A Travellerspoint blog

Alexandria

Alexandria stretches along 12 miles of the Mediterranean coast and is the second largest city in Egypt. It was founded in 332 BC by Alexander the Great and its rich history includes Cleopatra and Anthony and a litany of Roman Emperors. The city grew to be the largest of the known world at the time. Alexandria was sacked and burned during the civil war that followed the takeover by Julius Caesar. For more of it history go to http://www.ancient.eu/alexandria/

The city today has the potential to be quite beautiful. Fort Qaitbey still remains as does the Pillar of Pompey but little else of its ancient history remains. The new library is spectacular and also houses several museums of art and antiquities as well as a special Sadat Memorial Exhibit.

Fort Quitbey is a fortress built in the 1480's by Sultan Quitbey on the site of Pharos Lighthouse, using stones from this once grand structure. The original and oldest mosque in Alexandria is still intact except for the minaret which was blown clean off by the British in 1882. From the upper ramparts you get great views of the city.

The Pillar of Pompey is another ancient site in Alexandria. It has nothing to do with Pompey and no one seems to know for sure why it is so named. It was built in 297 AD in tribute to the Roman emperor Diocletian. The base of the pillar has the inscription: To the most just of Emperors, the divine protector of Alexandria Diocletian the invincible: Posthumous prefect of Egypt. The pillar comes from the Temple of Serapis and is made of red Aswan marble standing 89 feet high.

The Library of Alexandria was reborn in 2002. It is not just an extraordinarily beautiful building; it is also a vast complex where the arts, history, philosophy, and science come together. Its mission is to offer a myriad of activities to make it a place for open discussion, dialogue, and understanding. It is a magnificent place and I could have spent days there!!!! http://www.bibalex.org/en/Page/About

On the way back to Cairo we stopped at the Deir Anba Bishoi monastery (Monastery of St. Bishoi) at Wadi Natrun. It is the most famous monastery of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria named after Bishoi. Today the monastery still houses the supposed intact body of Bishoi. The complex is very large and houses 5 churches, living quarters for some 160 resident monks, an old bakery and mill house etc. http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/bishoy.htm

Pompey's Pillar

Pompey's Pillar


Artifacts at the site of the pillar

Artifacts at the site of the pillar


More artifacts

More artifacts


Story

Story


Alexandria

Alexandria


Streets of Alexandria

Streets of Alexandria


The Library

The Library


Outer wall of the library

Outer wall of the library


Scenic view from the library

Scenic view from the library


Planetarium at the library

Planetarium at the library


Alexander The Great

Alexander The Great


Inside the library

Inside the library


More inside

More inside


And more

And more


Printing press

Printing press


Sadat Exhibit

Sadat Exhibit


Sadat

Sadat


Fort Quitbay

Fort Quitbay


The fort

The fort


Courtyard of the fort

Courtyard of the fort


The fort

The fort


Again

Again


Inside the old mosque

Inside the old mosque


The main door to the fort

The main door to the fort


Mosaic floor in the mosque

Mosaic floor in the mosque


More of the mosque

More of the mosque


Hallways

Hallways


A view from one of the gun portals

A view from one of the gun portals


View from the ramparts

View from the ramparts


The oil drop over the entrance

The oil drop over the entrance


entrance

entrance


Another view from the ramparts

Another view from the ramparts


The fort from a distance at sunset

The fort from a distance at sunset


The monastery

The monastery


more of the monastery

more of the monastery


The refectory

The refectory


Refectory

Refectory


Bridge to the tower

Bridge to the tower


Inside the tower area

Inside the tower area


The main church

The main church


View from the tower

View from the tower


Entrance view from the tower

Entrance view from the tower


Another view

Another view


Entrance to the Holy of Holies

Entrance to the Holy of Holies

Posted by CWalts 17:00 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

Into Egypt

I am going to try to do Egypt in 3-4 postings. This is the first. Egypt is an amazing place to visit. I chose to do a tour with G Adventures. This is a small group tour company that I also used last year to go to Israel and Jordan. Brenda, my travel buddy, also did the tour. We have known each other since 6th grade and first traveled together, to Europe, right out of high school.

I realized very quickly how little I know about its incredible history. Of course, I knew it was ancient and could name a few historical figures – Tutankhamen, Ramses II, Nefertiti, Cleopatra etc.. I had no idea of the actual periods of time of their existences and how important or not important they were in the overall scheme of things. There were so many pharaohs and queens and children of pharaohs and queens that it becomes a complicated maize of family trees. Added to this is a mix of gods and goddesses and the kings and queens who embraced them in a myriad of ways. Then, there is the "modern" history of the country which is equally as complex. All of it is fascinating and has set me on a journey to learn more so I can go back and enjoy the experience at a new level.

One of the things that is so striking is the massiveness of all the ancient structures we visited. From the pyramids to the facades and inner structures of tombs and temples everything is bigger than you would ever imagine. There are many massive ancient structures around the world but, of all I have seen, the ancient Egyptians set the standard for humongous.

Cairo/Giza

The journey started in Cairo with the hustle and bustle of simply getting through airport security to walk from the terminal to first night hotel stay, through their security and finally checked in. There is lots of security everywhere you go. Most of the airports have security screening to simply walk through the entrance and again to enter the main terminal and again before you board you flight. X-ray machines, shoes off and a pat down for every single person. Hotels and all archaeological sites also have at a minimum a bag check and many have full x-ray machines. This is the only sign that the country is in the middle of arguably the most volatile part of the world. When you are out and about it is simply business as usual and I never felt unsafe. In fact, most people don't even pay attention to you except when wandering around markets and the ever present trinket stalls at all of the archaeological sites. In these places you are constantly bugged by the merchants to buy from them. They call out “no hassle” but if you so much as look at an item, it is very hard to get them to leave you alone. I have developed a shield for this from having been to countries where this is much worse – no eye contact, no answering their questions and not even a quick look at what they have to sell. It seems very rude but unless you want to be hounded constantly it is the only way.

The first official day of the tour started with a ride to the Giza side of the Nile to our hotel. Thankfully the ring road makes getting from the airport across Cairo to Giza relatively painless which came even more clear a few days later when crawling through midday traffic to get to the Egyptian Museum.

From our hotel in Giza we could see the Pyramids through the haze and smog. Once at the site it was shocking to realize that you can’t actually get a good view of the pyramids close up because they are so huge. You are constantly straining your neck to look up and in my head I must have said “wow” about a million times.

There are three main Pyramids in this area including the Great Pyramid. These huge structures were tombs for dead kings and typically built during the lifetime of the king ultimately buried there. The size of the Pyramid indicated the seniority of the monarch. The tombs for their queens were smaller. The Pyramids are the only one of the original Seven Wonders that still survive today. The Great Pyramid is the oldest and largest of the Pyramids. It was built by the 4th Dynasty king, Khufu (2589 – 2566 BC). The other two pyramids in this area for Khufu’s son, Khafre and his successor Menkaure. There is an area where you can get a good view of these (photo of me in front of them). Any closer and you can’t see all three at the same time. You can enter the smaller tombs for free and pay to enter the Great Pyramid but they were looted long ago and there is nothing to see. They were not painted and decorated like the tombs in the Valley of the Kings. If you are claustrophobic don’t do it!

There is also the Solar Boat Museum which is well worth a visit. It holds a full-size ancient Egyptian boat, discovered in pieces in 1954, lying in a pit beside the Great Pyramid. Experts spent 14 putting the 1200 pieces back together again using ancient materials of wooden pegs and grass ropes. It is called a solar boat because it resembles the vessels seen in tomb paintings in which the sun god makes his daily trip across the heavens. It is not clear if the boat was buried for the son god or for the pharaoh’s own journey across the heavens.

The Sphinx is a short drive from here. It is 66 ft. high and the head may be that of a king due to the royal headdress. There are many stories for how the Sphinx lost its nose but it was lost sometime in the

A visit to the Egyptian Museum is a must but make sure you have the time. The museum has been at its current location in Cairo since 1902 and was founded by the famous French archaeologist, Auguste Mariette. 120,000 items are on display with another 150,000 in storage. All of this will be moved to the new Grand Egyptian Museum which is scheduled to open in 2018. This museum requires several hours to do it justice but well worth it. It is only two floors but they are massive. It is organized by Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom, Tutankhamen Galleries, Royal Mummy Room and then miscellaneous exhibits.

The most famous collection here is the artifacts from Tutankhamen’s tomb and includes more than the pieces that toured the world. Seeing his actual coffin was very interesting. The king’s mummy lay within a nest of three coffins, the innermost of solid gold, the two outer ones of gold hammered over wooden frames. Compared to other tombs discovered in the Valley of the Kings, Tutankhamen’s is small because he was a relatively insignificant king in the overall scheme of things. His fame comes from the fact that this is the only “intact” tomb discovered. It hadn’t been looted clean and was discovered accidentally in 1922 by Howard Carter the archaeologist funded by Lord Carnarvon.

The Mummy Room houses several famous kings such as Tuthmosis II, Seti I and the mighty Ramses II. It is quite amazing to see the good condition of these bodies in spite of the fact that they are some 3000 years old!

Always camels

Always camels


Pyramid

Pyramid


From a distance

From a distance


More from a distance

More from a distance


Kahfre's Pyramid

Kahfre's Pyramid


Sphinx and pyramids

Sphinx and pyramids


Sphinx

Sphinx


In profile

In profile


Another view of the three largest pyramids

Another view of the three largest pyramids


Entry to the Great Pyramid

Entry to the Great Pyramid


Egyptian Museum

Egyptian Museum


Artifacts

Artifacts


Most valuable artifact

Most valuable artifact


One of the many statues

One of the many statues


Artifacts

Artifacts


Another massive statue

Another massive statue


Unfinished Nefertiti

Unfinished Nefertiti


Coffin of Tutankhamen

Coffin of Tutankhamen


Another part of the coffin

Another part of the coffin


Tutankhamen's throne

Tutankhamen's throne


Looking down to the first floor

Looking down to the first floor


Another view

Another view


Scale model of Solar Boat

Scale model of Solar Boat


The real thing - it is huge!

The real thing - it is huge!

Posted by CWalts 17:00 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

An all too brief visit to Athens

I am slowly catching up on my blog posts. It is after the fact but better late than never I suppose. I flew from Rome to Athens on Feb. 12 and met up with Brenda. We spent just a few days in Athens before heading to Egypt but it was a great taste of the city and left me wanting more. A few days in Athens has been a real pleasure. The current city is not that old, unlike Rome, because it was almost completely abandoned during the Middle Ages and over centuries of invaders and wars most of the ancient buildings were destroyed, ruins were looted etc. The result is a relatively modern city with most of the homes and buildings built from the mid 1800's on. The sites of ruins are scattered around the central area amid neighborhoods ranging from chic to funky. It is all very interesting and the city deserves more time.

The most famous ancient site of all, the Acropolis, can be seen from almost anywhere in the city because it was built on the highest hill so that the Parthenon would tower above everything. It is dedicated to Athena Parthenos the goddess embodying the power and prestige of the city. It was completed in 438 BC. What remains is a skeleton of its greater glory. If you visit the fabulous Acropolis Museum first you will learn what this site has endured and have a much easier time envisioning how spectacular it was. The architects and sculptures worked to create a place of beauty and color to honor Athena. The fluted Doric columns are carved to create an optical illusion: the foundations are slightly concave and the columns are slightly convex making both appear straight. The temples pediments, the triangular elements topping the east and west facades, were elaborately carved three-dimensional sculptures. These have been painstakingly put back together by archeologists and as much as remains can be seen at the museum. The square panels all along the sides (metopes) depicted the Olympian gods fighting the giants on the east side and on the west side they showed Theseus leading Athenian youths into battle against the Amazons. The south panels illustrated the contest of the Lapiths and centaurs at a marriage feast and the north panels depicted the sack of Troy. These panels are also now displayed in the Acropolis museum!!

Another marvelous temple in the Acropolis is the Erechtheion which was built on the spot where Poseidon struck the ground with his trident and where Athena produced the olive tree. The temple housed the cults of Poseidon, Athena and Erechtheus. A delightful element of this structure is the Porch of the Caryatids. Six maiden sculptures modelled on women of Karyai. The ones at the site today are plaster casts of the originals which are housed in the Acropolis Museum and one is in the British Museum. These were of particular interest to me because Hadrian fashioned the maidens that line one area of the pool at Hadrian’s Villa in Tivoli were fashioned after these Caryatids.

The Acropolis has many more temples and structures to see but rather than write a tome on this site it is very easy to find more information online. Better yet, go to Athens and experience it yourself!

A walking tour of the city is a great thing to do and there is a free walking tour available most days, year round. The guide we had was an archaeologist and student of ancient languages. He had great passion for the ancient history of this place and even greater passion for ensuring that everyone understands how fragile democracy is if complacency sets in. Good lesson given the times.

One of the most fun things was a Greek Cooking class. We were the only ones who signed up so it was a private lesson. We learned how to make seven Greek dishes, did all the prep and then had the pleasure of eating it all!! Roasted lamb, roasted potatoes, spinach balls, spanakopita, tzatziki, Greek salad and a honey yogurt dessert.

The National Archaeological Museum is also incredible and well worth several hours of anyone’s time while in Athens.

We did a day trip to Delphi which was lovely to wonder around and the drive there and back allows a great intro to how wonderful the Greek countryside is making it very easy to want to go back.

There wasn’t enough time to dig into all the wonderful neighborhoods of Athens. Each with its own character and flair. We spent time in Plaka and Monastraki which have lots of restaurants and shopping. Our apartment was in Kynosargous which is away from the mainstream tourist areas but easy walking distance to the Acropolis etc. Taxis are everywhere and SO cheap. Actually, after Rome, Athens was a real bargain.

The Parthenon

The Parthenon


Erechtheion

Erechtheion


Caryatids

Caryatids


Close up of a maiden

Close up of a maiden


Erechtheion

Erechtheion


Athena

Athena


Temple of Athena

Temple of Athena


Posing at the Acropolis

Posing at the Acropolis


Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard


Changing of the Guard

Changing of the Guard


The Guards

The Guards


High stepping it

High stepping it


Delphi

Delphi


Delphi

Delphi


View of the Agean

View of the Agean


National Archaeological Museum

National Archaeological Museum


Poseidon or Zeus??

Poseidon or Zeus??


Lots of scultures

Lots of scultures

Posted by CWalts 17:00 Archived in Greece Comments (0)

The last days in Egypt

The Nile Valley

This area is described as the greatest open air museum in the world and that is not an exaggeration. We spent the bulk of our time in Egypt here see some of the most amazing places and antiquities. This area is also the very lush because of the dams of Aswan so the communities along this part of the Nile have an economy that is not solely dependent on tourism although the decline in tourism is still quite evident. Tourism in Egypt is down by about 50% since the 2011 revolution. It's a great time to visit because you get to see all these wonderful places without the crush of tourists that would certainly take away from enjoying the grandeur of everywhere we went.

We flew to Aswan from Cairo to start this leg of the journey. After several tense moments at the Egypt Air check in (they didn’t have a seat for me!!) we all boarded our flight. Arabic is what I would describe as an energetic language but when they argue you really now they are arguing. Our guide, Ibrahim, did a great job of making it very clear that I needed to be on the flight. Once in Aswan we immediately boarded a bus to Abu Simbel. The Great Temple of Abu Simbel and the smaller Temple of Hathor are breathtaking and even more incredible they were hewn out of a solid cliff in 13th century BC AND when the High Dam was planned they were systematically moved to save them from being covered with water!!!! The Great Temple was built to honor Ramses II. Its 108 ft. high façade has four colossal enthroned statues of Ramses II wearing the double crown of Upper and Lower Egypt. This exterior was designed to impress and frighten while the interior reveals the union of god and king.

The smaller temple dedicated to the Goddess Hathor was built by Ramses II in honor of his favorite wife Nefertari. The façade has statues of Nefertari as goddess Hathor alternating with Ramses II. The interior has Hathor headed pillars (the head of a cow) and is decorated with scenes of Ramses slaying Egypt’s enemies with Nefertari watching. Photos are not allowed in either temple.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abu_Simbel_temples

http://www.abrock.com/ancientEgypt/Egyptweb2/NubianTemples/nubian.html

Egyptian kings from the New Kingdom to the Romans built temples along the Nile in Lower Nubia (between the First and Second Cataracts). And there they stayed, in various stages of ruin, until the early 1960s, when the Aswan High Dam was built and Lake Nasser began to fill behind it.

An international effort to rescue the temples and other archeological sites was undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Many temples were moved to higher ground, the best well-known of which was Abu Simbel. Others were dismantled and given to donor countries such as Spain, Italy, Germany, and the United States. But hundreds of archeological sites, including some temples, were inundated and remain under the waters of Lake Nasser.

We returned to Aswan to spend the night. Aswan is quite a nice city right on the Nile. It is the starting point for the Nile cruises and also has many hotels along the river but it is relatively clean and has a pleasant climate which attracts many expats and locals looking to escape the heat of Northern Egypt. You can watch felucca’s (Egyptian sail boats) lazing along and enjoy the green and gold of the hills around the city. It is also home to both of the dams that turned the Nile from a seasonal water source to providing generous year round access to water and hydro-electric power.

Aswan is also home to a huge granite quarry where the unfinished obelisk still remains. The obelisk dates back to the New Kingdom and had it been completed it would weigh almost 1200 tons and stand 134 ft. high. Three sides of the shaft were quarried before a flaw was discovered in the stone and the obelisk had to be abandoned.

Our next stop was the Temple of Philae. It was begun by Ptolemy II and completed by the Roman Emperors. http://www.abrock.com/ancientEgypt/Egyptweb1/Philae.html These monuments were also relocated to save them from being immersed in the waters of Lake Nasser but are still housed on an island near Aswan which is accessible by motor boat. The site contains several structures – the Kiosk of Nectanebo II, Temple of Isis, Gate of Hadrian, Temple of Hathor, and Kiosk of Trajan. The Temple of Augustus and the Gate of Diocletian lie in ruins on the island as well.

We sailed on a felucca to the Nubian village on the other side of the river and had dinner with a Nubian family. During the early-1970s, many Egyptian and Sudanese Nubians were forcibly resettled to make room for Lake Nasser after the construction of the dams at Aswan. They served us a banquet of local foods – all delicious!

Nile Cruise

We spent a total of 3 nights on the boat starting in Aswan and ending up in Luxor. Along the way we visited more incredible sites. The boat itself was very comfortable, the food was good although a bit boring. We were able to watch as other boats and ours moved through the locks. This was a lengthy process so locals living in the area came out in small boats with stuff to sell. They would throw it up onto the top deck and then ask for money. You had to be aware of the missiles of towels and linens as they came flying onto the deck. It was a wonder that stuff didn’t just fall into the river.

Kom Ombo Temple

The Graeco-Roman temple is in a particularly beautiful setting overlooking the Nile. The building is totally symmetrical with entrances, two halls and two sanctuaries and is dedicated to two gods the left side is to the falcon god Horus the Elder and the right side is to Sobek, the local crocodile god. The temple was started by Ptolemy VI in the 2nd century BC and mostly completed by Ptolemy XII during the 1st century BC. Finally, Augustus added the entrance pylon in 30 BC. In the interior there are scenes relating to Horus on the left wall and Sobek on the right. The many columns are carved with the lotus or lily of Upper Egypt and the papyrus of the Delta. A series of halls and vestibules lead through to the sanctuaries of Horus and Sobek.

Edfu

Edfu stands beside the Nile almost exactly halfway between Aswan and Luxor. According to ancient myth this is where Horus fought a fierce battle with this uncle Seth who had cruelly murdered Horus’s father Osiris. The Temple of Horus at Edfu is the largest and best preserved Ptolemaic temple in Egypt. The imposing 118 ft. high pylon (entrance façade) is decorated with scenes of Ptolemy XII defeating his enemies in front of Horus and Hathor. Two elegant black granite statues of Horus flank the entrance which leads to the first hypostyle hall. Behind this lies a second smaller hall with chambers on either side. Gifts from the gods were stored in these rooms until they were taken into the hall of offerings beyond. Stairs lead to the hall of offerings which is roped off but you can get a good look inside. The walls are beautifully decorated with scenes from the New Year festival, a ritual celebrated in temples all over Egypt. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Edfu

Valley of the Kings; Carter House, Hatshepsut Temple; Colossi of Memnon (Luxor)

After a hearty breakfast on our cruise boat we headed off to several major sites around Luxor. The Colossi of Memnon are two, 60 foot high statues of Amenhotep III seated on his throne. They originally guarded Amenhotep’s mortuary temple - thought to have been the largest ever built in Egypt – hard to imagine given the size of what we have seen! It was plundered for building material by later pharaohs and gradually destroyed by later floods but there is ongoing excavation being done that is turning up a wealth of statues that have been buried on the site for millennia. This area is out of bounds but can be seen from the road. Onto the Valley of the Kings. This is a remote, barren valley that was the necropolis for the New Kingdom pharaohs. They hoped to stop robbers stealing precious possessions buried with them. Despite their hidden locations, every burial chamber was raided except those of Yuya and Tuya and Tutankhamun, discovered by Howard Carter in 1922. In spite of the looting, the corridors and chambers remain and are stunningly adorned with symbolic accounts of the journey through the underworld and paintings to assist the pharaohs in the afterlife. A total of 63 tombs have been found in the Valley of the Kings with about 11 open at any one time. Additional tickets are needed to visit the tomb of Tutankhamen and Ramses VI. It is definitely worth it to buy the extra ticket for Ramses VI but all the good stuff from Tutankhamen’s tomb is on display at the Egyptian Museum. There is a good sized model of the tomb on the site of Howard Carters home nearby and a tour of his home is very interesting. It has lots of his original possessions including maps and household items. There is even an indoor dog house for Lord Carnarvon’s beloved Susie who traveled with him all the time. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Herbert,_5th_Earl_of_Carnarvon

Hatshepsut Temple, from a distance, looks almost like a modern building and against the start mountainous backdrop it is quite stunning. It rises from the desert plain in a series of imposing terraces. It was built during the 18th dynasty for Queen Hatsheput who was unofficially the first feminist. She dressed as a warrior which fooled many into believing she was actually a man. She is generally regarded by Egyptologists as one of the most successful pharaohs, reigning longer than any other woman of an indigenous Egyptian dynasty. According to Egyptologist James Henry Breasted she is also known as "the first great woman in history of whom we are informed." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hatshepsut

As you approach the temple you see the long staircases that advance to each level and the further you go the more amazing it is. The columns of the portico and around the upper terrace were decorated with statues of Hatsheput, characteristically represented as a male king with a beard. Many of these were destroyed by later pharaohs but several have been reconstructed from their fragments. The different galleries have very well preserved painted walls and bas-reliefs and the Chapel of Hathor has Hathor-headed columns.

Just when I thought these temples couldn’t get any bigger we visited Karnak Temple in Luxor. The temple was built over a period of 1500 years and is one of the greatest architectural achievements ever executed. St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome and St. Paul’s Cathedral in London could easily fit inside its 100 acre site with room for eight other buildings of equal size. Get the picture?! The 60000 square foot Hypostyle Hall has 180 columns. Each is 80 feet high and 33 feet around. It is considered the greatest religious shrine of antiquity. It is linked by a 2 mile Nile-side promenade (that was once lined with sphinxes) to its twin shrine to the south, the Temple of Luxor.

The few days on the Nile were exhausting. We were on the go a lot and the heat was building. We were ready to get back to Cairo. We celebrated our last night with a group dinner. This was a very fun group and we have made some long lasting friends.

Abu Simbel

Abu Simbel


View of Lake Nasser

View of Lake Nasser


Entrance to Ramses II Temple

Entrance to Ramses II Temple


Entrance to Queen Nefertaris' Temple

Entrance to Queen Nefertaris' Temple


Perspective

Perspective


Our felucca pilot

Our felucca pilot


Feluccas on the Nile

Feluccas on the Nile


Unfinished Obelisk

Unfinished Obelisk


Lake Nasser from the High Dam

Lake Nasser from the High Dam


Info on the dam

Info on the dam


About the Dam

About the Dam


More info about the Dam

More info about the Dam


Memorial towers to honor the completion of the dam

Memorial towers to honor the completion of the dam


Breznev and Nasser

Breznev and Nasser


Approaching Philae

Approaching Philae


Temple of Isis at Philae

Temple of Isis at Philae


Outer courtyard

Outer courtyard


Approaching the entrance

Approaching the entrance


At the entrance

At the entrance


Another view

Another view


Another view of the columns

Another view of the columns


Looking inside

Looking inside


More inside

More inside


Magnificent columns

Magnificent columns


Some of the bas reliefs

Some of the bas reliefs


In and in

In and in


Surrounding ruins

Surrounding ruins


Heiroglyphics

Heiroglyphics


Some of the outside wall

Some of the outside wall


View

View


Another perspective

Another perspective


Still color in the ceiling art

Still color in the ceiling art


Another view

Another view


Images of agriculture

Images of agriculture


And more

And more


Beautiful columns

Beautiful columns


Edfu

Edfu


Edfu

Edfu


Entrance to Edfu

Entrance to Edfu


Close up of entrance

Close up of entrance


Statues

Statues


Columns

Columns


Inside

Inside


Some of the bas reliefs

Some of the bas reliefs


More

More


Statues of Memnon

Statues of Memnon


Close up of one

Close up of one


Temple of Hatsheput

Temple of Hatsheput


Hatsheput

Hatsheput


One of the Galleries

One of the Galleries


The line up

The line up


The serpent stairway

The serpent stairway


Chapel of Hathor

Chapel of Hathor


Scale of Karnak

Scale of Karnak


The lions

The lions


Entrance to Karnak

Entrance to Karnak


The goat lions

The goat lions


More

More


Some of the statuary

Some of the statuary


And more

And more


Another view

Another view


A view of the columns

A view of the columns


Magnificent columns

Magnificent columns


More

More


The obelisks that remain

The obelisks that remain


Close up

Close up


Another view

Another view


Into Karnak

Into Karnak


More of Karnak

More of Karnak


And more

And more


The lake inside Karnak

The lake inside Karnak

Posted by CWalts 17:00 Archived in Egypt Comments (0)

Second last day

So, it is really down to the wire now and I am trying to make the most of the last two days in Rome. Today I headed out to do a walk around to some of the more well-known sites that I never tire of seeing. I started out at St. Peter's Square. Busy there today. The line was very long to get in. It went almost all the way around the perimeter of the square. Still fewer people than in peak season but the longest I have seen so far on this stay. The fountains were running today which made my day as I have been here many times when there weren't.

I then moved on to Campo di Fiori. I just love to wander around and look at all the fresh fruits and veggies. And, today, after 3 tries, the Galleria Spada was open so I spent some time there. It is a small gallery in yet another marvelous Palazzo. This has been on my list for some time because of the Borromini's forced use of perspective which made his name in the art/architecture world. He took a short corridor leading to the interior courtyard and, with the clever mathematical use of column spacing and back-lighting, made it appear five times longer and grander than it is in reality. The gallery itself is just four rooms but filled with art of many of the most famous Italian artists of the 16th and 17th century.

Then, I headed over to Piazza Navona for a quick stroll through and onto the Pantheon where I stopped to enjoy the day, the music and a Prosecco Bellini. Lots of great people watching today. Ireland plays Italy tonight - rugby. Lots of green in the streets and lots of Irish accents. It was fun to be around it all.

Moved on to the Spanish Steps and did more people watching. Tomorrow I will do another walk for a last look at other favorites and have lunch in the Jewish quarter before heading back to pack and get organized for leaving on Monday.

Boromminis' perspective

Boromminis' perspective


Clever artwork

Clever artwork


Fountains are running

Fountains are running


Some of the line

Some of the line


Swiss Guard

Swiss Guard


Campo di Fiori

Campo di Fiori


Ciofia Romanesa

Ciofia Romanesa


Market

Market


Market

Market


Galleria Spada - Caravaggio??

Galleria Spada - Caravaggio??


Info

Info


Palazzo Spada courtyard

Palazzo Spada courtyard


Perspective

Perspective


Info on the Perspective

Info on the Perspective


Entrance to Palazzo Spada

Entrance to Palazzo Spada


Prosecco Bellini and The Pantheon

Prosecco Bellini and The Pantheon

Posted by CWalts 17:00 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

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