Cairo and Giza
Cairo is the capital and largest city of Egypt. It is huge with a population of over 19.5 million people spread across many districts on both the east and west banks of the river Nile. The modern city was founded by the Arab Fatimid dynasty in 969 AD, but it covers the remains of ancient national capitals whose remnants are still visible in parts of Old Cairo.
Monday, 18th February 2019
Exterior of the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities, also commonly known the Egyptian Museum or Museum of Cairo. It is home to an extensive collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities with around 120,000 items in its collection.
Tuesday, 19th February 2019
Tony and Tatiana in the courtyard of Muhammad Ali Mosque. Behind is a large shadirvan, a fountain often found near the entrance of mosques, used for ritual washing by Muslims before prayer. The fountain is shaded by an octagonal roof.
The mosque is located on the summit of Cairo Citadel. The citadel is a large imposing fortress located atop Mokattam hill near to central Cairo. It was originally built by Saladin in 1176-1183 to protect the city from attacks by European Crusaders.
Another view of the square-shaped courtyard of Muhammad Ali Mosque. The edges are covered by a peristyle colonnade. The mosque was constructed by Muhammad Ali Pasha between 1805 and 1848. It was built in memory of Tusun Pasha, Muhammad Ali’s second son who died in 1816. However, it also represents Muhammad Ali’s efforts to erase symbols of the Mamluk dynasty that he replaced.
Tatiana and Tony in Cairo Citadel with the exterior of Muhammad Ali Mosque immediately behind. The mosque’s thick limestone walls are topped with a central dome which is 21 metres in diameter and 41 metres in height from the ground. The dome is surrounded by smaller domes and half domes. Two elegant cylindrical minarets of Turkish type with two balconies are situated on the western side of the mosque and rise to 82 meters.
The minarets and domes of Al-Azhar Mosque seen from a nearby street. The mosque was founded by Caliph Al-Mu’izz li-Din Allah of the Fatimid dynasty in 970, making it one of the oldest in the city. The complex also houses Al-Azhar University.
Tony and Tatiana outside Ben Ezra Synagogue, located deep in the winding alleys of Coptic Cairo. Ben Ezra Synagogue is the oldest Jewish temple in Cairo, dating from the 9th century AD. In the 19th century, a huge cache of documents was discovered in the synagogue’s treasury, which recorded the history and transactions of Cairo’s Jewish community since the 11th century, providing the most complete account of medieval Jewry anywhere in the world. These documents are now held at Cambridge University. Two separate myths state that the synagogue was built on the site where the pharaoh’s daughter found Moses hidden in the reeds of the Nile or on the site of the Temple of Jeremiah.
Tony and Tatiana outside Saints Sergius and Bacchus Church in Coptic Cairo. This is one of the oldest Coptic churches in Egypt dating back to the 4th century. It is said to have been built on the spot where the Holy Family, Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus Christ rested at the end of their journey into Egypt. Tony and Tatiana were unable to enter the church due to a mass.
Coptic Cairo is part of ‘Old Cairo’ which encompasses the Babylon Fortress, the Coptic Museum, the Hanging Church, the Greek Church of St George and other Coptic churches and historical sites. Coptic Cairo was a stronghold for Christianity in Egypt until the Islamic era, although most of the current churches were built after the Muslim conquest of Egypt in the 7th century.
Tony and Tatiana at the foot of steps leading up to the Greek Orthodox Church and Monastery of St George located within the Babylon Fortress. The church dates back to the 10th century (or earlier). The current structure was rebuilt following a fire in 1904 with construction completed in 1909. The church has a central dome with a tower in the north-west corner.
Worshippers sitting on pews inside the Hanging Church. The church’s official name is St Virgin Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church. It belongs to the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria. Its name relates to its location above a gatehouse of Babylon Fortress with its nave suspended over a passage. It was probably built during the patriarchate of Isaac (690–692) although it is thought there has been a church here since the 3rd or 4th century.
Thursday, 21st February 2019
Saqqara, the ancient Necropolis of Memphis
Tony and Tatiana outside Unas Pyramid. This pyramid was built during the 5th Dynasty (circa 2498 – 2345 BC) for the Egyptian pharaoh Unas, the ninth and final king of that dynasty. The pyramid’s outside surface was originally smooth, but is now ruined. It is 43 metres in height and 57.7 metres along the four sides of its base.
Tony and Tatiana with a view towards Djoser Pyramid (also known as Step Pyramid). The pyramid has six stepped levels and was originally clad in polished white limestone. It was built during the 3rd dynasty of the Old Kingdom (circa 2686 – 2613 BC) for the burial of Pharaoh Djoser. It was originally 62.5 metres in height and 121 metres by 109 metres along its base.
Memphis, former ancient capital of Egypt
Memphis was the ancient capital of Aneb-Hetch, the first nome (territorial division) of Lower Egypt. It was founded earlier than the 31st century BC and abandoned in the 7th century AD. It was an important city throughout ancient Egyptian history and during its golden age thrived as a regional centre for commerce, trade, and religion. Its now ruined great temple, Hut-ka-Ptah (meaning “Enclosure of the ka of Ptah”), was one of the most prominent structures in the city. Today its ruins are located near the town of Mit Rahina, 20 km (12 miles) south of Giza. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1979.
Tony and Tatiana with the Sphinx of Memphis. It is believed the sphinx was carved during the 18th dynasty, between 1700 and 1400 BC, which was during the 18th dynasty. The facial features imply that the Sphinx is honouring either Hatshepsut, Amenhotep II or Amenhotep III. It was discovered in 1912. It is 8 metres in length and 4 metres in height.
Giza Pyramid Complex
Giza has some of the most impressive ancient monuments in the world, including the Great Sphinx, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and a number of other large pyramids and temples. The monuments date from the Early Dynastic Period to the Late Period. The site is located in the Western Desert, approximately 9 km (5 miles) west of the river Nile and approximately 13 km (8 miles) south-west of central Cairo. It is part of a UNESCO Heritage Site.
Onboard a horse-drawn carriage passing alongside the Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu). Constructed circa 2580–2560 BC during the 4th dynasty. It is the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and the only one still in existence. It was originally 146.7 metres in height (now 139 metres) and is 230 metres along its base. For more than 3,800 years it was the tallest man-made structure in the world.
Tatiana and Tony in the horse-drawn carriage. Behind two pyramids can be seen. The nearer one is the Pyramid of Khafre with the Great Pyramid of Giza beyond. The Pyramid of Khafre is the second largest of the Giza pyramids, standing originally at 143.5 metres and now 136 metres. It is 215 metres along its base. It is the tomb of the Fourth Dynasty pharaoh Khafre (Chefren), who ruled from about 2558 to 2532 BC. It appears taller than Great Pyramid of Giza beyond due to its more elevated position.
Tony and Tatiana in the carriage with the Pyramid of Menkaure in view. This is the smallest of Giza’s three main pyramids at 65 metres in height. Constructed circa 2510 BC during the fourth dynasty, it is thought to have been built to serve as the tomb of Pharaoh Menkaure.
View down the east side of the Great Pyramid of Giza. The entrance to the Mortuary Temple of Khufu can be seen and beyond one in a row of three smaller subsidiary pyramids, popularly known as the Queens’ Pyramids. These smaller pyramids are all of similar design and originally stood at around 30 metres in height.
View of the Great Sphinx of Giza, a mythical creature with the body of a lion and the head of a human. It was built of limestone during the reign of the Pharaoh Khafre (about 2558–2532 BC). Current consensus among many Egyptologists is that the head of the Sphinx is that of Khafre. It measures 73 metres in length from paw to tail and is 20.2 metres in height.
Monday, 4th March 2019