Thursday, 29 September 2011

Another new SCA boss?

Nigel Hetherington (a good source) just posted on my Facebook wall "The revolving door that is the office of the secretary general of the SCA has spun again and there is a new boss-Dr Mustafa Amin Mustafa"

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

James Watt: Rediscovering Luxor

James Watt: Rediscovering Luxor: Rediscovering Luxor
Posted 25 September 2011 by James Watt | 7 Comments

Just back from Luxor, my first visit as Ambassador. A wonderful memory of vast blue skies, above a landscape so timeless and historic that the stillness of it brings a calm to the soul that is rarely found in our hectic city lives. Brilliant green fields, stretching far either side of the Nile, touch the great temples and tombs of the West Bank, while on the East Bank Luxor as a town is full of colour and greenery around the vast temples of Karnak and Luxor.

I don't normally write this blog as a travel article, but I have to start with the sheer beauty of Luxor as a place. I had gone with my mind filled with all the obvious questions. How is tourism doing? How has the revolution affected Luxor? What do people feel about the future? I talked to the new Governor, Dr Izzat Saad, and other officials, to people in the tourism industry, and to some of the small British community living there. The picture they gave was very much the same. Tourism has been hit very hard by international nervousness about Egypt following the revolution of 25 January. The local economy is struggling as a result. Unemployment has risen and to some degree so have social tensions. But with my outsider's eye I could see this needed to be put in a wider context. Like all of Egypt, but more so, Luxor has superb tourist infrastructure. Not just some of the most stunning landscapes and ancient monuments in the world, and physical infrastructure such as hotels and cruise boats to match, but the human resources too which make this a enduring top-quality tourist destination. Hotel and other staff are trained to a very high standard, and have a spirit of hospitality unsurpassed in the world. The population as a whole welcomes tourists warmly - and is very tough on anyone who wants to disrupt this. The undisciplined behaviour of some taxi drivers and horse-cab drivers is currently the object of much criticism by local people, who know that such things can spoil Luxor's high reputation.

I am as puzzled as the next person by the way fears about tourist destinations are exaggerated and spread - not just by the international press, but by websites which claim to give objective travel advice but in reality do much damage to objectivity. Egypt remains a first-class holiday destination, whether you are seeking cuture and history, or simply time on the beach, or both. Prices are amazingly low as businesses struggle to get through this difficult year. The great monuments are almost empty of visitors. Safety in any place tourists are likely to go remains better than pretty much any country in Europe. Egypt deserves a much better fate.

Of course the governorate of Luxor is not only about tourism. Agriculture is the other main economic activity, and more can be done to develop industry and communications links. Britain is able and ready to help with this, as in the European Union, and I have taken ideas back with me to Cairo from the Governor for potential projects.

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Egyptian mobile numbers to change next Thursday - Economy - Business - Ahram Online

Which means my number will be 01003564540 and my husbands number 01224155057, so make a note and change all your favourite numbers. Egyptian mobile numbers to change next Thursday - Economy - Business - Ahram Online: - Sent using Google Toolbar

Monday, 26 September 2011

World History | Is an Egyptian pharaohs daughter the mother of all Scots? |

Don't worry I don't believe this but thought you might enjoy it. World History | Is an Egyptian pharaohs daughter the mother of all Scots? |: Is an Egyptian pharaohs daughter the mother of all Scots?

An ancient story about the origin of the Scots is given credence by some new research. From various writings of ancient chroniclers we deduce that the nation of the Scots is of ancient stock, taking its first beginning from the Greeks and those of the Egyptians."

WALTER Bower wrote his compendium of Scottish history, Scotichronicon, in the 1440s. This sweeping Latin text aimed to set down the history of the Scottish people from the earliest times and by so doing to show what race of people we were.

He referenced his chronicle from ancient texts and oral history. What he recorded was astounding.

According to Bower, the Scottish people were not an amalgam of Picts, Scots and other European peoples, but were in fact Egyptians, who could trace their ancestry directly back to a pharaoh's daughter and her husband, a Greek king.
... Quote:
The queen's name was Scota from where comes the name Scotland. The Greek king was Gaythelos hence Gaelic, and their son was known as Hiber which gives us Hibernia.
Nor was Bower the first to propose such exalted lineage for the Scots. The story goes back further and was even included in The Declaration of Arbroath.

This seminal document - written in 1320 by the Barons and noblemen of Scotland - was a letter imploring the Pope to intervene on their behalf during the Wars of Independence.

The text refers to "the ancients" who "journeyed from Greater Scythia and the Pillars of Hercules to their home in the west where they still live today".

According to tradition, this royal family was expelled from Egypt during a time of great uprising. They sailed west, settling initially in Spain before travelling to Ireland and then on to the west coast of Scotland. This same race of people eventually battled and triumphed over the Picts to become the Scots the people who united this country.

Now a new book, Scota, Egyptian Queen of the Scots, by Ralph Ellis, claims to prove that this origin myth was no made-up story but the actual recording of an Egyptian exodus that did indeed conclude in Scotland.

In tracing the sources that could have influenced the Declaration and Bower's Scotichronicon, he finds that the main British reference was likely to be the eighth-century historian Nennius. But it is in tracing Nennius's sources that Ellis thinks he's found the answer.

He believes that that the originator of the Scota Gaythelos story was an ancient text, The History of Egypt, written in 300BC by an Egypto-Greek historian called Manetho.

Ellis writes:
... Quote:
The possibility that Manetho was the original author of the Scota and Gaythelos story is interesting, because it gives the whole story much greater credence.


Having traced the original source - which was, if not contemporaneous, at least reasonably informed Ellis believes that we can begin to put flesh on the bones of this story.

Using Manetho's text, Ellis establishes that Scota was really Ankhesenamun, daughter of Akhenaton and Nefertiti, and wife of Tutankhamen. He also finds that far from being a Greek king, Gaythelos was a pharaoh himself Aye.

Little is known of Aye, although Ellis speculates that he was the father of Tutankhamen and married Ankhesenamun after his son's death. Aye ruled only briefly before religious struggle brought him into conflict with the Egyptian people and he and his court were forced into exile.

Having established the origins of Scota/Ankhesenamun and Gaythelos/Aye, Ellis tracks them as they flee. He contends that the couple took enough ships to bring 1,000 of their followers and plentiful supplies out of Egypt and across the Mediterranean.

He finds that they landed first in Spain, where they lived for several generations (their son Hiber giving his name there to Iberia). Four generations after they first settled, the descendents of Scota made their way to Ireland.

Here Ellis refers to Irish stories, but supplements the myth with facts. He points to the number of gold torcs necklaces worn by pharaohs - that have been found in the country. He shows us tombs that were surely built with Egyptian knowledge. He even finds us a mummified head that demonstrates that Scota's people took their method of embalming their dead with them from Egypt halfway across the world.

From Ireland it was a short hop across the water as later Iberian "Egyptians" seeking a new homeland in Ireland were told to populate Scotland. This colony became so successful that eventually many of the original Irish "Scots" then moved across too.

It all seems exceptionally compelling. Who's to say that just because it's unlikely it isn't actually possible?

Well, most historians for one. Boardman says of Ellis's research that to "search for historical figures is just madness. It's never going to work".

He concludes, that much as medieval Scots and clearly present-day ones too would like to believe in these ancient roots there isn't much chance that it is true.

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Friday, 23 September 2011

His Excellency Mr James Watt , HM Ambassador, and Mrs Amal Watt visit Luxor


All the British community in Luxor were invited to meet the Ambassador and his wife bu Mr Gaddis the Honorary Consul. It was a small reception with the Gaddis hotel ham rolls featuring heavily. The Ambassador made a point of speaking to just about everyone and gave a short speech about the importance of the ties of Britain and Egypt.

Resignation of Egypt's head of antiquities declined - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

You just could not make this up. SCA head is not allowed to resign. However what everyone should note is the freedom of the press reporting this. times have certainly changed. Resignation of Egypt's head of antiquities declined - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online: The Egyptian Cabinet has declined the resignation of Supreme Council of Antiquities Secretary General Mohamed Abdel Fatah while the latter vows not to return until gaining full authority


A day after the resignation of Mohamed Abdel Fatah, head of the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), the Cabinet scheduled an appointment with him on Sunday to discuss the issues behind his resignation.

In a telephone interview with Ahram Online, Abdel Fatah said that he would not return to the post without having full authority in the post. He pointed out that even when he allocated LE300 ($50) as a compensation to an archaeologist who had a leg amputated, the archaeologist was not able to receive the compensation as the SCA secretary general has no mandate to make such decisions.

Abdel Fatah resigned Tuesday following the intensification of protests and demonstrations in front of the SCA premises asking for council to be returned to being the Ministry of State for Antiquities, for salary raises, and the appointment of new graduate archaeologists.

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Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Head of Supreme Council of Antiquities confirms his resignation - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

Head of Supreme Council of Antiquities confirms his resignation - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online: n a telephone interview with Ahram Online, Mohamed Abdel Fatah, secretary general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities, confirmed his resignation of the post. “I am fed up,” Abdel Fatah said angrily. “All these protests stand against proceeding with archaeological works properly,” he said.

“I cannot be responsible without concrete authority in my hands,” Abdel Fatah said. In fact, Abdel Fatah cannot put into effect any of his decisions until he has the approval of Prime Minister Essam Sharaf.

He also asserted that there are specific people who are behind all protests in front of the Council for personal gains. “They are profiteering from accelerating such protests to create chaos that stops archaeological work from proceeding properly,” Abdel Fatah said. “I am not against any of the protesters’ demands,” he has told Ahram Weekly, “but I am against their way in asking, and the time.” Abdel Fatah pointed out that he had several meetings with them and promised to meet their demands according to an appropriate timing schedule, but they never listen.

“All archaeological work is put on hold due to these continuous and non-stop protests,” he said.

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Dr Fattah resigns as head of the SCA

This news report http://tahrirnews.com is about the resignation of Dr Fattah the new head of the SCA. It is a very worrying development to be honest. Make an effort and use a translation tool like google to read it.

This is one translation
Sources within the Supreme Council of Antiquities said that archaeological «Mohamed Abdel Fattah» Secretary-General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities resigned on Tuesday from his post as Secretary General of the [Supreme Council of Antiquities], after growing sit-ins, strikes and demonstrations, which caused the closure of the headquarters building of the Center, during the past two days and moved on to the building of the Abbasid area in large numbers.
Council officials have been forced to call in troops from the military police and civilian police to disperse demonstrators in front of the building, who tried to enter by force.
Abdel-Fattah said that he had made his resignation «after the increase of these sit-ins and strikes», pointing out that he refuses to be responsible with no powers or just be an interface or a figurehead of the Department of Egypt's monuments and should be granted full powers to manage the SCA.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Youm7 English Edition | Electronic ticketing system put in place at Pyramids

Could the Valley of the Kings be next? Youm7 English Edition | Electronic ticketing system put in place at Pyramids: A new electronic ticketing system will be implemented at the Egyptian Pyramids archeological region tomorrow, reported Mohamed Abdul Fatah, general-secretary of the Supreme Council for Antiquities.

Abdul Fatah reported that this measure is being taken after a series of successful experiments.

The system facilitates ticket-selling and park entrance procedures for both individuals and groups in an organized and efficient manner.

There will be two ticket colors: red for Egyptian visitors and dark blue for foreign visitors.

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Sunday, 18 September 2011

Stopplaere House

Ever wondered what the house on the hill as you enter the valley of the kings was. Bet you were told it was the Carter House. Wrong!! that is the house at the bottom in the grove of trees. The house on the top of the hill is much younger. Here is lots of good information about it.

Stopplaere House: "The Stopplaere house, which dates from the year after New Gourna was completed, was designed as both a guest house for the Department of Antiquities and the headquarters and apartment of Dr. Alexander Stopplaere who was the chief restorer of the Department at that time. The architect's drawings of the house, which went through several revisions, all convey the difficulty of combining these two diverse entities into one, showing how the architect was struggling with the duality of functions involved.

The first scheme he attempted uses a square plan to group both sectors around two perfectly balanced parallel courtyards that are divided by a bisecting wall. The demands of a ridge-like, linear site, however, which is strategically located at the summit of a step ridge overlooking the main entrance into the Valley of the Kings and Queens at Luxor, eventually forced the opening up of the plan into an elongated rectangle. A skylit gallery, of a kind that first appeared in the Hamid Said house, is used to join both sides of the residence, and the bisecting wall of the original concept finally emerges as a fully expressed buttress in the finished building, effectively separating the main entrance and its garden from the private quarters of Dr. Stopplaere.

In spite of the fact that no "as-built" drawings for this project exist, the small collection of initial sketches that have survived provide a rare insight into the creative thought processes of the architect, and show how actual site conditions began to inform a beginning design idea. The photographs of the actual building are equally important in that they include interior views of both the rooms and the courtyards. As is the case with so many of Fathy's surviving works today, access into the Stopplaere house is now very restricted, which gives these interior views added significance."

Source:

Steele, James. 1989. The Hassan Fathy Collection. A Catalogue of Visual Documents at the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. Bern, Switzerland: The Aga Khan Trust for Culture, 19.

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Thursday, 15 September 2011

Gettign an Egyptian visa in advance, my guests experience

With the recent hiatus regarding visas, where the newspapers reported a change in getting visas on arrival to having to get them in advance and then this decision was reversed, I thought you might like to know about one of my guests experiences. My advice was to apply in advance to be on the safe side. I just got this email from her

Have VISA - will travel!

I have to say how impressed I am with the Egyptian Consulate in London and as re-assurance for your visitors:

Posted all paperwork Saturday Special Delivery
Using the Post Office Track and Trace facility I knew it had arrived with the Consulate on Monday
Consulate advertises a 5 working day turnaround
Wednesday I did Track and Trace for the return of the documents with the response - out for delivery
By lunch time Wednesday - Passport and Visa in my hand!!

Excellent service or what...??!!


Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Egypt to host official World Tourism Day celebrations | News | Breaking Travel News

Not Luxor but Aswan so still Upper Egypt!!!!! Egypt to host official World Tourism Day celebrations | News | Breaking Travel News: - Sent using Google Toolbar

UNESCO to help Egypt restore its World Heritage sites - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online

UNESCO to help Egypt restore its World Heritage sites - Ancient Egypt - Heritage - Ahram Online: 3 / 3
Gallery


During a meeting held yesterday at the Supreme Council of Antiquities’ (SCA) offices, the director of UNESCO’s cultural department Tamara Twinasky announced UNESCO’s full collaboration with the SCA to restore and preserve Egypt’s archaeological sites, which were listed on the UNESCO’S World Heritage List in 1979.

Mohamed Abdel Fatah, the secretary-general of the SCA, told Ahram Online that Twinasky pledged UNESCO’s full support to continue restoration and development work now carried out at the Memphis Necropolis (the Giza plateau, Abusir, Dahshur and Saqqara) especially at Dahshur and Saqqara which was meant to be completed earlier this year. She also told Abdel Fatah that UNESCO will provide its full support to complete the construction work at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilisation (NMEC) in order to meet its opening deadline on March 2012.

At the end of this month, Twinasky said that a technical specialist and international consultant assigned by UNESCO will visit Egypt to inspect the restoration work being carried out at the Djoser Step Pyramid, considered the first ever pyramid in history, and provide any needed advice.

Tarek Shawqi, director of UNESCO’s regional bureau, stated that comprehensive training courses for restorers and curators of the NMEC would be established as soon as possible in order to bring skill levels into line with international standards.

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Help in Egypt - new charity

About Us: - Sent using Google Toolbar
Here is a news letter from this new charity.

HELP IN EGYPT was granted full charity status on 16th August 2011.

It was a momentous day for Philip, Brenda and Ruth. Two years hard work to build up our reputation, with the support of our kind sponsors we are on our way to a brighter future for the needy families in Beshlaw.

In October 2009 HELP IN EGYPT was officially formed and has been releasing funding to enable children from poor families to register and attend school. Most recently a chance meeting between Brenda and Mr Mohamed Ali from Beshlaw on the West bank of the Nile opened up a wonderful opportunity for HELP IN EGYPT to join together with the Egyptian charity AL BADER, run by Mr Mohamed Ali. The village did not have a school and Mr Mohamed Ali, together with a small team of village members have renovated an old mud brick building and opened it as a school. Philip and Brenda with their daughter Ruth asked if they could visit Beshlaw village and on doing so found 4 young lady teachers teaching about 50 children in 2 small classrooms. The children sat on rough wooden benches whilst the teachers taught orally and the children learned parrot fashion. There were no blackboards, pens pencils or paper. In fact, no facilities at all. Mr Mohamed Ali and the village Sheikh produced written records of their project which showed the distribution of food deliveries sent by a business man from Cairo. The recipient families had to sign for their share and it was noticed that all the signatures were thumb prints. No one in the village can read or write so there is a great need to develop this new school.

HELP IN EGYPT has pledged its support and will endeavour to raise the profile of this project. Already 10 sponsors have offered a monthly donation which will go a long way in supplying paper, pencils and equipment for the school. It is hoped that in the future the school can encompass a small clinic to give medical aid to the children and adults. Head lice is prevalent, minor cuts and infections are a regular problem with the children. Also an advice clinic to help young mothers with any problems regarding the welfare of their child. .

There is so much to be done, it will not happen overnight. HELP IN EGYPT visited Beshlaw in July 2011,the improvement in the school was noticeable, all the children had their own book and pencil, the storage boxes we had supplied in April were being utilised in each classroom and the story mats had been laid down as the children were about to present a concert. A number of the younger girls sang Arabic songs to welcome us back to Beshlaw. At the Summer School, puppets had been made and we were treated to their version of Punch and Judy although it was all in Arabic, the children's laughter was entertainment in itself.

Mohamed Ali called a meeting to discuss the next project we want to start, Dr Mahmoud a young man from the village is keen to develop a room into a small clinic when HELP IN EGYPT, who knew they had 90 square metres of village land, gave them a surprise donation of 20,000 Egyptian pounds for the AL BADER charity to begin work on the building of a proper clinic for the village. A further donation of 5,000 Egyptian pounds to erect lighting in the local streets near the school as the building is used in the evenings by village women who attend sewing classes and discussions on families and the care of young children and babies.

Mattel Toy company gave us great support by donating £3,000 to HELP IN EGYPT which enabled us to help the village to start their project and we shall continue to support this project to its completion.
Would you care to give your support to this village? It is a very worthy cause and HELP IN EGYPT monitors the progress and publishes regular newsletters with photos showing the positive steps being made.
For more information please contact HELP IN EGYPT.

helpinegypt1@hotmail.co.uk~~~~~01494719817~~~~07500039278. charity no 1143379.

Help in Egypt - new charity

Here is a news letter from this new charity.

HELP IN EGYPT was granted full charity status on 16th August 2011.

It was a momentous day for Philip, Brenda and Ruth. Two years hard work to build up our reputation, with the support of our kind sponsors we are on our way to a brighter future for the needy families in Beshlaw.
In October 2009 HELP IN EGYPT was officially formed and has been releasing funding to enable children from poor families to register and attend school. Most recently a chance meeting between Brenda and Mr Mohamed Ali from Beshlaw on the West bank of the Nile opened up a wonderful opportunity for HELP IN EGYPT to join together with the Egyptian charity AL BADER, run by Mr Mohamed Ali. The village did not have a school and Mr Mohamed Ali, together with a small team of village members have renovated an old mud brick building and opened it as a school. Philip and Brenda with their daughter Ruth asked if they could visit Beshlaw village and on doing so found 4 young lady teachers teaching about 50 children in 2 small classrooms. The children sat on rough wooden benches whilst the teachers taught orally and the children learned parrot fashion. There were no blackboards, pens pencils or paper. In fact, no facilities at all. Mr Mohamed Ali and the village Sheikh produced written records of their project which showed the distribution of food deliveries sent by a business man from Cairo. The recipient families had to sign for their share and it was noticed that all the signatures were thumb prints. No one in the village can read or write so there is a great need to develop this new school.
HELP IN EGYPT has pledged its support and will endeavour to raise the profile of this project. Already 10 sponsors have offered a monthly donation which will go a long way in supplying paper, pencils and equipment for the school. It is hoped that in the future the school can encompass a small clinic to give medical aid to the children and adults. Head lice is prevalent, minor cuts and infections are a regular problem with the children. Also an advice clinic to help young mothers with any problems regarding the welfare of their child. .
There is so much to be done, it will not happen overnight. HELP IN EGYPT visited Beshlaw in July 2011,the improvement in the school was noticeable, all the children had their own book and pencil, the storage boxes we had supplied in April were being utilised in each classroom and the story mats had been laid down as the children were about to present a concert. A number of the younger girls sang Arabic songs to welcome us back to Beshlaw. At the Summer School, puppets had been made and we were treated to their version of Punch and Judy although it was all in Arabic, the children's laughter was entertainment in itself.
Mohamed Ali called a meeting to discuss the next project we want to start, Dr Mahmoud a young man from the village is keen to develop a room into a small clinic when HELP IN EGYPT, who knew they had 90 square metres of village land, gave them a surprise donation of 20,000 Egyptian pounds for the AL BADER charity to begin work on the building of a proper clinic for the village. A further donation of 5,000 Egyptian pounds to erect lighting in the local streets near the school as the building is used in the evenings by village women who attend sewing classes and discussions on families and the care of young children and babies.
Mattel Toy company gave us great support by donating £3,000 to HELP IN EGYPT which enabled us to help the village to start their project and we shall continue to support this project to its completion.
Would you care to give your support to this village? It is a very worthy cause and HELP IN EGYPT monitors the progress and publishes regular newsletters with photos showing the positive steps being made.
For more information please contact HELP IN EGYPT.

helpinegypt1@hotmail.co.uk~~~~~01494719817~~~~07500039278. charity no 1143379.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Billies Bazaar - Belly Dancing Costumes

I wanted to share my good friend Billie website. She hand makes belly dancing clothes (and other clothes) and is a great lover of everything Egyptian. A regular guest at Flats in Luxor and a great support of tourism in Egypt so I want to return the favour and give her publicity. I know her stuff is quality as last time she came out I put in a request for some cotton trousers as I could not get them here in the style and colour I wanted. We did the measurements over the internet and when she came out they were exactly what I wanted and fitted. So you can buy with confidence made to measure, she knows what she is doing. The finish is high quality, you will be very pleased. So please visit her website and have a look. Billies Bazaar: - Sent using Google Toolbar

Graffiti fervor reaches its city of origin, Luxor | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today's News from Egypt

Graffiti fervor reaches its city of origin, Luxor | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today's News from Egypt: - Sent using Google Toolbar

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Funeral of Ahmed from the Deir el Medina bookshop

It was the last day of the funeral of Ahmed today and I went along to pay my respects and to pass on all the condolences posted on the blog, facebook and twitter. Ahmed was only 48 and had been ill for 10 days when he died. I spoke to his brother Mohammed, who I know well, and his sons. I told them how much Ahmed had been respected in the Egyptology world, especially the French and how he will be missed.

Egypt halts decision requiring visas before travel | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today's News from Egypt

Email received from British Embassy

Over the weekend there has been a flurry of press reporting about changes to local immigration rules. We have spoken to the Immigration Ministry today, who tell us that it is not correct that you can no longer buy visas on entry. They tell us that they have no new instructions and that nothing has changed.

We will let you know if we hear otherwise and please also let us know if any of you or your contacts experience any problems regarding visas on entry.

Best regards

Dawn Naughton

Her Majesty's Consul

Phone received from Ehab Gaddis British Honorary Consul in Luxor
There is no change, you can still get a visa on arrival. I have checked with immigration.

From my husband, it is on the news they have stopped it

Egypt halts decision requiring visas before travel | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today's News from Egypt: Egypt's government has frozen a decision requiring tourists and other visitors to apply for visas before arrival in the country, an Egyptian tourism official said Sunday.

Deputy Tourism Minister Hesham Zazou said the Cabinet froze the decision, according to the official Middle East News Agency. He did not give a reason or say if it would be enforced later.

The measure would require tourists and other visitors to apply for visas in advance from an Egyptian embassy abroad instead of buying one upon arrival at Cairo airport. It would not apply to tourists traveling in groups.

The new rules would affect nationals from the United States, Europe, Australia, Gulf countries, Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Tourism is a pillar of Egypt's economy and has been badly hurt by the unrest that began in with the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak in February.

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So whether they changed their mind, one department didn't talk to another or what, only they know. Please continue to follow my blog, Twitter and Facebook and I will endeavour to report any further information.

Egypt tightens visa rules due to security concerns | Top News | Reuters

This article gives the background behind the decision but doesn't say when it is being implemented. Egypt tightens visa rules due to security concerns | Top News | Reuters: - Sent using Google Toolbar

Friday, 9 September 2011

Egypt's new tourist visa policy raises concern

Egypt's new tourist visa policy raises concern: CAIRO: Tourism officials are concerned with a Cabinet decision to change Egypt’s visa regulations, requiring visitors to obtain visas before arrival.

Before, visitors from Europe, the United States, or Gulf countries were given visas upon entry at the airport; this however, is set to change from now on. Visitors will be required to obtain visas from embassies and consulates abroad.

“I was told by the minister of tourism that this won’t be applied right away,” Elhamy ElZayat, head of the Egyptian Tourism Federation, told Daily News Egypt.

“We are currently trying to find a solution that can appease all sides,” he added.

The new rules will affect citizens from United States, Europe, Australia, Gulf, Africa, Latin America, and Asia, Cabinet spokesman Mohamed Hegazy told The Associated Press.

ElZayat said the move would impact tourists mainly coming to Egypt’s Red Sea resorts, in cities like Sharm El-Sheikh and Hurghada, because these tourists often use the internet to book their stays.

“There was a very good solution suggested by the tourism minister for the issue and it’s to give out visas via the internet, which will be faster and more convenient for visitors,” he added.

ElZayat believes such a step would help alleviate any losses the new law might incur for Egypt’s tourism sector.

Although Hegazay said the new procedures “might” start next week, he did not give a set date. Hegazy also said the new law would not affect tourist traveling in groups.

Tourists from many states, especially Western countries whose nationals contribute the bulk of Egypt's vital tourism revenues, are still allowed to obtain visas on arrival until the new regulations are in place, AFP reported.

While some may disagree with the law since Egypt’s economy is highly dependent on tourism, others see the move as a symbolic act of “sovereignty.”

“I don’t think anyone will decide not to come just because they have to get a visa. This is a good idea and its good for Egyptians perception to change of their own country,” said Ahmed Hassan, a young Egyptian activist.

“We are a sovereign country, [many] countries require you go through procedures before obtaining a visa, take the US for example.”

But others think it may deter tourists from coming to Egypt at a time when the industry is already struggling.
Before the Cabinet’s decision to enact the visa law, the tourism ministry was working with several countries in order to change the policies to allow them to acquire visas upon arrival.

Egypt’s tourism ministry spokesperson, Omayma El-Husseini, told Daily News Egypt that Kazakhstan, for example, was among these countries that recently were granted this procedure to encourage tourism.

"We are asked for visas everywhere and it is our right to ask for visas. No airport in the world would give me a visa on arrival," Hegazy told AFP.

Egypt's finance minister said in August that tourism was showing signs of recovery and is expected to contribute $10 billion in revenues this year.

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No visas on arrival in Egypt, says government - Bikya Masr : Bikya Masr

No visas on arrival in Egypt, says government - Bikya Masr : Bikya Masr: An Egyptian Cabinet official told Bikyamasr.com that although no official date for the new regulations has been given, the new rules could be implemented as early as next week.

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Thursday, 8 September 2011

Western visitors to Egypt must obtain visas before arrival | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today's News from Egypt

further update strong rumour is suggesting this from Sept 20th!!!!!!



I suggest that you check this out if travelling here and get a visa in advance. Western visitors to Egypt must obtain visas before arrival | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today's News from Egypt: Mohamad Hegazy said a new government decree will require that all visitors apply for a visa from an Egyptian embassy abroad.

Hegazy did not explain the motives behind the new measure or say when the new regulation will take effect.

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Update
One of my guests who ALWAYS gets her visa in advance says.
All you need to do is download a form from the Egyptian consulate site fill it in send it off with postal orders and passports, of and paid return envelopes-its all on the site. ours have never taken more than a week to 10 days.
It was 15GBP for visas per person, then cost of postage and return, both recommended recorded or tracked at very least


Another guest says

Getting a visa in the UK is easy and if you are in London its just a quick visit in the morning with your documents and you can pick it up in the afternoon.

Petrie launches £25,000 Egypt partnership | Museums Association

What a fantastic idea. Petrie launches £25,000 Egypt partnership | Museums Association: The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology has launched a collections partnership with the Egyptian Educational Centre and Cultural Bureau (EECCB), part of the Egyptian Embassy in London.

Last year the museum was awarded an Effective Collections Special Project grant of £25,000 for a scheme enabling unused objects from its collection to be displayed in the EECCB’s newly refurbished grade 1* listed building.

The Petrie Museum holds over 80,000 Egyptian artefacts but can only display around 10% of this collection at present due to the size of its facility.

Three rooms in the EECCB’s Mayfair property, including a large ballroom, are to be set aside to display over 100 objects from the museum on a three-year rotating basis. Busts, pottery and a large collection of combs are among the previously unseen artefacts earmarked for long-term loan.

Relations between the museum and source communities in Egypt have previously been hampered because of tensions over repatriation, but the museum hopes the partnership will foster cultural diplomacy and interrogate western interpretations of the collection.

Curators at the museum intend to develop displays in partnership with Fayoum University. The university is situated near to where Sir William Petrie carried out much of his excavation work. A 3D imaging tool will allow Fayoum experts to carry out design and interpretation remotely over the internet.

Collections coordinator Sally Cross said: “The Egyptian government does not often engage with collections outside the country so we are excited about this project’s potential to improve cultural understanding. Of over 30 Effective Collections projects so far, it is the only one with a cultural diplomacy bent.”

“The exhibition space is also near lots of Middle Eastern embassies and has the potential to attract people who might not otherwise come to the collections.”

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Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website

My husband was read an article in Youm7 in Arabic yesterday which reported even more including a comment about the importance of tourism to Egypt which we both found very encourging. Ikhwanweb :: The Muslim Brotherhood Official English Website: Muslim Brotherhood Chairman Dr. Mohamed Badie visited the world famous Luxor Temples on Wednesday with a group of MB leaders in a bid to encourage tourism and emphasize the importance of ancient Egyptian heritage.

During his visit, Badie expressed his pride at the monuments in Luxor describing them as belonging not only to the Egyptians but to the whole world. “The temples and monuments are a world heritage and nobody has the right to destroy such history,” he said.

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Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Insider Tips to Luxor (Condé Nast Traveller)


Really pleased that my article on Luxor has been published and the the Egyptian Consulate are promoting it on their Facebook and Twitter feed, what a compliment. Insider Tips to Luxor (Condé Nast Traveller): - Sent using Google Toolbar

Death of Ahmed at Deir el Medina book shop

My husband just told me that Ahmed, one of the two brothers that ran the Deir el Medina bookshop has died. The funeral is going on now, he had been down in Cairo having treatment, he was only in his 50s. Many Egyptologists will know this book stall well as it had the best collection of French publications in Egypt. I have bought many of my Egyptology books there. They would even let me buy on credit. I am so sad that some one I knew so well has died. I have passed on my own personal condolences and if anyone wants to leave a comment I can pass them on.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Restaurant Review - Pizza Roma

Had a meal at Pizza Roma last night and I can thoroughly recommend it. It is traditional Italian pizza and there were about 6 pages of different options. I had the Gorgonzola and aubergine, hubby a spicy vegetable mix and the children shared a chicken one. The place is owned by an Italian however she was on holiday but she has obviously trained hhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifer staff well as the meal was exactly what it should be, I have been to Rome and it was just like that. Not stuffed crust monstrosities but a thin almost biscuit like pizza base with scrummy toppings. There was also a range of pasta and main dishes. They try and have everything as fresh as possible I was told, and in fact grow their basil on the roof. For desert I had the chocolate mousse yummy. The staff we spoke to Mohammed Peter the manager and Alaa the chef were all charming, in fact when I asked for coffee and they offered cappuccino, espresso and Nescafe. I said I wanted Egyptian coffee so they sent a boy to the local coffee shop! Now that is what I call service. The website with a map and contact detail is www.pizzaroma-it.com and it is located very near the St Joseph hotel.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

SCA Changes - Ibrahim Soliman promoted

There are lots and lots of changes happening at the Egyptian Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) my good friend and neighbour has been promoted to Head of Karnak and Luxor. Dr Kasia Szpakowska and I were able to congratulate him tonight.

Kasia is head of Egyptology at Swansea Uni and liaising with the glaciologist project. So if you want to learn more of the results of that project that is the place to look.

http://www.almasryalyoum.com/en/node/491878

"Starting early September, after the end of the eid holiday,
75 archaeological missions will resume excavation projects in Egypt, announced Mohamed Ismail, Director of the Permanent Committee and Foreign Missions Affairs at the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA). (..) Ismail told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the restoration of security and stability in Egypt has reflected positively on the work of foreign missions, adding that the SCA has recently received requests for 15 new foreign missions from the US, Italy and Germany to excavate archeological sites. Egypt is currently studying the requests, which include proposals for excavations in the Delta region as well as western and eastern deserts."

Foreign missions to resume excavations in Egypt | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today's News from Egypt

Foreign missions to resume excavations in Egypt | Al-Masry Al-Youm: Today's News from Egypt: tarting early September, after the end of the eid holiday, 75 archaeological missions will resume excavation projects in Egypt, announced Mohamed Ismail, Director of the Permanent Committee and Foreign Missions Affairs at the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA).

Several foreign missions had halted their operations in Egypt in light of the January uprising and ongoing security void. Many foreign embassies had asked their missions to leave Egypt.

Ismail told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the restoration of security and stability in Egypt has reflected positively on the work of foreign missions, adding that the SCA has recently received requests for 15 new foreign missions from the US, Italy and Germany to excavate archeological sites.

Egypt is currently studying the requests, which include proposals for excavations in the Delta region as well as western and eastern deserts.

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Champoleon Grafitti at Karnak - A correction

For years I have been telling people and have honestly believed that the graffiti in the festival hall of Tuthmosis III at Karnak was an incorrect spelling of Champollion. Recently on EEF an author Roger De Keersmaecker announced the publication of his twelfth book on graffiti and I was interested to see that his previous books included this area. So I wrote him and asked about it.

What a kind man, he replied and corrected my completely false assumption, apparently it is not an incorrect spelling of Champollion but Champoleon is common name in France which still exists and there is also a village in France with the same name. So sorry to all the people I have led down the garden path all these years.

It does make me keen to read more of Roger's books, his website is here www.egypt-sudan-graffiti.be/