Wednesday, January 3


This is the first of 8 parts of a travel video on Egypt, taken during 2000 as the relics of the Old Kingdom entered their 6th millennium. The various parts are listed here, and they cover a rough Cairo-Alexandria-Thebes-Luxor-Karnak-Abu Simbel-Aswan-Philae route.

We start in the historical Memphis, in the outskirts of Cairo, at the Mena House Hotel in Giza at the foot of the great pyramids. After some footage of the grounds of this strategically situated hotel and the pyramids, we move on to Cairo proper, with views of the city from the Citadel, as well as shots of the interior of the Muhammad Ali mosque. We then return to Giza, and prepare to enter the Great Pyramid of Khufu (Cheops), eventually crawling to the Pharaoh's sarcophagal chamber. Upon emerging, we check out some of the secondary buildings on the Giza site, including hieroglyphic panels at the tomb of Imhotep. We then move to the Sphinx, ending with some footage of the son-e-lumiere show at the Sphinx (narrated in part by Omar Sharif.)

The next day, we travel to Alexandria, with brief footage of the remnants of the Pharos and also the Montaza palace.

Thereafter, the show moves on to Thebes -- we take the train to Luxor from Cairo, and cross the Nile by boat to see the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens. The colossi of Memnon, the pharaonic tombs, and some of the gold statues found at the tomb of Tutankhamun are shown. We end with a good-sized clip on Deir al Bahri, the tomb of the female pharaoh Hatshepshut. We cross the Nile again on the way back and proceed to Karnak, looking at the temples, columns, hieroglyphs and statuary of pharaohs Seti, Rameses et al at this site.

Moving on to Luxor at nightfall, we see the Avenue of the Sphinxes, the great obelisk of Rameses II, the colonnade of Amenhotep III, the niche where Alexander placed his bust and had himself declared a divine (son of Ra) and so on.

On to Abu Simbel near the Sudan border -- where at sunrise we see dawn breaking over Lake Nasser, bathing the giant statues of Rameses II in golden light. Inside the Abu Simbel complex, we look at the statues of Rameses II, and the Temple of Hathor from the outside as well as in.

In the last part, we take a boat to the island of Agilika/Philae, south of the city of Aswan. Its main temple was dedicated to the goddess Isis and its construction was undertaken during the third century B.C. Philae was the last bastion of ancient Egyptian religion and hieroglyphic usage. It was due to disappear under the waters of the Aswan High Dam, when, in 1977, a coffer dam was constructed around the temples and the water was pumped out. Then the temples were carefully dismantled with every block assigned a number, and its position noted. A nearby higher island called Agilika was modified to resemble Philae and the temples were reassembled there.

Overall running time 111 minutes.


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