Friday, December 31, 2010

An adventure to the Middle East ( Part 12 ) Jordan - Taybet Zaman

When our group reached Jordan... we immediately left for Petra. It was a 3 1/2 hour ride.

We had a short stop between Amman and Petra.... called the Midway Castle ... in order to buy some souvenirs, food and also a pit stop.

Upon entering --- I noticed that it was an expensive souvenir shop.... here are some of the items being sold at the store.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An adventure to the Middle East ( Part 11 ) Dinner at the Nile River Boat in Cairo

The last agenda for the day was ----- a dinner boat cruise on the Nile River. Our dinner was in a floating restaurant called  The Pharoahs.

Friday, December 24, 2010

An adventure to the Middle East ( Part 10 ) The Pyramids of Giza, The Sphinx, Citadel of Saladin

We are finally back in Cairo. This will be a long day once more since --- we have to cram  all the places that we were supposed to see on our  first day of the tour. Moheb was there to meet us at the airport and he gave me my visa to Jordan. Finally!!!! I jumped for joy!!!

Yes--- there was a BIG problem before I left on this tour to the Middle East......I left Manila without a Jordanian visa ( I ONLY had an Egyptian visa ).... The processing of my Jordan visa did not finish on time.. and the reason for this delay was---- Manila does not have a Jordan Embassy ( we ONLY have a consulate). All the paper work had to be sent through email to the nearest embassy which is Japan. The processing of the papers takes one month ( I am wondering if all the Middle East tours originating from Manila has this problem too!! ). If my Jordan visa will not be sent to me on time... I was going to be left behind in Cairo.... of course I was not happy to stay behind. According to Tony, my brother who is a honorary consul of Mongolia, there were more delays since we were traveling during a Muslim holiday, therefore the offices will be closed for several days. That only meant MORE DELAYS! I started to panic--- I called Lulu, my friend from the States who I was going to be with me on this tour and told her of my dilemma. Lulu immediately called up Friendly Planet in New York to ask for visa assistance since I was the ONLY one from the Philippines who was joining a tour that originated in the States ( actually-- this is the first time I joined a tour that did not originate from the Philippines). The day I left I received an email saying that my visa will be handed to me AFTER my Nile cruise...When I finally got my visa---- I was so happy ----  I will be going with the group to Petra...

Back to our tour.... Our first stop was the Pyramids of Giza and to see the Sphinx.

                                                          ( courtesy of Ernie Kamatoy )

The great Pyramid of Giza is the oldest of all the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. It is the only one still intact. As the burial chamber for the fourth dynasty of Pharoah Khufu, it took an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 workers to build it over a period of 20 years. The Pyramids of Giza are located 40 miles outside the city of Cairo. The pyramid of Pharoah Cheops or Khufu is made of limestone. Each stone block used to build the pyramids weighs around 8000 kilos and the stones are arranged in a perfectly symmetrical pyramid. It measures 150 meters high.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

An adventure to the Middle East ( Part 9 ) The Aswan Dam and The temple of Isis at Philae

Today we will visit the Aswan Dam. This dam generates a large portion of Egypt's electricity but it also allows the control of the flow of  water in the Nile.

Lake Nasser was at the other side. It was created with the construction of the dam and it is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world.

Next stop.... the Temple of Isis at Philae

.... I saw this arab praying while we were about to board the boat.

We had to take a motorboat to Philae island. The ride across the island of Agilika was very pleasant. We were seated on cushions around the small boat which accommodated all of us...

Saturday, December 18, 2010

An adventure to the Middle East ( Part 8 ) The Temples of Abu Simbel

Our wake up call today was quite early... we had to get ready to go to the airport to catch a plane to Abu Simbel.

The trip to Abu Simbel was an hour. According to  our itinerary -- our stay at Abu Simbel was only 2 hours. I wondered to myself if that was enough time to appreciate the most talked about temples of Abu Simbel.

The flight lasts an hour and the plane actually flies over the temple. If you are lucky enough to be on the left side of the plane when it flies over the temples you can actually look down and see them. It was an awesome sight !!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

An adventure to the Middle East ( Part 7 ) Kom Ombo- The City of Gold

Kom Ombo was a stunning sight to see from the Nile River. Located 45 kms. north of Aswan. Kom Ombo means " collection of gold ". On the grounds of the temple is the Nile-O-Mete, a well like structure used to measure the height of the Nile.

It was built in 150 BC. It is a dual temple dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god and Horus the falcon god. Their temples have identical, massive twin doors, pillars, courts and sanctuaries.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

An adventure to the Middle East ( Part 6 ) Temple of Horus

Today we will be visiting the Temple of Horus in Edfu.

Of all of the temples in Egypt, the one in Edfu is the most complete and best preserved. The reason for this is that the Temple of Horus had been totally submerged under the desert except for the very top of the pylon entrance. A small amount of stone had been removed from the exposed part but when they excavated it was found to be in near perfect condition. The desert sand has helped in preserving the building which was found by Auguste Mariette in the 1860"s.

It was believed that the temple was built on the site of the great battle between Horus and Seth. It was built 237 BC and was finished in 57 BC.

The front of the temple showing the two statues of Horus

On the main archway into the temple are six sets of winged images. The temple is dedicated to Horus.

At the entrance to the temple stands a magnificent black granite statue of Horus, the falcon headed god. to whom this temple was dedicated to.

Here is a view of the first courtyard ( called " Court of Offerings " ) just inside the entrance.

The Hypostyle hall is both imposing and impressive because of its size and condition. An impressive feature of the temple is that nearly every surface is covered with carvings and hieroglyphics some of which were destroyed by the Christians as they considered these images to be pagan. The pylons of the main temple are about 118 feet high.

Even the chambers inside the temple were heavily covered with carvings. These hieroglyphics tells the story of Horus's mythological triumph over Seth.

In the center of this magnificent room is a model of the sacred boat of the falcon god Horus. This model is situated in front of a black granite shrine to Horus and both are surrounded by three walls with the most exquisite reliefs depicting offerings to the god.

The passageway between the inner and outer temple in deep shade showing the walls covered with hieroglyphics.

The Temple of Horus is another MUST SEE when you are in Egypt. Not only can you see clearly the hieroglyphics on the wall but also the colors they used to decorated these hieroglyphics. I was amazed that the colors survived for thousand of years.

We went back to our cruise ship for lunch. Our next scheduled temple visit ( Kom Ombo ) was in the afternoon.