Islamic Cairo

Islamic Cairo is an amalgam of half a dozen "cities" established by the dominant people of
the day: the Muslim troops of Amr, the Umayyads, the Abbasids, the Ikhshidids and the Fatimids.

Fishawi's Café

Fishawi's has been open day and night every day of the year
for over two centuries, serving mint tea, sheeshas and so on.

The Egyptian Museum: Tutankhamun Treasures

© The Egyptian Museum 

The highlight of the Egyptian Museum is the collection of funerary impedimenta of the boy-king
Tutankhamun (1333-1323 BC) numbers 1,700 items.  On the left is Tutankhamun's funerary mask,
wearing a nemset headdress inlaid with lapis lazuli, quartz and obsidian.  On the right is the canopic chest
with the four alabaster jars that contained his viscera; one for each of the liver, stomach, intestines and lungs.

Pyramids of Giza


Built in Dynasty IV (2575-2465 BC), there are nine pyramids in all: in the foreground three of the six Queen's pyramids;
the main pyramids from near to far are the Pyramid of Mycerinus, the Pyramid of Chephren and the Great Pyramid of Cheops.

Pyramid of Mycerinus

Mycerinus (Menkaure 2525-2475 BC) began the construction
of his pyramid, but it was finished by his son Shepseskaf.

The Sphinx

Intended to originally represent a guardian deity in the shape of a lion, the Sphinx had the face of Chephren (Khafre 2575-2525 BC).

Solar Funerary Barque

The 43-meter cedar-wood barque is the only one to have been excavated of the five buried around
Great Pyramid of Cheops (Khufu 2600-2550 BC).  Its use is uncertain, but hypotheses include carrying the
pharaoh through the underworld, or accompanying the sun god on his daily journey across the heavens.

Abu Simbel

Sun Temple of Ramses II

Built by Ramses II (1279-1213 BC).  Between 1963 and 1968 the Abu Simbel temples were moved
to new, higher location to avoid being covered by the rising waters of Lake Nasser.

Ramses II Colossi

The temple is fronted by four enthroned colossi of Ramses II.

Hypostyle Hall

The Hypostyle Hall is flanked by eight statues of Ramses in the Osiris position, carrying
crook and flail.  The walls have scenes of his campaigns from Syria to Nubia.

Hathor Temple of Queen Nefertari

The Hathor Temple of Queen Nefertari is fronted by six colossal statues of Ramses II and Nefertari,
each accompanied by two smaller figures of their children, Princess Merytatum and Princess Merytamon.

The Square Hall

The ceiling of the Square Hall rests on six square Hathor-headed pillars.  The images on the
columns show the king and queen presenting offerings to different gods and goddesses.


The Nile from Elephantine Island

Aswan sits on the Nile River, just north of the Aswan High Dam.


Temple of Isis: the Second Pylon

Originally on Biga Island, the Philae was identified as one of the burial places of Osiris.  The temples were moved to Aglika
Island between 1972 and 1980 to avoid being submerged as a result of the Aswan High Dam.  The temples were constructed
over an 800-year period by Ptolemaic and Roman rulers who sought to identify themselves with the Osirian myth and cult of Isis.

Temple of Isis: the Mammissi

The colonnade of the Mammissi (Birth House), which is dedicated to the birth of Horus.

Kom Ombo

Temple of Haroeris and Sobek

A temple dedicated to the falcon-headed god Haroeris (Horus), the "Good Doctor," and the crocodile-god Sobek.

Temple of Haroeris and Sobek: Column

Column decorated with hieroglyphics.


Temple of Horus

Built in the Ptolemaic era, the temple is dedicated to the cult of the falcon-headed god Horus.

Falcon Statue

Two black granite falcon statues flank the gate in the pylon, which was
erected by Ptolemy IX. (ruled 116-110, 109-107, and 88-81 BC)



The Processional Way leads to the massive first pylon, entrance to the Precinct of Amun dedicated
to supreme god of the New Kingdom.  Construction of the Precinct lasted for 1,300 years from
Dynasty XII.  The Way is flanked by ram-headed sphinxes, Amun's  sacred animal.

The Obelisk of Hatshepsut, who was the only woman to rule as pharaoh, is 27 meters high and weighs 320 tons.

Luxor Museum: Tuthmosis III


An amazing statue of Tuthmosis III (ruled 1479-1426 BC) carved from green-black schist.

Luxor Temple

Luxor Temple was dedicated to the Theban Triad of Amun, his wife Mut and their son Khonsu.  It was mostly
built by two rulers when the New Kingdom reached its apogee: Amenhotep III (1390-1353 BC) of Dynasty XVIII
(whose colonnade is pictured above) and Ramses II (1279-1213 BC) of Dynasty XIX.

Hall of Amenhotep III (1390-1353 BC).

On the left, a 25-meter high obelisk, one of a pair; the other was taken to France
and erected on the Place de la Concorde.  The head of Ramses II is on the right.

Valley of the Kings

The Valley of the Kings contains the tombs of the New Kingdom pharaohs.  Royal
burials in the "Place of Truth" date from early Dynasty XVIII to XX.

KV 14 Tomb of Tausert and Setnakht

The tomb underwent several phases of construction for Tausert (ruled 1188-1186 BC) as queen and pharaoh,
and is unusual in having two burial chambers.  The tomb was taken over for the burial of Setnakht (ruled 1190-1187 BC),
founder of the 20th Dynasty, after work on his own tomb (KV 11) was interrupted due to its collision with KV 10.

Wall paintings in the first burial hall (Room J).

KV 34 Tomb of Tuthmosis III

The tomb of Tuthmosis III (ruled 1479-1426 BC) was cut into the base of a water-worn cleft above the cliff face
at the head of the southern-most wadi in the Valley of the Kings.  The burial chamber contains his sarcophagus.

Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut (1472-1458 BC) was the only woman to rule Egypt, and called her Mortuary Temple the
"Splendor of Splendors." She was the daughter of Tuthmosis I; she married his successor Tuthmosis II.
Unfortunately she was widowed before bearing a son, and instead made herself co-regent with Tuthmosis III.

Hathor-headed columns.

Valley of the Queens: Tomb of Queen Nefertari

Nefertari was the principal wife of Ramses II (1279-1213 BC); her tomb is one of the most beautiful and largest ever found.

Some of the wall paintings depict scenes from the Book of the Dead.

Medinat Habu

Medinat Habu is the Arabic name for the Mortuary Temple of Ramses III (1187-1156 BC) of Dynasty XX.


The Ramesseum was the Mortuary Temple of Ramses II (1279-1213 BC).  The fallen
colossus of Ramses II was originally 17 meters tall, weighing about a thousand tons.

Nile Sunset

Feluccas are lateen-sailed boats that may originally have been introduced into Egypt by the Romans.


Road to Mount Sinai

Road across the Sinai from Sharm-el-Sheikh via Dahab.

St. Catherine's Monastery

The origins of this Greek Orthodox monastery date back to 337 AD when the Byzantine Empress Helena (St. Catherine) ordered the
construction of a chapel around the putative Burning Bush.  Believers maintain she was born in 294 AD in Alexandria of a noble family, converted
to Christianity, and subsequently persecuted, including an attempt to break her on a spiked wheel (hence the name Catherine Wheel).

Summit of Mount Sinai: 7,498'

Mount Sinai is venerated by Christians, Jews and Muslims as the site of God's revelation of the Ten Commandments.

Sunset from Mount Sinai.

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© Nicholas R. Winter 1985-2010