 feet) high.

Nefertari’s temple is also aligned to the east. It is about 28 meters (92 feet) long by 12 meters (40 feet) high. The entrance is marked by six colossal figures. There are four figures of Ramses himself and two of Queen Nefertari. Along with the six colossi stand smaller statues that present Ramses’ and Nefertari’s children.

Just inside the entrance sits a large hall, supported by six pillars, each carved with the head of Hathor, as well as scenes showing the King and Queen making offerings to various other Egyptian gods. On the inner room’s back wall, reliefs show Nefertari being crowned by Isis and Hathor.

The interior of the Small Temple is not as complex as the Great Temple. At the end of the large hall there is a doorway, leading to another room decorated with scenes of Ramses II and Nefertari with various gods. Further rooms illustrate similar Egyptian scenes.

Discovery of Abu Simbel


Over time, the temples stopped being used, eventually becoming covered by the dessert sand. By the 6th century BC, the Great Temple was already covered in sand up to the knees of the statues, and both temples were eventually forgotten until rediscovered in the early nineteenth century.


Abu Simbel was reportedly rediscovered in 1813 by a Swiss scholar, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. History says that, as he was preparing to leave the area of Lake Nasser, by traveling down the Nile, Burckhardt came over the mountain and saw the front of the great temple, the rest of it having been buried in the sand up to the necks of the giant colossi. Burckhardt told his friend (Italian explorer Giovanni Belzoni) about the discovery, and Belzoni joined him at the site to help with the preliminary excavation. Despite all of their effort, the two were unable to dig out the entrance of the temple at that time.

Belzoni returned in 1817, with the English explorer and Egyptologist William John Bankes, and was able to reveal the entrance and to enter the base of the monument, taking every small item of value with him when he left.

Abu Simbel, however, was not the name given to the site during antiquity. Many believe that Abu Simbel was the name of a young local boy who had seen the buried temples through the shifting sands and guided Burckhardt to the site. Four years later, Belzoni excavated the area and named it after the boy who led Burckhardt. Unfortunately, whatever the ancient Egyptians named the complex has now been lost.


Relocation – A Massive Undertaking

Abu Simbel was originally constructed just 280 km outside Aswan, on the western bank of Lake Nasser. In the 1960s, the Egyptian government decided to build the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River, and it was feared that this would result in flooding Lake Nasser to such levels that the temples of Abu Simbel would be submerged.


From 1964-1968, UNESCO set forth an initiative to move both the Great Temple and the Small Temple to a plateau on the cliffs. The temples were dismantled, moved 60 meters up the sandstone cliff that they originally stood on and were then reassembled. Great efforts were made to reconstruct the two temples in the exact, original orientation they had held to each other and the sun. They were even built into a man-made mountain to give the original impression of being cut into a rock cliff.

Sun Festival

The Sun Festival is a biannual celebration that still takes place in Egypt today. It marks the highlight of the tourist season in Aswan. On February 22nd and October 22nd, when the sun illuminates the back wall, the statues there are washed in sunlight. Although the Great Temple is also dedicated to Ptah, god of the Underworld, Ptah remains appropriately hidden from the sun. The modern-day Sun Festival begins right before sunrise. Musicians and dancers are gathered to celebrate not just Ramses II and Nefertari, but of the remarkable technological and astronomical prowess exhibited by the ancient Egyptians.

The Abu Simbel Temples Today

Near the re-erected temples now stands a man-made dome, which houses an exhibit of photographs, detailing the entire relocation. Now one of Egypt’s most visited tourist attractions (complete with a sound and light show), this pair of temples have come to be called part of what is called the ‘Nubian Monuments’.

Thousands of tourists visit these temples daily, arriving by plane via a field constructed near the temples, and by guarded convoys that depart twice daily from the nearest city of Aswan.


Abu Simbel Small Temple


Abu Simbel is the location of two rock cut temples that Ramses II built in Nubia. The Great Temple was dedicated to Ramses II and several national gods. Images of Queen Nefertari and several of the royal children are on the temple. Scholars moved both temples, during the 1960s, to save them from flooding caused by the Aswan Dam.

Ramses II dedicated the Small Temple to Nefertari and the goddess Hathor. Two colossal statues of the queen and four of Ramses II were carved on the front of the temple. Smaller statues of the royal children are beside the colossal statues. Inside the temple is a large Hypostyle hall.

The Hypostyle columns have tops carved in the shape of Hathor’s head. Two small vestibules were on either side of the main hall on the end by the sanctuary. The sanctuary was opposite the front entrance of the temple. All the carvings in the sanctuary were completed. Scholars found two areas on the wall for doorways to other chambers that were not carved.

Abu Simbel’s construction began in the twenty-fourth year of Ramses II’s reign. Nefertari appears in the images depicting the beginning of the temples’ construction. Later images show her daughter Meritamen in her place. Scholars believe that this shows the queen was in ill health at this time. She likely died not long after the Abu Simbel’s construction began.

Temple of Nefertari at Abu Simbel

  • The small temple at Abu Simbel was dedicated to Nefertari and Hathor of Ibshek. The dedication text on one of the buttresses states:
  • ‘’ A temple of great and Mighty monuments, for the Great Royal Wife Nefertari Meryetmut, for whose sake the (very) sun does shine, given life and beloved;’’ (Kitchen)
  • While on other buttresses it says:
  • ‘’ King of South and North Egypt, Usermaatre Setepenre; – he has made a Temple by excavation in the mountain, of eternal work(manship) in Nubia, which the King of South and North Egypt, Usermaatre Setepenre has made for the Great Royal Wife Nefertari Meryetmut, in Nubia, like Re forever and ever.’’ (Kitchen)
  • The two colossal standing statues of Nefertari in front of the small temple are equal in size to those of Ramesses II. Nefertari is shown holding a sistrum. She wears a long sheet dress and she is depicted with a long wig, Hathoric cow horns, the solar disk and tall feathers mounted on a modius.
  • In the interior of the temple, Nefertari appears in a variety of scenes. She is shown for instance offering to a cow (Hathor) in a papyrus thicket, offering before Khnum, Satis and Anuket, the triad of Elephantine, and offering to Mut and Hathor.


Queen Nefertari Facts

  • Nefertari was the first queen of Pharaoh Ramses II.
  • She died in the twenty-fourth year of his reign.
  • Her tomb is the most beautiful found in the Valley of the Queens.
  • Scholars found love poetry written by the king for his dead queen in Nefertari’s tomb.
  • Ramses II dedicated the Small Temple at Abu Simbel to Nefertari and Hathor.




Period: New Kingdom / 19th Dynasty

Died: ca. 1256 BC

Spouse: Ramses II

Offspring: Amun-her-khepeshef Pareherwenemef Meryatum Meryre Meritamen Henuttawy

    • Nefertari, also known as Nefertari Meritmut, was an Egyptian queen and the first of the Great Royal Wives (or principal wives) of Ramesses the Great. Nefertari means ‘beautiful companion’ and Meritmut means ‘Beloved of [the goddess] Mut’. She is one of the best known Egyptian queens, next to Cleopatra, Nefertiti and Hatshepsut. She was highly educated and able to both read and write hieroglyphs, a very rare skill at the time. She used these skills in her diplomatic work, corresponding with other prominent royalties of the time. Her lavishly decorated tomb, QV66, is one of the largest and most spectacular in the Valley of the Queens. Ramesses also constructed a temple for her at Abu Simbel next to his colossal monument there.
    • Nefertari held many different titles, including: Great of Praises (wrt-hzwt), Sweet of Love (bnrt-mrwt), Lady of Grace (nbt-im3t), Great King’s Wife (hmt-niswt-wrt), Great King’s Wife, his beloved (hmt-niswt-wrt meryt.f), Lady of The Two Lands (nbt-t3wy), Lady of all Lands (hnwt-t3w-nbw), Wife of the Strong Bull (hmt-k3-nxt), god’s Wife (hmt-ntr), Mistress of Upper and Lower Egypt (hnwt-Shm’w-mhw). Ramesses II also named her ‘The one for whom the sun shines’.
    • Family 
    • Although Nefertari’s family background is unknown, the discovery from her tomb of a knob inscribed with the cartouche of PharaohAy has led people to speculate she was related to him. The time between the reign of Ay and Ramesses II means that Nefertari could not be a daughter of Ay and if any relation exists at all, she would be a great-granddaughter. There is no conclusive evidence linking Nefertari to the royal family of the 18th dynasty however. Nefertari married Ramesses II before he ascended the throne. Nefertari had at least four sons and two daughters. Amun-her-khepeshef, the eldest was Crown Prince and Commander of the Troops, and Pareherwenemef would later serve in Ramesses II’s army. Prince Meryatum was elevated to the position of High Priest of Re in Heliopolis. Inscriptions mention he was a son of Nefertari. Prince Meryre is a fourth son mentioned on the façade of the small temple at Abu Simbel and is thought to be another son of Nefertari. Meritamen and Henuttawy are two royal daughters depicted on the façade of the small temple at Abu Simbel and are thought to be daughters of Nefertari.
    • Princesses named Bak(et)mut, Nefertari, and Nebettawy are sometimes suggested as further daughters of Nefertari based on their presence in Abu Simbel, but there is no concrete evidence for this supposed family relation.
    • Biography
    •  220px-nefertariofferingtohathor
    • Nefertari depicted offering sistrums to Hathor in her smaller temple of Abu Simbel.
    • Nefertari first appears as the wife of Ramesses II in official scenes during the first year of Ramesses II. In the tomb of Nebwenenef, Nefertari is depicted behind her husband as he elevates Nebwenenef to the position of High Piests of Amun during a visit to Abydos. Nefertari also appears in a scene next to a year 1 stela. She is depicted shaking two sistra before Taweret, Thoth and Nut.
    • Nefertari is an important presence in the scenes from Luxor and Karnak. In a scene from Luxor, Nefertari appears leading the royal children. Another scene shows Nefertari at the Festival of the Mast of Amun-Min-Kamephis. The king and the queen are said to worship in the new temple and are shown overseeing the Erection of the Mast before Amen-Re attended by standard bearers. Nefertari’s speech during this ceremony is recorded:
    • “Your beloved son, the Lord of Both Lands, Usermaatre Setepenre, has come to see you in your beautiful manifestation. He has erected for you the mast of the (pavilion)-framework. May you grant him eternity as King, and victory over those rebellious (against) His Majesty, L.P.H.”’’
    • Nefertari appears as Ramesses II’s consort on many statues in both Luxor and Karnak. In Western Thebes, Nefertari is mentioned on a statuary group from Deir el-BAhari, a stela and blocks from Deir el-Medina
    • The greatest honor was bestowed on Nefertari however in Abu Simbel. Nefertari is depicted in statue form at the great temple, but the small temple is dedicated to Nefertari and the goddess Hathor. The building project was started earlier in the reign of Ramesses II, and seems to have been inaugurated by ca year 25 of his reign (but not completed until ten years later).
    • Nefertari’s prominence at court is further supported by cuneiform tablets from the Hittite city of Hattusas (today Boghazkoy, Turkey), containing Nefertari’s correspondence with the king Hattusili III and his wife Puduhepa. She is mentioned in the letters as Naptera. Nefertari is known to have sent gifts to Puduhepa:
    • The great Queen Naptera of the land of Egypt speaks thus: Speak to my sister Puduhepa, the Great Queen of the Hatti land. I, your sister, (also) be well!! May your country be well. Now, I have learned that you, my sister, have written to me asking after my health. … You have written to me because of the good friendship and brotherly relationship between your brother, the king of Egypt, The Great and the Storm god will bring about peace, and he will make the brotherly relationship between the Egyptian king, the Great King, and his brother, the Hatti King, the Great King, last forever… See, I have sent you a gift, in order to greet you, my sister… for your neck (a necklace) of pure gold, composed of 12 bands and weighing 88 shekels, colored linen maklalu-material, for one royal dress for the king… A total of 12 linen garments.
    • Nefertari is shown at the inaugural festivities at Abu Simbel in year 24. Her daughter Meritamen is depicted taking part in place of her mother in some of the scenes. Nefertari may well have been in failing health at this point. After her death she was buried in tomb QV66 in the Valley of the Queens. Abu Simbel, great temple
  • Nefertari beside a colossus of Ramesses II
  •  100px-abu-simbel_temple2
  • Nefertari appears twice as one of the royal women represented beside the colossal statues of Ramesses II that stand before the temple. To the left of the doorway, Nefertari, Queen-Mother Tuya and the king’s son Amun-her-khepeshef (still called Amunhirwenemef here) flank the colossal statue of the king. To the right of the doorway Nefertari, Baketmut and the king’s son Ramesses are shown with thePharaoh.
  • Inside the temple Nefertari is depicted on one of the pillars in the great pillared hall worshipping Hathor of Ibshek.
  • On the wall of the inner pillared hall Nefertari appears behind Ramesses II. They stand before the Braque of Amun, and Nefertari is shown playing the sistra. Elsewhere Nefertari and Ramesses II are shown before a Braque dedicated to a deified Ramesses II. Nefertari is shown twice accompanying her husband in Triumph scenes.
  • Tomb 66 in the Valley of the Queens
  • 220px-ankh_isis_nefertari
  • Goddess Hathor giving an Ankh to Nefertari
  • The tomb of Nefertari, QV 66 is one of the largest in the Valley of the Queens. It is 520 square meters, and covered with pictures of Nefertari. Her husband the pharaoh is not represented in any of the pictures. Nefertari can be seen wearing Greek silver earrings in one of the portraits (see picture). These would have been sent to her as a gift for diplomatic reasons. The tomb was robbed in antiquity. In 1904 it was rediscovered and excavated by Ernesto Schiaparelli. Several items from the tomb, including parts of gold bracelets, shabti figures and a small piece of an earring or pendant are now in the Boston Musuem of Fine Arts. Additional shabti figures are in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo

·         Who was Nefertari?

Her name, Nefertari Merytmut (meaning The Beautiful Companion, Beloved of Mut), embodied the majesty and stature of queen Nefertari. At the young age of 13 she married the 15 year old Ramses II, who would come to be famously known as Ramses the Great.

Nefertari was likely a noblewoman but not a member of the royal family. She uses the titles associated with a noblewoman but no titles calling herself a king’s daughters. Records say that Ramses II and Nefertari were married before he ascended the throne. Official records mention her from the first year of his reign.



Ramses II ruled Egypt for sixty-seven years and had seven different queens. The first of these was Queen Nefertari. Ramses II lived for over ninety years and fathered at least forty daughters and forty-five sons. Nefertari was the mother of at least four sons and two daughters.


  • Artifacts help identify the mothers of some of Ramses II’s children. However, most of the time, scholars had to make assumptions about a child’s mother based on where his/her images have been found. The four princes believed to be Nefertari’s sons were Amun-her-khepeshef, Pareherwenemef, Meryatum and Meryre. Two princesses identified by scholars as Nefertari’s daughters were Meritamen and Henwttawy. Some scholars speculate that she may have had other children, but no evidence has proved this.


·         Ramses II and Nefertari

Karnak Temple Complex - Luxor

  • © Walwyn – Statue of Ramses II and Nefertari


  • Nefertari was Ramses II’s wife for over 24 years. What was probably a politically inspired union would, over time, blossom into an amorous relationship wherein Ramses II celebrated his love for her with monuments and poetry dedicated to her honor. The many titles ascribed to her attest to the esteem Ramses held for her and the various roles she undertook in her function as queen. Designations such as Sweet of Love, Bride of God and Lady of the Two Lands, demonstrate her positions as lover, priestess and political functionary. She is known to have even accompanied Ramses, in some cases, on military campaigns.
  • Egyptologists have found statues and images of Nefertari throughout Egypt. At Luxor, statues of the queen are at the foot of giant statues of Ramses II. Other images show her leading the royal children in rituals or during festivals. Images also show Nefertari with her husband honoring the gods or commemorating events.
  • Scholars have found more evidence of Queen Nefertari’s importance in the capital city of the Hittites. Early in his reign, Ramses II was at war with the Hittites but a peace treaty was established during his reign. After they made peace, Nefertari wrote letters to the king and queen of the Hittites. She also sent gifts to the queen, including a gold necklace.


·         Nefertari’s Tomb


  • © Lucas – Depiction of Nefertari (left) on the wall of her tomb, with goddess Hathor


  • Ramses II built a beautiful tomb for his wife in the Valley of the Queens near Thebes. It is now known as QV66 and is the largest and most beautiful tomb in the valley. Thieves stole all the queen’s grave goods in antiquity, including her sarcophagus and her mummy. Egyptologists only found fragments of Nefertari’s body and a few grave goods in the tomb.
  • Nefertari’s tomb is known for the beautiful and well preserved wall paintings. Some of them depict the crown of Queen Nefertari. Often, she wears a crown associated with different goddesses like Isis and Hathor. In her tomb, the wall paintings show the queen honoring the gods and goddesses who would help her on her journey in the afterlife.
  • The ceiling of the tomb is blue and has stars painted over the ceiling. Most of the wall paintings were well preserved and Egyptologists have worked to restore and protect them. Today, The Egyptian government controls and limits visitors to the cave. Hieroglyphics cover the walls and many are passages from the Book of the Dead. Most of the images are pictorial depictions of several chapters from the Book of the Dead.
  • Queen Nefertari’s tomb represents a key cultural image for two reasons. The first is that the tomb’s preservation gives scholars a glimpse of the beauty and color that was a part of most royal tombs. Second, it demonstrates the building expertise of artisans during Ramses II’s reign. Some scholars regard her tomb as one of the greatest of the many works completed during his reign.

Personal Note: This Temple site is certainly one that makes a deep impression inside your Heart Center. It is of such beauty and elegance that melts a gentleness and determination to continue in what you are here for and what you wish for in the inner relationship of the Soul. This equality of honoring and respecting a balance of male and female vibrations within would certainly lead to Oneness where no competition or struggle would be needed in the outer world.

After we returned for a late lunch the boot cruised onwards to Esna for the evening.

Once again the clear star sky and the moon was a flow that followed me in dreams.





Wednesday, Sept. 28 – Aswan

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A review of a Journey through Egypt along the Nile River.

Up early this morning at 6 a.m. ready for another day of feeling and connecting with Sacred Sites and the People of Egypt.


The Low and High Aswan Dam

The above is a tourist impression.

The above is more a documentary

Aswan Low Dam, 1898–1902

The British began construction of the first dam across the Nile in 1898. Construction lasted until 1902, and the dam was opened on 10 December 1902. The project was designed by Sir William Willcocks and involved several eminent engineers, including Sir Benjamin Baker and Sir John Aird, whose firm, John Aird & Co., was the main contractor.[

Aswan High Dam prelude, 1954–1959

In 1912 the Greek-Egyptian engineer Adrian Daninos began to develop the plan of the new Aswan Dam. Although the Low Dam was almost over-topped in 1946, the Egyptian government of King Farouk showed no interest in Daninos’s plans. Instead the Nile Valley Plan by British hydrologist Harold Edwin Hurst to store water in Sudan and Ethiopia, where evaporation is much lower, was favored. The Egyptian position changed completely with the overthrow of the monarchy, led by the Free Officers Movement including Gamal Abdel Nasser. The Free Officers were convinced that the Nile Waters had to be stored in Egypt for political reasons, and within two months the plan of Daninos was accepted. Initially, both the US and the Soviet Union were interested in the development of the dam, but this occurred in the midst of the Cold War, as well as growing intra-Arab rivalries.

In 1955 Nasser was trying to portray himself as the leader of Arab nationalism, in opposition to the traditional monarchies, especially Hashemite Iraq following its signing of the 1955 Baghdad Pact. At that time the US feared that communism would spread to the Middle East and saw Nasser as a natural leader of an anti-communist pro-capitalist Arab League. America and Britain offered to help finance construction of the high dam, with a loan of US$270 million, in return for Nasser’s leadership in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. While opposed both to communism, capitalism, and imperialism, Nasser presented himself as a tactical neutralist, and sought to work with both the United States and the Soviet Union for Egyptian and Arab benefit. After a particularly criticized raid by Israel against Egyptian forces in Gaza in 1955, Nasser realized that he could not legitimately portray himself as the leader of pan-Arab nationalism if he could not defend his country militarily against Israel. In addition to his development plans, he looked to quickly modernize his military, and turned first to the US.

Egyptian President Nasser and Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev at the ceremony to divert the Nile during the construction of the Aswan High Dam on May 14, 1964. At this occasion Khrushchev called it “the eighth wonder of the world“.

US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles and American President Dwight Eisenhower told Nasser that the US would supply him with weapons only if they were used for defensive purposes and accompanied by US military personnel for supervision and training. Nasser did not accept these conditions and then looked to the Soviet Union for support. Although Dulles believed that Nasser was only bluffing and that the Soviet Union would not aid Nasser, he was wrong—the Soviet Union promised Nasser a quantity of arms in exchange for a deferred payment of Egyptian grain and cotton. On 27 September 1955, Nasser announced an arms deal, with Czechoslovakia acting as a middleman for the Soviet support. Instead of attacking Nasser for turning to the Soviets, Dulles sought to improve relations with him. This explains the later offer of December 1955, in which the US and Britain pledged $56 and $14 million respectively towards the construction of the dam.

Gamal Abdel Nasser observing the construction of the dam, 1963

Though the Czech arms deal increased US willingness to invest in Aswan, the British cited the deal as a reason for betraying their promise of funds. What angered Dulles much more was Nasser’s recognition of China, which was in direct conflict with Dulles’s policy of containment.[10] There are several other reasons why the US decided to withdraw the offer of funding. Dulles believed that the Soviet Union would not fulfill its commitment to help the Egyptians. He was also irritated by Nasser’s neutrality and attempts to play both sides of the Cold War. At the time, other western allies in the Middle East, including Turkey and Iraq, were irritated and jealous that Egypt, a persistently neutral country, was being offered so much aid.[11]

In June 1956, the Soviets offered Nasser $1.12 billion at 2% interest for the construction of the dam. On 19 July, the US State Department announced that American financial assistance for the High Dam was “not feasible in present circumstances.”

On 26 July 1956, with wide Egyptian acclaim, Nasser announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal as well as fair compensation for the former owners. Nasser planned on the revenues generated by the canal helping to fund construction of the High Dam. When the Suez War broke out, the United Kingdom, France, and Israel seized the canal and the Sinai, but pressure from the US and the Soviet Union at the United Nations and elsewhere forced them to withdraw.

In 1958, the Soviet Union provided funding for the dam project.

The Aswan Dam is an embankment dam built across the Nile at Aswan, Egypt between 1898 and 1902. Since the 1960s, the name commonly refers to the Aswan High Dam. Construction of the High Dam became a key objective of the Egyptian Government following the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, as the ability to control floods, provide water for irrigation, and generate hydroelectricity were seen as pivotal to Egypt’s industrialization. The High Dam was constructed between 1960 and 1970, and has had a significant effect on the economy and culture of Egypt.

Before the dams were built, the Nile flooded every year during late summer, when water flowed down the valley from its East African drainage basin. These floods brought high water and natural nutrients and minerals that annually enriched the fertile soil along the floodplain and delta; this had made the Nile valley ideal for farming since ancient times. Because floods vary, in high-water years the whole crop might be wiped out, while in low-water years widespread drought and famine occasionally occurred. As Egypt’s population grew and conditions changed, both a desire and ability developed to control the floods, and thus both protect and support farmland and the economically important cotton crop. With the reservoir storage provided by the Aswan dams, the floods could be lessened and the water stored for later release.

Personal note: To stand on top of the giant High Dam a strong wind blows. As I looked over I had a feeling that I was in the Air looking down on the river Nile.

Philae Temple

We went by motorboat to the Island where Philae Temple can be visited.

A reconstruction of Philae Temple.

Temple of Isis at Philae

Philae Temple


Philae in Greek or Pilak in ancient Egyptian, meaning ‘the end,’ defined the southernmost limit of Egypt. It was begun by Ptolemy II and completed by the Roman Emperors.


The Temple was dedicated to the goddess Isis, the wife of Osiris and mother of Horus. These three characters dominate ancient Egyptian culture and their story possesses all the drama of a Shakespearian tragedy. The god Osiris is murdered and dismembered by his brother Seth. Isis searches for the fragments, collects them together and with her magic powers brings Osiris back to life. They then conceive the god Horus. Osiris becomes god of the underworld and judge of the dead – who must answer to him for their deeds on Earth. Meanwhile Isis gives birth to Horus and protects the young god. Later when Horus is grown he avenges his father by defeating Seth in combat.

Isis is a very important figure in the ancient world. She is associated with funeral rites but as the enchantress who resurrected Osiris and gave birth to Horus she is also the giver of life, a healer and protector of kings. She was known as ‘Mother of God’ and was represented with a throne on her head. During the Roman period her cult spread throughout Greece and the Roman Empire. There was even a temple dedicated to her in London.

The temple at Philae was nearly lost under water when the high Aswan dam was built in the 1960s. Fortunately the temple was rescued by a joint operation between the Egyptian government and UNESCO. In an engineering feat to rival the ancients the whole island was surrounded with a dam and the inside pumped dry. Then every stone block of the temple complex was labelled and removed later to be assembled, like a giant jigsaw puzzle, on the higher ground of Agilka island. The whole project took ten years and has saved one of Egypt’s most beautiful temples from certain destruction.



Philae temple, dedicated to the goddess Isis, is in a beautiful setting which has been landscaped to match its original site. It’s various shrines and sanctuaries, which include The Vestibule of Nectanebos I which is used as the entrance to the island, the Temple of the Emperor Hadrian, a Temple of Hathor, Trajan’s Kiosk (Pharaohs Bed), a birth house and two pylons celebrate all the deities involved in the Isis and Osiris myth. The Victorian world fell in love with the romance of the Temple. But at night you can also visit the Sound and Light Show, a magical experience as floodlit buildings are silhouetted against the volcanic rocks and water surrounding them. So today, Philae is more fun then every before.

Although antiquities on the island date between the 26th Dynasty and the Roman Period, most of the work is from that of the Roman. This was a time of immense popularity of the Goddess Isis, and this was her island, where pilgrims would come from all over the Mediterranean. Construction on the island took place over an 800-year span, and it was one of the last strongholds of Ancient Egyptian Religion which continued to flourish here into the 6th Century. When the Temples where finally closed by Justinian in A.D 550, it ended 4,000 years of worship of the pagan gods.


Vestibule of Nectanebos I at Philae

This is the entrance for the Island of Philae. The Vestibule of Nectanebos I is a logical beginning for an exploration of Philae. It is also where boats usually land on the island. This temple dating to the 30th dynasty was dedicated to Nectanebos “Mother” Isis. There are few other antiquities on the island that are not Ptolemaic or Roman. There was once a double stairway leading to the vestibule, but they were washed away by the Nile, along with the temple it once led to. It once had 14 columns, but today there remain only six. The vestibule itself was rebuilt by Ptolemy II Philadelphos. Some architectural styling of this monument date to the 3rd Dynasty. There are two rows of colonnades which form a walkway to the first pylon of the Temple of Isis.


The Temple of Emperor Hadrian (Philae Island)

Just to the west of the Temple of Isis on Philae is the Gateway of the Emperor Hadrian, which was once set into a wall that encircled the island. There are various scenes involving Osiris, as well as other gods and the Emperor Hadrian. In the vestibule that proceeds the gate there is an image of the Nile god entwined by a serpent and pouring water from two jars, symbolizing the birth of the Nile River. To the north of the gate are the remains of the Temple of Harendotes.


The Temple of Hathor at Philae

There is also a Temple of Hathor at Philae. This was the temple dedicated to Hathor by Ptolemies IV Philometor and VIII (Euergetes II), who was a goddess similar to Aphrodite despite her association with cows. The columns are noted for their decorations of Bes and musical scenes thought to placate the gods.


Trajan’s Kiosk (Pharaoh’s Bed)

The Trajan’s Kiosk was certainly the icon of Philae Island, the structure most associated by people with the island. It is a beautiful structure of 14 massive columns with carved floral capitals, but simple in its design. Inside are reliefs showing Trajan as a pharaoh making offerings to Osiris, Isis and Horus. The Emperor Trajan lived around 100 AD.


Birth House

Referring to ancient Egyptian religion, the birth house was an attachment to a temple where the rites associated with the god-kings were performed. The interior walls usually record scenes from the divine marriage and the king’s birth.

View of what’s left of the original island now submerged. The Temple of Isis or the other temples, is no longer at the island of Philea, which was inundated by the Aswan Dams, partly from 1902, completely from the 1960s. But with the help of UNESCO all the monuments were transported to the nearby island of Aglika, 500 away. Most of the original structures and organisations have been reconstructed. The weird attraction of Philae from the 1930s, of swimming around the temple ruins, looking down, through the water, at the reliefs of the walls, is now gone. The move lasted from 1972 to 1980.


Quick view of Hathors Temple while arriving at the island.


A view of the majestic Trajan’s Kiosk.


Close up of a column which is richly decorated with offerings.

The gateway of king Nectanebo II (350 – 341 BC). This is the entrance to the temple of Isis. Isis embodied the role of a nourishing goddess and wife of Osiris, she was the object of a cult long after the introduction of Christianity. It was believed that Philae was one of those sacred places where a part of the mutilated body of Osiris was buried. The Island was the venue for one of the annual Osiris passion plays which brought vast crowds of worshipers. philae_19

Beautiful reliefs which have also been recently restored.


Entrance to the Temple


Elaborate ceilings decorated with Eagles and Vultures.


Priestly presentation to the mighty Horus.


Ten huge, beautifully painted pillars adorn the room. They symbolize the first plants, trees and flowers of the earth which began to grow on the Primeval Mound (symbolized by the temple floor). In the ceiling (the sky), are images of the Day Boat and the Night Boat, and of the vultures of Upper and Lower Egypt.


Temple of Hathor. The small temple of Hathor, just east of the great temple of Isis and facing towards the west, was built by Ptolemy VI and extended by Ptolemy VIII and the Roman emperors Augustus and Tiberius. It consists of a so called kiosk with fourteen Hathor-headed columns, a pronaos and a cult terrace at the back of the temple facing the Nile. The beautiful reliefs on the temple walls depict musicians playing for the entertainment of the gods, all in accordance with the patron deity Hathor, of singing, music and dance.


A last look down the West Colonnade in front of the First Pylon.

Personal Note: I was amazed at the perfection that is shown here.  The energy feels intriguing yet also subtle.


Philae Perfume Palace



Perfume in Ancient Egypt

The Ancient Egyptians loved beautiful fragrances. They associated them with the gods and recognized their positive effect on health and well-being. Perfumes were generally applied as oil-based salves, and there are numerous recipes and depictions of the preparation of perfume in temples all over Egypt.

The god of perfume, Nefertum, was also a god of healing who was said to have eased the suffering of the aging sun god Re with a bouquet of sacred lotus. He could be described as the world’s first aromatherapist!

Egypt was the world leader in the creation of perfume and was closely associated with the international perfume trade. When Julius Caesar took control of Egypt, he demonstrated this fact to the Roman people by throwing bottles of precious perfume to the crowd during his triumphant return to Rome.

The most highly prized perfumes of the ancient world came from Egypt. Of these, arguably the most popular were Susinum (a perfume based on lily, myrrh, cinnamon), Cyprinum (based upon henna, cardamom, cinnamon, myrrh and southernwood) and Mendesian (myrrh and cassia with assorted gums and resins). Mendesian was named after the ancient city of Mendes, and although the perfume was produced in other locations later, the best variety was still thought to be that from Mendes.

They also loved Stakte, a perfume with a fairly strong aroma of myrrh, Rhondinium (based on the highly popular scent of rose) and a scent simply known as “the Egyptian” which seems to have been based on cinnamon and myrrh with sweet wine. Perfumes were generally stored in beautiful alabaster bottles, but there is also some evidence that blue glass bottles may also have been used.



Personal note: Being an aroma therapist myself this was a wonderland to be in. The whole group to smelled Papyrus and Lotus and sniffed up the mint oil. We have brought some one flower essence of Lotus and Mimosa plus Aromatherapy External Frankincense, Lavender and Royal Amber with us. It was partially a gift for daughter Jessica and her friend Antal who were thrilled by Royal Amber, Lavender, Lotus and Mimosa when given to them along with a special Egyptian aroma lamp as well. I will certainly share with others.


The botanical garden of Aswan(Kitchener’s Island)


Among the famous visits in Aswan is to see the botanical gardens of Aswan , you can sail in a local felucca boat or take a motor boat to the eastern bank of the Nile to reach this island. where this botanical island is located opposite the city of Aswan and the elephantine island.


History of the Island:

Other names of the island is Kitchener island because in 1899 lord Kitchener during his military campaigns in the Sudan made the island his head-quarter for his army, it was then known as the lords house.

Soon after the lord left the island it was given back to the ministry of irrigation and was then known as the Kings island.

Ever since 1928 and the ministry of irrigation has transferred the island into natural part full of trees from the 5 continents.


How to visit the Island:

The island has 3 entrances. The main entrance is located on the northern tip off the island, the entrance fees is 10 EGP. The best way to see the island in full and save walking is to get of at the main entrance and walk the full length of the island till you reach the southern tip of the island and get your felucca from there. You may need to ask your felucca man to wait for you at the other end. The Aswan botanical island is divided into 27 squares with veridical and horizontal paths cutting each other making it like a chess board.


There is huge variety of plantation and trees at the island some of which is naturally found on the island before it was converted into botanical island and others have been brought in. There are number of very rare palm trees in the island such as the Royal palm tree, the Sabal Palm tree and the phonic Palm tree.

Personal Note: Enjoyed walking through this garden. The trees spread their energies of clear air, peacefulness and tranquility. There were various families here enjoying a good time together. Whilst walking alone a man with a baby in his arms beckoned me and via body language asked if he could take a photograph of me and the baby. The baby was of Nubian origin and me with my white grey hair and fair skin must have been something that has some deeper significance for the man. The baby was very willing to stay in my arms whilst the photographs were taken. There were also other children who jumped around me as well and later at a distance were laughing.


Boot through a Nature Area with many birds and some rocks in the form of an Elephant plus a visit to a Nubian Village

Nubian Village : Close to the Nature

Nubian Tribesman

You have not seen a place if you have not experienced how locals/ethnic groups live.

To get a peek into the life of how ethnic Egyptians used to live, you need to visit a Nubian Village. You will be surprised to see a different lifestyle close to the nature.

So who are the Nubian People – As Wikipedia describes, the term Nubian describes an ethnic group that originated in modern-day Sudan and Egypt. Today, people of Nubian descent primarily live in Sudan, and inhabit the region between Wadi Halfa in the north and Al Dabbah in the south. The main Nubian groups from north to south are the Halfaweyen, Sikut, Mahas, and Dongola. They speak a variety of Nilo-Saharan languages in the Nubian language family. Nubian people have a long history dating back to dynastic Egypt, and Nubians even founded a dynasty that ruled upper and lower Egypt during the 8th century BCE.Ancient Nubians were famous for their skill and precision with the bow.


How to Reach Nubian Village


Take a Felucca (a boat which uses sails to propel) ride from Aswan. Hiring a boat alone will cost you huge amount of money, however you will find many boats which take the travellers on a sharing basis. You have to negotiate with the boatmen, they usually charge around $12-$25 (100-200 Egyptian pound) per person.

Note: You might get motor boats also, however If you are seeking exotic adventures then a Felucca would be your best choice in Aswan.

The tour will last for 3 hours from Pickup to Drop


Felucca Boat

What to Expect

I read about Nubian people’s lifestyle and wanted to visit a traditional village. However I got so mesmerised by magnificent historical sites of Egypt that I almost forgot to visit the Nubian village. I suddenly remembered the village while having a Sheesha(hookah) at a Aswan eatery when few locals were discussing something about Nubia.


Now again the interest rekindled in me and the very next morning I left my hotel to visit the Nubian village.


After negotiations I finally took a Felucca to visit the village (my felucca charged $15 per person).

Oh what a sail it was !!! Soon we were on the Nile river. As I was enjoying the slow sailing, suddenly our boatmen took local musical instruments and started singing. Soon all the people in the boat were clapping and dancing to the tunes. We were almost sailing near the shores of Nile.

After sailing for almost 20mins the Felucca anchored at Small Island so that if anyone wants to swim in river Nile they can do so. Few people dared to swim – Dared because everyone has heard of stories about dreaded Nile Crocodiles. Good that the crocodiles were on a diet and the people came back to Felucca happily.

Another 15mins our Felucca anchored and we were told that we have reached the Nubian village. From the boat the village looked unattractive.

You will get two options to reach the village from the river bank: Camel Back or Walking. I chose the latter option as I wanted to see the village close. After 10 mins of walking I was in the mid of colourful decorated houses.


Nubian Houses

The houses were mostly white but they had intricate colourful designs on them. For a moment it looked like a fairy land however once you look at the houses you will be surprised to see that the doors of the houses are decorated with stuffed animals they had hunted. I was told that the more powerful a person was in the village the more were the stuffed animals on their doors.


Stuffed Animals


Pet Crocodile

Nubians live in houses painted with bright colours. Traditionally, the floor was made of sand and not all the rooms were roofed. Protection against rain is not a priority since Aswan is one of the driest places in the world.

Nubians are friendly and hospitable. They often invite you to their homes for a cup of tea or “Karkade”, a drink made of hibiscus flowers. Many would happily show you their handicrafts (Tip- don’t buy handicrafts they are exorbitantly priced)

When I heard the Nubians speak I found the language extremely soothing to the ears. The Nubians speak Nobiin or Mahas language.

As I entered one of the houses I found extremely beautiful interiors. I was surprised to see that the people had Nile crocodiles as pets and they would pick it up with their hands as if it was a small lizard. I was asked to touch and hold one of the baby crocodiles, I somehow managed to hold the baby crocodile for few seconds. They wouldn’t allow you to click the pictures of children as they believe it brings bad luck to their children.

Then I roamed on the streets of Nubian village where I was many women selling various handicrafts items.

Woman Selling Handicrafts


Article written by:

Personal Note: Enjoyed to meet, greet and feel how these villagers are so intertwined with each other. It was very relaxing and comfortable to be walking here.

We went by motorboat back to the cruise boot to have a late lunch and a relaxing afternoon and evening.

 Gratitude for this wonderful morning.


Partially Relaxation Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tuesday, September 27

Review of a Gratitude Journey through Egypt along the Nile River


The cruise boot moved onwards from Luxor to Aswan during the evening and day. It was great to be able to integrate all the information and downloading from the previous day. Enjoyed a cup of tea on deck with the group along with conversations in the swimming pool.


We visited Kom Ombo Temple in the evening.

Listen to:


The Graeco Roman Temple at Kom Ombo

The temple at Kom Ombo is about 30 miles (48 km) north of Aswan and was built during the Graeco-Roman period (332 BC AD 395). There was an earlier structure from the 18th dynasty but little remains.

The temple is unique because it is in fact a double temple, dedicated to Sobek the crocodile god, and Horus the falcon-headed god. The layout combines two temples in one with each side having its own gateways and chapels.

Sobek is associated with the wicked god Seth, the enemy of Horus. In the Horus myth the allies of Seth made their escape by changing themselves into crocodiles.


Sobek and Horus

Sobek’s chief sanctuary was at Kom Ombo, where there were once huge numbers of crocodiles. Until recent times the Egyptian Nile was infested with these ferocious animals, who would lay on the riverbank and devour animals and humans alike. So it is not surprising that the local inhabitants went in fear.

They believed that as a totem animal, and object of worship, it would not attack them. Captive crocodiles were kept within the temple and many mummified crocodiles have been found in cemeteries, some of which can be seen in the temple sanctuary today.


Personal Note: Felt quite different to be at this Temple. It gave me a mixed feeling and difficult to orientate with this.

An Intensive Monday, September 26, 2016

Monday, September 26, 2016

Review of the Gratitude Journey through Egypt along the Nile River – De West Bank of Luxor


  • Colossi of Memnon


The two colossi of Memnon tower nearly 18 meters above the fields. Originally they were in front of the funerary temple of Amenhotep III, once the largest complex on the west bank and plundered by later pharaohs until only the giants were leftover. Both their faces and crowns are lost, and the one on the north side has since an earthquake in 27 BC. a crack in the middle of it. As a result of this the colossus, “sang” at dawn. The noise probably was caused by the particles that broke when the stone expanded or turned off by the wind that resounded through the cracks. Before the Colossus, after repairs at 199 n. C., stopped “singing”; the sound was attributed to Memnon (who was slain at Troy by Achilles).

From the separation you can see details on the thrones and the legs of the sandstone colossi On the sides of the front one the Nile gods of Upper and Lower Egypt join the heraldic plants of the two realms together. Besides the legs of the two colossi are smaller statues of Queen Tiye (right) and the mother of the king, Mutemwiya (left). They are completely filled with notes, among other Roman epigrams. On the grounds behind the two colossi is being excavated the lost funeral temple of Amenhotep III. Here will come a new archaeological park. Currently, no visitors are allowed there.

Personal note: The group was awakened at 5 a.m. in the morning, had breakfast together and at 6 a.m. we went by touring bus to the West Bank of Luxor. Arriving at the colossi one of the Belgian ladies and I crossed the street to collect a branch that was lying on the ground from the Mimosa tree. We both used the branch to ward off the flies. The felucca boats are made from the wood of the mimosa tree. Along with this the flower is used for flower essence. Later we also learned that it was one of the Sacred Flowers and branches used in the temples.


The Valley of the Kings


Above is a link to a movie you can watch about the Valley of the Kings.

A virtual tour of the tombs of Thoutmosis IV, Horemheb, Nefertari, Sennefur, Ramesses I, Sennedjem and Ay. Quite interesting to watch.


General Site Information

Structure: Valley of the Kings

Location: Thebes West Bank, Thebes

Other designations: Biban al Muluk, Wadi al Muluk

Site type: Necropolis



Hidden behind the Theban Hills, on the West Bank of the Nile, lies the Valley of the Kings (abbreviated as KV). It was chosen as the burial place for most of Egypt’s New Kingdom rulers for several reasons. As the crow flies, the Valley is very close to the cultivated banks of the river. It is small, surrounded by steep cliffs, and easily guarded. The local limestone, cut millions of years ago by torrential rains to form the Valley, is of good quality. And towering above the Valley is a mountain, al Qurn (“the horn” in Arabic), whose shape may have reminded the ancient Egyptians of a pyramid, and is dedicated to the goddess Meretseger.


There are 62 numbered royal and private tombs in the Valley of the Kings, ranging from a simple pit (KV 54) to a tomb with over 121 chambers and corridors (KV 5). Most were found already plundered. A few, like the tomb of Tutankhamen (KV 62) or that of Yuya and Thuyu (KV 46), and Maiherperi (KV36), contained thousands of precious artifacts. Some tombs have been accessible since antiquity, as Greek and Latin graffiti attest, some were used as dwellings or a church during the Graeco-Roman and Byzantine Periods, and others have been discovered only in the past two hundred years. Some, like KV 5, had been “lost,” and their location rediscovered only recently.


The Valley of the Kings is divided into the East and the West Valleys. The East Valley contains most of the tombs and is the most commonly visited by tourists. But the West Valley covers a larger area and is the least explored of the two. It has only two royal tombs, those of Amenhetep III (KV 22) and Ay (KV 23).


Noteworthy features: This is the principal burial site for the rulers of Egypt’s New Kingdom. Its tombs contain unique examples of funerary decoration.


Site Location

Latitude: 25.44 N

Longitude: 32.36 E

JOG map reference: NG 36-10

Modern governorate: Qena (Qina)

Ancient nome: 4th Upper Egypt

Surveyed by TMP: Yes



Site History

The earliest references we have to modern European visitors in the Valley of the Kings date to the eighteenth century. Early maps, such as that drawn by the scholars who accompanied Napoleon Bonaparte’s 1799 expedition to Egypt, or those of Giovanni Belzoni (1818) and John Gardner Wilkinson a decade later, indicate that about twenty-five tombs were accessible since ancient times. Wilkinson was able to see twenty-one tombs and he numbered them in geographic order from the entrance of the Valley southward, then toward the east. Since then, tombs have been numbered in the order of their discovery, KV 62 (Tutankhamen’s) being the most recent.


Many people have dug in the Valley of the Kings. One of the first was Giovanni Belzoni, who in 1816-17 discovered eight tombs, the most spectacular being KV 17, the tomb of Sety I. In the late nineteenth century, Victor Loret uncovered sixteen tombs, including the cache of royal mummies in KV 35, the tomb of Amenhetep II. From 1902 on, Theodore M. Davis sponsored thirteen seasons of work during which thirty-five tombs were cleared or discovered. One of his excavators was Howard Carter. In 1907, Carter began working with Earl Carnarvon. In 1922, their work led to the discovery of Tutankhamen’s intact burial (KV 62).


Apart from projects engaged in copying specific texts or in documenting particular tombs, such as the work of Alexander Piankoff in the tomb of Rameses VI, published in 1954, or the Polish epigraphic project in the tomb of Rameses III (KV 11) between 1959 and 1981, there was relatively little archaeological activity in the Valley from 1922 (when the tomb of Tutankhamen was discovered) until the 1970s. Since the 1970s, however, there has been a resurgence of activity. In 1972, a project of the University of Minnesota, directed by Otto Schaden, began work in the West Valley in the tomb of Ay (KV 23).


The Berkeley Theban Mapping Project (later the Theban Mapping Project), under the direction of Kent Weeks, began its survey of tombs in 1978. At the same time, a project led by John Romer for the Brooklyn Museum worked in the last royal tomb constructed in the Valley, that of Rameses XI (KV 4). Following documentation in the tomb of Tausert (KV 14) from 1983-1987, Hartwig Altenmüller of the University of Hamburg started excavating the tomb of Bay (KV 13), completing this task in 1994. In 1989, Donald Ryan of Pacific Lutheran University began a re-excavation and recording of several un-inscribed tombs, including KV 21, 27, 28, 44, 45, and 60. KV 39, thought by some to be the burial place of Amenhetep I, was excavated by John Rose beginning in 1989. In 1992 and 1993, Lyla Pinch Brock re-examined and carried out conservation in KV 55.


There are several archaeological projects currently at work in the Valley of the Kings. Christian Leblanc is excavating the tomb of Rameses II (KV 7) for the CNRS, while across the road, the Theban Mapping Project (TMP) is excavating, recording and conserving KV 5 (the sons of Rameses II). The tomb of Amenmeses (KV 10) is being cleared by the Memphis University mission led by Otto Schaden. Elina Paulin-Grothe is directing a project of the Ägyptologische Seminar der Universität Basel, clearing and documenting in the tombs of Rameses X (KV 18), Siptah (KV 47), and Tia’a (KV32).


Nicholas Reeves and Geoffrey Martin are examining the area between the tombs of Horemheb (KV 57) and Rameses VI (KV 9). Edwin Brock continues his studies of royal sarcophagi with particular emphasis now on the remains in the tombs of Merenptah (KV 8) and Rameses VI (KV 9), where he is reconstructing the inner sarcophagus. Richard Wilkinson of the University of Arizona has been involved in an examination of symbolic alignments in the royal tombs. An expedition from Waseda University, Tokyo, under the direction of Jiro Kondo is clearing, documenting and conserving the area in and around the tomb of Amenhetep III in the West Valley (KV 22).



This site was used during the following period(s):

New Kingdom

Late Period

Third Intermediate Period

Byzantine Period



Conservation history: Much of the conservation measures enacted in the Valley of the Kings have consisted of removing earlier structures originally designed for touristic activities. This includes the removal of an old restaurant and bathroom from the center of the Valley, relocating souvenir kiosks from inside the Valley, and the demolishing of guard huts and donkey shelters built over and in the vicinity of tombs.


Other steps have been taken to mitigate the negative affects of the visits of tourists. Cement steps and ramps ways created along paths, bordered by rubble retaining walls, to control the flow of tourists. An air circulation system was installed in KV 62 and plexiglass panels now protect the relief in many tombs from the hands of visitors. The Theban Mapping Project installed new informational signage to give tourists information about the tombs they visit before they enter.


Flash flooding is a serious threat to the tombs and their decoration and has prompted the construction of shelters over entrances of tombs endangered by flood cascades (such as KV 13, KV 14, KV 15, and KV 35). Flood deflection walls built around tomb entrances also protect from the effects of torrential rains.


Site condition: Not all of the tombs in the Valley have been fully excavated. Accessible tombs are subject to physical stress from large numbers of visitors. Site maintenance is in need of revision. Trash collection is a problem. Open tombs are in danger of flooding. Internal rock movement is a danger to the structural stability of the tombs.

Personal Note:

The Valley of the Kings was meant as an ultimate insurance for an eternal life. These mysterious graves of the pharaoh’s of the New Era where build to conserve the mummies and attributes. In most cases this did not succeed but the shafts and “wall imprints” are very impressive. At the “Place of Truth” (as Egyptian call it) lies the kings of the early 18th dynasty through late 20th dynasty.


The guide Ahmed explained before some details about the graves we were about to visit as he was not coming with us.


Our group visited the grave of Thotmosis I (1525-1512 or 1504-1492 A.C.). At the tomb I was called to use the Worldwide Water Essence 2014 spray and an assistant called to place my hands between the lid and the open space there. I could feel the electro magnetic field swirling. After this I raise my hands in the area of the heart and closed my eyes going on a journey of remembrance. I could feel and see different stages of going deeper and deeper into this era. A feeling of joy expanded inside and touched the heart center whilst this opened itself more and more like using the key or ANKH (1 legged) of eternal life as I travelled through passageways.


We visited in total 4 graves all so detailed and enlightened with there energies. I can remember one more name that of Amenhotep II and Siptah.


Visit to Alblast Wholesale Factory in Luxor


Our next stop was at a family-owned alabaster business.  Alabaster vases and sculptures are very typical for Egypt.  Our demonstration included the man seated at the back, who was taking large chunks of stone and roughly chipping it into a basic shape.  The man to the right showed us how they drill out the hollow centers by hand.  And finally, the alabaster is carefully shaped and hand polished.


Alabaster comes in white, brown, and green, and the merchandise came in all shapes and sizes. Real alabaster (as opposed to machine-made fakes), is thin enough that light shines through it, as you can see in this demonstration.

Personal Note:

It was a wonderful break for the group to be here. They had a wonderful working song that was shared with us. I started to dance with its rhythm and I notice it was appreciated. We all received a small gift of the one legged ANKH.





Medinet Habou Temple

The Temple of Rameses III

Madinat Habu Temple

In ancient times Madinat Habu was known as Djanet and according to ancient belief was the place were Amun first appeared. Both Hatshepsut and Tuthmosis III built a temple dedicated to Amun here and Later Rameses III constructed his larger memorial temple on the site.

First court right side portico supported by columns in the shape of the god Osiris.


Reconstruction of the first court


First court left side


Columns in the second court



  • The entrance

First Pylon – the temple of Rameses III

During his time Djanet became the administrative centre of Western Thebes. The whole temple complex was surrounded by a massive fortified enclosure wall, with an unusual gateway at the eastern entrance, known as the pavilion gate. This structure, a copy of a Syrian migdol fortresses is something you would not expect to see in Egypt. Rameses III, a military man probably saw the virtue in such a structure. It is likely Rameses resided here from time to time because a royal palace was attached at the south of the open forecourt of this temple, while priests’ dwellings and administrative buildings lay on either side of the temple. Originally a canal with a harbour outside the entrance, connected the temple to the Nile. But this was obliterated by the desert long ago.


In later times, because of its strong fortifications, it was the place of refuge during the civil war between the High Priest of Amun at Karnak and the viceroy of Kush. In the period of the Twenty Fifth and Twenty Sixth Dynasties (700 BC) the wives of Amon were worshipped in the Chapels called the Divine Adoratrices of Amun. During the Greek and Roman periods, the site was expanded and between the 1st and 9th centuries AD a Coptic city was built and the temple was used as a Christen church.

The exterior walls are carved with religious scenes and portrayals of Rameses III’s wars against the Libyans and the Sea Peoples. The first pylon depicts the king smiting his enemies and also has a list of conquered lands. The interior walls also have a wealth of well-preserved bas-reliefs some of which still retain their original paint work.







Some of the original paint work can still be seen at temple. I‘ve studied Madinat Habu as a guide for many of my temple reconstructions.


Personal Note:

By the time we visited here the temperature was going up quite a bit. Guide Ahmet explained many facets here of the Temple.

For me personally it felt good to be here and really enjoyed the temple grounds.



Deir el Bohiri – Temple of Queen Hatsjepsoet


See this video about the temple it is quite interesting.

Hatshepsut The Woman Who Was King 1473–1458 BC



Although the status of women in ancient Egypt was higher than in any other ancient civilization, the notion that a woman could be king was abhorrent to the Egyptians. Yet, a woman did become king and not just an ordinary king. She became the first great woman in recorded history, the forerunner of such figures as Cleopatra, Elizabeth I, and Catherine the Great. Her name was Hatshepsut and she ruled as pharaoh for fifteen years. Sadly, after her death the Egyptians, who were a deeply conservative people, obliterated her memory so that later pharaohs such as Ramses II and Cleopatra would have been ignorant of her existence.

Hatshepsut’s grandfather, Ahmose I, defeated the Hyksos who had invaded Lower Egypt and occupied it for more than one hundred years during the Second Intermediate Period. It was he who inaugurated the New Kingdom and the eighteenth dynasty, giving rise to some of the most extraordinary characters in ancient Egyptian history.

Hatshepsut’s Temple at Deir el Bahri


Hatshepsut was descended from a number of strong women, including Aahotep, the mother of King Ahmose I. Aahotep was a military leader and she received the “Golden Flies” awarded to soldiers who fought courageously.

When Ahmose died, his son Amenhotep became pharaoh but he left no male heirs. Thutmose I, a commoner and army general, became king by marrying Amenhotep’s sister Nefertiri.

Thutmose I was a strong pharaoh and, with his large professional army, made conquests south into Nubia and north as far as the Euphrates River; the farthest any pharaoh had gone up to that time. He erected two large obelisks at Karnak Temple and began the tradition of royal burials in the Valley of the Kings.

Hatshepsut’s Temple at Deir el Bahri


Although Thutmose had three sons and two daughters by his great wife, only one of these children was alive when he died: the twelve-year-old Hatshepsut. Thutmose did have a son by a minor wife, also called Thutmose, and to strengthen his claim to the throne, this son was married to Hatshepsut.

However, Thutmose II suffered from poor health and reigned for only fourteen years. He left a daughter by Hatshepsut and a son, again called Thutmose, by Isis, a harem girl.

It is possible that Thutmose II realized Hatshepsut was ambitious for power because he proclaimed the young Thutmose his successor. But when he died Thutmose III was still a child, and his aunt and stepmother, Hatshepsut, acted as regent for him.

Not content to be the power behind the child king, Hatshepsut soon proclaimed herself pharaoh, and the boy was kept away from the court. He was sent off to join the army where he grew up.

To support her cause, Hatshepsut claimed that the god Amun had taken the form of her father and visited her mother, and she herself was the result of this divine union. As the self-proclaimed daughter of God, she further justified her right to the throne by declaring that the god Amun-Ra had spoken to her, saying, “Welcome my sweet daughter, my favourite, the king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Maatkare, Hatshepsut. Thou art the king, taking possession of the Two Lands.”

Hatshepsut dressed as a king, even affecting a false beard, but it was never her intention to pass herself off as a man; rather, she referred to herself as the “female falcon.” Her success was due, at least in part, to the respect of the people for her father’s memory and the loyal support of influential officials who controlled all the key positions of government.

During her rule, the Egyptian economy flourished; she expanded trading relations and dispatched a major sea-borne expedition to the land of Punt, on the African coast at the southernmost end of the Red Sea.


Hatshepsut launched an extensive building program, repairing the damage wrought by the invading Hyksos and building magnificent temples. She renovated her father’s hall in the Temple of Karnak, erecting four great obelisks nearly 100 feet (30m) tall, and added a chapel. But her greatest achievement was her mortuary temple at Deir el Bahri, one of the most beautiful temples in Egypt. She called it the ‘Most Sacred of Sacred Places’.


The walls were illustrated with a colourful account of the trading expedition to Punt, featuring images of ships and of the marching army led by her general, Nehsi. From the drawings we can see that the expedition brought back many wonderful things including gold, ebony, animal skins, baboons, and refined myrrh, as well as living myrrh trees that were then planted around the temple. The walls at Deir el Bahri also depict the houses of the people of Punt and an image of its obese queen.


Living myrrh trees from the land of Punt

As Hatshepsut and her political allies aged, her hold on the throne weakened. The early death of her daughter, whom she had married to Thutmose III, may have contributed to her decline. Eventually, her nephew took his rightful place as pharaoh, though the circumstances of this event are unknown and what became of Hatshepsut is a mystery. Whether she died naturally or was deposed and eliminated is uncertain. What we do know is that about twenty years after her death, Thutmose had her name removed from nearly all the monuments and replaced with either the name of her father, her husband, or Thutmose III himself. Ironically, some of the best-preserved obelisks in Egypt are those of Hatshepsut. Thutmose III had stone walls built around them to hide them from public view, but these walls also served the purpose of protecting them from the elements


Personal note:

By the open space we arrived at this Temple, I and some others of the group were totally exhausted through the heat. I did however let guidance take me to the first level of the temple and was in silence at the Hathor Temple there. I could feel and hear the sounds of vibrations.

The struggle this woman had during her reign is still flowing amongst all the female vibrations within male and female humans. It is in the here and now that we are transforming and shifting this into an equal balance.


Review of Journey through Egypt – Sunday, September 25, 2016

A daily Review of a Gratitude Journey through Egypt – Sunday, September 25, 2016


A wonderful breakfast was served on board the cruise boot. I was placed on a table of 8 people – 2 Belgium couples plus 1 couple from Holland and Frank.

At 10 a.m. there was a briefing with the guide Ahmed who explained various options of excursions plus extra activities. He improvised a bit with the program plus added a few things as alternatives so that this could be a journey of relaxation and impressions. It was certainly more than I was informed about. Quite excited and open for this adventure of 7 days.


After a great warm lunch, we went to Luxor Temple with the group to the “Theban (this is the Ancient name for Egypt) Triad:

Note: The one legged ANKH is “eternal life”, the two legged ANKH is “protection”.


Amon, Mut and Khonsu. Amon was originally one of the gods in the ogdoad of Hermopolis but received shortly before the Middle Kingdom more and more influence in Theban, probably because his cult in the First Intermediate Period was adopted by powerful local rulers. After the expulsion of the Hyksos (circa 1567 BC) raised the rulers of the Eighteenth Dynasty Amon to victorious national god. Karnak was his main cult center in Egypt. As the “Hidden” (whose name in hieroglyphs was accompanied by a blank space instead of an explanatory sign) Amon was with other deities’ incarnations as Amun-Re (the supreme Creator), Amon-Min (the “bull who served the cows ” with an everlasting erection) or Auf-Ra with the ram’s head (incarnated Re”). The last sailed through the underworld to revive the souls of the dead and was reborn as Chepri.

amunAmon usually appears as a man with ram’s horn and the Atef crown with double feathers.


His wife, Mut, was in the pre-dynastic time a local goddess associated with Nechbet, the vulture-protectress of Upper Egypt. Early in the eighteenth dynasty she was “married” to Amun, they took the place of his earlier wife Amoenet and she was Mistress of Heaven. 266px-mut-svgShe is usually depicted with vulture and uraeus and the double crown of the Two Realms.

khonsThe son of Amun and Mut, Khonsu, “the Traveler” crossed the night sky as the moon god, he offered predictions and assisted Thoth, the divine scriber. He was depicted with a hawk’s head or as a young boy. Karnak was the largest temple dedicated to the Theban Triad.



(picture of the Temple complex)


General information:

The Luxor temple is on the rim of the city center. With its stately colonnades and pylons, which are lit up until 10 p.m. in the evening, it creates a stunning view from the river and the Midan el-Haggag. If you visit during the day to explore the temple, you can easily see all the details, but it is worth to come back again after sunset, when the atmosphere is calm so you can soak this in.

This is an image of how Luxor Temple would have been.


Karnak is the work of many dynasties, but the Luxor Temple was built mostly by two rulers, when the art of the New Kingdom reached its peak. It was founded by Amenhotep III (1417-137 or 1390-1352 v. C) of the eighteenth dynasty, also responsible for the third pylon at Karnak and the Colossi of Memnon across the river. The work was still continued under his son Achnaton (who blotted out the cartouches of his father and next to it build a sanctuary for Aton), but later this was resumed under Tutankhamon and Horemheb, who decorated the courtyard and colonnade with their reliefs. To this Ramses II (1304 or 1279-1213 BC) of the nineteenth dynasty added a courtyard with a double colonnade and a pylon with obelisks and colossi. Despite later additions and rebuilding under Alexander the Great, the temple is a coherent whole. When the French army saw the temple for the first time in 1799, the soldiers presented spontaneously their guns in honor of the Temple.


That the reliefs are still so clear is because the temple was buried for centuries under sand and silt and the city was built on top of it. In the 19th century exceeded travelers in Luxor saw a “maze” of mud construction work. When the French wanted to take away an obelisk and archaeologists wanted to excavate the temple, they had to pay compensation for the demolition of numerous homes. In recent years there has been a drainage system constructed against the rising groundwater, which is causing much damage to the temple. Surrounding buildings were demolished in order to show more of the avenue of sphinxes to Karnak and to ensure an unobstructed view of the temple.



To the Temple


On the temple grounds you will first see an avenue of sphinxes with a human face. This avenue in earlier days went all the way to Karnak. Today still more and more exposed parts of this avenue can be seen. Behind the Serapis Chapel, that was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian on his birthday in 126 n. C. inaugurated, it provides a mound to the height of the medieval city of Luxor that was built on top of the temple.

The real genuine gateway to the temple is flanked by pylons and colossi. There is a 25-meter-high obelisk that is adorned with reliefs and was originally covered with white gold. The second obelisk was transferred to France in 1835 and stands on the Place de la Concorde. The four baboons with dog heads at the foot of each obelisk had huge erections this has been cut off by prudish French. Behind are three of the six colossi of Ramses II, who stood before the pylon (four sitting, two standing). Figures on the thrones have a construction of a bodybuilder and they wear double crowns. The thrones are decorated with reliefs of the Nile god that connects the two realms together.


Thepylon is 65 meters wide and was once 24 meters high. There are notches for flagpoles and scenes of the alleged victory of Ramses to the Hittites at Kadesh. You can also see how Ramses in the Egyptian camp consult the commanders before he attacks his enemies while awaiting reinforcements. Nubian and Ethiopian Kings centuries later also left their mark here. Note the relief of pharaoh Sjabaka who had a race run for Amun-Min, that is high on the left as you walk through the pylon.

luxor-is-the-ancient-citymesir   luxor-temple-1

Courtyards and colonnades

Behind the pylon lies the courtyard of Ramses II, surrounded by a double row of papyrus columns that once bore a roof. The courtyard is skewed relative to the axis, probably to integrate the older bark shrines of Thutmose III, who were dedicated to Khonsu, Amon and Mut. On the opposite colonnade stands the Mosque of Abu el-Hagag. This Fatimid building bears the name of Luxor’s patron. The townspeople did not give permission for demolition when the temple was excavated. In the mosque you see Islamic motifs and Pharaonic hieroglyphs. The prayer room is carved into a pillar of the temple. Outside prayer times should non-Muslims inside. Ask the top of the stairs from the Midan el-Haggag.

In the temple you see on the bottom half of a frieze how the procession of the temple Amon approaches during Optetfestival, in which the god offered lettuce as a symbol of fertility. Ramses sacrifices for Mut and Montu (the Theban god of war) under the watchful eye of his queen and seventeen of the hundred sons he fathered in ninety years.


The entrance is flanked by black granite statues of Ramses. The pedestals are decorated with pictures of prisoners from Nubia and Asia. Behind this is the relaxing older part of the temple, with the imposing colonnade of Amenhotep III and a processional avenue with huge papyrus columns which still architraves. On the walls you can see more scenes of Optetfestival, you should read this counterclockwise. After offerings to the boats in Karnak, the procession of Amon went to Luxor Temple. He returns 24 days later at Karnak. The illustrated pharaoh Tutankhamun, who let decorate the colonnade be decorated, but the cartouches honor his successor, Horemheb.


At the end of the colonnade is the courtyard of Amenhotep III, with colonnaded of papyrus columns. The southern colonnade turns into a pillar hall with 32 papyrus columns, which serves as a portal to the real temple. Between the last two columns left of center is a Roman altar dedicated to Emperor Constantine, before he was converted to Christianity.

Personal note:

The guide, Ahmed (a university archeologist) was clearly able to explain the details of this Temple. Something I remember clearly what he said was about Ramses II and his great love and adoration for his wife “Nefertari”. It reflected to me personally that this is a significance of an equal relationship (life or soul partners).


Once upon the grounds I could feel inside a stirring of remembrance that this Temple has certainly a reminder to All that Oneness is of Peace and acceptance of each other beliefs as today we are still drawn to compare and judge each other even to the state of going into violence or aggression about it.


After the Luxor Temple we all went by pairs by horse carriage through local areas of Luxor, beyond the usual center passageway, to the train station and other local streets and straight through a huge Egyptian local market.


The children and adults waved from windows in their home or along the street. They enjoyed the strange visitors but were enthusiastic and in joy. For me I felt a bit strange to be sitting in a carriage as a higher citizen and waving to the people at the same time it also felt like connecting, honoring and respecting this country and the people who live there.

Our driver Ahmoud seemed to sense what was going on inside of me and explained that the people are very happy that tourists are coming again in Egypt. It gives them hope for the here and now and the future of everyone.


After returning to the boot we all had a welcoming drink and a warm washing cloth which was offered to us. One of the ladies from the group complained about her neck and I gave her an energy treatment. She felt relieved and responded that it felt warm, calm, peaceful and she felt a tingling going through her body.


It reminded me to share more with others when asked for.


We all had dinner and relaxed on the top deck. I love to drink the thee here.

Gratitude and Blessings to All.





A Daily Review of a Gratitude Journey through Egypt – September, October 2016 – Saturday, September 24

A daily Review of a Gratitude Journey through Egypt – September 24 through October 9

Saturday, September 24

In the transformation flow of Trust and Openness I flew from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport to Hurghada, Egypt. It was a gentle flight of approximately 5 hours and arrived on time. At the Airport I discovered my luggage was damaged and a person from the travel agency made a rapport for me very quickly. This was the first sign received that as I care for others, without expectation or receiving something back, I am also cared for as well.


From there we were lead as a group to a touring bus where we were met by our Guide Ahmed from Alexandria for the whole week. In the group there were couples from Holland and Belgium, plus two sisters who travelled together. It was only Frank and I who travelled alone. The guide Ahmed spoke perfect Dutch and had a very pleasant voice and a gentle character. It felt good to be amongst these people.



We were guarded by police escorts all along the way to Luxor and the Cruise boot “Serenity”. It was a 5-hour drive at 9 p.m. in the evening through the desert and through the Red Sea Mountains were every 7 kilometers there was a police station with hobbles on the road, checking out that everything was safe and secure for everyone. Every time a new police jeep escorted us along the way. Unfortunately, it was too dark by than but I could certainly see the stars in such a clear sky. The route partially followed a railway track. Along the way there was mostly traffic of trucks but also small pick up trucks with many passengers and freight (such as packages and luggage) seeing that there had just been a feast/festival and people were returning home.

Western Desert Road

NOTE: What is being related via news media is not the truth it is certainly safe to travel through Egypt. Please do not hesitate to visit this Sacred Land.


Travelling through small villages on our way to Luxor we saw men gathering on the street corners or at a café even at 2 a.m. in the evening. From what I could see and feel is that they were having a conversation of the day.


Arriving at the cruise boot “serenade” we were welcomed by many pursers and our guide Ahmed had sorted out our rooms beforehand so this was a gentle and caring greeting and meeting. My room number was “329” feels like the resonance of the “3 – Trinity in the Divinity” or in Ancient Times the “Upper, Middle and Lower World”; “2” of duality that is placed in the resonance of polarity as a purification, release and transformation into the “9” the Cosmic vibration of completing a cycle and starting a new spiral movement of One Heart Love.


The room was very comfortable and on the table some bread, cheese, jams and other goodies were placed in case we were hungry. The surroundings of Egypt were enough nourishment for me at that moment plus the resonance of the name of the Cruise boot “Serenade” like a lullaby song. I slept very well but short with intervals of waking up from a dream of memories that I had here before. When I looked outside the window a beautiful declining huge moon shining in the sky greeted me and reminded me of the Mother in the Sky along with the Star Beings.


I felt so blessed to be able to answer this calling via guidance to be here in the now.








Tag Cloud